My Roommate is a Gumiho (2021) Love triangles and noble idiots

I wasn’t going to say much about the last couple of episodes since I’d had my say elsewhere but I decided that there was enough for a post. I’ve never been a big fan of love triangles but I’m even less enamoured of noble idiocy. Occasionally I think a love triangle has its place, it does something positive for the female lead to have someone else who can support her through some tough times and some genuine competition for a complacent male lead. Noble idiocy on the other hand, even when couched in good intentions shows an annoying lack of conviction about what’s at stake.

The love triangle in this is tolerable. Unlike many, I don’t mind Seon-woo but I don’t suffer pangs of SLS because… well… there’s really not a chance in the world that Lee Dam will ever fall for him as long as “orushin” is around. Or even if he isn’t. For me the love triangle makes some sense and in this show it’s not about the female lead at all. This time it works a little different because it is about the guys and their respective journeys. Woo-yeo hits the jackpot with Dam and yet he plays the noble idiot engaging in this push-pull that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to Dam or almost anybody else for that matter. Seon-woo, however, is eager to step into his shoes at any time because he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even before the red thread of destiny begins yanking his chain, he is already drawn to Dam.

I am not interested in debating the merits of either men because in some ways neither has done the right thing by her. But this love triangle is given substance quite deliberately by the mountain spirit to push Woo-yeo along in his pre-ordained trajectory to achieve his humanity and of a secondary concern to bring Seon-woo quite literally to his knees. Whatever one thinks of Seon-woo, he has suffered humiliations galore in recent days. Which is undoubtedly a relatively novel experience for a lad like him, used to having women at his beck and call. Sure we can say that he’s getting his comeuppance for being so cavalier with the fairer sex in the past but there’s something satisfying about seeing a man do all the heavy lifting even if it doesn’t have any effect on the female lead. I’m sure this is why many claim to have SLS. He probably can’t understand why a smart and sensible young woman like Dam is going out with this other guy who seems to be absurdly hush hush. Why the mystery? My question exactly. It’s not fair on Dam that the mysterious boyfriend has to be a secret. Has he something to be ashamed of?

Well… unfortunately… yes.

Woo-yeo is dithering and it’s frustrating. While it doesn’t seem like it at first, he really wants his cake and eat it too. He needs human energy to turn the marble blue but he doesn’t want to use Lee Dam for that purpose because it drains her of strength. Except that his time is almost up. So he finds a different target. Which makes him look like a two-timing scumbag. He wants the benefits of being in relationship without the pain and the sacrifice involved. He can’t because it looks like… exactly what it is… cheating. in every sense of the word. By trying not to hurt Dam physically, he hurt her emotionally. Ultimately it’s not his choice to make if he respects Dam’s freedom to choose and act in accordance to her principles. She after all has chosen to prioritize fidelity over safety.

Although I am critical of Woo-yeo’s way of dealing with things in recent episodes, the leads have generally done well communicating with each other with down-to-earth honesty. Dam’s been particularly good in standing her ground and speaking her mind. But when Mr Fox hides things from the woman he loves, yeah, he is his own worst enemy and there are repercussions for his beloved.

Relationships are about negotiation and navigating obstacles. It’s seldom a bed of roses or sugar and spice. It’s not a good look that at the first sign of an obstacle one party caves to thinking that they alone have all the answers. This is the point of the show made very clearly by Hye-sun — the reason why gumihos want to become human is because humans have a right to determine their own fate. The mountain spirit wants Woo-yeo to be human so much so he’s setting up this elaborate scheme so that Woo-yeo would get his act together quick smart.