My Father Is Strange – ep 34 recap

Hye Young is stunned at what she saw on the dash cam. When she returns to the house a chipper Landlady Oh wants to know if she cleared up the car issue. “Mother, Father, Jung Hwan. There is something you should see. Let’s go to the living room,” she calmly but firmly says. She pops in the USB with the evidence in living color: Landlady Oh gets in her car, takes off her cast, and drives away. Jung Hwan is there with her.

Now what? Husband stands up and shouts, “So it was all a show?” He demands an explanation.

Hye Young says, “I don’t think I can help you with the pickles,” and goes upstairs. What a fiasco!   

Husband tells Landlady Oh he is so embarrassed in front of his daughter-in-law. After 38 years, he doesn’t want to be a husband to her anymore. “Let’s graduate this marriage,” he says in disgust. “You want a divorce?” Landlady Oh nervously asks. “It’s not a divorce, it’s graduating from marriage,” he replies as he gets the book from his study.

Jung Hwan follows Hye Young upstairs. “How long have you known about this?” she asks. He apologizes for knowing about his mother’s ruse for four days and not saying anything, but an apology isn’t going to cut it. Hye Young wants his explanation. Of course, any explanation is only going to reveal that he deceived Hye Young. “So, it means that you chose to save your mother’s face over the trust between us” she concludes correctly. What can Jung Hwan say? Obviously he should have told her; she tells him that she married him because she believed he would break the vicious cycle between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law in Korea – that triangle that puts the son/husband in a detrimental position between his mother and wife. But, he lost to both of them, not ever being able to satisfy his mother or be true to his wife. “How can you think there would be no problems if I didn’t know about it?” she asks.

Jung Hwan doesn’t even want to make more excuses. He is at fault, he tells her, and pulls down the marriage intern chart to check off his sins of omission.

No, she will take the check marks, she insists.

1 -They agreed to make up in a day. She won’t, however. Check.

2 – She doesn’t want to tell him she loves him at the moment. “Say ‘I love you’ at least once a day’” – check.

3 – “We’ll never sleep separately” ~ another marriage internship agreement. She’ll break that too; another check.

Hye Young is blinded by fury over the situation although she is a master at keeping calm. But sometimes that kind of calm is scary as Jung Hwan well knows.

Joong Hee meets his mother at her hotel room. It has been awhile and the hug. “Hey, why didn’t you tell me you found your father? Why do I have to learn about it from an article?” she asks him right off the bat.

Joong Hee tells her he was just curious and wanted to meet him. Also, he was the one who suggested they live together.

“With his wife and children?” his mother asks, shocked. “I want to meet him.”

“You said you never wanted to see him again,” Joong Hee protests.

“The situation has changed,” she replies. “What if he is using you because you are a celeb?” It’s understandable that she might think that but Joong Hee tells her that’s not it. He’ll ask Dad if he wants to see her.

Jung Hwan makes breakfast, but Hye Young has no appetite. He is trying to break the impasse between them over the cast situation and the lies, but it is going to take time.

When Hye Young leaves for work she runs into m-i-l. Believe it or not, Landlady Oh has the audacity to demand that she apologize. “For what?” Hye Young asks. For humiliating her with the video, Landlady Oh says. How unbelievable! Hye Young informs her that she should be the one to apologize. Augh! Landlady Oh is impossible.  Even Hye Young is speechless at her self-centered audacity. I couldn’t be in the same house with Landlady Oh for one night, that’s for sure.

The Byun family misses Joong Hee and Hye Young at the breakfast table. Jun Young thinks that if the publicity dies down Joong Hee can come back. Mom’s face looks tense these days as if she can never relax over Joong Hee and Dad’s situation.

Sung Joon texts Mi Young: Will you be at the office today? I want to ask you on a date. Ra Young comes into the bedroom, sees the text is from actor Jin Sung Joon and gasps, “Sung Joon likes my sister!” Mi Young warns her not to say anything; it will cause more trouble in more ways than one.

Mi Young can’t get Joong Hee off her mind. She calls him but he doesn’t answer. She texts that the family is worried about him and she hopes his cold is getting better. Still no response.

Mi Young writes an apology letter to the company and gives it to Mr. Kang. He sternly tells her that he hopes nothing like this ever happens again. He will appoint her to another department and HR will contact her about her new assignment. Although she wants to stay on as Joong Hee’s manager, he jabs her ego by saying that Joong Hee’s character in the miniseries is gaining popularity and he wants to assign an experienced manager to handle things professionally. Tae Boo will return as Joong Hee’s manager.

Mi Young is surprised that Joong Hee is in his office. He is cool towards her. She tells him that Tae Boo will be his manager again, and while she had hoped to work with him until the end, she knows Tae Boo will be better with more experience. So, she has come to say goodbye. She sets two boxes macaroons on the table. “Eat them when you want a sugary treat” she tells him. When Joong Hee doesn’t even look up she says, “I’ll go now,” and walks out of the room. But she lingers in the hall unsure of why Joong Hee is being so aloof.

Min Ha’s teacher makes a visit at the pizza shop to talk with Aunt and Uncle. She brings the application for the Science High School and reminds them that it’s due soon. Have they discussed it with their son? Aunt sheepishly tells Teacher that they can’t afford to send him to that school. Teacher is surprised as Min Ha’s friends say his parents own the pizza shop, but they correct the misconception: “We are part-timers.”

“Ah. Well, Min Ha will do well wherever he goes to school,” she reassures them.

Grandma and Min Ha watch a TV quiz show and play at home. He is amazed that Grandma knows all the answers. She even knows the history of some of the older sayings. Min Ha tells his parents that there is a $30,000 cash prize for the Quiz Master. Somehow I get the feeling that Grandma is going to be a star on that show and win Min Ha’s tuition.

Dad brings more food to the studio apartment. Joong Hee is grateful. At this rate, he tells Dad, he will gain weight from the delicious food. “Dad. My mom came to Korea,” he blurts out. “She wants to see you.” Naturally, Dad is stiff and hesitant. He tells Joong Hee that he will think about it.

When Dad returns to the Snackshack Mom can tell something is wrong. He tells her that Ahn Soo Jin is in Korea. She saw the article and wants to see him. Mom’s heart is pounding. “You should never see her. She was Han Soo’s wife. I can’t let that happen.” Dad is worried that Joong Hee will think it’s strange not to want to see her. Mom tells him to blame it on her; just say that, as his wife, she won’t allow it.

Ra Young stops by Cheol Soo’s hideout room at the rec center to find the co-workers listening in on him getting scolded by the supervisor. The gig is up. She is distraught and waits for him outside. “Where are you going to go?” she asks. They look at affordable rooms together, but they are either so small that he can’t even stretch out his legs or dirty (bugs!). The one that is halfway decent is quite expensive. All of them are depressing.

She suggests he ask for help from his family, but Cheol Soo knows the response all too well: A rich boy is acting childish. Living off his dad but not taking the responsibility. When he can’t take it anymore, he’ll run home.

He tells her about an incident with a competitor who once said to him, “I wish you would get injured seriously enough to not be able to play again.” When Cheol Soo was chosen in the first draft, this friend blamed him because he could live well without playing soccer. “He thought he was more desperate than me, but I was just as desperate. People don’t believe that of me.”

Ra Young is sorry she took his dream so lightly. She promises to recognize his soccer mania. That small room, let’s make it work, she tells him with a newfound respect for his goals.

Mi Young sees Yoo Joo at the bus stop. She knows that she is down because of her mother. Mi Young decides with some reservation to tell Yoo Joo that she overheard the conversation – she was at the next booth and it couldn’t be helped. Yoo Joo blows her lid and blames Mi Young. “How much did you hear?” Mi Young explains she thought her parents were dead and now she knows that her mother is alive. She also heard her mother asking for unreasonable things from Yoo Joo. “Pretend you didn’t hear it. It is none of your business,” Yoo Joo explodes. Mi Young has more to say, however. It would have been easier not to mention that she overheard, but she reminds Yoo Joo that she is deceiving the family. Yoo Joo always turns things around and seems not to hear what Mi Young is saying. Mi Young annoys her and picks at her weaknesses, Yoo Joo complains.

“Look,” Mi Young tells her, “You were the bully and I was the victim. Do you still consider me a pushover? Why are you the one who is always irritated and snaps at me?” She tells Yoo Joo that she concerned and brought it up; after all she is her brother’s wife, her parents’ daughter-in-law, and her sister-in-law. They’re family, so why won’t she accept help? Mi Young wanted to stand in the gap and be on Yoo Joo’s side if no one else in the family knew about her mother. But now, forget it. “Do what you want.” Yoo Joo calls after her and says that she didn’t deceive Jun Young – she told him before they married that her mother is alive. Mi Young keeps walking.

Joong Hee’s mother can’t believe how stocked his refrigerator is with food and huffs when she finds out that Dad made it all. Joong Hee can’t picture the two of them together; how did they meet? His mother fills him in: they went to the same high school and later, when they were students living on their own, they leaned on one another. He drove her home since they lived in the same direction. “Wait, Dad drove? He doesn’t now,” says Joong Hee curiously. Little things are starting to contradict and clash.

Dad calls and says it won’t be good to meet her. Too many years have passed and they won’t have anything to say. Also it wouldn’t be fair to his wife. When Joong Hee relays this to his mother she gets upset. “As parents of the same child what could be so awkward?” she demands. We can be sure this situation isn’t going to die down or go away.

Joong Hee brings the box filled with paper slips to psychiatrist ex-girlfriend’s office. He has a lot to unload. First item: Judo. She asks how things are with his dad. Joong Hee feels like that situation is actually working out. They’ll discuss more later, she tells him, and offers him a ride back to work. When they pull up, Mi Young is taking out the trash. Psychiatrist ex girlfriend can tell by the look on his face that she is Judo. Mi Young sees them together in the car and bows awkwardly. when Joong Hee gets out, psychiatrist ex girlfriend comes around and hugs him. “I still have feelings for you,” she whispers. Not cool. Not professional. What is she doing? Is this her version of therapy to get him to forget about Mi Young in a romantic way? Joong Hee watches Mi Young duck her head and go back inside. This is not good.

Landlady Oh sends texts all day to Hye Young. It is distracting her at work.

I really hurt my muscles. The doctor said I needed a cast.

You might be speechless over this, but I was speechless to find the half-door. Let’s say were even.

To be honest, I wanted to get closer to you. As I said the other day, I wanted to go shopping with you like a daughter.

How can you ignore my texts?

My son has changed since he met you. He was kind and sensitive, unlike his blunt and gruff father.   

Hye Young grinds her teeth in frustration.

Landlady Oh pretends to be asleep when Husband comes home. He wants to talk. He explains what graduating from marriage means: like it says, they end their marriage. They won’t tie each other down in the name of marriage. They will live separately. The usual duties of husband and wife will be dissolved. It’s different that divorce – this doesn’t require legal action. We won’t be labeled as divorced people. It’s simpler and cleaner, he informs her. “I won’t agree,” Landlady Oh replies. “Try being free,” he encourages her. “I want to be able to breathe.” But she will never agree to such a thing. Suddenly she doubles over with a stomach ache. Husband thinks she is crying wolf again and doesn’t take her complaints seriously. “Think about it,” he tells her and leaves. It’s a pitiful scene.

The Byun  family sits around in the living room. Suddenly Mi Young says, “Wait. There’s a weird news article: Ahn Joong Hee’s father is benefiting from his son’s celebrity status. The article claims that The Snackshack is now a popular place all because of Ahn Joong Hee. Everyone is upset. “The reporter is a novelist,” Mi Young comments.

Joong Hee and his mother happen to see the same article. What did she tell him? Dad is using him. Joong Hee denies it. He says the family members are victims of nosy journalists. Joong Hee makes a call to Jun Young: “Don’t’ worry about the article. I’ll take care of it.” Joong Hee’s mother tries to grab the phone from him but he protects Dad’s right not to contact her. Then he quickly calls Mr. Kang and tells him to take down every article.

There are more annoying comments online: You’re leeching off your son… The comments are mean. Wait! Mi Young reads: The Snackshack is in Suwon. Now the location is revealed. They are worried about being hassled. Jun Young says he just talked with Joong Hee who said the company will press charges and sue, so they shouldn’t worry.

Mom says no! so strongly that she surprises the family. But Jun Young says the comments are going too far and they should sue to stop the reporters.

Ra Young comes is. She complains that people are even cursing her on her SN page. Don’t steal from Joong Hee one person comments. “How can they say things like that?” she says is disbelief.

But Mom tells them to stop! “Why make a fuss over nothing?” She yells at Ra Young to quit SN if she is offended. Ra Young is upset and starts to cry. Why is Mom blaming at her? What did she do?

Grandma stands up for Mom. “Let it go. Rain showers don’t last.” She can tell her daughter is upset and tries to calm the family’s frayed nerves.

Jung Hwan has stopped by Hye Young’s office. He thinks they should move out and get their own apartment. Hye Young asks him if that will solve anything. She shows him the texts she received all day long from his mother. He sees how bad the situation is for Hye Young. “I’ll deal with it,” he promises.

“How?” she wants to know. The more he claims that he will solve things, the angrier she gets. She is angriest at herself most of all. She took marriage lightly. A Marriage Internship and Cohabitation Contract? They became traps and she was naïve to think they would actually make the situation work. Now she knows why d-i-ls don’t’ want to visit their in-laws on holidays. Isn’t his mother’s behavior something you see on dramas?

Jung Hwan asks if she regrets anything. Yes, she has regrets. She wants to go back to the day she found him at the seaside. She is sorry, but that’s how she feels. To be honest, she doesn’t want to go home tonight. He tells her not to feel bad; he has regrets, too. He is also disappointed and confused with himself. When his mother disregarded the contract right away, he felt small. His head told him that she was wrong but his heart understood how she felt as his mother. He can’t fight her. “The one who really took a blow is me,” he confesses. “I took marriage too lightly.”

“We both have a double nosebleed,” Hye Young says, realizing the unhappy situation they are in. It’s a real one-two punch.

Jung Hwan books a hotel room for her for the night. “Sleep well,” he tells her. Alone, she wonders if they should just end the internship.

Jung Hwan looks like a lost soul in the company’s dorm room. How depressing to find himself in such a hopeless state.

Mom takes a call at Father’s Snackshack. It’s Anh Soo Jin calling for Dad. Mom has to catch her breath and brace herself. He isn’t in, she tells Soo Jin, and writes down the phone number. Mom panics and makes a call to Dad but he doesn’t pick up.

Joong Hee pulls up to Father’s Snackshack. He can’t believe what he sees: his mother is standing there, right in front of the store. At that moment, Dad walks by and passes her without a glance. Neither one recognizes the other. Joong Hee watches from the car.

Comments:

  • I had to watch this episode a couple of times to get all the unraveling details. Because there are plenty of things falling apart right and left before our eyes.
  • Landlady Oh is out of control and no one can stop her. Her perspective is so twisted that she can’t see herself for who she is. Life for her is a blame game; it is always the other person’s fault. If ever a person needed to take a good look at herself in the mirror, it’s Landlady Oh. She doesn’t know how to reflect on her mistakes let alone work on herself to change her bad behavior. Now that I think about it, I know a few people in RL life just like her and I avoid them like the plague. I am not terribly fond of Husband, either, but I can see how he wants to graduate from this marriage.
  • I am upset at Jung Hwan’s inability to do what is right. Being a filial son comes with such strings attached in Korean society that he really doesn’t have a chance, especially as an only son. He will always be beholden to his mother in the way she has set up their relationship which is to say, he must always put her first. Bad behavior and all. Hye Young is right when she realizes that the daughter-in-law will always be at odds with her mother-in-law and can never win. It must be disappointing to her to see Jung Hwan act so helpless. Here’s the thing; it takes just as much work for him to jump through the hoops that his mother sets up as it would take for him to stand up for his marriage. Hye Young is right on another thing, too: he loses to both his mother and her. No one is happy when he lies to save his mother and breaks the trust with his wife. Jung Hwan is pretty stupid and Hye Young deserves better. Don’t like him just now. But, you know, I hope against hope that they can get their marriage on track rather than call it off.
  • I really do feel sorry for Mi Young in this episode. She takes the blame for not protecting Joong Hee from the public. She loses her job as manager. She gets into it with Yoo Joo who still looks down on her. Mi Young has a mature attitude about telling Yoo Joo she overheard the conversation with her mother – she wants to be a sister and let Yoo Joo lean on her if she needs to. But Yoo Joo is so defensive and sensitive that she can’t even hear Mi Young’s sincere concern for her. Let’s talk about Mi Young and Joong Hee: I know he is doing what his psychiatrist ex-girlfriend told him to do and distance himself from her. But can’t he see that he is hurting her feelings by not at least explaining that he asked for another manager? And the ex; what is her game? How totally unprofessional to hug him in front of Mi Young and confess her lingering feelings for him. Yuck. Don’t like her.
  • It was clever of the writer to throw in the text from Jin Sung Joon as a teaser, telling Mi Young that he wants to ask her out on a date. As if Mi Young needs this complication in her life. So, now we have to wonder where that will go.
  •  I like Ra Young’s confidence in Cheol Soo’s dream. She is willing to support him now that she gets a bigger view of his picture. And now that she is a part of it. He needs her to cheer him on.
  • Joong Hee’s mother: I can’t blame her for showing up in Korea after reading the article. We have to remember that she was pregnant but Real Han Soo didn’t know it– they had a short-lived marriage and were already divorced. And she never knew he died in a the explosion in the US. Plus, she never met Dad and Mom, so they really are strangers with a twisted fate. If you think about it, Mom and Dad know most of the story of why they are hiding Dad’s identity, but only Ahn Soo Jin knows what happened before Real Han Soo went to the US. So, I hope we are going to get 2 + 2 for the entire story eventually.
  • This was a full episode  with lots of reveals. The lie about Dad and Real Han Soo is getting deeper as the truth gets closer to the surface. I’m getting very nervous.

 

 

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