My Father is Strange – episode 5 recap

Joong Hee wakes up with a nasty hangover. He looks around at the mess he’s made, and suddenly has a vague recollection of leaving a sloppy, pitiful message on Director Ryu’s voicemail. With typical hangover regret, he checks his phone and finds six missed calls from Director Ryu. He figures he is doomed. But Director Ryu left a message: “Joong Hee, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Let’s do another audition. I’ll get back to you soon.” It’s hard to know whether the director felt sorry for Joong Hee or if his honesty moved him; in any case Joong Hee couldn’t be happier at his luck and calls his manager, Tae Boo, and enthusiastically shouts into the phone, “He’s letting me audition again!”  

Landlady Oh is thrilled that her son slept at home last night. Jung Hwan asks for soybean paste soup and she gladly makes it for him. It is uncomfortable at the table with his parents. His father is abrupt and comments on the low ratings for his show, “Entertainment Today.” Jung Hwan says it feels like he is eating with his manager. Landlady Oh tries to lighten the atmosphere and asks if he is dating someone. He is flustered and answers no. “Well, the fortune-teller…” but she drifts off when Husband gives her a stern look. She offers to arrange a blind date and, surprisingly, Jung Hwan agrees. “I’ll meet them, Mom,” although he rules out the attorney. Husband doesn’t say much but is annoyed at the arranged dating conversation and leaves. Landlady Oh complains that Husband has become even more of a grump since he retired.

Dad makes breakfast for his family at Father’s Snackshack. Even Hye Young joins them. Jun Young is mopey after yesterday’s forced talk with his sisters and says that he doesn’t deserve to eat. The sisters top Jun Young’s rice with tasty morsels to cheer him up. Ra Young asks about the lease and Dad says that nothing has changed with the Landlady. When Hye Young finds out that Mom saved Landlady Oh from the falling sign, she tells her to use it as leverage to renew the contract. Mom refuses, saying that she won’t stoop that low. If Landlady Oh wants to renew, she will have to be the one to bring it up. Right now, it looks like the Byun family will be moving.

Hye Young can’t get Jung Hwan’s rejection off her mind. She can’t believe he hasn’t texted or called her. Her co-worker has arranged a blind date for her and stops by her office to remind her. But all Hye Young can think about is Jung Hwan giving her the cold shoulder. Ji Yeon is flirty with Jung Hwan at work. He tries to brush off her advances but she’s persistent and they work closely together. When he gets to the parking lot he discovers a car has blocked him. The attendant says it belongs to Ahn Joong Hee.

Joong Hee is overconfident about another chance for an audition. He is giddy when he arrives at work and everyone notices how out of character he is acting. He gets a call from Jung Hwan but Joong Hee says that he is in Busan. Jung Hwan knows he is lying since his car is in the lot and threatens to call the tow company who, by the way, can get there in five minutes. Joong Hee throws a fit (as usual) and manager Tae Boo comes to the rescue and dashes downstairs to fix the situation. What is the connection between Jung Hwan and Joong Hee that they are always at each other’s throat?

Mi Young is told to take a folder to the art team which she realizes is headed up by Yoo Joo. She stands at attention ready to help when asked. But, she is unfamiliar with the fashion clothing terms that Yoo Joo uses and looks foolish and inexperienced when she can’t pick out a cleric collar shirt or an indigo tie. Yoo Joo milks the situation and scolds Mi Young which makes her clumsy and insecure. Yoo Joo intentionally puts Mi Young on the spot by asking her to describe the outfit. When she can’t Yoo Joo says to the office manager that she wouldn’t have hired such a green intern. “I guess they hire anybody these days,” she says, to Mi Young’s embarrassment. All the feelings of humiliation that she experienced in high school rush back.

A tenant complains to Landlady Oh that the water heater is out. Landlady Oh says it is not her problem, but the tenant insists that she fix it. Just then, Dad walks out of Father’s Snackshack and asks if he can help. As he has done with past landlords of the building, he fixes the heater in no time. Perhaps Landlady Oh has underestimated his usefulness. She asks about Mom’s ankle. Dad says that Mom’s ankle is fine. She says the realtor agent t mentioned that he had something to talk to her about. She expects that he’ll bring up the lease. Dad hesitates, and decides to turn their defensive position into an offensive one. He’s changed his mind, he tells Landlady Oh. It’s nothing. She looks puzzled.

Ra Young spots the new coach, Park Cheol Soo, on the soccer field. The catty female colleagues are on the sidelines like groupies. She is surprised to find herself smiling when he looks her way. She thinks he is walking towards her and strikes a nonchalant pose, but he blankly walks past her to the sports equipment. She feels snubbed by his lack of attention. Later, he is standing in the doorway when she looks up. She playfully accuses him of secretly taking a picture of her. Not only doesn’t he play along, he really didn’t take her picture. “Why would I?” he says. Ra Young can’t believe this clueless guy isn’t interested in her, after all – she is pretty she tells reflection in the mirror.

Hye Young lies in bed mumbling that it’s been three days since she’s heard from Jung Hwan. She texts, “Asleep?” then scolds herself for looking clingy and deletes it. But she can’t let it go and texts, “How are you?” When Jung Hwan reads the text he is annoyed and thinks, “How am I?” He ignores her and doesn’t text back.

Hye Young is distracted at work. Her supervisor asks if she is nervous about her blind date (that he set up). That’s some smile she gives him; it’s certainly not the blind date that’s on her mind. Hye Young is calculating and devises a plan that is sure to make Jung Hwan curious and jealous.

Hye Young calls a male colleague at Jung Hwan’s work who also attended the reunion and asks him to have a meal with her. He doesn’t quite know how to take her sudden contact and attention. She drops detailed info about her blind date later that evening with a prosecutor at a fancy restaurant at Sina Hotel, at 8 p.m. Oh, and he is a younger man who just wouldn’t leave her alone…. She really lays it on thick. He has to listen to tmi on top of being uncomfortable with the situation. But Hye Young’s mission is to get him to tell Jung Hwan all the juicy details. Which he does. As soon as he gets back to the station he nervously unloads Hye Young’s date details on Jung Hwan and then runs to get an antacid. It’s enough to give anyone indigestion, poor guy. Jung Hwan realizes Hye Young is up to all sorts of games these days. “So you think I’m a pushover,” Jung Hwan says to himself.

Dad tells Mom that he’s decided they should find another shop. Since their children are grown, they just need to support themselves. Mom is moved at his calm resolve. She can’t help but be happy to hear that he decided not to give in to Landlady Oh. When the landlady asked if he had something to talk to her about, he decided not to take the bait. They’ve started over before and they can do it again Dad tells Mom. Mom is proud and says he is deserving of a kiss for that.

 

Uncle and Jun Young commiserate on the rooftop. Uncle missed the chance to catch someone who scammed him. Jun Young wonders why he met “My Joo” at such an important time in his life when he is studying and hasn’t made anything of himself, yet. Uncle encourages him to carry on and not be a loser like him. After all, Mom deserves better. At least they have each other to confide in.

Intern Mi Young falls under the care of Tae Boo which is a good thing. He helps her with the fashion language that tripped her up with Yoo Joo. She gets a crash course on the ins and outs of Joong Hee – a brief background of his tumultuous career, his hot buttons, and where to prop him up. When Joong Hee acts less than happy to see her on his team, Tae Boo stands up for Mi Young and tells him that’s she is eager and capable. And so the afternoon of interviews to update (and hopefully improve) his image begins.

The only person who doesn’t help his image is Joong Hee himself; he rushes through the interview questions, seems less than interested, and gives generic responses. That’s because he has something else on his mind; he looked up the business hours of Father’s Snackshack and wants to get there before it closes at 8:30 p.m. He needs to leave by 6 p.m.

But the interviews are running long and, unfortunately, the last interview is delayed. Realizing that he won’t make it tonight, he tells Tae Boo to keep the following day free.

Mom sets out to look at store rental spaces. Grandma makes herself available to go with her against Mom’s protests. It’s her way of showing support in a backhand sort of way. Mom tells her not to annoy the realtor and keep her comments to herself. Of course it’s useless to tell Grandma such things and she finds this and that wrong with each vacant space. After a tiring day, they stop for ice cream. Grandma says this is all Zebra’s fault (her not-so-endearing term for Landlady Oh) and tells Mom that on every count, she beats her hands down. Whether it’s true or not, Mom tells Grandma that it’s nice to hear.

After another call to fix the toilet in the salon, Landlady Oh is ready to sell. She blames the realty agent for not properly informing her about the building. He assures her that it is in her best interest to make the deal with the Byun family work. It’s triple rent between the store and the family apartments, and Dad is an amazing handyman. The previous landlord had him do the fixer-upper things and she can ask, too. Just renew the lease at the current rate and tack on the maintenance duties. Landlady Oh is ready to extent the offer through the agent. He makes the call to Mom who signals to Dad that it’s a go! Holding out worked and now they won’t have to move! Mom meets Landlady Oh at the agent’s office. Both act like they’re doing the other a favor, but of course they both know it’s a win-win situation. The lease is drawn up and stamped, done deal.

Hye Young meets her blind date, fully expecting a jealous Jung Hwan to show up to spy on them. At one point she is sure the man whose back is to them is Jung Hwan. But when he stands up and turns her way she realizes it is not him. In desperation, she takes a selfie of their meal and sends it to him. But Jung Hwan is onto her game and leaves her hanging. By  after-dinner coffee Hye Young makes poor date material. She is despondent that her ploy didn’t work. She abruptly and rudely excuses herself from the unsuspecting blind date and says she will pay for the meal.

Hye Young has lost her cool. She calls Jung Hwan and asks where he is. He tells her he is at work. She takes a taxi there only to find out that he has left. She wants to know where he is. “I’m on the move,” he tells her. Hye Young hears a woman’s voice ask how to turn up the radio. “You’re with Yeon Ji?” she inquires. Yes, he replies, and cuts the conversation short. They’ll have to catch up later and hangs up. Hye Young has been outfoxed.

Joong Hee can’t sleep. He is awake at 4 a.m., then 5:45 a.m., and finally gets up. He can’t decide what to wear to meet his father. A suit? Nah, it looks like he’s going to a funeral. A hoodie? Too casual. He finally decides on a sweater and blazer (that looks mighty fine on him).

With a bottle of liquor as a gift on the seat beside him, he heads to Father’s Snackshack. He looks anxious and unsure as he reaches his destination.

It takes him a minute to gather his courage, and then he pushes open the door and looks around. The shop is simple but tidy. He doesn’t see the owner and turns to leave. Dad comes out and greets him with a smile, “Welcome.”

Is Dad welcoming him as a customer or does he recognize Joong Hee?

Comments:

  • It dawned on me that Hye Young might be trying to get back at Landlady Oh for breaking her and Jung Hwan up eight years ago in a roundabout way by hurting Jung Hwan. He must be confused, not knowing a thing about that, and still not knowing why Hye Young dumped him back then. Their relationship is confusing with reason, but I can’t tell where it is headed.
  • I am relieved that the deal went through for Father’s Snackshack, at least for now. Dad is such a gentle soul but the way he handled Landlady Oh reveals that he is no pushover. He outsmarted her (which is probably giving her too much credit since she isn’t a very sharp or informed businesswoman), but he did it without her knowing that he was using reverse psychology. Anyway, for now, the family doesn’t have to relocate again.
  • I like the way the drama keeps each family member’s story moving along in a natural way. Although Jung Young didn’t have much air time this episode, we got a glimpse of how he views his situation in life and is ready to move on in a responsible way. I do love that we got just a taste of his cooking skills and how happy he is when he is creating dishes. It leaves the possibility of him joining or taking over Father’s Snackshack. I have a delightful image of Dad and Jun Young working side by side, innocent and unaware of the world around them as they cook and make their customers happy. We’ll see if the story goes in that direction.
  • I guess mean girls are always mean girls. It was cruel of Yoo Joo to humiliate Mi Young in the fashion meeting. But I’m cheering on Mi Young for asking Tae Boo for help and tackling the pile of fashion industry manuals. Being an intern in the entertainment industry is totally unglamorous and I find Mi Young’s actions believable and realistic.
  • So Yoo Joo, nemesis to Mi Young and girlfriend to Jun Young. Hmmm. Speaking of attractions, I don’t mind the idea of Ra Young and the new soccer coach. They both seem practical in their own ways.
  • Joong Hee, ah. Sometimes, no – most of the time – he is his own worst enemy. So tough on the outside keeping everyone at a distance with his prickly, arrogant style. But for his good looks, he doesn’t have much going for him in the way of acting considering his roller coaster entertainment past. Something got to Director Ryu, though; maybe it was Joong Hee’s raw emotions coming out in the pathetic voicemail he left. I hope good things come of his meeting his father (or supposedly it’s his father), but in my kdrama heart of hearts, I fear there is pain and misunderstandings to come.
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