Orange Marmalade episode 6: Knowing your place
Sure, we all know that there are social hierarchies in high school; the cheerleaders and the jocks, the drama geeks and the mathletes all played different roles in the social world of that universe. Yet even then there were possibilities for reaching across these boundaries. The cheerleader could be in the school play, and the mathlete could be the star cross country runner. A popular kid could date a less popular one and change the roles that both play in the world of the school.
The places Ma Ri, Jae Min, Shi Hoo, and Ara had in modern day high school affected their relationships in the first four episodes, but they have nothing on the class structure of Joseon Era Korea. This week, each of our characters found themselves bumping up against the strictures their social class, family relationships, and even species, placed on them and their lives. Join Wendilynn, Tippy, and me, Kate, as we discuss how knowing — and sometimes forgetting — their places affected our characters this week in episode 6 of Orange Marmalade.
Watch episode 6:
Kate: This episode started out on such a high note. Yes, there was the possibility of conflict between Jae Min and Shi Hoo over the feelings they were unknowingly developing for the same girl, but there was that sweetness at the beginning as Jae Min and Ma Ri remembered the nice moments they’d enjoyed between themselves in the forest. And then each of their family obligations and social class rules broke in and started beating down on each of them.
Wendilynn: Confucianism was very strict about your place in the world. To cross boundaries only brought misery and pain. These kids will have to be willing to face that in order to see their dreams happen. Everyone is trying to set their places and punish them if they dare say no.
Tippy: Yeah, all three of them are having to face the roles they’ve been born into. Jae Min actually laments over Ma Ri’s social status in the beginning. Shi Hoon on the other hand is concerned with casting off his family’s profession as scholars in favor of applying to be an officer. Like, that’s right boo, do what you want~ Hahaa. While this is going on, there’s also that big standoff between Ma Ri’s dad and the leader of the Bloodsuckers. I dub her: Lady Evil Eyes.
Kate: The head of the Wongsangu clan and Ma Ri’s dad both seemed to have their places in society staked out socially and even physically. They each have an economic function (the Hwa Sa Won house of beauty and the butcher business ) and even mention a boundary; they each have their own side of the river. While Ma Ri’s dad’s threat seems like it will keep open war between the two from breaking out for the moment, it sure doesn’t keep Evil Eyes out of meddling in Ma Ri’s family’s lives with some pretty sad results for our heroine.
Wendilynn: I really liked the Dad’s threat about how they can move in the daytime while the others can’t. That is a serious advantage. Also notice the two different colored eyes between human and animal blood drinkers. Although personally, I like blue over gold. heh That spa house is quite the setup. I always scoff a little when they pull out trinkets claiming they are some magical item. Talk about tricking the naive.
Tippy: Interesting little setup ol’ Evil Eyes has too. A secret place filled with women seeking eternal beauty. When I first heard one of Ara’s friends describing it, it was like, “Oh no, Bloodsucker night club for sure.” Upon watching her walk in there though, I could see that it was basically a super creepy day (night) spa. Lady Evil Eyes has a plan up her sleeve though. Bribing Ara with some famous perfume purse in exchange for reminding Ma Ri of her place. We all have our price and everything, but for reals? She must be desperate for Jae Min’s affection. I’m starting to see the present day Ara surface in her past incarnation.
Kate: At first, it was a little hard to blame Ara for her affection for her future husband. When he saved her from the catcalling young men and placed her shoe back on her foot, it was a total Cinderella moment. But then after making a deal with the devil--eh hmm, Evil Eyes--and putting Ma Ri in her poor little peasant place not once but twice, my sympathy for her was short-lived.
Wendilynn: I think one of the things this Joseon time trip is supposed to show is the interwoven destiny these characters have through time. So it stands to reason their basic personalities run true. Although, in Ara’s defense, putting a butcher’s daughter in her place wouldn’t seem like that big a deal in Joseon times. Unlike in the modern story where she was trying to get rid of a valid rival for his attention. Not that it makes Ara’s nastiness any better. This IS her core personality.
Tippy: Exactly! Ma Ri wasn’t the only one hurt by Jae Min’s words either. Huuhuuhuu (T.T). He was trying to get her out of the situation, but I almost felt like he was also an attempt to convince himself that they can’t be together in that moment. Obviously it didn’t work though, ‘cause he ends up apologizing later. He goes through all these instances where instead of looking down on the poor, he realizes their plight through Ma Ri. Hilarious how he’s hung up on the food aspect when she doesn’t even eat human food. Poor girl is now convinced she’s a really good cook. What are you gonna do now when she makes the super salty rice balls? Hahaha!
Kate: Jae Min was so concerned about Ma Ri getting enough to eat, that was adorable. Then after he liberated the rice to give to her to make sure she was well fed he was so disappointed that she didn’t understand that asking her to make him rice balls was only a ruse. The face he made when he ate that salty rice ball was hilarious. Then he even decided that the saltiness was further proof of her poverty; that she made them salty so that she would fill up on water. As wrongheaded as he was, he was being incredibly empathetic towards her in trying to help.
Tippy: Jae Min’s maid ended up seeing them together though. I could tell that she didn’t have any ulterior motives while telling Ma Ri’s parents besides warning them that Jae Min is betrothed. Poor Ma Ri had to catch that part too. Watching her cry by the river had more feels for me than watching her cry in present day for some reason. You feel the weight of what’s keeping them apart more, I think.
Wendilynn: I think the deeper feels comes from knowing that in this time period, changing your status in life was next to impossible. You did what your parents wanted you to do, not what you wanted. It makes dreaming almost a waste of time. Which breaks my heart.
Kate: I wasn’t sure if the maid was trying only to help Ma Ri safeguard her heart (and possibly future marital prospects) or whether she knew anything about vampires too, but I agree, she seemed very much to be warning Ma Ri’s parents out of genuine concern rather than spite. Unlike Ara, who had already paid her debt to Evil Eyes by setting Ma Ri up for a beat down once, the second time seemed purely for reasons of her own.
Tippy: I still think that meat is salvageable~ Hahaha! The delivery dude tripping Ma Ri, and then ripping her clothes though was totally not cool. After she got up and started calling him out, I was hoping he’d get a swift kick to the head. (>.<;)
Wendilynn: That was definitely not cool. It really aggravates me that they seem to act like if you are a lower status, that it’s only right to abuse you. It really pisses me off.
Kate: Poor Ma Ri kept getting reminded of her place throughout the episode; through Ara’s mean acts, through Jae Min trying to protect her but calling her a dog or pig in the process, through learning about Jae Min’s arranged marriage. It just kept getting shoved in her face, keeping her from being able to feel her more natural nobility she spoke of with Jae Min last week. Jae Min, too, was reminded of his place as he attempted to convince his dad to call off his wedding. Yet both he and Shi Hoo were able, in part, to challenge their place. Both, coincidentally, through fighting.
Tippy: I didn’t realize they were so close that they could understand each other by a single look. Shi Hoon taking the time to help Jae Min practice without mentioning anything was so sweet.
Wendilynn: I’m loving how close these boys are. How they understand each other so well. The bromance in this section of the story is almost better than the love story. I love how Jae Min is working so hard to overcome his hemophobia. Notice that Ma Ri is the only person besides Shi Hoo who didn’t condemn him for it. She didn’t even blink, she just cheered him on in overcoming it.
Kate: I’m not sure that Jae Min can fight his way into being allowed to marry a butcher’s daughter, but Shi Hoo’s fighting might just allow him to escape his scholar class. And his duel with Ma Ri helped to perk her up right after one of her disappointments. Both past and present Shi Hoo seem so alive in the heat of battle. Through it all, though, he still seems good-hearted.
Tippy: Agreed. He even repented to Ma Ri about his prank that got her dad in trouble. There was no outright apology though (sneaky little punk), just the promise that he’ll give her a lengthy one in the future before sauntering off. I wonder how he’s gonna go about it then~
Wendilynn: Shi Hoo’s heart has always been good.
Kate: Of course, we also have to worry about what the political fallout of the bloodsucking death of the Queen’s brother will bring. Will there be a new human war--that our young heroes have to join and fight? Will there be a vampire hunt that clamps down on Ma Ri’s clan? Will this start that aforementioned war between the Wonsangu clan and Ma Ri’s clan? Or maybe all of the above?
Will our heroes and heroine surpass their pre-ordained places in thiis life, or will this give them the keys to do so in the next? Will war tear them all apart? Have you finally given into the charm of this historical setting, or are you still longing for high school? Tell us in the comments below.
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