Marriage Without Love Week Eight Recap: The Road To Happiness Is Often Slippery

What a fun way to end the series! While there were a few twists and turns here, the last two episodes were devoted to tying loose ends and giving our couples their well-deserved endings. Having said that, I think the “Most Immature Couple” title goes to Jang Mi’s parents.


Gi Tae’s mom is shocked to see Jang Mi followed by her son in a bathrobe. Even people who’ve never heard of the “birds and the bees” could easily guess just went down. She runs out in shock and the couple chases after her. She’s upset and doesn’t understand why they keep hurting her with their lies. She asks if they are planning to get married and Gi Tae attempts to put her mind at ease by saying that they are dating with no plans of marriage which is not what many women in serious relationships want to hear.

Gi Tae’s mom is against Jang Mi for several reasons – one being her association with Yeo Reum. Later, when Gi Tae goes by to clear things up with her and explains that they are only business partners, she asks if Jang Mi wants to live like she and her husband by loving one person while needing another.

Jang Mi wants to smooth things over with his mom as well but he forbids her. Meanwhile, she tells her mom about her new business venture and she’s upset that she’s selling alcohol. What’s so wrong with selling alcohol? Surely, all top restaurants sell liquor and her place is pretty hip and classy.

However, that hip and classy place is seeing fewer and fewer customers since the initial hype has gone down. They pinpoint it to the kimchi not being great and Jang Mi recalls that Gi Tae’s mom’s was used when Yeo Reum came up with the recipe.

Grandma fakes an illness to get Jang Mi to come to her place and test her feelings especially as her daughter-in-law expressed her disappointment that she wasn’t trying hard enough to smooth things over. As expected, she falls for it and cries her eyes out. However, Umma Downer outs them but while Jang Mi is there, she figures that she might as well ask her to sell them her kimchi.  Gi Tae’s mom is disgusted that she wants to use her to work with a guy she’s two-timing her son with and Jang Mi explains that she’s only working with Yeo Reum so that she can be worthy of Gi Tae.

Gi Tae hears that his girlfriend is at his mother’s place so he runs over and drags her away. Jang Mi wants to stay but it’s clear that her boyfriend has written his mother off and doesn’t think there’s hope for them with her. Even though he’s being a bit much, I love that he’s not the kind of useless guy who turns a blind eye when his mother tortures his wife saying stupid things like, “Don’t worry, it will soon get better.” Screw that. Grr.

Later on, Gi Tae picks his girl from work and they go to his place and have cute couple time. These two are very much in their “honeymoon phase” where they can’t get enough of each other. That fortune teller was right about their sexual infinity. Will they end up with a soccer team of kids?

Earlier on, Hoon Dong pointed out that just because Jang Mi suggested “dating, not marriage” doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want marriage so he brings it up with her.  She admits that she wants it but not yet. Given what the other marriages around her look like, she wants to be sure before they take the leap.

She tries to talk to him about his mom but he  keeps cutting her off. He claims that he only needs her but it’s clear that his mom is a sore spot that needs to be healed.

Gi Tae’s awful father needs his wife to speak with the director’s wife to help him advance in the final stage of his interview. She first takes her to get a beauty treatment at Gi Tae’s then for lunch at Jang Mi’s.

Everything goes well with Jang Mi crediting opening her restaurant to the lady’s positive review of Yeo Reum’s dish then Cheating McCheater walks in with his floozy.

He’s shocked and nervously lies that Gi Tae invited him (which he promptly denies) and that the floozy is his sister. He then makes a faux pas by claiming that he’d just heard of this new happening spot which demonstrates to the lady that he didn’t know that Jang Mi worked there.

Then Jang Mi walks over and shocks him. He then flubs his way through more badly constructed excuses that scream, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”  The director’s wife clearly sees what’s going on and asks him and his “sister” to join them.

Jang Mi is pissed and it takes everything within her to stop herself from tossing the entire jug of rice wine she’s holding at him. However, Gi Tae’s mom doesn’t show as much restraint and empties out a bottle of water on him then tells his floozy to take him away.

After she’s gone, the director’s wife looks sympathetically at Gi Tae’s mom and confirms that she was the woman she fought with at the department store. She says it’s made her rethink his qualifications for the job and Gi Tae’s mom explains that as a perfectionist, she’d driven her husband away and he found comfort with the little sister who stood up for him and they fought because she couldn’t understand her. The woman tells her that she will pretend to believe her since she’d gone to the trouble of coming up with such a lie.

Crazy Gi Tae follows his mom home and yells at her for being obsessed with keeping up appearances and insisting on perfection so that she can’t be criticized. But what has it gotten her in the end? Loneliness and pain.

Grandma sees this and later on, when Auntie shows her Gi Tae’s interview where he talks about how he feels about his house, she pays him a visit.

While he may have forgotten, the real reason he loved being in that house was because his mother was there with him. She’d taken him and left her husband upon learning of his affair.

Like many awful mothers-in-law, Grandma had shown up and told her that there was no way she’d let her have her grandson so Umma returned.

The bottom line is that his mom was with him at his happiest moment.

While Gi Tae deals with the new revelation, Jang Mi visits his mom. She asks her why she’s holding on to the marriage:  is it because of love? No. She’s lived her life for her family so without her marriage, she’d have nothing to show for it. Sad.

Jang Mi tells her that Gi Tae is also her whole life which is why she needs to work. That way, their relationship can be balanced. Umma wonders why she’s going the extra mile with her and she responds that it’s because they both love the same man. Aww.

Now that Umma’s icy heart has fully thawed, she offers to sell her the kimchi and they cutely haggle over the price.

Later that night, Gi Tae calls his mom and after she tells him that she’d just met with Jang Mi who, like her, does anything to be acknowledged by others, he confesses that he was initially attracted to her because she was nothing like his mom but unfortunately for him, he was mistaken. They may have different approaches but are meddlers who torment people they love. Then he sobs.

Jang Mi walks in sometime later while he’s in bed pretending to be asleep and confesses that she’s happy that his difficult mom has been won over especially as her own mom is still mad at her for running a place that sells alcohol.

Now that things have been settled with his mom, it’s time for Gi Tae to return the favor so he visits Jang Mi’s mother with a bouquet of flowers. He apologizes for his previous lies and confesses that he’s dating Jang Mi, asking for her blessing. She doesn’t budge so he sweetens his apology with some aegyo. She responds by beating him with the bouquet. Her bag is knocked over and out falls a medical report stating that she’s got breast cancer. Say what? Cancer is nothing new in Korean dramas but I’ve never seen it introduced at the 11th hour.

Jang Mi’s restaurant is a success now that they are using the magic kimchi. Gi Tae stops by and gives his girl the bad news about her mom. She’s devastated and notes that bad things always follow ones.

She visits her mom and asks why she never told her about her condition. Her mom throws the question back at her: why didn’t she tell her about Gi Tae? Because she was waiting still she was sure about them which is not important in light of her mom’s sickness. She urges her to tell her father but her mom refuses because she doesn’t want to give him any reason to halt the divorce.

Gi Tae sees the postcards he sent. His address is on the envelope and the next day, he and his girl set out in search of him. The ride is solemn as Jang Mi’s mind is filled with thoughts of her parents so her boyfriend does his best to cheer her up. They get to the place but he’s nowhere to be found.

They sit on a bench to get some rest after Jang Mi throws up (?).  He asks her to marry him and she warns him to stop as there are more reasonable ways to make her feel better. He insists that he’s being sincere and she asks him to pick a time when her breath doesn’t smell of barf and her family isn’t in turmoil. He tells her not to worry about her parents as they will surely reconcile. In fact, he places a bet: if they get back together, they should get married. Jang Mi wonders if his confidence stems from what he read in the postcard but when she asks to read it too, he refuses.

They drop the envelope, some guy sees it and tells them that the man they are looking for has returned to Seoul to close up his shop.

The couple goes there to Jang Mi’s father’s delight because Gi Tae showed up and he’s been looking for someone to take his frustrations out on.

He blames Gi Tae when Jang Mi tells him that while they are dating, there are no plans for marriage as she’s not yet confident and admonishes him criticizing Gi Tae when his own wife hid her cancer from him.

He gets lightheaded at the news and when Jang Mi urges him to see her, he refuses because he’s sure he’s the last person she wants to see.

She returns to spend the night with her mom while Gi Tae stays back as the man lets it sink in.

The men quickly make up as the older man understands how he feels and they bond on how different women are as they need words not actions. Jang Mi’s father thinks it’s ridiculous but Gi Tae thinks there could be a benefit because all a man needs to do is speak to set a woman’s heart at ease. It’s cute for this plot but a woman needs actions to accompany the words.

Grandma visits her daughter-in-law and tells her that Gi Tae’s happiest moments were with her. She remembers that they were the laziest, most relaxed days of her life and all she did was be with him. Grandma points out that it’s exactly why he remembers it so fondly. She’s freeing her and tells her that from now on, she should forget about being a perfect mom or daughter-in-law and just be Gi Tae’s mom.  Auntie then shows up and tells her not to worry about Grandma as she’d take care of her. The three women hug and cry and the ladies thank  her for everything. Aww.

Jang Mi’s mom will have a mastectomy but the pain of the loss of her breast will be minimized because Se Ah will reconstruct it soon after.

Jang Mi’s father shows up right before the operation. He informs his wife that he’s finally sold off the restaurant she hates so much and gives her his bank book. She thinks his generosity is driven by pity and he explains that the reason he refused to give it to her earlier is because he didn’t want a divorce.

She refuses the money and they fight but the other patients tease them and cajole her into taking it. All is well in paradise.

But what will they do for money? He’s going to open a pizza place and they won’t be selling liquor.

Jang Mi and Gi Tae watch this from outside and he proposes to her again. She reads the postcard and is surprised that there’s nothing special in there. He tells her that joy can be found in the simple, everyday things so she shouldn’t insist on an event to accept his proposal.

She’s still not sure about them and wants to revisit his proposal after everything has calmed down. He points out that something else will spring up then so it makes no sense to wait for a special time that will never come. One can never be sure about the future and there might not be such a thing as eternal love but he still wants to take the risk with her. She smiles and accepts his proposal because while it’s true that men can’t be trusted, she wants to trust him.

However, is this the end of his proposal? No flowers or at least a ring? Is this what he seriously came up with? If so, she changes her mind!

I’m with her. I don’t need a big proposal but at least have a damn ring especially when it’s not spontaneous.

Back at Gi Tae’s family home, just when Umma is about to tell Grandma what she’s decided, her blockhead husband rushes in to announce that he got the position. None of the women could care less.

His wife tells him that she wants a divorce and that she deserves to keep the house for all that she’s done for him. He starts to protest but his mom instructs him to give her what she wants. And as for his mom and sister, she wants them to live with her. Not as a relative but as a friend.

Jang Mi’s mother’s surgery is successful and Gi Tae’s mom stops by to visit her. She apologizes for her actions at their last meeting and says that she won’t be interfering in her child’s relationship this time around. When she tells her that she’s divorced and keeping the house, Jang Mi’s mom is shocked and asks to know how she managed it. Can she share her secret on how to get the house?

The drama is ending which means everyone must move on. Even though it was his dream to open a restaurant, Yeo Reum is leaving because he can’t stay in one place for too long. Uhm, yeah, that’s very believable. Haven’t they come up with this because they don’t want her working with her ex?

Gi Tae’s father meets with his his ex-wife and intentionally looks unkempt so that she can see how much she’s needed. I would be offended if I’m only useful to someone because I clean up after them. He’s desperate because his only child has barred him from the wedding and she takes pity on him and tells him to show up the following day.

It’s the night before the wedding and our couple shares a bubble bath and recalls their relationship. We get confirmation that she first fell for him when she ran out in her wedding dress and he fell for her when she saved him from dying in his bathroom.

Then they have more sexytimes.

The next day, the couple fights about having canopies up for their outdoor wedding. There’s rain in the forecast but Jang Mi wants them taken down and if you want peace, a bride gets what she wants.

Then they fight right before their wedding because Se Ah tells Jang Mi that she finally got the child she wanted and Gi Tae overhears Yeo Reum mention some money that Jang Mi gave them.

This isn’t resolved till they are about to exchange vows. We learn that Se Ah is dating the foreigner and that Yeo Reum received his third of the profits from the restaurant. But it doesn’t end there because the relatives start fighting when Gi Tae’s father’s family oppose his marriage to a woman who sells liquor. Then chaos ensues.

But Mother Nature has the final say as the heavens open up and clear the place out.

Jang Mi and Gi Tae are left standing alone in the rain. They look at the madness, at each other then burst out laughing. These two are in a very good place because if I were Gi Tae, I would point out that she is the reason their guests had no protection from the rain – not that it would have mattered in all the chaos.

They aren’t upset because the screw-up wedding exemplifies their life together. They exchange rings then share a hot, passionate, long kiss. Life is not easy and they are sure that they will weather more storms but their marriage is worth it as long as they are together. AWWWWW.

The End.


Aww. What a satisfying ending. They crammed like six episodes of an American romantic sitcom in the last stretch but it was fun. We rarely get to see couples happy and working through their problems together so this was a delight for the viewers, especially those who were mad that we didn’t get tons of OTP time in the first half of the series.

Was it really necessary to give Jang Mi’s mom cancer to save her marriage? Of course not. The entire thing screamed “plot device” but I’m not going to get my panties in a bunch over it. Same with them suddenly jumping into conclusions and misunderstanding each other right before the ceremony.

I’m glad that Gi Tae’s mom divorced the bastard and that he was never redeemed but what I’m most happy about was that she learned that her son was happiest when she was free and not pressuring both her and he to be perfect. I’m also glad that she gets to live with his aunt and Grandma and even though she was never the focus of the drama, there was never any emphasis on how Auntie needed to get married or any of the usual stuff about her being single.

Gi Tae and Jang Mi became an honest couple who enjoyed having sex together. LOL. While they will always have their squabbles, they try to understand each other. Yes, they might jump into conclusions sometimes but they eventually listen to what the other says.

Love may not last forever and no one knows what tomorrow brings but one thing we are sure of is that these two will keep laughing (and bickering) no matter what life throws at them.


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