My Father Is Strange – ep 31 recap

Joong Hee looks at himself in the mirror with Mi Young’s kisses all over his face. It is more than awkward between them. Time for the shoot: Joong Hee gets compliments from the director for being in character, but they need to do one more take. He tells Mi Young to get the van washed, they both try to act unaffected the “work” kiss incident.

While acting, Joong Hee glances up to see Mi Young standing there and is paralyzed by his feelings for her so much so that he forgets to say his lines. Something is going on in his head and heart that he can’t control. He is quiet and distracted on the way home and they can’t meet each other’s eyes.

Joong Hee opens the small window in his rooftop room for air. What are you doing? No, this is not right he thinks to himself. He doesn’t know what to do with his feelings. Exercise. That might help – he runs and does sit-ups until he is exhausted to get his mind off Mi Young.

But he can’t ignore his heart. 

Ra Young senses something is up when Mi Young shuffles into their bedroom, distracted. Mi Young asks Ra Young if she thinks of Joong Hee as a brother. They agree it’s different than it is with Jun Young; no, he’s not really a brother in that way, more like someone older, but that’s all. He hasn’t even been around them that long to consider him a brother. But Mi Young doesn’t tell Ra Young what she is really feeling.

Mom and Dad still set the table as if Hye Young were at home. The children tease them but it’s a thirty-four year old habit that will be hard to break. The newlyweds didn’t go on a honeymoon but stayed at a hotel after their wedding. Jung Hwan wants to sleep in until checkout time, but that isn’t to be.

Landlady Oh snoops around the upstairs where Jung Hwan and Hye Young now live inspecting their room and closets. She has nothing positive to say about what Hye Young has furnished their apartment with. The doorbell rings and she answers to find construction workers showing up to install doors to block off the stairway. She knows nothing about this, and calls Jung Hwan and asks what’s going on. He promises to be right there, but already there is a problem: he was supposed to tell his parents that a door would be installed and he planned to do so at lunch. But the workers showed up that morning instead of in the afternoon as scheduled, and now everything is a mess. He and Hye Young have to walk into a hostile situation on their first day of being newlyweds.

Landlady Oh refuses to allow them to put up a door. Hye Young is calm; first she thinks they should ask the workers to leave and return another day. Then she pulls out the Cohabitation Contract that mother-in-law, father-in-law, Hye Young, and Jung Hwan signed. She points out the stipulation stating that “the living quarters be completely separated.” Therefore, the door being installed falls under what they all agreed on in the contract.

Landlady Oh is appalled and wants to make the contract null and void, insisting she never saw or agreed to that. But the rest of them understand that what is signed is binding and she doesn’t have any choice but to let them put in a door. Husband sides with Hye Young and says they can’t go back on what they agreed to in writing. Landlady Oh is livid that Hye Young is looking down on her for not knowing the law, but Hye Young remains cool and calm. She suggests they take a break, reorganize their thoughts, and schedule another family meeting tomorrow. She is professional and business-like and, of course, that is her plan all along in dealing with her new mother-in-law.

Once upstairs in their quarters, though, Hye Young is worn out, realizing this is the way it’s going to be living there. It’s tiring. She pulls down a chart with their marriage internship agreements; first, she points out, his mother was rude to her – that’s one point. She makes a red mark. Then, Jung Hwan didnt negotiate the door as he promised, that’s a second red mark. Jung Hwan looks defeated already. They realize if they keep score this way, their marriage won’t last a month.  Meanwhile, Landlady Oh decides to tackle the legalese and doesn’t think the contract actually says what Hye Young says it says. Husband argues with her and says a door is a good idea–how else can he roam around the house in his underwear ? He wants her to back off and learn to appreciate the fact that they’ve gained a smart daughter-in-aw. Landlady Oh throws a bag of sand at Husband–these two can’t communicate at all and are in deep trouble.

Mi Young is distracted by a kiss scene on a computer screen as she looks for a glue stick…she stares blankly and can’t help but think of Joong Hee kissing her.

She pounds her head against the vending machine and is startled when Jin Sung Joon puts his hand there as a block to protect her. “What are you doing?” he asks. She says it’s nothing,  she’s okay, but he doesn’t think she is. “Wait, are you busy?” he asks. When she tries to excuse herself with work tasks, he tags along to help. He is quite good at organizing receipts, he mentions, because he had to do everything himself when he was a rookie.

As they work side by side, he asks her out on a date. She stutters and he is embarrassed. “I like you, Mi Young,” he confesses. She thinks it’s a hidden camera prank which makes him laugh. “That’s why I like you.” He tells her she doesn’t have to answer now, but not to avoid him or he’ll get hurt. She pinches her cheek, “What just happened? Is this a dream?”

Mom and Grandma have pizza with Aunt and Uncle. They ask for Mom’s advice concerning Min Ha. Mom thinks Min Ha hasn’t said anything to them out of consideration but likely wants to study in a competitive environment like all smart kids these days. She suggests they confront Min Ha and ask him what he wants. The worst thing is not talking with your children and regretting it. Aunt and Uncle sit down with Min Ha: “Let’s have a talk.” Aunt explains that she went to visit his teacher. She heard that he wanted to go to the science High school until this year. What changed? Min Ha says going to a normal school is okay; he’ll have his friends and do well there. But Uncle knows he is trying to save their feelings because he knows they cannot afford the tuition, and asks him what his dream is – finances aside. “If you really want to go, we’ll find a way.’ Min Ha tells them that part of him wants to go there, but he also doesn’t want his parents to be burdened. He can’t enjoy what he wants if it makes his parents suffer. They realize what a mature and thoughtful son they have. (Aw, his shirt has DREAM across it.)

Mi Young shuffles into their bedroom. When Ra Young asks her to get an autograph from Jin Sung Joon she is shocked; what is her sister asking? It’s a Jin Sung Joon double whammy all in an afternoon. She tries to compose herself and is vague, but Ra Young reminds her that they attended the judo event, so aren’t they close? Oh, thinks Mi Young, maybe that’s why… She says she will try to get the autograph. By the way, is Joong Hee home?  Ra Young says shouldn’t they have come home together? Mi Young puts his script and some macaroons (his favorite treat) on his desk.

Joong Hee sits in his van thinking, contemplating, troubled. Dad texts: Will you be home? He replies: Don’t wait up for me, I’ll be late.

At mealtime, Dad asks Yoo Joo if she is feeling well these days. She smiles and tells everyone not to worry. Mom asks if she is getting regular check-ups. In fact, she is going today and Jun Young is going with her. They wonder out loud how Hye Young’s first day at Landlady Oh’s is going. Who will serve breakfast? How is Hye Young faring in such a household? The family good-naturedly takes bets on what goes down that first morning: Laughing, Mom bets Hye Young is still in bed.

The doctor tells Yoo Joo and Jun Young that the baby is smaller than average. She asks Yoo Joo if she works and if her schedule is heavy. Her recommendation is to take it easy, get plenty of sleep, and eat well. But Yoo Joo is already in a rush to get to a meeting and she is late. She tries to call ahead but can’t get through. There’s a traffic jam, too. “This is driving me crazy,” she complains. Jun Young is concerned, but doesn’t seem to be able to talk to Yoo Joo about it.

By the time Yoo Joo arrives, the meeting is well under way. Ms. Lim has taken over and didn’t think it necessary to wait for her. It is obvious that the leadership has shifted. There is an urgent task that requires overtime; Yoo Joo volunteers to get it done. She wants to make up for being late and show that she can pull her weight.

The team is hesitant, but she insists and takes home a huge box of files. When Jun Young wants her to eat, she refuses and concentrates on work. He is worried and goes to the kitchen to get her some fruit. Mi Young walks in and he asks about Yoo Joo’s job; it’s just that he has no idea about the field and she doesn’t talk about work. He tells Mi Young what the doctor said at the baby’s check-up today. Mi Young, realizing his concern and  tries her best to fill him in on the art department’s duties: lots of deadlines and overtime – they are always busy.

Cheol Soo attends his coaching class. Ra Young texts a picture of herself: Come find me, but when he gets outside she is talking with another guy. He quickly steps between them, thinking the guy is hitting on her, but it turns out he is one of those modern fortune tellers and is a bit off. They make a run for it.

Ra Young is flattered that he was jealous. She thinks maybe she should be the jealous one with all those cute girls on campus. “I wish you would show how much you like me,” he admits.

When they get to the rec center, Twin is waiting for Cheol Soo. Ra Young excuses herself, realizing that Twin wants to talk privately with his brother. They argue: Twin wants Cheol Soo to come home and stop messing around. He informs him that he will be appointed to a business position next month, but Cheol Soo doesn’t want that. Twin accuses him of only thinking about himself and only thinks of things from his perspective. “Have you once been curious about what I want for my life?” he asks. But Cheol Soo won’t be used as an excuse for his brother feeling stuck at home. Twin thinks Cheol Soo dumped on him by letting the family business fall on him and leading his own free style life. “Come home, that’s what I came to say. Goodbye.” When Twin gets home, he tells father that Cheol Soo won’t listen to him. But, there is one person who can persuade him, he tells his angry father. (That must be Ra Young.)

Landlady Oh goes to see a lawyer. When it is time for the family meeting, she pulls out her notes and has something to say. Separate spaces and interior construction doesn’t necessarily mean putting in a door. She can refuse it, based on that interpretation. Hye Young is not shaken in the least. She says that based on her own interpretation, she can push ahead for the door. Each side has merits based on different interpretations, it’s true. (And this is why there is mediation and lawa suits all the time.) Landlady Oh insists that she will respect their privacy without a door, but Husband reminds her that she was already up there this morning snooping around. She promises not to go upstairs again. But, Hye Young counters, if she promises not to go upstairs, then why would a door be a problem? Landlady Oh says they just want to block her out. She is impossible. She even suggests a surveillance camera, but both Hye Young and Jung Hwan think that is too drastic; that is used in trust issues and they don’t want to take it that far.

Then Hye Young has a brainstorm: how about a half door? It will serve as a psychological barrier for both parties. Husband thinks it’s a Solomon-like decision. Landlady Oh can hardly disagree although such a solution is baffling. So, then, it’s decided –a  half a door it will be.

Joong Hee waits for his ex-girlfriend at her car until she comes out from work. He needs her help as a psychiatrist. He seems desperate. When he asks for counseling she reminds him that she is his ex and their parting wasn’t a good one. He isn’t kidding, though, and puts money on the desk. “Will that cover it?’ he asks. She wants to know what’s going on. Joong Hee sighs, he is quite disturbed. He confesses that he thinks he is going insane. He can’t get this person out of his mind, 24/7, she is in his head. But it cannot be.

“Are you here to boast about your love to your ex-girlfriend?” she asks. But Joong Hee isn’t joking. No, it isn’t a man he is interested in or a married woman. “It is my dad’s daughter,” he tells her. He met her first, then recently found his dad and discovered that she is his daughter. What can he do? Take medicine? Get admitted? Anything to get his head straight – But all she can tell him is that he is in trouble. He has fallen in love.

Landlady Oh wonders what the late night construction was all about and tiptoes upstairs. To her surprise she finds, yep–a half door. When she bends down to look under it, Hye Young’s head pops up (or down), “Mother, good morning!” Landlady Oh is startled out of her wits and falls backwards down the landing.

“It hurts!” she cries, holding her arm.

Comments:

  • While Joong Hee and Mi Young’s story gets complicated, Hye Young and Jung Hwan’s is rather silly this episode. I mean, a half-door? It is a compromise, and in the legal world, compromise is a sacred concept. And it represents a psychological barrier for both Landlady Oh and Hye Young. I think it is a parody on the absurdness people will go to in order to “win.” When it comes to contracts, winning (or feeling that you are winning) is all that matters. It may be Hye Young’s goal to frustrate Landlady Oh and get her to let them go on her own accord, but I think Hye Young might get trapped in her own legal contracts and marriage intern charts. Is marriage something you can completely regulate with legalese? I do applaud her for staying calm which is her training as a lawyer who sticks to the terms of a contract and isn’t swayed by emotions, but Landlady Oh was pretty smart to go to a lawyer for further explanation. Of course there are always different interpretations, but in this case, the solution isn’t very satisfactory to either party, is it? I am getting pretty bored with the in-law squabbles all around. It took up too much of this episode.
  • I was surprised to see a serious side of Twin. He feels like the responsible brother who has done what their father expects–that is, to take over the family business. But he isn’t willing to let Cheol Soo do his own thing and dump on him. Now there is contention between them and Twin blames Cheol Soo for making assumptions and not asking him what he wants to do in life and what his dreams are. In effect, he is calling Cheol Soo immature and selfish. Now, Twin is siding with their father and wants Cheol Soo to come home and take his position in the business. When Cheol Soo won’t go along with it, Twin tells their father that only one person can sway him. I think that person is Ra Young, because Twin sees that, for the first time, his brother is in love and has given his heart to her. But is Twin willing to manipulate Ra Young and Cheol Soo to get what he (or his father) wants?
  • I am looking forward to how the family will pull together to be able to send Min Young to the Science high school. Mom’s advice was sound; she encouraged her brother to talk to his son even if they can’t afford to support his dreams. At least if they talk about it and shown interest in their son they won’t have regrets. And Min Ha is so mature! He doesn’t want to follow his dreams uncomfortably at the expense of his parents’ being burdened. Wow. Such a contrast to the typical, self-absorbed teen.
  • Jun Young is always so hesitant and stands back. I want to like him, but he is wishy-washy. Maybe he has always seen Dad stand back, too. Dad is a man of few words and quiet opinions. But is that’s what’s best here? Jun Young needs to get to know his wife a little better and discuss things even if it uncomfortable. We don’t know why Yoo Joo is so intent on pushing herself, either.
  • Joong Hee looked so burdened when he met with psychiatrist his ex-girlfriend. But, is that a good idea? His internal battle is eating him alive because it is a moral dilemma. How can he have romantic feelings for his sister, after all? But is his ex the best place to go for these concerns and inner conflicts? What’s that about? It’s weird, and Lee Joon is doing a fabulous job portraying the conflicting feelings he is wrestling with. I love him as an actor! Of course, he can be cute, but he really is a pro at melos.
  • And then, Jin Sung Joon makes his move on Mi Young. He seems okay except for how he treats Joong Hee as a lesser actor, but things are certainly getting interesting at Gabi Entertainment. No wonder Mi Young is confused about a lot of things these days.
  • Okay, that’s it. Did I miss anything big? Any favorite likes? Of annoying dislikes?

 

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12 thoughts on “My Father Is Strange – ep 31 recap

  1. Totally agree with you about all the in-law silliness. Once again Jung Hwan is a punk ass momma’s boy. Hye Young really deserves better. Landlady Oh is ridiculous. When she accused them of wanting to shut her out, I was like….DUH!!! They are newlyweds, they want to be alone. when you’re first married you want to have sex in every room, kiss and be lovey dovey whenever the mood strikes. Not be worried about one of your in-laws coming in the room when you’re kissing or playing grab ass. I mean really no one wants to see that, lol.

    Jun Young just rubs me the wrong way. He is completely right in his concern for his wife and baby’s health, HOWEVER, he doesn’t and can’t understand why she’s working so hard to keep her position. How can he when a) he’s never had a full time company job and b) is a man. Every time her pregnancy is brought up I scream “She’s pregnant not dying!!”. Like, there are women who do triathlons in their second trimester but Yoo Joo can’t work a little overtime or handle her normal duties? Seriously?!! This is why the marriage and birth rate are severely down in Korea. Women don’t want to be sidelined at work and expected to be a stay at home mother. Not to mention the whole slave to your MIL thing.

    Last but not least, the twins. I was so disappointed in Young Hee trying to manipulate Cheol Soo. On the flip side I was proud of Cheol Soo for not falling for it. As Cheol Soo said Young Hee can do the same and live his life for himself rather than do what the father wants. Cheol Soo wasn’t selfish and didn’t lay that responsibility on his brother, their father did all of that. I’m so glad Cheol Soo can see that and hopefully Young Hee will see it soon.

    Thanks for the recap and giving me somewhere to let out all of my frustrations with this drama.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “This is why the marriage and birth rate are severely down in Korea. Women don’t want to be sidelined at work and expected to be a stay at home mother. Not to mention the whole slave to your MIL thing.”

      I know, right? I hope the in-law squabbles end soon. Thanks for the comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello!!!!
    I have been restraining myself from commenting on the episodes for reasons that i have limited knowledge on Korean culture besides being new to Kdrama… but after reading your latest comments Cimi and that of LA Red, i decided to say something: just to ventilate what’s been bothering me inside…

    The squabbles between in-laws have, for me, become silly , boring and irritating. I actually skipped watching their scenes because their never-ending squabbles were wearing me out.

    I think much has been tackled about the Hye Young- Jung Hwan’s love story. Isn’t it time to dwell on Joong Hee- Mi Young’s love story? The drama is already past half the total number of episodes and all we have is Joong Hee battling his feelings and Mi Young still clueless about things… more airtime should be given to the two since they are lead characters too.

    I hope i would see improvement in the coming episodes or i will have to speak out my mind again. Thanks Cimi for your blog which also serves as your readers’ forum. I Love your blog!

    Like

    • Hi Anna Tan, I like your thought that the love story between Jung Hwan and Hye Young should grow without all the silliness. Which, bu the way, continues to a maddening degree in the next episode, I’m sorry to say. I would also like a little more depth between Yoo Joo and Jun Young, too. I love the various perspectives from comments, thanks!

      Like

  3. Thank you for recapping this! I am addicted to this show and had to look for reviews and recaps after every episode. I’m glad I found yours. I enjoy watching the drama and reading what others think about it. I appreciate your efforts! Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I appreciate your replies to our comments, Cimi.
    Let me add, in my humble opinion that law should not be used to govern one’s feelings. For love, like other emotions is natural and spontaneous just as it is complex. It will grow or die depending on the parties involved. If they love each other, they would be willing to sacrifice, take risks and accept the imperfections of the other party. True, law regulates behavior but it could never regulate one’s feelings. Law is resorted for the purpose of putting order or system in the relationship ( validity of marriage, financial obligations of the couple, etc) but not to dictate whether the parties should continue loving each other or not. Hence, for me an intern contract is out of place.

    Ah, i have gone too far. My apologies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Hye Young is jaded and cynical because of the divorce cases she has to negotiate. Remember the guy who came in for counsel with his mother in the first episode? She has probably seen everything from pettiness to aggressiveness, so her caution is an occupational hazard. As we’ve seen, she is good at what she does and has applied it to her own situation. She’ll have to learn for herself, like you said, that love can’t be regulated by law.

      Like

  5. I have forgotten about that first episode. Thank you for mentioning that, Cimi.
    I do hope Hye Young will learn in the process… it would definitely be great if the coming episodes will deal with this than the squabbles between in-laws. Paging the scriptwriter… LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

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