Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! This show is promising to be such breezy fun; I hope you guys are enjoying the ride so far! Also, isn’t Shin Min Ah the most adorable gumiho, ever? 😍
Here are our usual ground rules, before we begin:
1. Please don’t post spoilers in the Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point. I repeat: no spoilers for future episodes please! We have quite a few first-time viewers among us, and we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.
2. Discussions on this thread don’t have to close when newer threads open, just so you know! But as we progress through our group watch, please keep the discussions clear of spoilers from future episodes, so that future readers coming to this thread won’t be accidentally spoiled. Does that make sense?
Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
Tee hee. Show is as fun and frothy as I’d remembered, and I’m already having a good time, one episode in. I’m so pleased that there are 15 more episodes of this to go. Like I mentioned in my group watch announcement, I’ve watched this show before, but it’s been 11 years now since I’ve seen it, so this will feel quite a lot like a first watch, for me.
Shin Min Ah is as delightful as I’d remembered; she literally steals the whole show. How does she manage to look so winsome and ethereal at the same time? And, how does she then change on a dime, and manage to look so startlingly menacing, when she wants to?? That’s some skillz, and I’m suitably smitten. 😍
Lee Seung Gi’s haplessness is a perfect foil for Shin Min Ah’s sparkling effervescence. He comes across as completely harmless, even though there are times when I feel like he’s a bit of a lunkhead. Because of this, every time he suffers a bit because of doubting Mi Ho, or because he’s treated her less than nicely, I feel like he completely deserves it, ha.
One of the things I notice, is how big of a role the music plays in creating this drama world, right away. Long before the first episode is up, Mi Ho’s theme song, Fox Rain, is already swimming in my head and completely drawing me into the magic of this drama world. If you’d like to listen to it while reading these episode notes, feel free to right-click on this video of it, and select “Loop.”
I love how we’re thrown into the thick of Dae Woong’s perplexing relationship with his gumiho girlfriend, who’s so beautiful that it makes him the envy of all other guys everywhere, but who also strikes terror into him every time she calls his name, heh.
Mi Ho’s joy and excitement at the prospect of fresh beef is completely charming, though, so at this point, it’s hard to understand Dae Woong’s reluctance and general state of fear, until we realize that Mi Ho’s love of beef not only threatens his wallet, but literally his life – because if she doesn’t get beef, she’ll just have to eat him instead. Ha. Nothing quite like a threat to one’s life, to get a guy to open his wallet to buy all the beef in the world for the hungry gumiho?
I also think Show does a pretty efficient job of introducing us to Dae Woong as a character; immediately, he comes across as someone who likes to look cool, but isn’t quite so cool in real life, once the cameras stop rolling. We also see that he appears to have a crush on his noona from school, judging from the way he dumps the action school gang, to rush straight to school, because Noona says she’s there. This.. is going to be a problem later, isn’t it, once he gains a gumiho girlfriend against his will? 😆
Dae Woong’s elaborate escape from Grandpa also effectively sets the tone for the show; we are definitely going ham here. No need to get too hung up on logical details and such, this is meant to be comic-booky and OTT. I do like that little detail, that Dae Woong’s shrewd enough to fake his escape from the public restroom, which allows him to actually get away from Grandpa and Aunt – and on his way to his (unbeknownst to him) fated meeting with Mi Ho.
Ahh, is there a happier or more winsome fairy anywhere in Dramaland? Coz Shin Min Ah flying around as a magical gumiho is a strong contender indeed. 😍
I do like the backstory that we get on Mi Ho coming to earth, and trying to live among humans, only to stir up the ire of the womenfolk. Now it seems that Mi Ho never actually was into eating men’s livers, and that was just a nasty rumor that the jealous womenfolk made up, to mess with her reputation. Well that’s a fun twist on the popular folklore, that gumihos eat men’s livers.
Ooh. Does that mean that Mi Ho really is just toying with Dae Woong’s fear of being eaten by a gumiho? So.. she just really likes beef then, and isn’t actually eating it as a substitute for Dae Woong? That’s hilarious.
Right away, even when Mi Ho’s talking Dae Woong through the process of saving her, I get the feeling that she’s friendly, innocent and quite appreciative. After all, she’s pretty quick to remark that he’s cute, when she catches sight of his face. It’s just that the urgency of the moment, combined with Dae Woong’s reluctance to draw the tails like she asks, causes her to bring out her more menacing side.
After all the drama of Dae Woong letting Mi Ho out of the painting due to her somewhat dark coercion, it’s a nice contrast, to see Mi Ho deciding to save Dae Woong, by lending him her fox bead.
According to folklore, the fox bead is what provides power to a gumiho, and a gumiho can also absorb a human’s energy using the fox bead. The manner in which the fox bead is transferred resembles a deep kiss, where the gumiho sends the fox bead into people’s mouths, and retrieves it with their tongues. More information can be found here.
I do love the childlike essence that we can see in Mi Ho. She may be hundreds of years old, but there’s such a young sort of innocence about her, like in the way she seems quite delighted, when she pokes Dae Woong’s cheek, and then revives him, only to ask if he feels like he’s going to die from the pain. Even though she tells herself that Dae Woong will be useful if she saves him, there’s something quite pure about the way she tells him, “You drew my tails so I won’t let you die.”
Afterwards, the whole sequence with the wild boar is just very comic-booky and ridiculous. It’s funny how terrified Dae Woong is, while in the midst of it all, Mi Ho can’t seem to help herself, in appreciating his cuteness. And in feeling him up, when she shows him where she put the fox bead. Heh.
Through it all, I like how Mi Ho’s consistently guileless and honest with Dae Woong; he’s the one who comes up with the rationalization that she must be crazy, in order to process her wild claims in a way that he can handle. Ah, on a side note, the reason Dae Woong tells Mi Ho to put a flower in her hair if she’s crazy, is because that’s a cultural norm in Korea. A flower in someone’s hair is shorthand for crazy.
And, even though Dae Woong is intent on losing Mi Ho, I think it’s kind of him to give her the shirt off his back. ..Although, on hindsight, I wonder if the gesture is to also make himself feel better, for just leaving her on her own, instead of accompanying her back to the temple.
I do love how useful Mi Ho’s sharp senses of smell and hearing are, when it comes to her sticking close to Dae Woong, AND getting him to buy her barbecue, heh. And, how does Shin Min Ah manage to look so adorable while stuffing her face with grilled meat? 🤩
It amuses me that while Mi Ho’s mention of working hard to become human is literal, Dae Woong’s been nagged at enough length by Grandpa to become a proper human too, that he takes this to mean that they have something in common. Clearly, he hasn’t quite gotten the plot yet. 😆
It looks like our handsome stranger could be working as some sort of vet, judging from the vehicle in which he travels to return to Seoul. He smells like trouble, though, because he’s clearly on the hunt for Mi Ho, even though he doesn’t seem to know what she looks like.
Also, that little beat where Aunt encounters Song Dong Il in the elevator is weirdly cute? As in, I am not a fan of toilet humor, so I did not enjoy Aunt’s discomfort. But Song Dong Il showing up, and stepping in to deflect everyone’s suspicion away from Aunt to himself, is quite heroic. I guess not all heroes wear capes; sometimes they dress up to look like Chow Yun Fat? 😆 Coz Song Dong Il’s look in this scene is a straight-up tribute to Chow Yun Fat’s look in 1986 film A Better Tomorrow. We even get treated to the Cantonese theme song, as Song Dong Il makes his exit. Pwahaha. This is great. I’m looking forward to more of Song Dong Il’s character showing up. 🤩
Mi Ho’s dark promise to Dae Woong, to make him believe her – after which he’ll die – is the backbone of the last bit of the episode, and I love how we build up to it; Dae Woong getting increasingly nervous as he makes his way back to the action school, then realizing that he’s really bruised despite not feeling the pain, then getting creeped out when he’s left alone in the dark at the action school, and then finally coming face to face with Mi Ho, as the full moon causes her tails to come into view.
Dae Woong’s terrified, even as Mi Ho steps forward to reclaim her fox bead, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
I do really like how this show balances the magical and ethereal, with its broader, more comical side.
When Mi Ho is surveying an unconscious Dae Woong, the way she floats above him, with the moonlight streaming into the basketball court, is so delicately otherworldly. In this moment, she really feels like a fairy. And then, right after she decides to save him again (really decent of her, I must say), all his mental gymnastics contrasted with his clumsy, unsuccessful real-life attempts to execute said gymnastics, is amusing in a bumbling sort of way.
Grandpa calling, and Dae Woong dropping his phone such that Mi Ho ends up answering Grandpa’s questions with honest yet hilariously misleading answers, is also the kind of humor that Show plays with a lot this episode. It’s funny because of how scandalized everyone is, even though the answers are given with wide-eyed, solemn truthfulness.
I can’t say I blame ’em, though. What else was Grandpa supposed to think, when Mi Ho tells him that Dae Woong’s above her, and all Grandpa hears, are Dae Woong’s labored grunts in the background, as he tries to get out of his unfortunate position. Ha. Poor ol’ traumatized Grandpa. 😆
I like that already, it’s clear Mi Ho knows how to manage Dae Woong quite well. The way Mi Ho innocently pretends to be disappointed that Dae Woong’s willing to be eaten, because she’d been prepared to spare him if he’d asked, is exactly the sort of persuasion to which Dae Woong responds – which we see, in the way he immediately changes tack and gets on his knees to beg her for his life. Ha.
I love the way Mi Ho blithely declares, between big bites of chicken, “You’re mine.” Hee. She just looks so pleased about this. And I take a fair bit of satisfaction from how Dae Woong’s creeped out by how vigorously Mi Ho tears the chicken bones apart; I guess it’s a foretaste of how she could probably tear him limb from limb, if he were to cross her?
Mi Ho’s really nice to Dae Woong, even though she’s disappointed that he finds her scary. In fact, I feel like there are hints that she’s genuinely hurt, that he finds her scary. Yet, she still treats Dae Woong with care and affection. The way she kills the mosquitos and tells a sleeping Dae Woong that she killed them so that he can have a comfortable sleep, is so sweetly matter-of-fact. I can’t help but love her. ❤️
We get more scenes between Aunt and Song Dong Il this episode, and I am loving this little secondary arc. He keeps finding her in embarrassing situations and stepping up to save her; this time, he basically knocks a piece of ice out of her, that had lodged itself in her throat and was threatening to choke her. Aw, poor mortified Aunt.
It’s quite hilarious how they later each misunderstand that the other is unavailable. She feels humiliated for entertaining hopes of getting to know him better, when she spies him being all chummy with a young girl (Dae Woong’s friend Sun Nyeo) who is actually his daughter, and he’s crestfallen to hear her reflex-answer a salesperson that she is indeed shopping for her husband. Oh, these two. They are going to be so entertaining together, I’m sure.
Poor Dae Woong – literally, ha – when Grandpa cuts off his credit cards, and he’s desperate for meat money so as to appease Mi Ho.
It’s disillusioning and disappointing for Dae Woong to realize that all the “friends” he’d thought he had in school, aren’t friends after all when he’s in need. In contrast, it’s Mi Ho who’s fiercely loyal to Dae Woong, sniffing out his friends’ lies (literally, ha), and I love how she legit gets mad when she overhears one of the “friends” talking about Dae Woong disparagingly, so she later teaches him a lesson, when he dares to try hitting on her. I mean, Mi Ho is utterly charming, but I can’t deny that I love her badass side too. 🤩
Also, how pure is the joy on her face, when she hears Dae Woong telling his friend Byeong Soo that her name is Mi Ho, because “only people have names.” Aww.. our Mi Ho really does want to be a human, doesn’t she?
Ok, so I’m a little thrown by the fact that the gumiho hunter finally finds Mi Ho after luring Dae Woong to the school office, and then the moment he sets eyes on Mi Ho, has flashbacks to someone else who’d looked just like her. What’s this about?
Also, from the way the flashback is played, it appears that Gumiho Hunter had loved Mi Ho’s doppelgänger. It looks like he’d eliminated her doppelgänger too, and it appears that that’s left an emotional wound that still feels fresh today. I wonder how the doppelgänger is connected to Mi Ho? Do gumihos have families in this drama world? Because, if so, maybe this was Mi Ho’s mother..? But.. would that maybe make Gumiho Hunter Mi Ho’s.. father..? 🤯🤭
Mi Ho’s obsession with that soda is almost as cute as her obsession with beef, but her delighted reaction to the bubbly foam in beer is even more adorable. I mean, Dae Woong’s obviously gunning to get Mi Ho tipsy enough so that he’ll be able to extract some useful information from her that might make it possible for him to get rid of her, so that’s not cool, but even then, this scene feels so carefree.
I think a lot of that has to do with how much childlike wonder there is about Mi Ho, as she explores the effervescent joys of beer. Also, just how cute is she, when she’s delighted by the “Hoy hoy” sign of friendship that Dae Woong introduces to her?
I am nervous about Mi Ho’s reveal, that she’s afraid of bodies of water. Dae Woong’s being quite the dumbass right now, so I wouldn’t put it past him to try to use that against her. And Mi Ho’s so innocent and full of hopeful wonder, that I hate the thought of him destroying that, by using her weakness against her.
Pfft. Dae Woong’s attempt to steal Grandpa’s precious carp in order to have money to feed Mi Ho more meat, is so lame and undignified. He is such a handful of a grandson, even though he’s no longer a toddler. Poor gramps. Not only does he get the shock of his life when Dae Woong runs into a Truck Of Doom, he loses his poor fish in the accident too.
And then, when Grandpa relents and asks Dae Woong to bring his girlfriend home because Dae Woong says that he’ll die without her (lol, that’s true though), Dae Woong informs him that he has no plans to have a future with her, and just wants to live with her for a while and then send her off. I would so aggravated in Grandpa’s place, honestly! 😅 I actually can’t blame Grandpa for slapping Dae Woong; everything sounds so wrong, coming out of his mouth. 😆
Given Dae Woong’s crush on Hye Jin, I can understand that he’s in a hurry to clarify that Mi Ho’s not his girlfriend. But he sure has a talent for putting his foot in his mouth; his urgent declaration that Mi Ho is absolutely not his girlfriend sure comes across as clumsy and almost offensive, because of how horrified he looks at the thought. I can’t wait for the tables to be turned, so that Dae Woong will be the one smitten with Mi Ho, and have to eat those words completely. 😈