Woori the Virgin: Episodes 1-2
A remake of an American show inspired by a Venezuelan telenovela, Woori the Virgin has the outlandish plot twists of a makjang K-drama, but they’re sugar coated in tongue-and-cheek humor that feels more in line with its inspiration. Our leading lady is as pure and innocent as they come, but after a medical mishap results in the most unplanned of pregnancies, she finds herself struggling to make a life-altering decision.
EPISODES 1-2 WEECAP
Once again I’m weecapping a drama with zero context of its source material. I like to think this allows me to watch Woori the Virgin with completely fresh and unbiased eyes, but honestly, I do not need to have watched Jane the Virgin or Juana la virgen to pick up on the telenovela influences. I mean, we all love K-dramas because they can be a bit tropey and overdramatic — something they share with Latin telenovelas — but Woori has a brand of comedy and delivery that is slightly atypical of the average Korean drama, and I can only suspect that’s largely due to Western influences.
For instance, right out the gate there is an excessive amount of sex talk and virginity jokes. Now, I’m no prude, but I am used to my K-dramas being about as racey as a Disney Pixar movie that occasionally slips in some you’re-too-young-to-understand-this-kiddo innuendos for the adults chaperoning their children to the movie theater. Once I moved past my initial shock, though, I got into the tone and humor of the story.
The drama opens with a scene of teenage OH WOORI (Lim Soo-hyang), our leading lady, pledging a vow of chastity at a Catholic church with her mother and grandmother looking on with polar opposite reactions to the ceremony. We then transition to a wedding, where a bunch of women begin ribbing an adult Woori about her virginity after she catches the bride’s bouquet. Woori just sits there, smiling awkwardly while they speculate and offer their unsolicited opinions about her sex life — or lack thereof.
The conversation feels even more uncomfortable in hindsight when we discover that these particular women are not a part of Woori’s inner circle. Surely they would have known about LEE GANG-JAE (Shin Dong-wook), Woori’s boyfriend of two years if they’d been close — or followed her on social media — right?
Gang-jae picks Woori up at the wedding, and he spots the flowers in her hand. Rather than admitting it’s the wedding bouquet that she caught, she lies that guests were told to take the centerpieces. This is the first hint we get that Woori is skirting around the topic of marriage, but is she doing it because she doesn’t want to marry him or because she doesn’t want to be the kind of woman who pressures her man into proposing?
Gang-jae believes her fib, which is extra amusing because it turns out he’s a cop and should have more deductive reasoning! But apparently, his coworkers are used to explaining the ways of dating and women-folk to him, so they tell him, “Dude, you’ve been dating her two years. She’s thinking about marriage but doesn’t want to be the one to bring it up first.”
Aside from being a little clueless, Gang-jae proves himself to be a very gentle and kind boyfriend, a man who supposedly has the patience of a proverbial saint for his ability to restrain himself when it comes to his sexual urges. We see just how great his self control is after an almost-kiss with Woori sends him running for the confessional to be absolved of his sinful and impure thoughts. This whole bit is kind of eye roll inducing, but the joke pays off when the priest tells Gang-jae to chill out. Both he and God are too busy to hear him confess every time he imagines something naughty!
Gang-jae isn’t the only one having trouble containing his sexual urges, though. Woori is an assistant drama writer for Mask of Desire (getting some Be Strong Geum-hee vibes here), and during a meeting she gets a little too… heated… when proposing a romantic scene to the director.
Her boss, head writer YOO YE-RI (Lee Do-yeon) advises her to just marry Gang-jae. He’s a rare — exceedingly patient — unicorn that needs to be caught and “ridden” (oh my!). There’s also the added romanticism that he would be her first everything.
Except…he wouldn’t be. Because back in college, Woori gave her first kiss to a man she never saw again.
Cue: RAPHAEL (Sung Hoon) driving a (tacky) purple convertible. He’s the wealthy son of Chairman KIM DUK-BAE (Joo Jin-mo) of the Diamond Medical Foundation, a facility that specializes in plastic surgeries. Raphael, who is now in remission after a battle with stomach cancer, intends to grow the company’s cosmetics division — much to his father’s annoyance.
Raphael may have the outward aura of a clubbing playboy, but at heart he’s a sweet, family-oriented man who has fond memories of watching dramas with his mother. Those same dramas — and the urge to find out what happens next — are what motivated him to fight for his life. Dawww, I’m liking this inner marshmallow side of him.
Raphael also celebrates his extended life by serving his cheating, gold digging wife LEE MA-RI (Hong Ji-yoon) with divorce papers, which goes over about as well as one would expect from someone who initially faked a pregnancy to trick him into marriage. She immediately runs to her mother BYUN MI-JA (Nam Mi-jung), who has an uncanny ability to sneak around and appear unexpectedly from the shadows. Together the two women plot to have Ma-ri artificially inseminated with the sperm Raphael had frozen before he became sterile from his cancer treatment.
While Ma-ri plots to stay hitched to her money train, Woori goes to her first OB-GYN visit, and this is where everything comes together. And by everything, I mean Woori’s egg and Raphael’s sperm. See, there was a little mixup, and the doctor YEO JIN-HEE (Hwang Woo-seul-hye) — who’s having her own relationship drama — accidentally misread her patient charts and artificially inseminated Woori instead of Ma-ri. Whoopsie?
Jin-hee’s ex-boyfriend, who also works at the OB-GYN clinic, advises her to keep quiet about the mix-up and wait to see if Woori gets pregnant. If she doesn’t, then no one will ever have to know. But, of course, this is Telenovelaland — I mean, Dramaland — and under these circumstances, Woori can’t not get pregnant.
But it takes a few weeks to confirm conception, so while Jin-hee waits anxiously, the chaos in Woori’s life slowly builds. Her mother OH EUN-RAN (Hong Eun-hee) is crushed when her latest boyfriend runs off after taking out an expensive loan in her name. The incident triggers Woori’s longtime guilt…for being born. It all stems from a memory of Woori overhearing her mother complain that no music producer wants a single mother as an idol singer. Since then Woori has always wondered why Eun-ran would follow through with the pregnancy when an abortion would have allowed her follow her dreams.
At the same time, Gang-jae plans to propose to Woori, completely oblivious that she’s harboring doubts. He gets a little sidetracked, though, by his hunt for Chairman Kim, his arch nemesis who killed his partner. (Dun, dun, dun!) His pursuit leads him to a potential informant: Ma-ri’s secret lover and an employee at Diamond Medical Foundation, which brings us to the day when everything goes spectacularly wrong.
The setting: Diamond Medical Foundation. Our cast: Woori, who’s there for work; Raphael, who is hosting a PR event featuring actor CHOI SUNG-IL (Kim Su-ro); Eun-ran, who is at the PR event to see Sung-il because he’s Woori’s father (Woori doesn’t know, btw); and Gang-jae, who’s there to arrest his bad guy.
So what happens? Well, first Sung-il spots Eun-ran in the audience and is so dumbstruck he forgets how to form words during his interview. Raphael does his best to cover for the floundering actor, but then Gang-jae comes crashing through the audience and tackles his perp to the ground. All the excitement causes a very confused Woori to faint, and when she wakes up in the ER, the doctor explains that she’s — surprise! — pregnant.
The news immediately makes everyone laugh… everyone but Rapael, who awkwardly pauses mid-congratulatory clap, confused by the weird vibe in the room. When a second pregnancy test comes back positive, Eun-ran begins praying, believing Woori to be the next virgin Mary. Except it’s not divine intervention, and when Jin-hee confesses to her mistake, Eun-ran proceeds to beat her while Woori processes the shock of her pregnancy.
Woori, intending to get an abortion, doesn’t initially plan on telling Gang-jae the truth, but then he proposes. He went all out, too, with a choir flash mob and a drone that delivers the ring to his hand. And in that moment — after first dodging the drone like it was a bird aiming to poop on her head — Woori confesses that she’s pregnant.
While the onlookers — composed mostly of their church’s congregation — make a hasty exit, I can’t help but wonder if her confession was said out of a secret desire to scare him off so she wouldn’t have to answer and face her doubts. If that was her intention, though, it backfired. Gang-jae is completely supportive after hearing the cause of her unexpected pregnancy.
Meanwhile, Raphael is 100% done with Ma-ri, especially after he finds out that some other woman was impregnated with his sperm, but neither she — nor her mother — are the type to give up easily. Ma-ri blackmails Jin-hee into revealing Woori’s identity so she can try and persuade her into carrying the baby to full term.
She meets with Woori privately, and Woori is both shocked by the offer and that Ma-ri is Raphael’s wife. When Woori is not persuaded, Ma-ri wonders if she should tell Duk-bae and have him bankroll her surrogacy plan, but Raphael stops her from speaking with his father. That’s when Ma-ri reveals that the woman carrying his child is Woori.
When Raphael and Woori cross paths at work, he apologizes for Ma-ri’s behavior and advises Woori to do what’s best for her, even if that means an abortion. Woori — who still vividly remembers her first kiss and the way he encouraged her to be a writer — appears a little hesitant. After their conversation, she continues to weigh the religious, ethical, and personal implications of her choice.
While Woori considers her options, Sung-il seeks out Eun-ran to find out why she came to see him at the PR event. He’s surprised to discover that she didn’t get an abortion thirty years ago and that his daughter is none other than the assistant writer he’d been treating like a lower lifeform. He immediately tries to make up for his behavior by bringing Woori some sweets, but his attempt at paternal behavior gives off a distinct creepy-older-man-trying-to-hit-on-the-significantly-younger-assistant-writer vibe.
Woori tried to prevent her grandmother (Yun Woon-kyung) from finding out about the pregnancy, but it’s a bit hard to keep something secret when half the church congregation witnessed Woori admitting she’s pregnant. Without knowing the circumstances of Woori’s pregnancy, Grandma immediately seeks out Gang-jae and drop-kicks his butt to the ground for defiling her sweet Woori.
The truth, however, is even more unsettling for Grandma, whose own religious convictions leave her feeling conflicted. On the one hand, she believes abortion is a sin, but on the other, Woori’s pregnancy is not the result of her own actions.
Everyone accompanies Woori to her surgical appointment, but at the OB-GYN, they are confronted by Ma-ri and Duk-bae, who is meeting her for the second time. His first attempt to bribe her was rejected, but this time, he thinks he can persuade her family with the same offer of two billion won.
Much to Woori’s surprise, though, Eun-ran is not tempted by the money that would help kick start her music career. Instead, she passionately defends Woori’s freedom to make her own choice, an opinion echoed by Raphael.
He shows up, outraged by his father and wife’s complete lack of boundaries. He apologies to Woori and her family, and when Woori is taken to the surgical room for her procedure, Raphael waits alongside Eun-ran, Grandma, and Gang-jae.
Before she’s put under anesthesia, though, Woori has a last minute change of heart and choses to keep the baby. Her decision prompts her to finally have a long overdue conversation with her mother, and Woori learns that Eun-ran never resented or blamed Woori for her failed singing career. Instead, Eun-ran desperately wanted to become a successful idol so that Woori could proudly call her mom.
The heartfelt conversation with her mom is followed by a separate one with Gang-jae, and Woori apologizes for unilaterally making a decision that impacted their relationship. Gang-jae, however, wins a Boyfriend of the Year award when he responds that it isn’t his place to make the decision for her. He does offer her some advice, though: take things slow and meet with Raphael and Ma-ri before making any more decisions.
And it’s pretty solid advice because Ma-ri and her mother are even shadier than presumed. Ma-ri’s criminal side-piece (a.k.a. Chairman Kim’s lacky) doesn’t want to leave Ma-ri alone, not even after she dumped him upon Raphael’s return from being almost dead. Ma-ri has a very cryptic conversation with her mother, and the next day when Woori and Gang-jae arrive at Diamond Medical Foundation to meet with Raphael and Ma-ri, they find Ma-ri’s ex-lover on the elevator.
With a scalpel protruding from his neck.
Welp, he’s dead, but Gang-jae goes into cop mode and rushes to check the (probably dead) man’s pulse anyway. As Woori stares at the body, she faints dramatically and lands in Raphael’s arms. And now the question has changed from “Who’s the daddy?” to “Who’s the killer?”