My Father Is Strange – ep 11 recap

“It’s Jun Young’s child,” Yoo Joo tells Mom and Dad.  They are stunned and speechless. She tells them that Jun Young can fill them in with the details. He has the sonogram. With a polite bow to her in-laws, Yoo Joo leaves. Mom and Dad sit speechless for a very long time as if all the wind had been knocked out of them.  

Jun Young picks up three calming pills at the pharmacy, one for Mom, one for Dad, and one for Grandma. But by the time an unsuspecting Jun Young gets around to telling his parents, Mom sternly says, “It’s too late.” Dad beats him with a racket. His sisters come running out, shocked to hear Mom and Dad calling their son a scumbag. When the girls ask what in the world is going on Mom unceremoniously tells them that his girlfriend is pregnant. They are numb. “How did you find out?” Jun Young asks, which under the circumstances, is a very dumb question for him to be asking. Mom is direct and repeats what Yoo Joo told them. Just like that with no warning. Now it’s Mom’s turn to beat Jun Young. “Get out. Go kill yourself,” she hollers. Mom and Dad are inconsolable.

Jun Young looks like an idiot standing there with his mouth open. Hye Young leads him up to his room. The sisters follow. They want an explanation. “Don’t just hang your head.” “You’re insane.” “A lunatic.” They all react with incredulous disbelief at the doomed situation.  As disappointed as the girls are with Jun Young, they are saddest because he has hurt Mom and Dad. “How could you let that woman tell our parents?” That is the biggest offense of all. Jun Young knows he has no defense and says that he feels the worst. Still, the girls can’t help but reiterate that he should have told their parents first and straightened this out.

Jun Young is in hot water and there is no fixing it. He tells his sisters to leave him alone and let him deal with it. Emotions run high. “None of you are proud to have me as your older brother and there is nothing I’ve done with my life,” he admits, “but if I were you I wouldn’t corner you and drive wooden stakes into your heart,” he whines.

Sister-in-law tells Grandma that she will have a grandchild. Grandma is beside herself and joins Mom and Dad in their state of despair. She laments how ungrateful their son is and how they must be devastated at the realization that they fed and supported such a fool. Grandma takes a calming pill but Mom doesn’t want one. “The damage is done,” she says.

Yoo Joo texts Jun Young: Call me when you’re done getting scolded. Is she gutsy or mean?

The sisters talk among themselves. They feel bad for Mom and Dad. Hye Young wonders what kind girl would want to marry someone who’s been studying for the exam for five years? Not everyone, she continues, would have the nerve to come here alone and tell their parents. “How dare she come here and shock our parents like that?” Ra Young says, crushing a beer can in her hand. Hye Young’s phone rings but she ignores Jung Hwan’s call. After a while she texts: I can’t come.  “She can’t come?”Jung Hwan repeats, and wonders why they even became roommates.

Mom tosses in bed. It’s 10:45 p.m. She finds Dad sitting by himself in the Snackshack. They talk over soju and snacks. Mom can’t believe how disgraceful the situation is. After all, they’ve supported him for five years and now they find that he’s lied about studying and has been carrying on. Above all, he let her come and tell them. Dad tosses back a shot. “What is there to say? My son is nothing more than a weak fool.” Dad feels it was a mistake to coddle Jun Young and that he has failed as a parent. He thought his son would prove himself one day even though he wasn’t ambitious and smart like Hye Young. But it was a false hope. Mom cries, “He is an ungrateful fool.”

Ra Young polishes off another can of beer. She is annoyed that even her foolish brother has a girlfriend. She looks at a picture of Cheol Soo on her phone and scolds him for leaving her. She can’t help but call him. “What can I do for you?” He takes her call at his part-time convenience store job. She blubbers pathetically, “How could you turn me down?” When she goes on and on, Mi Young takes the phone from her and apologizes to the person on the other end saying her sister has had a bit too much to drink.

It is a pitiful, dark night at the Byun household.

Joong Hee ponders over his career, “How can I make opportunity happen? Am I missing something?” Only Al the turtle is there to hear his thoughts.

Jun Young prepares breakfast for the family. They eat in nervous silence. Dad cant’ take it and gets up and leaves the table. Jun Young tells Mom he’s sorry, but Mom says that if he thought of them he wouldn’t have betrayed them so deeply. She tells the girls to eat and go to work; she and dad will eat later. The once happy household has been turned upside down.

Mom wants Dad to eat; she is worried about him. Mom tries to be positive and tells Dad that maybe they should view the situation as a present rather than a trouble they’ve received. Yes, they’re disappointed, but you never know what life holds and things may turn. After all, life is long and the story isn’t over. But Dad doesn’t want to hear such a cheery scenario just now.

Joong Hee resolves to start again and make opportunities. His goal is a role in a miniseries. Mi Young sits close to him, ready to help wherever she is needed. He asks if she read the soap opera synopsis. She summarizes: strength – it’s well written. Weakness: it pegs him in another familiar soap opera role that my stifle his career. “What is your opinion?” he asks. She thoughtfully tells him that, when she practiced judo, working toward a big win was worth passing up several small medals. “She isn’t completely stupid,” he mumbles. His agent, Mr. Kang, asks Joong Hee if read the soap opera script. He says he won’t do it, citing the same reasons Mi Young just summarized. Agent Kang reminds Joong He that his contract is up for renewal. If that’s a threat, Joong Hee tells him that he won’t renew the contract if the condition is that he take the soap opera role and walks out. Agent Kang orders Mi Young to keep an eye on Joong Hee and report back to him if he contacts other agencies.

Ra Young holds an ice pack to her swollen face. She thinks back with dread on the call she made to Cheol Soo. Ra Young asks Mom to call into work for her, but Mom has enough troubles and tells her to stop the nonsense. So Ra Young calls in herself, but when Cheol Soo answers she quickly disguises her voice and poses as Ra Young’s sister calling in sick for her.

Jung Hwan comes up with a new project proposal at work. The chief isn’t impressed. Jung Hwan calls Hye Young and asks why she hasn’t been answering his calls. He wants to know when will she come to their apartment. She isn’t sure. It’s because of the turmoil at home over Jun Young but she doesn’t tell Jung Hwan that, and he is left wondering if something is wrong.

Mom is upset that her daughters and her brother and sister-in-law knew about Jun Young and didn’t say anything to her or Dad. It’s not a secret that should be kept from them, is it? But as the go-between, Mom has to swallow her own hurt. She finds Dad on the veranda peeling a huge sack of carrots. They have kept busy to deal with their stress. Mom pleads with Dad, saying that if he wants to kick out their son, then she will abide by that decision. Dad realizes how desperate Mom is to make peace and restore the family balance. “Let’s accept it, it’s already happened,” she begs Dad. She wants him to trust their son. If they don’t trust their children, who will? She asks him to forgive Jun Young. Dad says nothing.

Next, Mom has something to say to Jun Young. When he acts all forlorn, she tells him to man up and beg his father until he relents. Beg and beg until he feels better. No one has said “I’m sorry” more times than Jun Young, but saying sorry isn’t enough. Mom tells Jung Young that he is his father’s replica and that’s why Dad feels so bad and disappointed.

Jun Young approaches Dad at the Snackshack. With yet another “I’m sorry,” he tells Dad that he’d rather be hit by him than have him turn a cold shoulder. He asks Dad for permission to marry Yoo Joo. Dad tells him to bring her home and introduce her to them this weekend. “I’m sorry I keep letting you down,” he cries to Dad.

The next morning, Hye Young and Mi Young find Dad and Mom in the kitchen preparing a big breakfast for the family. With a smile, Dad tells them to call Ra Young and Jun Young down. “Are we no longer under alert?” asks Hye Young. Mom says they can’t kill their son, can they? A measure of peace has been restored, at least for the moment.

Landlady Oh calls Mom to help out at the café’s grand opening. Mom is upset that Landlady Oh thinks she has the right to ask her to help, but she will do so for the opening day. Landlady Oh bosses her around and is condescending. When Mom serves Landlady Oh and her friends, they talk down to her. She lets them know that she doesn’t work there, but is just lending a helping hand. Husband arrives with a plant only because Jung Hwan asked him to. He is critical of everything in the café from the decorating to not assessing the location and clientele. Mom can’t help but laugh at the sentiment printed on the plant banner: If you insist on doing this just do what you want. Landlady Oh feels belittled that her husband isn’t positive in any way about her venture. Husband says that he’s done his duty and leaves.

Yoo Joo enters the wardrobe room where Mi Young is working. She demands that Mi Young address her formally and properly. When Mi Young greets her briefly, Yoo Joo harasses her. Mi Young doesn’t take her abuse this time, grabs Yoo Joo’s finger, and backs her down. “Aren’t you afraid of your assessment?” Yoo Joo threatens. Mi Young tells her that she wouldn’t get good comments from her anyway. Ooo, the thought of them as sisters-in-law…

Jung Hwan is happy to find Hye Young waiting for him at the apartment. She is dressed in the couple’s pjs and gives him a bewitching look.

The café is about to close. As Landlady Oh works on the accounting she realizes her ring is missing. She looks for it near the sink where she remembers leaving it. Mom is wiping down the glassware. Landlady Oh asks her if she’s seen the ring and Mom replies no. But Landlady Oh has the nerve to suspect Mom who was the only other person back in the sink area all day. Mom is infuriated by the accusation and says, “Call the police.” Mom calls Hye Young who jumps out of bed with Jung Hwan and runs out the door. Just then his phone rings. “What?” he yells, and runs out, too.

Hye Young arrives at the police station and asks Mom, “What happened?” Right on her heels is Jung Hwan who has come because his mother also called. The four glance from person to person – what a disastrous conundrum!

Comments:

  • I’ve never seen anyone quite as pathetic on every count as Jun Young. He is, after all, 37 and doesn’t have anything to show for his efforts (or lack thereof). Everyone, and I do mean everyone, is disappointed in him – including himself, for his lack of courage and fortitude. Can he save face?
  • Mom is the strong one in the family, that is apparent. It seems like she is protecting Dad more than ever, not just to keep the family peace, but to make sure he doesn’t carry too heavy a burden. On top of that, Mom is incredibly positive but she is also a realist. I love her attitude and outlook. But is she harming her own well-being by juggling so much? Mom is the backbone of her immediate family and her brother’s family. It’s a big load to shoulder.
  • Isn’t Hye Young in a similar situation, lying to her parents and living with her boyfriend? How will Mom and Dad take the news that their perfect daughter has hidden what she is doing from them with lies? It is easy to say that they are all consenting adults, but in this Korean family with its traditional values and truly loving parents who trust their children, the lies seem even worse.
  • Ra Young has her own little crush and dating reputation to uphold. Cheol Soo is a mysterious guy whose responses to Ra Young make him even harder to read. I like their one step forward, two steps back relationship.
  • (*shudder*) Yoo Joo and Mi Young cannot avoid for very much longer the impending connection they will have through Jun Young. Maybe we’ll get to see Mi Young in her best judo form when Jun Young introduces his girlfriend to the family this weekend.  Oh, wait; Yoo Joo is pregnant, so that’s out.
  • Mi Young has made small inroads into Joong Hee’s world by proving herself reliable and helpful. I just hope Joong Hee appreciates his intern since appreciation isn’t exactly his strong point.
  • Landlady Oh and Husband are ridiculous. They deserve each other; put them in a padded room until they can come out shaking hands. How can two people be so incompatible? If he was going to bother to show up at all, Husband could have at least said nothing rather that spout a litany of petty criticisms. I don’t like either one of them. Landlady Oh takes such advantage of Mom. I wanted to cry when the table of socialites belittled Mom. I wanted to smack Landlady Oh for suspecting that Mom took her ring. How can Mom even be standing after the emotional stress she’s been under? This is why I’m afraid for her health.
  • Let’s see: there’s the ominous meeting between Yoo Joo and Mi Young in the Byun household looming. And now, the menacing confrontation between Hye Young and her mother and Jung Hwan and his mother that, for Hye Young and Landlady Oh goes back eight years. There’s a lot of baggage there.
  • Peace may have been somewhat restored for the day, but it can’t last long. Not a boring moment in this weekend kdrama!
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