Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Can you believe we’re already at the end of our journey, and it’s time to say goodbye to our favorite gumiho and her favorite human? 🥲 They really adorable together, aren’t they?
Before we begin, just a quick announcement:
We’ll be starting on our group watch of Kill Me, Heal Me next week, on 24 July 2021, woot! I will publish an announcement post soon, so that we can refresh our memories on the various logistical details, like where to watch, etc. Do look out for that! (Update: Announcement post is here!)
Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
To be brutally honest, this episode felt like filler to me, with half of it dedicated to requisite angst for our OTP before we arrive at the happy ending that our finale promises, and the other half used for random bits of fun, probably to appease us for having to endure the requisite angst, heh.
For the record, there were a couple of times that I laughed out loud, despite feeling rather ho-hum about the angst that our penultimate episode demands.
My favorite bit of funny, was Byeong Soo trying to imagine the unimaginable scenario that involves Dae Woong and Mi Ho.
The makjang lashings were pretty funny, with Byeong Soo’s imagination going from Dae Woong crashing the wedding to wrist-grab Mi Ho outta there, to Dae Woong crashing the wedding to wrist-grab Gumiho Hunter outta there, to Dae Woong crashing the wedding to announce that the three of them are, in fact, siblings. Pwahaha. I got a kick out of this detour into makjang-land, I hafta say.
Through the various scenarios, Gumiho Hunter’s expressions are extra fantastic, and I cackled at them all. 😆
The other thing that I found amusing, is the reveal that Aunt is preggers with Director Ban. Apparently they’d gotten frisky after eating those boiled eggs at the jimjilbang, and now, the baby’s nickname is “gyeran” (계란) which literally means “egg.” I guess that’s very apt?
I’m surprised that Director Ban isn’t more involved in the wedding planning, since he’s so madly in love with Aunt, but I get that this is all in service of our main narrative. I did get a bit of a kick out of the way he appeases Aunt by telling her that ever since he’s met her, he’s drinking less coffee every day, because she’s filled up the empty void in his heart, with the coffee of love. Pfft. Trust Director Ban and Aunt to make something as everyday as coffee an ardent symbol of their love.
The exaggerated shy meaningful looks that they share thereafter, when Aunt offers Director Ban coffee *nudgenudgewinkwink* when he visits Grandpa with gifts for the wedding, is totally their brand of cheesy. They’re probably going to exasperate their kid by being like this, always, right? 😂
On the angsty side of things, I don’t much care for the multiple almost-meets and just-misses that we get between Dae Woong and Mi Ho, nor for the fake wedding between Mi Ho and Gumiho Hunter, but I suppose this is kind of par for the course, for a drama of this vintage.
Despite not much caring for what kinda feels like reverse noble idiocy (as in, this time it’s Mi Ho’s turn, after Dae Woong’s bout of noble idiocy), I do find the idea touching, that Mi Ho would want to make it such that Dae Woong would believe she’s fine, and living well elsewhere, so that he wouldn’t be hurt by the knowledge of her death.
It’s also selfless of Mi Ho, to take the bead out even though having it would make her life more comfortable, because she believes that this way, she can somehow preserve the years of life that Dae Woong’s given her.
I do appreciate that because Dae Woong knows Mi Ho so well, he’s able to pick up on the clues that indicate she’s not as ok as she claims to be.
I like the idea that Dae Woong’s become so well acquainted with Mi Ho’s gumiho nature, that he can tell right away, when something’s off. Her inability to hear his conversation with Grandpa; her inability smell Ddoong Ja; her inability to overpower him, strength-wise. Each clue makes Dae Woong more determined to check Mi Ho’s condition for himself, and I’m glad for it, because otherwise, Mi Ho would just carry on with her nobly idiotic charade.
I did enjoy the detail that Mi Ho’s grown more savvy, though. She’s able to give Dae Woong quick and plausible answers when he questions her apparently lack of gumiho ability, and that makes her feel more well-informed and grown-up, and less childlike. In a weird sort of way, this makes the dynamic between Mi Ho and Dae Woong feel more balanced. Where before, she’d believe just about anything Dae Woong might say, she’s now perfectly capable of talking back to him.
I’m actually rather surprised that Dae Woong buys the idea of Mi Ho marrying Gumiho Hunter, but I suppose it’s plausible, given that he’s seen them actually book a wedding venue, and he’s always had a sense of insecurity around Gumiho Hunter.
I like that the thing that causes their paths to cross again, after a stretch of being apart, post-wedding discovery, is the photo album of memories, that they’d promised to create together.
Even though neither of them is nursing any real hope of reconciling now, they both can’t bear to leave that album of memories behind, and I like that a lot. It demonstrates how real and how important those memories are to the both of them.
Again, I like how Dae Woong demonstrates his understanding of Mi Ho. From the fact that the lights are on, and the countdown board has been updated up to the present, he can tell that Mi Ho’s in the apartment, but hiding from him. I think it was pretty smart of Dae Woong to leave, and then wait for Mi Ho outside, so that he’d be able to talk to her.
While it does feel, to me, like Mi Ho’s decision to reveal the state of her tails to Dae Woong, is driven by nothing more than the fact that we’re at the end of the penultimate episode, it is still a poignant moment, to see Dae Woong’s horror at the confirmation of his worst fears: Mi Ho really is still dying, and she doesn’t have much time left. Oof.
Augh. You guys, this finale is a moving as I remembered. It had been long enough since I’d watched this, that I couldn’t remember the details of how Show works everything out; I could only recall that Show had managed to move me in deep and surprising ways. And whaddya know, 11 years later, Show did it all over again. I am as moved on this second viewing, as I had been, during my first watch.
The thing that gets me right in the heart, is just how readily Dae Woong agrees to give up his life, if it means that Mi Ho might live. And he’s consistent about it too; it’s not just an impulse thing. Each time it comes up, he grabs that chance by the horns, and embraces it – inhales it – with determination and gusto. It isn’t that he’s not afraid; he is afraid. But he’s even more afraid that Mi Ho will die, and so he’d rather give up his life to her, and die in her place. AUGH. Isn’t that the most moving thing, ever?
I know that many of us had been really annoyed with Dae Woong last set of episodes, when he’d embarked on his nobly idiotic plan to cut Mi Ho off in as cruel a manner possible, in hopes that she’d stop loving him and therefore stop wanting to become human and therefore live and not die. I’d say Dae Woong’s managed to redeem himself very well – and then some, yes? Can’t argue with a man who’s willing to die for the woman – er, gumiho – that he loves, right?
Speaking of redemption, even though I haven’t cared all that much for Gumiho Hunter for most of our story, the fact that Gumiho Hunter comes around, and concedes that the love between Dae Woong and Mi Ho is real, definitely counts for something. I mean, he’s the one who tells Dae Woong the truth, and reunites Dae Woong with Mi Ho, which is critical to our story. I don’t love him in our story, but.. he’s proved himself useful after all. That’s definitely a positive.
Honestly, the moment Granny Samshin appeared, our happy ending was pretty much assured. Sure, it might feel a little like a deux ex machina, but to be fair, Show had introduced Granny Samshin in the beginning of our story, so it’s not like she’s a new addition to our story. She’d just.. been waiting in the wings till it was her time to shine, I suppose.
Because Granny Samshin had already been introduced as a deity who had been involved in Mi Ho’s life, and Mi Ho’s desire to find a husband, it doesn’t feel like our writers cheated or anything, by bringing her back, to magically solve our main conundrum with a little magic.
Also, to be honest, by this point, I so badly want Mi Ho to survive, that I’d be willing to look past any convenience, in how everything is tied up, in the end.
More importantly, the way Mi Ho’s goodbye is handled with such heart and poignance, I’m too busy feeling all the feels, and choking back the tears, to nitpick too much.
I was glad to see Dae Woong and Mi Ho enjoy some happy times together, in the time they had left. While it was nice to see Director Ban and Aunt get married in their quintessentially quirky way, it was really Mi Ho getting to take a wedding-esque picture with Dae Woong, complete with traditional red blush circles on her cheeks, that made me smile the widest.
I’m really quite impressed with how both Lee Seung Gi and Shin Min Ah play out Mi Ho’s last day, with a tightness and wobble in their voices that is never far from the surface. That’s gotta be hard to do, and I thought they both did a really nice job of showing us how difficult it was, for both Dae Woong and Mi Ho to keep up a brave front, even though they were both terrified.
I had real tears in my eyes, when Mi Ho covered Dae Woong’s eyes and told him to think of her as a really, really, really, really, really, really good dream. Ack. What a heartbreaking callback to her signature love declaration. 💔
I thought the Truck Of Doom was a bit much, and quite unnecessary, but.. given Show’s vintage, I suppose I can’t fault Show too much for being tropey? And, this.. probably was a trope in the making?
Also, I take the idea, that Dae Woong is able to feel in his heart that Mi Ho hasn’t actually disappeared. Show isn’t clear about whether this is the bead talking, but I do think it’s a possibility, since Dae Woong had taken the bead in, when he’d drunk that potion, and we don’t see him passing the bead back to Mi Ho.
I’m personally not too hot on the time skip and the extended separation between Dae Woong and Mi Ho, but I’ll take Granny Samshin’s point, that because of all the rules that Mi Ho has flouted, Granny Samshin can’t forgive her and grant her wish, just like that.
It’s not such a bad deal, getting to see how everyone’s getting on, several years later. And what a fun cameo by Lee Hong Ki, as his Jeremy character from You’re Beautiful! The Hong sisters really do love their cameos, heh. I also rather like the idea of the solar eclipse being a metaphor for the allowed meeting of two things, that usually never would have the chance to meet. Although, if this had been a real solar eclipse, Byeong Soo and his entire film crew would have suffered retinal burns for looking directly at it, no? But ok, realism is not the main thing here, so.. moving on.
I kinda love that we come full circle to where we’d first started, with Mi Ho calling out for Dae Woong, while standing in the exact same spot, and looking up at him with the exact same expectant expression.
The difference is, this time, Dae Woong’s relieved and glad to see Mi Ho, and makes his way towards her, instead of away from her. That’s so meaningful; I love it.
I also love that all Dae Woong needs to know, is that Mi Ho really is there. He honestly doesn’t care whether she’s a ghost, a gumiho, or a human anymore, and just is so sincerely grateful that she’s back. What a long way our Dae Woong has come, to be able to love so patiently and unconditionally.
In the end, I actually think it’s perfect that Mi Ho still has one tail left. I dunno, it just seems more in character, that she remain a supernatural foxy being, rather being a normal human girl. And also, it feels more meaningful, in that, now, she’s finally happy without feeling the need to chase a dream to become human. She’s happy as she is, and Dae Woong is happy to love her as she is, and really, isn’t that all that matters? ❤️
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Frothy, yet unmistakably heartfelt.
FINAL GRADE: B++