Woori the Virgin: Episodes 13-14 (Final)
It’s time for our leading lady to choose her future husband, but before the big reveal, a few loose ends need to be tidied up or — more accurately — quickly swept under the rug so they’re out of the way and we can all forget about them.
EPISODES 13-14 WEECAP
Oh, Woori the Virgin, you had so much potential. You could have been the goofy, self-referential comedy of the summer, but then you had to go and turn into a rejected Twilight fanfiction idea, pitting Team Raphael against Team Gang-jae. I admit, I was staunchly Team Raphael from the very beginning, but after last week, I was Team Nobody. If I wanted to spend an hour watching a couple of grown men argue over who’s better than whom, I would have turned on a pro-wrestling match.
Sadly, the first half of our finale week is primarily dedicated to the boys’ pissing contest, and poor Woori is caught in the middle — literally and often with excessive wrist grabbing. Because the plot is so heavily focused on our love triangle, we pretty much speed through all of the drama’s other side stories.
The whole Chairman Kim situation, for example, wraps up rather anticlimactically because Ma-ri gives up her con-artist ways for good and snitches on Hyun-seok. Gang-jae and Na-hee arrest her, and before their boss can help Hyun-seok escape jail, they catch him in the act of being a shady cop and arrest him, too.
The more surprising part of this little side-story is the reveal that Hyun-seok is Raphael’s half-sister on his mother’s side. That’s right, Hyun-seok is not Duk-bae’s illegitimate child like I’d previously suspected, but this little twist brings up all sorts of unanswered questions about Raphael’s mother. Like, was she on board with the whole abandoning-her-daughter-at-an-orphanage-when-she-got-remarried thing, or did Duk-bae kidnap Hyun-seok and then lie to his wife for the duration of their whole marriage? Too bad we will never find out because Duk-bae decides to become a monk and repent for being a terrible father.
Sung-il, however, proves himself to be a pretty decent father, and when Grandma and Eun-ran — who are on opposing sides of the Raphael and Gang-jae debate — ask him to cast his deciding vote on who Woori should marry, he makes an effort to get to know Gang-jae since he already knows Raphael through work. During their father and not-quite-son-in-law chat, Sung-il confides that he’s a bit bummed that Woori still addresses him formally as a colleague, not as her father, and Gang-jae assures him that Woori, who is slow to open up to people, will get there eventually. And she does.
After Sung-il and the director of Mask of Desire get in a fight over Sung-il’s shooting schedule, the director orders Woori to kill off Sung-il’s character. On the day they film his death scene, Sung-il thanks Woori for doing his character justice and writing him a great ending, and Woori responds by calling him “Appa.”
Seeing Woori recognize Sung-il as her father reminds Gang-jae of his own parents, so he visits their urns. When Woori joins him at the columbarium, he explains that it’s the anniversary of the day he first addressed his step-father as Dad. Gang-jae has done some soul-searching, and his own family story reminds him that a father doesn’t have to be blood-related. If Woori is willing to take him back, he will raise her child as though it’s his own.
Before Woori makes her decision, though, Sung-il gets Woori’s permission to propose to Eun-ran, who immediately turns to Woori and — even though it’s clear she’s going to say yes to Sung-il — she refuses to get engaged until after Woori does. (It’s really a good thing Eun-ran isn’t my mom because I’d straight-up refuse to ever get married out of spite in that situation.) Eun-ran won’t have to wait long, though, because Woori claims that she’s already made a decision, but she’s going to wait to tell him privately tomorrow (because we need a cliffhanger ending for Episode 13).
But the next day (a.k.a. Episode 14) Woori isn’t feeling well, and she needs an appendectomy. Amid her concerns that pain killers could affect the fetus and her need to fart post-surgery, she delays the big reveal, but Raphael and Gang-jae continue to be double pains in her ass. Admittedly, they are more toned down and overly concerned for her wellbeing, but they read through her baby journal while she sleeps, which I found to be a huge invasion of her privacy.
We then skip ahead ten months to baby Ri-woo’s 100th day celebration. The drama tries to pull an Answer Me series guessing game on us while Woori runs around setting everything up and critiquing everyone’s wardrobe. When Woori said she wanted everyone to wear “white and denim” for the family photo, she meant a semi-dressy white shirt and denim jeans. Not denim shorts (Eun-ran). Not a white suit jacket (Raphael). Not a denim coat and white pants (Sung-il).
Gang-jae is the last to arrive, camera in hand to fill in for the photographer that canceled on them. But just when you think that means he’s out of the running as Woori’s leading man, he unzips his jacket and exposes that he’s also wearing a white shirt with his jeans…
That’s right, Woori chose Gang-jae.
A cute little flashback shows Woori meeting with Gang-jae shortly after her appendectomy. She explains that the unplanned pregnancy and all the subsequent events made her realize what he means to her. He is her “spring,” and she wants him by her side for the rest of her life. She then got down on her knee and proposed to him.
If you’d told me during Episode 1 that this is how the drama would end, I’d have called you crazy, but the more the Raphael and Gang-jae bickered over the last couple of episodes, the more apparent it became (to me, at least) that she would choose Gang-jae. Gang-jae and Raphael’s enemies-to-
lovers bothers dynamic was clearly going to be an ongoing thing for this family. And since Raphael — as the biological baby daddy — wasn’t going anywhere, the only logical way to keep Gang-jae as a part of Woori’s weird thruple would be for her to marry him.
Even though I’m on Team Raphael, I have to admit that Gang-jae does feel like a better romantic fit for Woori. Plus, in hindsight, the drama never really gave Raphael the time he needed to build a realistic relationship with Woori because everything (pre time-skip) occurred in Woori’s first trimester.
And so, after Woori spends one final night in her family home with Grandma and the now pregnant Eun-ran — surprise! Woori’s baby is going to be older than her future aunt or uncle! — we gear up for Woori’s wedding to Gang-jae. Of course, with this drama, nothing goes as planned, and as Raphael so eloquently put it while he stalled for time before the ceremony, it’s so like Woori — who got pregnant early — to be late to her wedding… because her fiancé got arrested.
See, what had happened was, Gang-jae got trapped in a parking garage when the boom barrier wouldn’t lift, so he decided to drive through it. Woori, his faithful bride-to-be, decides to go to the police station to bail him out, but the streets to get there are blocked off for a marathon. Woori joins the other runners until she reaches a bus stop, where she commandeers a bus. Both the passengers and driver are initially unwilling to help her out, completely unsympathetic that she’s going to be late to her wedding, but when she starts regaling them with her love story, she grabs their attention with the words “accidental artificial insemination.”
Woori retrieves Gang-jae and has the bus circle back to pick up the rest of her family and escort them to the wedding. The ceremony is quite lovely, and — if you ignore the slight child-bride awkwardness of Woori’s child actresses chronologically replacing each other until adult Woori is standing next to Gang-jae — it was rather sweet to see Woori growing up — literally and figuratively — in front of her mother and Grandmother’s eyes as she walked down the aisle towards her groom.
The wedding is followed by the honeymoon (*eyebrow wiggles*) and the awkwardness of the scene mimics the couple’s first attempt to have sex. Raphael even calls and kills the already un-sexy mood, but this time he interrupts for a serious reason. Baby Ri-woo has a really high fever, and Raphael has taken her to the hospital.
Raphael feels guilty for interrupting Woori and Gang-jae’s honeymoon, but both Gang-jae and Woori assure him he did the right thing. It’s really wholesome seeing how accepting Woori and her family — Gang-jae included — are of Raphael. In the end, he didn’t get the girl, but a loving family is really all he ever wanted.
Once baby Ri-woo is in the clear, Woori and Gang-jae are able to have a private moment together. She apologizes for “ruining” their honeymoon and delaying sexy times, and Gang-jae’s response is to pick her up and carry her to the bedroom, where he shows her a whole new world. Like, the sex is apparently so mind-blowing that it sends them on an animated magic carpet ride that is very reminiscent to a scene from Disney’s Aladdin. (Careful, SBS. I hear the mouse is very litigious!)
After consummating their marriage, the newlyweds lay in bed, and Gang-jae asks Woori about the new drama she’s writing. She discloses that the title is Woori the Virgin, prompting Gang-jae to ask if the drama’s ending will be as happy as theirs. Woori turns to the camera and breaks the fourth wall to say, “I guess we’ll see,” leaving the audience to assume that we just watched the very drama she wrote.
And if that’s the case, I think Ye-ri was a bit premature in handing the reins over to Woori because, overall, Woori the Virgin was disappointing — and I’m not saying that because the guy I was rooting for didn’t get the girl. In all honesty, I kind of applaud the story for having her pick the steady and patient Gang-jae, which — if we’re to believe the meta scene where Woori meets with the actress starring in her drama — was an intentional choice to add an element of realism to the drama.
What I didn’t enjoy, however, was watching Woori be so passive while two men waged war over who should be the leading man in her life. On the surface, I simply hated this dynamic because it was frustrating and time consuming, but after some more thought, I believe the over-the-top and obnoxious love triangle was a symptom of a larger issue: the charm and the intended message of the original Jane the Virgin — a remake of an American show that parodied telenovelas — was lost in translation.
I suspect the writers adapted Jane the Virgin without understanding its source material or culture, which leads me to believe that Woori the Virgin would have made a better remake if it had taken the basic concept of Jane the Virgin (a virgin is artificially inseminated) and supplemented the plot with side stories and dramatic parodies of makjang K-dramas, like Penthouse and Mask.
Given the similarities between telenovelas and K-dramas, the end result would have served the same purpose as Jane the Virgin, but I wonder if the writers would have been more confident taking inspiration from a source that was more familiar and culturally representative of them and their audience. While it’s obviously too late to speculate on what could have been with Woori the Virgin, it does make me hopeful that we will one day see a gloriously ridiculous parody of makjangs. Imagine, if you will, the self-awareness of Business Proposal but with a side of murder and back-stabbing. I don’t know about you, but I’d watch the crap out of that.