“Marriage Without Love” Week Six Recap: Everyone Acts Weird

There are four more episodes which means that everyone acts ridiculous to take up time. I really enjoyed Episode 11 but the second half of Episode 12… oh jeez. I laughed through it because it was all so silly. No one acted realistically because the writer couldn’t think of a creative way to stretch the story out.


The episode begins with Grandma scolding the fake couple for taking their families for a ride. They both fight to take sole responsibility for the charade, cluing her in on their real feelings so instead of forcing them to set things straight, she encourages them to keep at it.

Why was Whine Hee hiding her parents? Because they are poor. This gets outed when Hoon Dong and his mom take her to the restaurant her mother waitresses at. She tries to get out of it by feigning morning sickness but her mother sees her and approaches them. Hoon Dong’s mother is disgusted – not by her family’s status but that she is ashamed of them.

Jang Mi and Gi Tae in a fugly shirt sit awkwardly in his apartment. She claims to be there for Yeo Reum who walks in on them bickering. How I wish this guy never got more serious about her and just focused on becoming a chef. Poor second lead.

He wants to make dinner because he needs to butter Gi Tae up before asking for a favor. Because Gi Tae feels the need to be competitive with Jang Mi’s boyfriend, he ends up criticizing the meal he has planned and it turns into a cooking competition between them. It’s crazy because any idiot can easily guess who will win. Gi Tae loses then he suggests they do something else and ups it to the best of three, then five after another loss. This means that in addition to cooking, they have a drinking game then karaoke and each time, Jang Mi subconsciously protects Gi Tae.

What does Yeo Reum need? $5,000 so that he can find a new place. Three is a crowd and he’s staying there in exchange for Jang Mi helping Gi Tae out so he needs to leave to free her. O-kay? Dude, aren’t you still asking him for help? So regardless of if you stay at his place or borrow money from him, he is still helping you. I don’t usually hate on Yeo Reum but he’s shameless. Go and stay in a sauna or cardboard box if you need to save money but how are you going to take his money then say it’s because you want to keep your girl away from him?

The next morning, while Gi Tae is with Hoon Dong at his restaurant, Shameless Reum serves him then asks for the dough. His benefactor tells him that he can just stay at his place because $5K is not chump change but he pressures him to honor the bet. If I were Gi Tae, I would have dared him to make me. The guy feels entitled to the money because he believes that Gi Tae is using him to keep Jang Mi around which is why he should leave his place like a man instead of this.

Gi Tae’s father’s mistress is shopping at Jang Mi’s store during an inspection when Evil Mom shows up wanting to talk to her. Jang Mi tries to get her to leave but isn’t successful and the two women meet. The lady is shocked at first but when an embarrassed Evil Mom turns away, her balls grow bigger. It’s so obvious that her boyfriend gasses her up and speaks disrespectfully about his wife to her. She tells her that she heard that her “dumb daughter-in-law” wanted her ring  which must be heartbreaking because the girl turned out to be a gold-digger. And that is must suck that in addition to her husband not loving her, her son doesn’t protect her. It’s a sad state of affairs when a mistress feels superior to a wife but I can’t even blame her especially when she cowers whenever she sees her.

Jang Mi increasingly gets mad at the scene and can longer hold in her anger despite the inspection going on a few feet away. She introduces herself then cautions the mistress to watch how she talks to the person protecting the home she wrecked.  The lady scoffs then looks down on Evil Mom for doing pesky things like household chores and rhetorically wonders why such a proud woman consistently avoids her. According to an angry Jang Mi, it’s because she’s dirty like a load of crap! What? Mistress gets mad and slaps Jang Mi, drawing blood. Then Umma is infuriated that she dared to touch her daughter-in-law and attacks her.

Fighting Mom and Jang Mi sit in silence after the fight. Then the older woman suddenly bursts into laughter – it must have felt so good to unclench after many years.  Then Jang Mi joins her. Have they finally found common ground? Not quite. Fighting Mom lets her know that she doesn’t like her and that she’d done her best to get rid of her without getting into a mess but that she’s in one anyway. However, she wants to forget the past and start again with her. This time, with sincerity.

What?!?! Umma has finally accepted her. Too bad the engagement is still fake. What are you going to do about that, Gi Tae?

He goes to Jang Mi’s house and tells them that all his family wants is their daughter so they don’t have to sell anything. AWWWWW. Too bad the engagement is still fake, Buster!

Her parents are happy and celebrate with tons of food and alcohol. Jang Mi gets home, sees this and freaks out because, hello, the engagement is still fake. But we all know Snail Tae wants to keep up the act for his own reasons.

Long story short, her parents ask him to spend the night and he does. And because they can’t let their future son-in-law see them sleeping in separate rooms, they share a bed for the first time in a long time.

Gi Tae sees a roach while sleeping on the living room floor (I guess the couch is off-limits?) and runs into Jang Mi’s room. Why am I not surprised he’s such a wuss? After teasing her about her room, she thanks him for making her feel part of a family again because her parents are usually gone when she falls asleep and asleep when she wakes up. Plus even when they are awake, they don’t speak so it feels good to feel the warmth of a family after a long time.

He ends up falling asleep on her shoulder and they wake up the next day in each other’s arms, much to her mother’s delight.

Breakfast is cute and Gi Tae is the dutiful son-in-law who washes the dishes. Since Jang Mi’s mom is currently living vicariously through her daughter, she strongly suggests that Gi Tae put together a romantic proposal.

Meanwhile, Gi Tae’s pathetic father rushes home to confirm that his wife and girlfriend partook in Wrestlemania XL at the department store. He’s worried about rumors, shocked that his wife acted so out of character and figures that it was all Jang Mi’s fault. Yeah, he always knew she was a ticking bomb and regrets not splitting them up earlier. Stupid asswipe. There is nothing hidden under the sun and if you don’t want to be judged for being a cheating bastard, don’t be one.

Gi Tae gives Shameless Reum the money and even though he tells him not to bother paying him back, Yeo Reum insists that he will and tells him that the real battle starts now.

Gi Tae – unfazed by Yeo Reum’s fighting words –  is in good spirits as he plans the proposal. Bro, at least tell her you like her first before doing all this. Jang Mi thinks about how his mom has come to accept her and slowly acknowledges that things have gotten real between them.

Meanwhile, Se Ah – who’d been MIA since the last episode – calls a meeting with Gi Tae’s mom where she tells her that the engagement is fake. Gi Tae’s mom doesn’t believe it because she can see with her own eyes that their feelings are real and that Jang Mi will use every ounce of her energy to protect him but Se Ah insists that she’s right and tells her about Yeo Reum.

Gi Tae practices how to propose to someone he isn’t even dating. “Let’s get married” doesn’t quite cut it but “Let’s make this real” seems just right. He asks her to stop by and sets his apartment up with rose petals, balloons, candles and the whole shebang! Boy will it be a bitch to clean up. His excitement is at its peak when the doorbell rings. Yes, it’s time to confess to her but in walks Se Ah.

Meanwhile, Yeo Reum finds Jang Mi and asks her to dinner. She tells him that everyone thinks her marriage is real and she can’t keep up her ugly act anymore. Does that mean she will marry him for real? She shakes her head. No, that won’t happen because Gi Tae doesn’t have feelings for her. He points out that his feelings shouldn’t matter as long as she doesn’t want him. She looks him in the eye and tells him that’s the problem. She’s tried to fight it but her feelings became real.

At that moment, Yeo Reum spots Gi Tae’s mom walking towards them then pulls her into a hug. The battle has begun for real.

Meanwhile, Gi Tae’s having a meltdown because Se Ah confesses her crime. Yes, she’s revealed the truth to his mother because it was the only way she could stop him. And why didn’t he tell her the real reason he didn’t want to get married? She wants to help soothe his pain. He’s confused because she had no objections to cancelling their wedding then she finally reveals that it was the only way she could stay close to him.  Then she asks him to marry her and I know she’s smart enough to know that everything she’s doing is futile but she’s so pathetically desperate that she will do anything.

He tells her that he never wants to see her again.

Outside, Jang Mi pushes Yeo Reum off her then sees Gi Tae’s mom staring at them. She’s shocked and hates what the woman had to see but also realizes that it will be impossible to explain. She watches her leave as it dawns on her that Yeo Reum’s move was calculated.  He tells her he did it because he likes her.

Gi Tae calls her to warn her about what Se Ah did but she immediately tells him that she’s ruined everything. He wants to meet and talk but she can’t right now because she can’t face him. In other words, the writer can’t let the characters resolve this so quickly. She goes to her parents’ restaurant to confess the truth but learns that her mother has been called to Gi Tae’s house and has taken a gift with her. She rushes after her.

Gi Tae learns from her dad where the women are going and also heads there.

Jang Mi’s mom hauls a huge blanket into Gi Tae’s family home where she receives a warm welcome from his grandma and aunt. Gi Tae’s mom takes her sweet time coming out and when she emerges, tells Jang Mi’s mom that she feels sorry for her as she’d been fooled too. Jang Mi’s mom asks for an explanation just when her daughter walks in. Gi Tae’s mom is shocked that the girl still has the guts to come to her house.

Jang Mi’s mom is confused by her attitude – what did her daughter do wrong? Jang Mi tries to drag her away but she needs to hear it. What did she do wrong ? Gi Tae’s mom tells her the truth but she refuses to believe it and asks her daughter to clear up the misunderstanding. Jang Mi gets on her knees and apologizes.

Grandma speaks up. Fine, it started off as an act but they didn’t take it this far with ill intentions. Doesn’t Gi Tae’s mom remember how she treated her? The woman is upset that she knew and asks if she really wants her to accept her as her daughter-in-law after seeing her with another guy.

Gi Tae finally shows up as mother and daughter are walking home. Mother throws the blanket on Gi Tae and tells him to stay away from her daughter.

Gi Tae rushes into the house and confronts his mother. What did she do to Jang Mi’s mom? She’s not moved by his display and he confesses that his feelings for her are now real. His mom sees that he got fooled by Jang Mi too. He’s confused so his aunt fills him in. He doesn’t think it’s a big deal because Yeo Reum is a just a fling which I suppose explains his attitude. He’s lucky that he’s a lead otherwise, he would not be getting the girl.

Anyway, he doesn’t think his mom is in any position to judge her since they’ve got Cheating McCheater living with them. His mom slaps him and tells him to get out and not get married like he wants.

When will these two get on the same page? She wants marriage when he doesn’t and vice versa.

Things are also awful at Jang Mi’s where her spitting mad father vows to split Gi Tae’s head open. He picks up his daughter’s phone when he calls and yells at Gi Tae to wait at the restaurant for him then picks up a conveniently placed baseball bat. His daughter stops him and explains that she let it go on for so long because they loved him so much and it brought peace to their home.  Her father’s heart softens when he watches his daughter break down in tears. His wife is also in tears in the bedroom as she listens to their conversation.

The next day, Hyun Hee and Hoon Dong go to the hospital for an abortion because his mother will cut him off if he marries her.  He stays outside while she gets an ultrasound and the manipulative girl asks the doctor to increase the volume so he can hear the heartbeat. His reaction is predictable – he drags her out of the examination room and refuses to let her go through with it. He starts to scold her for even considering it and she confesses that she brought him to change his mind. She’s showing him who she really is and he can either take it or leave it but she doesn’t regret trapping him because she wants him.

Hoon Dong takes it and gets kicked out.

Jang Mi has breakfast with her parents. Her mother makes a big spread and apologizes for the atmosphere she and her husband fostered around their only child. Instead of promising to live better, she produces divorce papers. This is when the episode starts to go south. It’s fine if she decided that two separate but happy parents were better than unhappy married parents but the presentation was awful.

Yeo Reum resigns because he needs money and even refuses to take the raise Hoon Dong offers. In real life, people get jobs because they need money. In Opposite Land a.k.a. the second half of Episode 12, people quit because they need money. What’s he going to do to make quick cash? Join the Chippendales? After torturing the viewers with Yeo Reum scenes, he’s suddenly scarce. I wonder if 2AM has a concert in Japan.

Hoon Dong gets fired as does Jang Mi for the fight.

She’s still trying to process that when Hyun Hee (with Hoon Dong) tells her that she’s quitting to get married and invites her to her farewell party.

Hyun Hee is too excited to notice her friend’s demeanor but Hoon Dong does and finds her at her favorite spot. He thinks she’s upset that he’s getting married but she explains that it’s because the cat is out of the bag. He doesn’t get why that’s so bad since she has Yeo Reum and says that Snail Tae should be the miserable one because he’s got feelings for her. That makes her cry out loud because now it will harder to get over him. Hoon Dong is confused. Why does she need to get over him? Aren’t mutual feelings a good thing?  No, not after what his mother saw because she can’t let their relationship worsen. Mm-kay.

She tells him to keep his mouth shut about her feelings because the writer needs to drag this on for longer.

The only good part of this scene is their competition for whose life is more pitiful. He confesses that he’s been kicked out and no longer has the restuarant; she confesses that she’s been fired. He tells her his mother won’t attend their wedding; she tells him her mother is getting a divorce. I think Jang Mi wins this round.

Their crazy crying is hilarious and I want to see the BTS of this scene.

Gi Tae keeps calling Jang Mi but she never takes his calls. She looks at her store one last time (why wasn’t she escorted out?) and says that the pretty things were never has so she has to go and find out what is.

Gi Tae goes home that night and finds Jang Mi sitting in front of his building. He’s delighted but instead of grabbing her and kissing her, he has to be himself and cover up his feelings by scolding her for not answering her phone and just showing up. He invites her in but that’s not why she’s there.

She apologizes for not respecting his boundaries like he asked and tells him that if she had the chance to do it all over again, she would do it differently because she regrets it. Well, he doesn’t, even if it hurts his parents because he’s not thinking about them now. He starts to confess that he likes but she quickly cuts him off and admonishes him for being selfish and not thinking of how his mother must feel after seeing her with Yeo Reum given her history with his father.

He wants them to go in and talk but she’s won’t be doing that. Not now, not ever. He wanted to live alone and he will get his wish. She will not be seeing him again.

She goes home to find her parents tearing the place apart. The mom wants her husband to move out of the house while he refuses because he paid for it. She leaves for her sister’s house with a promise to suck him dry in court. I sincerely hope this is their plan to make her bring Gi Tae back otherwise, this is just too ridiculous.

A week later, Gi Tae’s grandma and aunt can’t help feeling that life is now too boring. Gi Tae’s been a zombie only sleeping and working but his mom remains defiant that things have simply gone back to how they were. Cheating McCheater is lost in his thoughts and when his sister expresses surprise that he too had grown attached to Jang Mi, he makes it clear that he’s thinking about himself as always, wondering if rumors of the fight have spread.

Gi Tae’s mom takes the opportunity to tell him to stop going to his mistress’s house so as not to validate the scary rumors.

Meanwhile, their son is going crazy spending his days and nights thinking about Jang Mi. She’s invaded his personal space so much that ever single inch of his home holds a memory of her. He has to sleep at the sauna to escape it which is where he meets Hoon Dong who won’t be moving to his new house till after the wedding.

Anyway, so Gi Tae is nervous because Jang Mi will be at the wedding and Jang Mi goes through her closet trying to find a dress to wear even though she already explicitly told Gi Tae that she no longer wants to see him. Shouldn’t she not shower for like 5 days and look a hot mess to help him get over her quicker?

The wedding day arrives. She’s a ball of nerves when she gets there, wondering how to face him. This is when Opposite Land gets more artificial. They spot each other at the wedding and stare like they are star crossed lovers or something. Dears, you are not Romeo and Juliet. Your parents are not warring, neither is anyone going to die.

Jang Mi turns around and gets nervous when he starts walking towards her. “He’s coming closer! He’s coming closer!” Girl, please. What’s with the dramatics? You guys never took a shot at having a relationship so just stop. And Gi Tae, why are you looking so heartbroken? Have you even confessed to her? You’re very good at yelling everything but “I like you.”

Gi Tae’s trek to her is cut short by the bride and groom’s walk up the aisle.

Anyway, it’s a nice wedding made even nicer by Hoon Dong’s mother’s surprise appearance.

Earlier in the day, Se Ah approached Gi Tae and got the cold shoulder and now approaches Jang Mi. She tells her not to be too mad at her because she’s the interloper given her 20-year history with Gi Tae. She says some stuff about how they have been considerate of each other and that she now realizes that she can’t make someone love her. It took you long enough, Sister. She says that’s it’s believed that one’s true feelings are eventually understood but how come her heart isn’t? Jang Mi wonders why that lie continues to be spread and says that everyone just wants to be loved.

Gi Tae sees the two ladies together then runs after Jang Mi after they part. She’s scared when she hears him call out her name – it’s something she’s desperately wanted for a long time.  For him, he’s wondered what he’d say at that moment, a million times. For me, I’m wondering when this turned into Winter Sonata.

Should she say she missed him? How should he react? Laugh it off? Should she suggest friendship? He wonders if that would be okay. No, it won’t! Shush with these melo voice overs.

Her heart screams that she misses him but her lips tell him to be nicer to Se Ah. Great. He refuses because he doesn’t love her and she replies that his ex is in pain and hypocritically instructs him not to ignore someone’s love for him. He’s incensed – is that what she really wants? For him to go to Se Ah? She keeps a straight face and says yes.

This entire thing is just dumb. For starters, if they were going to go ’90’s melo with this, they should have spent more time building and developing their love and shown us how deep these feelings ran. In addition, we should have seen more of how depressed they were during their separation and how much they longed for each other so when they finally meet, it would be an epic moment.

Secondly, all she used to care about was his happiness but since she realized that she loved him, she’s going this noble idiot route that makes very little sense. Noble idiocy is used because sacrifice shows the depth of the character’s feelings but it’s not being used effectively here.

Snail Tae gets upset but instead of grabbing her and telling her that he loves her and that they can come up with a way to get his mother on board with their relationship, he grabs Se Ah’s hand and walks away with her, leaving Jang Mi in tears. Yawn.

And since we are stuck in Opposite Land, a tearful Se Ah is no longer a conniving, manipulative bitch and tells him that she can sense his real feelings so he should go and follow his heart.

It’s time for a dramatic cliffhanger so Gi Tae turns around and runs towards Jang Mi.

Jang Mi looks at her phone. It’s time to say goodbye to Gi Tae (for the 100th time).  She throws it into the river just as he starts calling her.

Our male lead runs as he prays for her to pick up. How far could he really have dragged Se Ah but the drama wants us to believe it’s like 15 miles.

Our female lead watches her phone disappear into the water – it’s really the end. Then it hits her that she doesn’t want him to go! She has to find him so she starts running.


Huh? It’s not like she saw him leave on a train to enlist in the army – why so dramatic? Or this is supposed to be a When Harry Met Sally kind of moment i.e. realizing your love and needing to embark on it immediately? If so, it wasn’t well written. Either way, I hate this sort of fake, inorganic, manufactured angst. It’s funny because I can’t even get mad at the characters because the writing is so transparent.

It’s not like I desperately need to see the couple together because I think that they could have done a better job to get us to believe in their love but I wish the writing hadn’t taken a nosedive. The good thing is it’s almost over which means they have no choice but to wrap it up soon. I’m one of those people who finds it boring when a couple gets together early but I think they could have found a thousand more interesting ways to keep them apart.

Hyun Hee and Hoon Dong are another unbelievable couple but while I can’t see any real love there, I think they will work out because he’s such an idiot.

Both sets of parents are awful role models but I hope that instead of just giving Gi Tae’s mom the upper hand in their marriage they get a divorce. I’m not holding my breath, though.

Anyway, I guess, we’ll just have to wait and see how the writer eventually gets the couple together and if Yeo Reum returns a millionaire.

Till then.


  • ANYA says:

    Thanks for the recaps, Clockwatcher! You’re churning them out like a machine – amazing!

  • t-na says:

    2AM has JYP Nation Concert and Japan Comeback. That’s why there’s only few Yeo Reum’s scene

  • Ivoire says:

    Hello clockwatcher,
    There is a new episode today, and I won’t write anything about it, so as not to spoil readers who might read these weeks’ recaps and might not have seen ep.13 yet. I just wanted to say that I thought the same thing, when I saw the ending of ep. 12. I felt that there had been a few parts (in the drama) where the writer was trying to stretch the story out, and it was quite obvious (and not quite organic to me). The 2nd 1/2 of ep. 12 was definitely one of them. I agree with your statement here, “No one acted realistically because the writer couldn’t think of a creative way to stretch the story out.”
    Thank you for your recaps, as always.

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