My Father is Strange – episode 3 recap

Mi Young tries on her navy suit in preparation for her new job. Posting online as Judo Girl she asks: Someone who bullied me in high school is at the company I just got a job with. Shall I give up working there? But I don’t want to miss my hard-won chance.

Responses:

Just go and smash her.

Come to your senses: it’s nothing to worry about.

I can emphasize with you. I’ve been bullied, too.

A lot of time has passed by since then. Hang in there!

She cheers herself on: “You can do it, Mi Young!”   

Dad checks on his sleeping daughters and slips pocket money to Mi Young. It’s for her lunch until she gets her first paycheck in a month. So sweet! Hye Young wakes up late for work and rushes to the bathroom ahead of the others. Ra Young runs downstairs to Grandma’s and Mi Young washes her hair in the kitchen sink. The three daughters get ready for work in a frenzy.

When Hye Young steps out of the taxi at work, Jung Hwan is waiting for her. “Do you remember the reason?” he asks. She shoves past him in a hurry without answering because she’s late. A client has been waiting for 15 minutes. The court hearing doesn’t go well for her today. Her client didn’t tell her that his father has Alzheimer’s which catches her off guard before the judge. Things are delayed and the client blames her. She tells him that had he been truthful about his father’s condition she could have gotten a medical certificate. Hye Young isn’t used to losing.

Joong Hee admires himself in the mirror. He hopes to find his father through an email search and checks if there is any information. He wonders why he only has one picture of his father from high school. He is anxious about meeting him in person for the first time. What is a good gift for men in their 50s, clothes? Health food? Alcohol? “What does my father look like? I hope we don’t look alike, that would be annoying” he thinks out loud.

Mi Young arrives for her first day at Gabi Entertainment. She stands in the lobby and takes in the workplace atmosphere. She is over-anxious but proud. The new employees are handed forms to fill out and given business cards and an employee ID. She does a little dance and kisses her name tag: Intern Byun Mi Young. There is such a clamor in the busy office that when she introduces herself everyone just ignores her. Her first assignment is to get Ms. Choi’s signature on the lookbook. Not knowing which book it is she grabs the whole stack. Ms. Choi is already in the parking lot on her way out. She recognizes that Mi Young is an intern and is nice enough to point out which book to bring next time so she doesn’t look like such a newbie.

Joong Hee hangs out in his manager’s office at Gabi Entertainment. He wants another audition. His manager says the director is done with the casting already but Joong Hee says he knows that’s not true and insists he can do well this time. As he heads towards the elevator Mi Young gets off, panics when she spots Yoo Joo, and grabs Joong Hee’s shirt and hides behind him.

He is startled and in the tussle his shirt rips. Mi Young apologizes profusely. He doesn’t have time to deal with this right now and takes her picture to contact her later for damages. But Mi Young isn’t as concerned about all that as she is getting him to send her the picture he took with her employee ID.

Mom tries several times to reach Landlady Oh who ignores her calls. At breakfast she tells the kids that she is upset because the new landlady won’t renew their contract and has all sorts of things to say about the situation. Dad calmly says he’ll try to negotiate with the agent again.

Landlady Oh’s husband brings his dog, Chico, to Uncle’s not-so-busy photography studio. He wants a family portrait. Landlady Oh wonders where her husband went, but when she calls he ignores her. They live under the same roof but lead lonely, separate lives.

Landlady Oh seeks out a fortune-teller to find out whether or not to sell the building. The fortune-teller sees three strong women there. Then the fortune-teller goes in a different direction: Landlady Oh is told that her son has a woman who will chew him up (and spit him out). Surprised and a little confused, Landlady Oh leaves without ever getting a straight answer about the building.

Jung Hwan reluctantly checks the ratings for Entertainment Today. It’s at the very bottom with a paltry 2.9 viewership, slam! The chief chews him out but Jung Hwan won’t take all the blame and says the show has reached its limits. The least he can do, Chief tells him, is to help the ratings and appear again on “Love and Battlefield” with that lawyer since the audience loved their Tom and Jerry dynamics.

After a bad morning in court, Hye Young eats boiled eggs and throws back a boiler maker at the convenience store to relieve her stress. When she gets back to the office there is another client waiting for her that she wasn’t expecting. It’s Jung Hwan who wants to file a lawsuit against a woman who caused him mental and physical harm through a cruel break up. She scoffs.

He tells her to apologize and give him the reason why she dumped him if she wants him to drop the lawsuit. She is in a bad mood; she tells her staff to go home, pulls the blinds, and hurls whatever she can get her hands on at him. “You pervert!” she shouts.

Jung Hwan eggs her on: maybe she won’t give him the reason because she is still hung up on him and wants to keep seeing him. Hye Young is livid – she doesn’t remember and dishes out personal insults galore. He reciprocates with even uglier digs. She grabs his hair and kicks him where it hurts. He grabs hers. Head to head they holler and pull. He pins her against the wall, and asks, “Did you drink?” She tells him she did. “You’re so sexy,” is his response. “Then why are you just looking at me?” she replies to that. They kiss and take it away. There’s no stopping where this is headed.

It isn’t until Hye Young gets a morning phone call from Mom that she fully realizes they’ve spent the night together. Mom asks if she stayed in the late duty room at work and says that she has something to ask her. Hye Young promises to call her back. Hye Young looks at herself in the mirror and claims it was the beer and soju that slept with him, not her. On the other hand, Jung Hwan is quite pleased with how the things turned out.

Dad and Mom visit the gravesite of Dad’s friend, something they do every year. They spread out the memorial food and drink. Dad tells his friend that he brought a hamburger because his friend visited him in his dream and asked for that. He talks about his family, drinks in his honor, and pours a drink over the gravesite. As they leave, he promises his friend that he will visit “Auntie” (his friend’s mother.) Dad and Mom stop by a care facility and drop off a bag of new clothes for her.

On their walk home Mom asks Dad if his friend really asked for a hamburger in his dream. Dad answers that he did. Mom tenderly holds Dad’s hand as they stroll together and talk. It is a bittersweet day.

Things aren’t so bright for Ra Young at work. The team leader reviews the agenda with the staff and points out that numbers for Ra Young’s fitness classes have dropped. She’ll have to improve or she won’t get a contract renewal. There’s a new instructor on the staff – handsome Park Cheol Soo, the new youth soccer coach. The women giggle and greet him. Ra Young is zoned out with her phone as usual, but catches a side glance at the new staff member.

Ra Young arrives home just as the mailman delivers a parcel. She happily opens a box with her new headphones. But there’s another box from a chocolate company for Jun Young and she can’t resist opening it. “How to make chocolates kit?” she is surprised. She takes the box up to Jun Young’s room where he is halfheartedly studying and waiting to hear from Yoo Joo. He is overjoyed when she texts him: Are you worried about me? I had lunch, it was no good. I miss when you used to cook for me…” He is startled when Ra Young sneaks up behind him and hides his phone. “Are you studying or not? Is making chocolates on the civil servant exam?” she asks. He’s been caught and says he ordered that by mistake. When he goes to the bathroom, Ra Young checks his phone. ♥ “Heart?!” His phone is locked. “It’s a woman. How dare he have a girlfriend!” Ra Young isn’t going to let this go.

Aunt holds down Father’s Snackshack while Mom and Dad are out for the day. When customers leave, Aunt helps herself to plenty of food and condiments, stocking up for home. She leaves several crocheted scrubbers as “payment” for the food she’s taken. Grandma comes into the kitchen and startles her, but when she figures out what’s going on, she tells Aunt to get some sesame oil at least. Seems like Mom and Dad’s lot in life is to support extended family as well.

Mom and Dad stop by the agent’s office for advice on their lease. He tells them to pay as much as they can so that Landlady Oh will renew their lease. Dad decides it’s best to go with the $500 increase. “Let’s just pay it, it costs less than moving.” Mom says they will manage somehow. Dad tells her to call Landlady Oh and let her know they will agree to her terms. Mom keeps trying Landlady Oh but she won’t answer. It is hard for Mom to set aside her feelings, but she tries her best to calm herself for the good of their perilous situation.

Intern Mi Young is assigned as Ahn Joong Hee’s go-for. She looks him up on her phone and finds out he used to be in a boy group. Carrying his over-sized bag, she asks around for him. Both are surprised when she tracks him down and immediately recall the elevator incident. She introduces herself but he dismisses her and tells his manager to let her go. The stylist scurries over and breathlessly tells Manager that Joong Hee’s interview clothes have been left behind. Mi Young is sent to retrieve them pronto. When she gets to the lobby she sees Yoo Joo standing there impatiently with the Joong Hee’s bag. She gathers up courage and faces Yoo Joo who reprimands her for forgetting the most important thing. Yoo Joo looks at her and asks Mi Young if they’ve met before, but Mi Young can’t meet her eyes or speak. Yoo Joo roughly hands Mi Young the bag and reminds her that it is more expensive than her monthly salary. Mi Young walks away with her head down fighting that feeling of insignificance in Yoo Joo’s presence.

Jung Hwan sits in his office thinking about the night with Hye Young and can’t help but smile. He glances at his phone and wonders if she’ll call. Hye Young checks her phone for the same reason – why doesn’t he call? However, it is Producer Lee who calls and asks if she’ll appear on “Love and Battlefield” again. He tells her the public loved the Tom and Jerry antics between her and Jung Hwan. She agrees and he says he’ll get back to her with the schedule. Jung Hwan has overhears the conversation and is secretly pleased they’ll appear again together.

Landlady Oh is busy filtering blind date options for her son, Jung Hwan. Her husband is annoyed and tells her to stop meddling and let him marry someone he loves. Uncle delivers the large “family” portrait and Husband is pleased. It upsets Landlady Oh, however, who reminds her husband that he wouldn’t take a family picture last fall and now he hangs a picture of him and Chico on his wall. She tells him that it’s too much.

Finally, Landlady Oh answers the cal from Father’s Snackshack. Mom asks to meet her. Landlady Oh says she has nothing to talk to her about. But since she will be in the neighborhood and Mom has been harassing her, she’ll meet with her. Mom is upset at the landlady’s tone, but tells herself that she has to remain polite. She calls Hye Young and asks if she can come right away and meet with the Landlady. Hye Young says she can’t right now. If things don’t work out, Hye Young offers to talk to the Landlady. Mom says it’s great to have a daughter who is a lawyer. Then she quickly arms herself with some online information on lease renewal and tenants’ rights.

Jun Young raids the refrigerator at home and stops at the market for a few fancy ingredients and wine. He is pleased that he has just enough money to cover it. Jun Young is on his way to cook a gourmet meal for his girlfriend, Yoo Joo. He strikes a debonair pose and rings the doorbell.

Yoo Joo greets him with a big smile. (Why does this make me very nervous?)

Mom waits in front of the building for Landlady Oh. With defenses up, they eye each other suspiciously. Mom holds her tongue and invites Landlady Oh into their store to talk. She tells her that they are ready to meet her conditions and will pay the $500 to renew the lease. Landlady Oh isn’t willing to renew. Mom says they thought it was because they asked for a lower rent increase, but now they will pay the full amount. It turns into an argument of pride. Mom tells her that, as tenants, they have rights. Such a large increase isn’t even legal, does Landlady Oh know that? When Mom throws in that her daughter is a lawyer and if she takes this to court she will win, Landlady Oh snaps back, “Go ahead, sue me.” With a haughty attitude she adds, “You’re daughter is a lawyer? Then my son is a prosecutor.” Mom’s pride is injured and she quickly calls Hye Young, She will show Landlady Oh who’s who!

Jung Hwan waits for Hye Young at her office after work. They grab a bite to eat and make small talk. It is unclear where their awkward encounter last night will lead. Jung Hwan mentions appearing together again on “Love and Battlefield.” Then he blurts out, “Hye Young, let’s date again.” Hye Young just sits there, stunned. Mom’s desperate and important call goes unanswered.

Comments:

  • I think the friend that Dad visits at the gravesite has something to do with Joong Hee. Maybe it’s Joong Hee’s father? Is there a secret Dad is keeping?
  • I love the hilarious dynamics between cheerful, naive Mi Young and over-confident Joong Hee. Poor Joong Hee is struggling with his identity. But, with Mi Young’s Dad somehow in the mix of Joong Hee’s story, I’m worried about the reveal (whatever it may be). Someone is bound to get hurt.
  • I’m not sure I like that Jung Hwan and Hye Young have had a fling and now are considering the emotional consequences. Beer and soju are the worst combination; why is it always after the fact that someone realizes that? And, I’m still not that fond of Jung Hwan.
  • Landlady Oh and Husband are a sorry retired couple. She obviously bought the building as a hobby with the idea of opening a trendy coffee shop, but has encountered tenant issues and now she is displaying her inability and inexperience in handling negotiation issues. Gosh, shouldn’t she let the agent handle the rent increase discussions? Like a good Korean mother, she is highly interested in influencing her son’s dating partner, but she clearly interfered before with Hye Young (unbeknownst to Jung Hwan) and it will hit the fan when that gets out. Not to mention the inevitable encounter between Landlady Oh and Hye Young as a lawyer. Husband is a retired journalist (there was a mention of a book in the last episode that I’m guessing he wrote). His preoccupation with Chico is overboard as well, in reaction to Landlady’s Oh’s ways that he disdains. Meh. It’s sad to see them rattle around in their home unhappy and unfulfilled.
  • We still don’t know much about Ra Young. As an instructor at the fitness center, she doesn’t seem terribly motivated and is always on her phone. Still, I don’t dislike her and sense there is more to her character.
  • Love Jun Young’s motivation to cook up a storm for his girlfriend, Yoo Joo. How did those two get hooked up? They seem like day and night, especially in the motivation department. She has an energetic job as Team Manager at Gabi Entertainment while he struggles to pass the civil servant exam for the fifth time. His cooking skills must make up for something. He is such a goof with the dorkiest grin, but there was a glimpse of handsomeness and sex appeal when he blew his hair out of his eye. His sisters must coddle him as their older brother. Except when Mi Young finds out her brother is dating her nemesis, I’m not sure what the fallout will be.
  • I’m still giddy over Mom and Dad’s enduring love and the way they openly share it with their children. It is so darn nice to see. I understand Mom’s feelings towards Landlady Oh completely, but I hope she can hold it in for the sake of saving Father’s Snackshack.
  • I have to remember that this is a weekend drama that will move slower than the usual 16-episode kdrama.
  • So Joong Hee, who is your father?

 

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