My Father Is Strange – ep 21 recap

Jung Hwan stands before Mom and Dad apologizing profusely. Dad can’t believe he dared to show up! But, he gives Jung Hwan a chance to say what he came to say. The family nervously sits around the table. (Joong Hee stands back and watches from the hallway.) “I should have visited and asked for permission to date your daughter,” he apologizes. Dad asks what his plan is from here on in. Jung Hwan would like to marry Hye Young, if they will consent and if she agrees. But Hye Young is surprised. Mom scolds, “If you cared for her you wouldn’t have done something like this.” Hye Young speaks up, but her parents shut her down. For now, Dad tells Jung Hwan to leave. “I’ll leave, but will visit you again when your anger dies down,”  he replies. Mom tells him not to bother, she will never take him in as a son-in-law.   

Hye Young walks Jung Hwan to his car. He tells her that he expected this and they should let her parents cool off. She asks why he brought up marriage, though. That just poured fuel on the fire.

Mom and Dad are furious. How dare he ask to marry their daughter! Hye Young joins them and explains that she didn’t have anything to do with him coming today. Mom is still mad at her for deceiving them in the first place. Her parents are so upset that she can’t talk to them right now. When Dad asks if she’d marry him, she says she hadn’t thought about it, which makes her parents even madder. She is living with a guy and not considering marriage? Unheard of!

The siblings confer again. None of them gets her, what is she thinking? But Hye Young has decided not to marry anyone. Marriage is just an option these days. Living as a single is getting more popular and acceptable she reasons. But if she likes him, her siblings ask, why won’t she marry him? “Okay, I’ll think about it,” she sighs. No one understands her position.

Jung Hwan hasn’t heard the last of the opposition. Landlady Oh demands to know if he broke up with that person. “Why are you against her?” he wants to know. Landlady Oh insists that she didn’t like her eight years ago and she doesn’t like her now. Furthermore, she has no intention of taking her in as a daughter-in-law. When Husband asks why she won’t meet her, Landlady Oh threatens him that he’d better be on her side in this matter.

That night, Mi Young asks Hye Young why she doesn’t want to marry. Think of their parents, she begs her sister. But Hye Young turns to the wall; she doesn’t want to talk about it. Just then, Mi Young gets a text from Joong Hee: Come to the rooftop. He had watched the family scene earlier from a distance and Mi Young explains why her parents are so disappointed and hurt. Joong Hee asks, “What should I do in times like these?” Rather than do nothing, she suggests buying porridge. Mom and Dad haven’t eaten, and this will include him in the family in a helpful way. Joong Hee is satisfied.

Jun Young decides to make porridge for breakfast. But he’s too late; Mi Young and Joong Hee show up with porridge and set the table. Plus, there’s cake in the fridge – sweets are good for energy, Joong Hee explains. Mom and Dad are happy and eat heartily. Jun Young isn’t pleased with the intrusion.

Mi Young could use some driving practice in the new van. Alone. Joong Hee is jarred not once, but three or four times with her jerky braking. “I think my brain just shook,” he complains. He ends up driving the new van to work. “I’ll practice hard,” she promises.

Hye Young and Jung Hwan meet over coffee. He confesses that he really wants to marry her. Hye Young is calm as she tells him that marriage isn’t her goal. Especially for women in Korea, marriage is a huge disadvantage. She can’t marry and live like she wants in such a conservative society. Why can’t they just date as they are? Jung Hwan asks, “Until when?” She explains that she isn’t confident that she can be a wife with all the expectations that come with the relationship. She is happy as she is. He tells her that he’ll help with chores, but she says that will only burden her. Also family gatherings – she doesn’t want that responsibility. He promises to take care of all that. But, she insists, marriage is not just between two people, it involves their families. Will his mother ever accept her? He promises to convince both of their parents.

“Why do you want to marry me?” she asks him.

“Because I love you. I want to share a future with you,” he tells her sincerely.

“Is marriage the only way?” she honestly wonders.

Hye Young tells Jung Hwan that she has seen many marriages dissolve leaving the parties as enemies. For her, it is an occupational hazard. But Jung Hwan tells her that he thought living together was a step toward marriage. He thought they wanted to get to know each other better. Hye Young tells him that she never had marriage in mind.

“Then why didn’t you say something?” he asks astonished.

“You didn’t ask,” she replies honestly.

Jung Hwan wonders if she doesn’t want to marry at all, or if it is him that she won’t marry. “Both,” she has to admit. She is content as a single woman. Jung Hwan doesn’t understand.  “I’ll leave first,” he says and walks out. He is crushed.

Jun Young and Yoo Joo move along toward being newlyweds soon. They shop for appliances and prepare their wedding invitations. Jun Young suggests they go to her parents’ gravesites to honor and ask their blessing. But Yoo Joo admits that her parents are alive, after all. It’s just that they divorced when she was young, remarried, and didn’t include her in their lives all these years. Jun Young isn’t upset; in fact he understands and promises to be her father, brother, and husband.

Uncle is waiting in the rooftop apartment when Jun Young gets home. They have a drink and Uncle unburdens his news that the photography studio has closed. Once again, he is the loser of the family. “Don’t turn out like me. Be a good man,” he tells Jun Young.

Ra Young is horrified at the thought of running into Cheol Soo after her twin lovers’ blunder. She sneaks into the rec center and hides when she sees him coming. But, eventually she can’t avoid the Twin sandwich in the hallway. She ends up having lunch with the brothers in the cafeteria. They tease her to no end. Twin hits on her, “If we can’t be friends, then how about your boyfriend?”  Ra Young and Cheol Soo both give him a “what?” look. Unlike last time, Cheol Soo won’t leave them sitting together and drags his brother with him. Jealous?

Mom, Aunt, and Grandma shop for hanbok outfits for Jun Young’s wedding. Grandma is pleased when Mom offers to buy her a beautiful hanbok. Mom and Aunt will rent theirs. When the topic of Hye Young comes up and Aunt pushes the envelope that she’ll have to get married, after all, Mom surprisingly accuses Aunt of being outdated. First, Mom won’t be in-laws with that woman. She finds herself defending that young people these days have options. Not all couples end up marrying, she informs Aunt. Is that really Mom talking?

Hye Young’s friend joins her for lunch. Hye Young has already started drinking. Her married friend says marriage isn’t all bad and Jung Hwan is a good man. Hye Young can’t disagree, but then there’s his mother. She proceeds to tell her friend about the meeting eight years ago – his mother treated her as an untouchable and belittled her parents by saying that they couldn’t even pay her tuition. She hated what happened back then but didn’t have the confidence to stand up for herself. She never said anything because of her pride. No matter how many times Jung Hwan asked her why she broke up, she didn’t tell him because she was being considerate of him. What she can’t understand is why her siblings treat her like the bad daughter now; wasn’t she always the reliable one? Hasn’t she lived at home and cared for her parents? And now that she’s in her 30s, no one ever asks about her dreams anymore; they only ask about when she will get married. “Was I born on this earth to carry out the mission of getting married?” she asks, downing another shot. Her friend consoles her: “You were born at the wrong time: you should have been born overseas or in the future.” But, she does think that Hye Young should have discussed her intentions with Jung Hwan.

At breakfast Mom asks Joong Hee to switch rooms and move to the rooftop. Yoo Joo and Jun Young will take the room he is in so that Yoo Joo doesn’t have to climb the stairs. That’s fine with Joong Hee; oh and he suggests creating a bathroom schedule. Everyone turns and looks at him. He reminds them that he is quite sensitive about his bathroom time. Can they put up name tags for whoever is using the bathroom at the time? That way, they can all see when he is in there and they will know not to knock. He can’t do his business if someone is outside knocking. He won’t get in the way during the morning rush, but he will need his privacy at other times. Mi Young jumps in and thinks the rest of them can just use Grandma’s  bathroom or the master room bath. It isn’t that everyone agrees so much as they don’t know how to respond to Joong Hee’s bathroom solution. But he takes it all in stride like regular everyday family conversation.

And slippers. He is sensitive to the noise of others’ footsteps at night on their way to the bathroom. So, he will prepare slippers to be worn in the house. Dad thinks slippers are a good idea. When it comes up that the others pay rent to Mom and Dad, Joong Hee wants to contribute, too. That’s only fair and he wants to do the same as his siblings. Mom is grateful. Jun Young looks a bit put out by Joong Hee’s talking this morning.

It’s the day of the first shoot for “Oh My Boss.” Joong Hee wants his morning coffee, but Mi Young has taken the initiative to fill his cup with a relaxing tea. He would have thrown it at Tae Boo and demanded coffee, but he accepts Mi Young’ consideration. Although he adds that she should make it iced next time. He can’t let his guard down completely.

The staff holds a blessing ceremony before the shoot starts. Jung Hwan is there to record it all. Joong Hee means to be helpful when he assures Jung Hwan that Hye Young is doing well, but Jung Hwan chases him off – it’s not what he wants to hear and having Joong Hee in the middle of it is annoying.

Take 1: Action! Joong Hee walks in like a robot. Cut! Director Ryu tells him to relax. Again. Action! Cut! This time the director tells Joong Hee to walk naturally. But it seems that Joong Hee can’t get into the role easily, and the entire staff grows impatient. After several unsuccessful takes, the Director goes with a mediocre take – it’s the best he’s going to get – and calls for a break. Joong Hee is discouraged; he knows he’s not pulling off his role. Mi Young offers to read the opposite lines, but she is stiff and unemotional. When Joong Hee tries to correct her, he stops himself, knowing that he can’t really say anything. Joong Hee is down.

Mi Young wants to be helpful. She tells him about a time when she went up against a formidable judo competitor that she really wanted to beat. She practiced so hard, but on that day she tripped over her own foot and landed sprawled, flat on her face. It was a disgrace and it even made the local newspaper, to her embarrassment. But she persevered and at the important regional meet, she won against her rival. As Joong Hee listens, Mi Young compliments him for continuing to practice; if it was her, she probably would have tossed the script, she tells him, but he keeps trying. Of course, one day soon, he will reach his potential, she says encouragingly. “You smiled,” she claps at the end of her pep talk and cheers him on. They decide to continue practicing his lines.

Mi Young and Joong Hee pull up to the house. It’s late; Dad is pacing, waiting for them. Dad has been worried all day about Joong Hee’s shooting, but Joong Hee acts indifferent, aloof. Where was he for 35 years? And now he is interested? No thanks. Mi Young finds herself in the middle of Dad and Joong Hee. She understands, at least in part, how each must feel.

Once again, Hye Young meets up with Landlady Oh. It’s been eight years. So, Hye Young recognized Landlady Oh at the police station, then. Hye Young answers yes. Because of their meeting eight years ago, Hye Young informs Landlady Oh, she worked hard and became a lawyer. Landlady Oh demands to know why she was so nasty at the police station and café. That had nothing to do with Jung Hwan and her; it was about her mother. Had Landlady Oh acted with more decorum, she too would have been civil. This time Hye Young has no problem putting Landlady Oh in her place. But the only thing huffy Landlady Oh wants to know is if Hye Young will leave her son alone.

“No. I’m not the girl you knew eight years ago.” Whatever they decide about their relationship will be between her and Jung Hwan. With that, she leaves. Landlady Oh acts insulted and put out.

When Jung Hwan gets home Landlady Oh can’t contain her disdain for Hye Young and spills that she had a “little chat” with her eight years ago. It’s the first Jung Hwan hears of this. “What did you say to her?” he demands. Of course Landlady Oh, who thinks she is right, defends that she butted in their relationship eight years ago so that Hye Young wouldn’t ruin his future. She told her to break up with him, of course. It’s an all-out yelling match between mother and son. Jung Hwan storm out. Husband is horrified at his wife’s insensitive and meddling behavior.

Jung Hwan waits for Hye Young to get off work. “Let’s talk,’ he says. He reveals that he knows about his mother’s meddling and terrible treatment toward Hye Young eight years ago. Now he knows that his mother was behind them breaking up, then. Why didn’t Hye Young tell him? Hye Young remains silent. “Then, is that why you are against marriage now?” She answers yes. She tells him everything – she likes him, she thought it might be possible now that they met again after all that time, but his mother – she can’t handle her. Jung Hwan insists that he’ll leave home. He won’t ask her to deal with his mother. “Then, can we get married?” but she explains that being the witch that caused him to leave his family is not a role she wants. And a son who abandons him parents over a woman is not anything great. She won’t have it. “Then, how long can we date? he corners her. She doesn’t answer. He knows that it is an impossible situation. Since he isn’t against marriage and she won’t marry him, they have reached an impasse.

“Hye Young, let’s break up,” he says filled with all sorts of conflicting emotions.


  • Hye Young really knows her mind; she doesn’t want to be boxed in by Korean conventions of traditional marriage. The expectations on her as a wife, a d-i-l, and her own family role are too much. She doesn’t want marriage to define her like that. She likes her life the way it is now. She is proud of her accomplishments and truly has been a good daughter. But it seems like no one understands her. Her parents are angry that she lied and lost their trust and that she was living with a man. The situation is a mess. Her siblings think she is crazy to think that living together ought to be okay. Jung Hwan is willing to cut ties with his mother and pull his share of housework and obligations in order to change her mind. But what Hye Young doesn’t understand is why not wanting to get married automatically suddenly makes her a bad daughter and the family outcast. Funny thing, it is Mom who, when confronted by Grandma and Aunt about Hye Young’s situation, defends her daughter and her own position with the same logic: young couples these days don’t always marry, she replies to Aunt. Mom even calls Aunt old-fashioned (it hasn’t been that long since her own daughter called her that). The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and perhaps the reason Mom has had such a hard time with Hye Young’s deception and situation is because her daughter is just like her.
  • It seems like Yoo Joo’s admission that she lied about her parents and Jun Young accepting it so easily qualifies as a red flag. I don’t like Yoo Joo and I think Jun Young is acting dumb these days, so in a way they deserve each other. Is Yoo Joo conniving or is she just defensive about her childhood hurts? I am conflicted about Jun Young – maybe he is just a typical guy who has nothing special going for him but isn’t bad. Or is he a loafer and a pushover?
  • Loved the breakfast table talk about bathroom schedules and too much noise. Joong Hee is trying to fit in, but like his acting, it isn’t very natural. I do think he is cute, though, and trying hard . . . and cute.
  • Hooray for the way Hye Young stood up to Landlady Oh. Boo that Jung Hwan doesn’t get it.
  • Ra Young and the brothers – who is going to date who? Maybe neither one?

9 thoughts on “My Father Is Strange – ep 21 recap

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy as I was to see Hye Young put Oh in her place. I never understand why the girlfriends always show up when summoned especially when they know it’s to be told off, so I was oh so happy to see that Hye Young showed up just to tell Oh off.

    Jun Young irritates me the most within the siblings for how he treats Joong Hee and berates Hye Young. Jun Young is basically a loser right now that got a woman pregnant. Why does he feel he has the right to treat anyone as if they should have their life together? I’m really anxious to see how things are going to go when he realizes what kind of woman Yoo Joo really is.

    I still feel sorry for Joong Hee. He has it rough at home and at work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hye Young is educated, successful, and a good daughter in a society that doesn’t value those qualities in a 30-something single woman. Landlady Oh is s pseudo-elitist with a questionable moral compass. I can’t see that Hye Young could ever be daughter-in-law to such a woman. Hye Young stood her ground, but it’s annoying that it went over Landlady Oh’s head. Jung Hwan is right in the middle of the generational clash over women in society. Jun Young is turning into a piece of work – enjoying the automatic status of eldest son with nothing going for him right now. He is a young Uncle, for sure. I’m rooting for Joong Hee to let his emotions flow and shine in the drama and in RL too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the recap.

    Mom parroting Hye Young’s modern view of marriage before Grandma and Aunt isn’t necessarily her aggrement with said view. That’s her protective maternal instinct kicking in, defending her daughter, her immediate family member, against ‘outsiders’, and that includes her own mother. She may fight with her own children, berate them or smack them even, but woe betide any outsiders who try to put down any of her children in front of her, mothers will almost always stand up for their children. That protective posture will also extend to one child against another, if one sibling attacks the other. Mothers protect their children against the world and Mom is one such great mom. Especially when we consider that Hye Young is very close to Mom. Remember that it was Hye Young who consoled Mom, sharing Mom’s sleeping mattress on the day it was outed that Dad has another child? Mom will surely stand up for Hye Young against the world.

    I also don’t think tha Hye Young is against marriage per se. It is marriage wih Jung Hwan that she’s avoiding and it’s because of the package that Jung Hwan will take with him, i.e. his mom. Hye Young’s unwillingness to marry Jung Hwan in only beause of his mom, had it been just Jung Hwan himself, she was willing to consider it. Landlady Oh has such a toxic effect on Hye Young’s perception of marriage and I think Hye Young is still greatly hurt by her run in with Oh all those years ago. The lovers are in a real conundrum now, with Hye Young unwilling to have Oh as her MIL (and absolutely no one should be burdened with Oh as a MIL) and at the same time refusing to be the wedge that drives a mom away from her son, being from a close knit family herself.

    And how great was Lee Yu Ri’s acting at the closing minutes of the episode? When Jung Hwan proposed the breakup, you can see all the different emotions flitting across Hye Young’s face, surprise, shock, confusion, regret and everything in between within a couple of minutes. Kudos to the actress. Thank you for a wonderful pereformance.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Byun household is open-minded and encourages talking things out (okay, maybe after all the hitting and shouting). Mom certainly defends her chicks, as most Moms will, and Hye Young is worth defending. Life is all about change and it will be interesting to see how opinions, attitudes, and what people say versus what they do play out in the Byun household. Already we’ve seen A LOT of relationship changes in MYIS. Lee Yu Ri is believable as the successful, good daughter Hye Young.


  3. There are a few thing I forgot to say. First is Landlady Oh acting high and mighty about her son. He’s a recently demoted segment producer. Honestly, Hye Young is out of his league. Second are the Byun parents, not only did they conceive a child out of wedlock they STOLE A DEAD MAN’S IDENTITY! Wait until their children find out their last name isn’t even Byun. Now that is betrayal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Surely Joong Hee will eventually mention to his mother that he found his father. Also, the man he called uncle who gave Joong Hee the photo in the very beginning must know something. We haven’t heard a thing since from either of those two connections, but I imagine we will shortly. It’s a HUGE deal that Dad stole a dead man’s identity. You can see it in Dad’s demeanor daily; he is stiff and always seems scared even though he is the happiest when he is with his family and has sheltered his exposure to the outside world the best he could so far. It is going to be a gigantic family identity crisis to discover they aren’t even Byuns. This drama can take so many different twists and turns!


    • Whoa, wait a minute there. Daddy Byun didn’t steal another man’s ID, he merely assumed it. Byun absolutely had not planned on stealing anyone’s ID, he just rolled with the ID mix up by the authorities.
      There​ were compelling reasons for assuming another’s ID too. Life was difficult for Daddy Byun who had been convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. His schooling was cut short, meaningful employment was closed to him and society ostracised him, forcing him to move house several times. Life has dealt him a cruel blow, making him the perp when he had in fact been trying to help and had even reported the crime, then. So, when the opportunity came for the Byun to start with a clean slate, he took it by assuming his dead friends ID. I don’t blame Dad or Mom at all and the kids will understand Dad’s move if they know the whole story. I doubt they’ll feel betrayed. In fact, I think the show might even go with the kids clearing their father’s name and returning his real ID to him, what with Hye Young being a lawyer and Joon Hee having the money to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • But I do think there are legal ramifications for living as someone else (passport, papers, birth certificate etc.). I think the drama has done a good job of outlining what happened and what Mom and Dad’s rationale was back then with the circumstances such as they were, but I think there will be plenty to deal with when all is revealed. That’s not to say that the family won’t pull together and rely on their love and support. And, right, Hye Young being a lawyer will certainly play some part in maneuvering all the legalease.


      • You’re playing semantics. Circumstances notwithstanding, what he did is legally stealing. I completely understand WHY he did it but intent does not stop it from being a crime. While I had the same thought that Hye Young will be the person to clear her father’s name in the end, I disagree that they won’t feel betrayed. Their parents are holding them to a high moral standard but are keeping two big secrets that will have a huge impact on their family.

        Liked by 1 person

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