My Roommate Is a Gumiho: Episodes 11-12 Open Thread
Though our gumiho and his college student girlfriend want nothing more than to enjoy each other’s company and date happily, obstacles continue to stack up between them. Some are mystical, and ask important questions about fate, while others are relational in nature, and complicate their couple status.
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP
As a sucker for second lead storylines of all shapes and sizes, so I have to say how much I’m enjoying the spin that My Roommate Is a Gumiho puts on it. The red thread that the mountain spirit tied between Dam and Sun-woo is the perfect mechanism for pulling the second lead (almost literally) into the story — and also putting the heroine in a place that’s pretty nuanced.
Usually, the heroine must turn down the tofu-hearted second lead, having a heart only for the hero. But here, while Dam has a heart for our hero, she doesn’t only have a heart for our hero. The red thread is pulling her heart towards Sun-woo, and she finds herself drawn to him against her will.
But it’s not only about the emotional or physical draw — their new fate also means that they are thrown together at every turn. This is another fantastic use of a storytelling mechanism to “explain” why our second lead turns up when he does, or just so happens to catch her fall, or start a part-time job at the same Subway chain location. Nary a drama has done this before. We accept drama fate and interconnectedness because it’s delicious (and it is), but it’s also fun to have a story that’s explaining the whys of all that coincidence.
This thread, of course, is a mounting threat to Dam and Woo-yeo’s relationship. It’s played for jealousy (in the swooniest sense), but once the two realize its gravity, it also becomes a thematic problem.
While Woo-yeo is worried about the strength of the fate that was created for them, Dam is in an even more complicated place: how much of her life and heart does she really control? I love that the drama asks these questions. And Hye-sun, in one of her wise moments, says this to Dam: “Why do animals want to become human? Because humans are the only ones who can decide their fate.”
While Dam wrestles with the idea of fate, Woo-yeo is slowly getting pushed to the edge. Between the strength of the red thread, the continued threats from the mountain spirit, and what we learn through his conversations with Hye-sun (his 1,000 years of life are almost up) — we see Woo-yeo get darker and more desperate.
As his opportunity window to become human is quickly narrowing, what’s growing at the same rate is his desire to become human. And that’s because of Dam. The dreamy echoes that we see of Dam and Sun-woo living as a happy, ordinary couple are practically an assault on Woo-yeo’s heart. I don’t think he’s ever felt the weight of his non-humanness as much as he does now.
Despite the fact that Dam says it doesn’t matter to her, it does matter, and it’s only Woo-yeo who understands the full gravity. So, the energy that he refuses to take from Dam (despite their blackout bead-retrieving kiss in his living room), he decides to take from a woman at the university who’s been hitting on him. He tries to play it off, but Dam is pretty quick to understand not only what Woo-yeo is doing, but why.
Because Dam is as pure-hearted as she is, she’s horrified by the fact that Woo-yeo is taking the lifeforce from another woman instead of her. It’s the first time, I think, that she realizes the inherent tragedy of the gumihos and their story — that they’re doomed to hurt the ones they love, and that in order to become human they must essentially steal the life of another. It shakes her enough to break up with him, we end on a teary scene with two very sad beings staring at each other.
Lest this week’s episodes appear too heavy and dark, there was also so much fun and humor sprinkled in that I think I laughed more this week than ever — the eye-tearing kimchi-making, the Yi Sun-shin moment, the confetti, and Shin Hyung-tak’s cameo as Sun-woo’s uncle (which effectively tempered the automatic groan I let out when Subway PPL found its way back into dramaland).
I’ve also really been enjoying the side character stories. Jae-jin and Hye-sun are so much fun together; when one is being a ditz, the other grounds them, and vice versa. I could watch them be secretly flustered at each other and fake dating all day.
But there’s also Dam’s bestie SOO-KYUNG (Park Kyung-hye, I love her) and her relationship with JUNG SUK (Kim Kang-min) — the dynamics here are the best. He clearly likes her, and she clearly likes him, but there’s this unrevealed incident in the past and a misunderstanding between them. We’ve been getting crumbs from the get-go, and I really hope they give this storyline enough airtime, because I just love it.
Kim Kang-min is even more of a newb than Bae In-hyuk and Kim Do-wan — and the only thing I like more than a new crop of fun actors, is a new crop of adorable fun actors. You can find me hovering over all of their careers. *rubs palms gleefully*
- Premiere Watch: Mad for Each Other, My Roommate Is a Gumiho
- Jang Ki-yong and Hyeri are incompatible roomies in new character teasers for My Roommate Is a Gumiho
- First look at My Roommate Is a Gumiho and a new cast member announced
- Kang Hanna turns into a former gumiho for Frightening Cohabitation
- Kim Do-wan to join Hyeri and Jang Ki-yong in new drama