Yumi’s Cells: Episodes 7-8 Open Thread
Our couple continues to date quite happily, but that doesn’t mean that every day is smooth sailing. While one disaster brings them closer together, and wakes up some dreams for the future, another set of circumstances (and people) just might put a wedge between them.
EPISODES 7-8 WEECAP
Things are better than ever between our couple after their Sokcho trip — so good, in fact, that Yumi has a
dream nightmare that her relationship with Woong thus far was all a dream. Luckily she wakes up and everything is as it should be. But here in the real world Yumi has a friend’s wedding looming on the horizon, and like many (all?) young women of marrying age, it puts all sorts of pressure on her. Soon, Yumi is desperate to bring Woong along and show him off.
To make the pressure on Yumi a little bit worse, she runs into her dreaded ex-boyfriend JI WOO-KI (a cameo by Lee Sang-yi who took a respite from Gongjin to turn up in Ilsan). He is the infamous character that caused the great flood in Yumi’s cell village and wreaked so much havoc in her heart.
Much like the wedding storyline, none of this is really new. But what is new, and even a little genius, is the constant dialogue going on in Yumi’s head/cells about Woo-ki’s reappearance. She reads his interest in her as romantic interest, and while her cells do their best to hold back her angry retorts, what winds up happening is even more panicky need to appear with Woong at the wedding (to which Woo-ki has also been invited).
The entire wedding scene is great, and painfully realistic — from Yumi’s self-consciousness and assumptions about Woo-ki’s attentions to her, to her nervousness about Woong’s arrival at the wedding and how he’ll be perceived by her friends.
What makes it so great, though, is the build-up. Yumi wants so much to show off her happy relationship, especially to the man that broke her heart and seems to be interested in a relationship with her again. The tension builds up to their conversion outside the chapel, when Yumi’s expectations (and ours) are entirely inverted: Woo-ki has been seeking her out merely to tell her he’s getting married.
In her embarrassment, hurt, and confusion, instead of excusing herself, Yumi (thanks to her Emotion Cell) goes into Automatic Reaction mode. Pretty soon she’s rattling off to Woo-ki all the details of her impending marriage to Woong… who of course has just arrived and is standing shocked right behind her.
It’s awkward and awful, but rather than explode into a full-fledged disaster, it’s yet another example of the gem that is Woong. The boy doesn’t look like much, but he got a read on the entire situation, played along with Yumi’s tall tale, and even understood why she did it. I don’t think I’ve ever loved him as much as during this whole exchange.
Here the drama takes a fun turn, and Episode 8 starts in Yumi’s future, where a bunch of young cells are learning about her history. They’re told that this wedding, in addition to being her Most Embarrassing Moment, is also pinned to a lot of other events in her life. Marriage became hard to talk about for both Yumi and Woong, after that event and the rumors that followed. This is especially sad because we learned that buried deep in Woong’s sea is a discarded desire: the desire to get married. He abandoned it long ago, but his cells are now aware of where it sits on the sea floor.
At first the little cells learning about Yumi’s history seemed pointless, but actually, it’s a great narrative turn: instead of experiencing life in the moment with Yumi and her cells, we see the gravity of each scenario, and where it fits into Yumi’s life story. It’s the kind of perspective that everyone wishes they could have as they go through their daily life, but of course, cannot see the true cause and effect until much later.
After the wedding mess, there’s a new bit of challenge on the horizon for Yumi and Woong. Sae-yi continues to needle her way closer to Woong, whether through manipulative commentary on his life and choices, or by moving into his apartment building and appearing regularly at his front door.
As Yumi and her cells struggle to deal with Sae-yi and ask whether men and women can really just be friends, Yumi has the occasion to experience this first-hand as well. Previously, she’s been so caught up on Woong that her Male Recon cells (who once worked very hard to identify any male that was Yumi’s type) were given a holiday, and instead the guard cells took over.
The guard cells are responsible for keeping Yumi’s heart safe, and they take their job very seriously. Their job is easy when Yumi doesn’t notice the men around her (this is wonderfully portrayed by the men being cartoon-drawn and almost featureless). But when a new cutie shows up in her neighborhood, and is incidentally a coworker, the guard cells go quickly into red alert mode. This newbie is YOO BOBBY (yay Jinyoung!), and he’s here to rock the boat.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: what this story does really well is take these everyday circumstances, or even circumstances we’ve seen in dramaland a hundred times, and turn them into something full of new life thanks to Yumi’s cells. Yumi’s cells and their reaction to Bobby basically make this whole thing wonderful.
With her guard cells in overdrive, Yumi automatically thinks Bobby is hitting on her, can’t take a compliment from him, is relieved when he mentions a girlfriend, is concerned when they meet up in the neighborhood, and so on. Yumi herself knows she’s reacting quite strongly, and asks Woong about it — he tells her she’s old-fashioned when it comes to men, so she tries to stop reading into everything quite so much.
Indeed, Bobby seems like a harmless neighborhood oppa for now… but that is also the point of the situation, methinks. A guy who’s bored while his girlfriend is MIA can start hanging around with a girl from his neighborhood and job. It’s nothing at first, but the next thing you know, everything is complicated.
Each week I think I’ve seen the best commentary that Yumi’s Cells can offer, and expect there won’t be anything else to impress me — and then every week I’m wrong. Each episode offers us some new kind of insight on Yumi’s character thanks to the subtext and story offered by her cells. It is hands-down the best depiction of the overthinking introverted female psyche that I’ve seen in a long time (and it takes one to know one).
In addition to the insightful commentary on Yumi and how she ticks, the cells (and the drama) also continue to offer a lot of laughs. I particularly loved that gotcha moment when the supposedly huuuge volume of Men Yumi Knows actually turned out to be this teeny tiny book with hardly any entries. This is the beauty of the everywoman character — that as you follow her story, you can find bits of yourself in her, maybe some wisdom, and maybe a reason to laugh, too.