More questions arise as Ok-nam’s appearance in Seoul circulates. While Ok-nam and Jeom-soon have fun adapting and adjusting to life in the busy city, Kim Geum and Yi-hyun are occupied with finding answers to questions that they have about Ok-nam.
Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter: Episode 2 Recap
Ok-nam speaks about the last moments she shared with her husband before his disappearance. It was just supposed to be a normal day like all the other times where he went to work while she took care of their two kids at home. However, this time was different. Unlike the other times, Ok-nam’s husband never returned home.
In the present, Kim Geum invites Grandma Ok-nam to sleep in his room for the night. He’s easily fascinated and amused at how she revives his dying plant and asks her if she’s a nine-tailed fox. However, Grandma Ok-nam responds that she’s not a nine-tailed fox; she’s a fairy.
Downstairs is a happy and smiley Yi-hyun dreaming about fairies himself. He dreams that he’s surrounded by four fairies who he flies up with to the sky. However, Yi-hyun’s dream gets interrupted by Kim Geum who enters his room to sleep with him. As Kim Geum sets up his bed on the floor next to Yi-hyun, Yi-hyun warns Kim Geum to not be too loud and sticks some earplugs into his ears. Kim Geum should be sleeping like Yi-hyun, but he can’t stop thinking about Ok-nam. He shares with Yi-hyun that Ok-nam’s a fairy, but Yi-hyun doesn’t hear him. Yi-hyun is sound asleep.
Back in the room, Jeom-soon and Ok-nam are touched by Kim Geum’s kindness and sincerity. While Jeom-soon returns to writing her fanfic story, Ok-nam takes a look around the room and also stares up the night sky. She hopes her husband will regain his memory and remember her.
The next morning, Yi-hyun wakes up to find Kim Geum already gone. Yi-hyun freaks out when he finds the toilet not flushed and his curry dish completely gone. Someone must have ate it. The suspect behind all of this was none other than Jeom-soon who visited the restroom earlier that morning and tried some of Yi-hyun’s curry out of curiosity. Yi-hyun of course assumes it was Kim Geum since he’s unaware that Jeom-soon and Ok-nam spent the night at the house.
The mother-daughter duo return to Bong-dae’s coffee shop on the university campus to work. However, before they begin, they update Bong-dae about their living situation and ask for a new place to live. Bong-dae shows them an empty warehouse near her coffee shop and permits them to stay there in the mean time. As a deity, Bong-dae has powers that she utilizes to help others, such as in this situation with Ok-nam and Jeom-soon.
Kim Geum stops by his room in search of Ok-nam and Jeom-soon, but they’ve already left. He then receives a phone call from Yi-hyun who wants an apology from Kim Geum for his actions earlier. However, Kim Geum receives an unexpected visit from Grandma Ok-nam at that moment so Kim Geum hangs up on Yi-hyun. Grandma Ok-nam has returned to the room to gather the rest of her belongings since she now has a new place to stay. Before leaving, Kim Geum gifts her a new pair of comfortable clothing.
Yi-hyun learns from some of his colleagues about Kim Geum’s purchase of clothing for a random lady so he confirms the rumors with Kim Geum later on that evening. Kim Geum doesn’t say much about it, but his vague answer doesn’t bother Yi-hyun. Yi-hyun doesn’t seem to care too much. That night, Yi-hyun suffers from another incident of sleep paralysis and also suffers from a nightmare where a little boy is tied up inside of a shed (gaaah maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to be recapping this at night!). Yi-hyun gets no sleep that night.
The next morning, Kim Geum catches up to Yi-hyun as he makes his daily visit to Bong-dae’s cafe. The two are greeted by Grandma Ok-nam which throws the two off. What is she doing there? Where is Bong-dae? Grandma Ok-nam explains that she’ll be working at the cafe for the time being and hands the two guys the menu. Just like her cafe in the mountains, the menu at the college cafe is the same exact one. HAHAHA.
And just like their visit to Ok-nam’s cafe in the mountains, Yi-hyun finds something in his cup again. This time, it’s a piece of leaf which Grandma Ok-nam has placed in his cup so as to prevent him from drinking his coffee too fast. Yi-hyun is confused as to why Grandma Ok-nam would make such an assumption, but there’s a reasoning behind the willow leaf. In the past, Ok-nam’s husband would down a cup of water quickly without taking the time to catch his breath or to rest. Since Ok-nam believes Yi-hyun might be her husband, she placed a willow leaf in his cup so he wouldn’t down his cup of coffee like he did with water 699 years ago.
Of course, Yi-hyun grows flustered and angry and he walks away with Kim Geum. He remains in disbelief that Grandma Ok-nam is at the same college campus where he works. He also doesn’t believe Kim Geum when he calls Grandma Ok-nam a fairy. How is she a fairy? But Yi-hyun answers his own question when he watches Grandma Ok-nam quickly transform into fairy Ok-nam for a few seconds. She asks him to meet her at the cafe once again at the dog of the hour.
Grandma Ok-nam’s special coffee gains special attention by Kim Geum and Yi-hyun’s two lab partners. Yi-hyun himself is suspicious of the coffee after he takes a sip of it. He finds himself asleep for half an hour and dreams of a little boy crying after being abandoned by his mother. To see if there’s anything in the coffee, Yi-hyun visits the same lab Kim Geum is in and conducts a lab test on it. Though the lab test shows up with nothing, Yi-hyun is convinced that there’s something in the coffee.
He has a talk with Doctor Lee about the coffee and assumes the coffee must be what’s causing him to sleep so well. Plus, he keeps seeing Grandma Ok-nam transform into Ok-nam as well as into a fairy which only makes things more confusing. As if that wasn’t enough, Yi-hyun had a different dream in that half hour nap he took in his office earlier. Doctor Lee assumes it must be because Yi-hyun is avoiding all his bad memories in his life and is locking them inside of his subconscious.
Using a house as an analogy, Doctor Lee describes that Yi-hyun must have placed all his issues and concerns in the basement of the house with a lock attached to it so that no one – not even Yi-hyun himself – can open it. Maybe Ok-nam who keeps appearing in front of Yi-hyun is knocking at that basement door and wants to get inside somehow.
Speaking of Ok-nam, she occupies herself with some creative projects. Using some gourds, she connects the three pieces of gourds together with a red string and hangs it from the ceiling of the room. Ok-nam places a few of her and Jeom-soon’s items inside each gourd and decorates the overall piece with some vines.
Back in the mountains, Teacher Gu, Fairy Oh, and Mountain God Park (he’s also referred to as a Wizard in this drama so I’ll be calling him ‘Wizard’ from now on) have a discussion about Ok-nam. They’re worried about her and fear that she must be in danger since they haven’t heard anything from her yet. However, Teacher Gu isn’t too concerned and is confident that she’s found her late husband since he helped her in the process. Wizard Park expresses his doubt about Teacher Gu’s help so the two get into a small argument with each other. Fairy Oh has to remind the two about Ok-nam to get them to stop bickering and suggests that they visit Seoul to follow up on her.
Kim Geum encounters Jeom-soon wandering around campus. He can oddly communicate with her even though she’s a cat so the two have a talk about Ok-nam. Kim Geum promises to give Jeom-soon his wifi account and password to use if Jeom-soon reveals to him details about Ok-nam. Jeom-soon follows through with the offer and reveals to Kim Geum that Ok-nam likes peaches. As Kim Geum promised, he hands Jeom-soon his wifi account and password afterwards.
Doctor Lee visits Bong-dae’s coffee shop to see for herself who this Grandma Ok-nam Yi-hyun has been talking to her about is. Grandma Ok-nam recognizes Doctor Lee upon greeting her and recalls her as the lady Yi-hyun was walking with on campus the day before. Doctor Lee orders some coffee herself brewed by Grandma Ok-nam and leaves shortly afterwards. She’s tempted to say something to Grandma Ok-nam before leaving, but she changes her mind. Grandma Ok-nam too wants to say something to Doctor Lee, but she holds back as well.
In a conversation with Bong-dae, Grandma Ok-nam worries whether Yi-hyun will find her pretty or not. She also feels inferior and insecure to Doctor Lee. Bong-dae comments that humans have their own lives to live and worry about, but Grandma Ok-nam shouldn’t worry too much about Doctor Lee. Rumor has it that Yi-hyun’s never dated anyone.
Speaking of Yi-hyun, he takes another sip of Ok-nam’s coffee and finds it refreshing even after hours of sitting cold on his desk. Meanwhile, Jeom-soon returns back home and complains to Ok-nam about her condition. She finds it frustrating that she transforms from a human to a cat unexpectedly and has no control over her transformation. Ok-nam encourages Jeom-soon to continue her training so that she can control her powers. Plus, as long as she doesn’t drink, she should be safe for now.
After complimenting the new dresser that Ok-nam made for her, Jeom-soon shares with her mom about her most recent interaction with Kim Geum. They both find it fascinating that he was able to read her mind and communicate with her when she was a cat. Jeom-soon’s rest in the room is short-lived as Ok-nam suggests they go out to get their hair done.
Seoul is an unfamiliar place to our mother-daughter pair as evident by all the weird stares they receive from passerby’s in and outside of the hair salon. Grandma Ok-nam ends up scrubbing her own hair with the shampoo even though the hair stylist was supposed to handle the task. She also has trouble understanding the Seoul dialect. Hahaha. Eventually, Ok-nam pays for the service and returns back home with the new make-over. Ok-nam must have gotten the new hair-do because she wanted to look good for Yi-hyun.
Kim Geum researches some information about peaches which he plans on buying for Ok-nam and also gathers details on this ‘time of the dog’ phrase which Ok-nam used earlier when talking to Yi-hyun. Yi-hyun himself is curious about what time exactly the phrase is referring to and even goes as far as to asking a professor from the history department about it. All Yi-hyun knows is that the time interval for the phrase is between 7PM-9PM so he heads out to the coffee shop at 7PM to speak with Ok-nam like she requested.
However, when Yi-hyun arrives at the coffee shop, he finds Kim Geum already there interacting with Grandma Ok-nam. He’s able to drive Kim Geum away so that he can talk with Grandma Ok-nam in private like how she had requested. When it’s just the two of them, Grandma Ok-nam shares with Yi-hyun a story about her late husband that occurred 699 years ago. He was just a normal woodcutter who was working day and night to feed himself. However, one day in the mountains, he encountered a deer frantically running away from a hunter so he helped the deer hide from the hunter.
As a sign of gratitude, the deer revealed to the woodcutter details about a pond where fairies supposedly swam and took a bath in. Grandma Ok-nam cuts the story short and asks Yi-hyun if he recalls anything. Does any part of the story trigger anything? Nothing stands out to Yi-hyun except for the talking deer who was able to converse with the woodcutter in the story. LOL.
Grandma Ok-nam resorts to a few other options to help Yi-hyun hopefully regain his memory. She shows Yi-hyun the charm that was hung on a tree in her yard 699 years ago in hopes that he’ll remember it. However, Yi-hyun doesn’t have any recollections of the charm. Yi-hyun himself is confused and wants to know why and how he keeps seeing Ok-nam as two different people.
Listening to Yi-hyun’s questions confirms Ok-nam’s doubts about his identity; she’s confident he’s one of them. He must be her woodcutter husband from 7 centuries ago. Ok-nam grabs his hands and cups them around her face like her husband did to her 699 years ago. As Ok-nam waits in tears for confirmation by Yi-hyun, Yi-hyun stands in confusion as to why Ok-nam is holding onto his hands. Who is this woman and what is it that she wants?
I know I shouldn’t be laughing at that ending scene, but the contrast in feelings from both Yi-hyun and Ok-nam was just too funny (in a good way). Ok-nam was so serious and close to crying; she believed that she had finally found her reincarnated husband after 699 years of waiting. Then you have a confused Yi-hyun who has a hard time understanding the situation and who exactly this woman is. Why is she cupping his hands around her face and why does she keep transforming into several identities? Yi-hyun had questions of his own he desperately wanted to answer and finally had the opportunity to ask Ok-nam herself, but instead he was confronted by a tearful Ok-nam who keeps hoping his memory will trigger for certain things. The two are immersed in two totally different emotions with their own respective questions which is why that ending scene was a little funny to me (as touching as it was as well).
Although there are still a few aspects in this drama that can be a bit distracting and off-putting (the tacky CGI effects which I’m hoping they’ll improve on as well as Cat Jeom-soon’s appearance), I’m liking what we were shown so far in this second episode. We received a few more glimpses of what Ok-nam’s life with her woodcutter husband used to be like many centuries ago. We also received a bit of context on how he found the waterfall pond where he discovered Ok-nam so that was nice. Not everything was revealed to us, but we received bits here and there so I enjoyed that insight. I’m hoping we’ll receive more of this context as the episodes progress.
I mentioned in my recap for the first episode that the drama feels similar to ‘Surplus Princess’ in certain ways. I realized that the historical throwbacks (such as the one we saw in the beginning of this episode) also kind of reminds me of drama ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ where each episode started off with a historical scene and then transitioned into the modern time. ‘Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter’ is different of course with its own premise and storyline, but the similarities are there and I’m enjoying the similar set-up in both dramas respectively. In ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’, the beginning historical scenes were the highlights of each episode for me so I’m hoping that the same thing won’t happen to ‘Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter.’ I’m deeply intrigued and interested in Ok-nam’s fairy life and marriage with her woodcutter husband, but I also want to be just as interested in her search for her reincarnated husband. I’m hoping the drama will learn to balance these two aspects out just like it did in this episode.
I’m enjoying both Moon Chae-won and Go Du-shim’s portrayal of Ok-nam, but another part of me also wants to see more Moon Chae-won. Grandma Ok-nam is the Ok-nam that we’re shown most of for now which is totally fine. I think Grandma Ok-nam is quirky, funny, and great and I like her. However, I also want to see more of Moon Chae-won’s Ok-nam which I felt didn’t really show up in this episode. My question is more of why she chooses to transform into Grandma Ok-nam when she can clearly just walk around as herself? More so, what are her conditions to her transformation? Why is it that she primarily appears as Grandma Ok-nam to many people and then transforms into young Ok-nam at other times? It’s obvious Ok-nam is manipulating both Yi-hyun and Kim Geum with the confusing transformations and is using it to her advantage, but I don’t understand why and how she transforms. Why does Ok-nam have two different physical appearances? What is the basis for this and what are the conditions to the transformations?
The drama focuses so much on coffee you’d think this drama is about coffee (could the coffee possibly be PPL? LOL). Obviously, there’s something about the coffee that is making Yi-hyun sleep so well. We also learn a little bit more about Yi-hyun in this episode in terms of his insomnia, his struggles to sleep, his nightmares, and more. I’m thinking his nightmares has something to do with his former life as Ok-nam’s husband, but he might not even be her late husband in the end so such conclusions can’t be made too soon. I’m hoping Yi-hyun is Ok-nam’s reincarnated husband, but another part of me also feels like Kim Geum is her late husband. Gaaaah, the whole husband searching sub-plot is exactly like the ‘Reply’ series and it’s making me go crazy. Also, I’m a little wary and worried about how Ok-nam wants Yi-hyun to regain his memories so as to recognize that he’s her late husband. We just finished ‘100 Days My Prince’ so anything pertaining to memory loss makes me scared (I need a break from this trope too. Please!). I can see why Ok-nam wants Yi-hyun to regain his memory, but it’ll be interesting to see how she gets him to do that (if he ever does). I’m just hoping it’ll happen in a natural and logical way and not within one spontaneous moment.
As weird and strange as this drama is, it also has some charm thanks to our quirky characters and their journey in discovering the truth to their questions. While this drama might not be everyone’s cup of tea (and that’s totally fine), I myself am going to need many more cups of coffee to keep myself awake while waiting for next week’s episodes to air.
Bonus: Extra screenshots from this episode 🙂