My Father Is Strange – ep 35 recap

Let me start out by saying that I like Joong Hee’s mother !

As Joong Hee watches from his car, his mother and Dad pass by without recognizing each other. Joong Hee wonders what’s going on. Ahn Soo Jin enters Father’s Snackshack and finds Mom sitting there. “Welcome,” Mom greets her, thinking she is a customer. Soo Jin asks for Byun Han Soo and mentions that “you must be the person I spoke to on the phone.” Mom suddenly realizes Ahn Soo Jin is standing before her. She forces herself to remain composed and tells Soo Jin that he has gone someplace far and won’t be home until late. Soo Jin asks Mom to give Dad her card and have him call her. When Soo Jin comes out, Joong Hee grabs her and takes her to his car. “What are you doing here? I told you Dad doesn’t want to see you,” he tells his mother. She should respect Dad’s privacy. But she can’t understand all the fuss. She just wants to see his father since her son is living with him now.   

When Dad returns from the market he is surprised to find a “Closed” sign on the Snackshack. Mom is terribly upset; Ahn Soo Jin was there she tells Dad. What should they do? Mom is clearly distraught. She can’t believe that Ahn Soo Jin showed up in Korea, let alone at their store. She tells Dad he must hide until she returns to the United States. But Dad says something that shocks Mom; he is thinking of telling the family and Joong Hee the real story. “You know you out of your mind,” she answers. She looks at him like she doesn’t recognize who he is or where he is coming from. Dad points out their children are adults now and can handle it. Mom shouts, “Honey!” But Dad is frustrated too and asks, “How long will we go on living ashamed?” He feels bad for Joong Hee. Mom is angry that his focus is only on Joong Hee; what about their children and their feelings? No, he cannot reveal their secret. She won’t allow it. They disagree strongly about how to handle the situation that can no longer remain buried. “You just have to go on living as Byun Han Soo,” Mom insists, crying. “We knew this from the moment we made that decision.” Mom says undoing things is out of the question.

Hye Young has dinner with her married friend. She apologizes to her friend and to all married couples to whom she reacted hastily and judged. “Call me the icon of hastiness,” she dubs herself. She had no idea what married life was like, she admits. Hye Young tells her friend how Landlady Oh deceived her with a fake cast. Can you believe it? Her friend is aghast and says that sounds more like something a d-i-l would do to get out of in-law family holidays. Hye Young vents to her friend, describing her childish m-i-l as a six-year-old with an sixty-year-old face. Hye Young can’t believe how hard it has been on her with a m-i-l who favors her son and makes her do all the work. Her friend is sympathetic.

Hye Young has been at the hotel for two nights and Jung Hwan hasn’t even called. She is surprised by a knock at the door – Jung Hwan has something to say to her in person. He pushes his way in and tells her that he can’t let this happen to them. “I can’t live without you,” he confesses. He wants another chance, they still have their contract so he deserves that, doesn’t he? He is trying to present his case to Hye Young, thinking that she is ready to call it quits.  But he is surprised that she agrees with him and wants to stick to the terms of their contract, too. She won’t give up that easily. “I was miserable for the past two days,” she tells him in her cutesy voice that doesn’t fit her at all. Of course, Jung Hwan falls for it. Kissing and making up are next on the agenda; for now, at least, they’ll put the family contention aside.

In the morning over breakfast they discuss how to continue in the marriage contract. They won’t give up this easily. Hye Young tells Jung Hwan that she will no longer force herself to get along with m-i-l, but she will adhere to the contract. She doesn’t want him to interfere between his mother and her. He realizes his mistake in doing so and promises to leave the m-i-l/d-i-l relationship alone. He, too, will stick to the contract. “Let’s see your family this weekend,’ he suggests. “Deal!” they agree.

Mi Young cheerfully informs the family that the articles about Joong Hee are down and there are no more negative comments. The siblings are happy but Mom and Dad are uncharacteristically quiet. A serious Mom tells them that Dad has been working without a vacation for so long that he will leave immediately after breakfast. It is her way of telling Dad that this is how it will be. The kids are happy for Dad and think Mom should go too, but Mom dryly says, “I’ll go later.” Dad ad libs and says he wants to go fishing alone.  He packs and has nothing to say to Mom as he leaves. “Let me know when you get to the inn,” Mom calls after him. Both are very tense and unsure.

Mi Young, who is out as Joong Hee’s manager, is temporarily assigned to Jin Sung Joon. She arrives at the filming location. Tae Boo is handling Joong Hee again and greets Mi Young, but Joong Hee is cold towards her. She sees Joong Hee leave with psychiatrist ex-girlfriend after the shoot. “That’s allowed?” she says out loud to no one, “can his girlfriend come to the set?” She is annoyed. “Shouldn’t Tae Boo be monitoring him?’

Sung Joon wants to treat Mi Young to a meal. She makes an excuse that Mr. Lee, his manager who was out earlier, is on his way. He is persistent; what about the date? Has she decided on an answer? Mi Young asks why he is doing this. Just then,  Mr. Lee arrives and he needs to touch base, but he tells her not to ignore his calls.

Landlady Oh has made a sumptuous meal and calls Husband to dinner. “What is this?” he asks. She tells him to eat well; they must keep up their energy now. He asks if she has thought about graduating from marriage. “What is there to think about?” she asks coyly. But when he insists, she whines that she doesn’t understand why he doesn’t want to live with her. He is already mentally checked out, however. He goes to his study and contacts a rental agency to look at apartments.

Hye Young wheels a white board to the living room at her in-laws. Hye Young plans to set the tone for moving forward if this contract is to work. Landlady Oh wants to know what this is all about. “Will you apologize to me for the fake cast? For hassling me, teasing me, and causing me mental stress?” she asks Landlady Oh. Her m-i-l argues that Hye Young should have come to her and not humiliated her in front of her husband and son. When Hye Young mentions that Jung Hwan wants them to move out, Landlady Oh protests loudly. She agreed to their marriage because they said they would live with her. Hye Young surprises her when she tells her that she said no. She thinks they should all stick to the contract. In an attempt to honor the promises they made each other, Hye Young offers to go over the contract with Landlady Oh so the conditions are clear to everyone. “Separate living quarters” – everyone agreed on this. Hye Young will completely block off the door. When m-i-l protests, Hye Young simply says, “Should we move out?” This is Hye Young’s ace up her sleeve to make sure Landlady Oh doesn’t pull any more shenanigans. Next, “Hey, you!”and other similar outbursts – if this is broken 10 times, the contract ends. Landlady Oh isn’t very cooperative, but she knows she is beat. Hye Young offers to let her edit the contract; think of what she wants in it and they will all meet in a couple of days to rework the conditions of the contract.

Yoo Joo gets another ultrasound. The doctor tells her that the baby is still small. She recommends that Yoo Joo take a break from work and rest even if it’s only for one week. Oh, and it’s a girl, the doctor says gently. Is that t little twinkle in Yoo Joo’s eyes when she hears this?

Just as Yoo Joo is about to submit a request for vacation from work, Ms. Lim approaches her. She is in a bind; the team has a pretty big assignment to redo but she can’t do it with all the business travel. Could Yoo Joo take it on? It will be long nights and a lot of work. Of course, Yoo Joo jumps at the chance to keep her profile high at her job and tells Ms. Lim it won’t be a problem – she’ll handle the assignment and presentation.

Psychiatrist ex-girlfriend corners Joong Hee, so to speak, and tells him that she wants to date him again. She still has feelings for him. He is dumbfounded; “You’re my shrink,” he reminds her. “You use love to forget love,” she justifies her position. She has regrets and wants to date again. “Use me and I’ll get over the regret,” she says. Shockingly, Joong Hee agrees. He must be desperate and confused about Mi Young that he will try anything his shrink suggests. The problem is I don’t think psychiatrist ex-girlfriend shrink is being honest or fair with him.

Joong Hee broods at home. He takes out the box and writes another note. The  box is filled with slips of paper. Each one is sure to read: Judo.

Mom checks her phone but Dad hasn’t called yet to say he’s arrived. Hye Young texts that she and Jung Hwan will visit this weekend.

Cheol Soo works at his part-time job. A customer enters and he welcomes him, but when he looks up, it’s Twin. The two of them visit their father; this time Cheol Soo comes of his own accord. He realized that his father tipped the supervisor that he was living at the rec center in order to get him to come home. Cheol Soo tells him it won’t work. But his father shocks him with a new proposal: play soccer  for the company. After all, it is a health food conglomerate. Organize and recruit a team that can win and the company will sponsor them. His father gives him five years to make good on this fabulous offer. He will consider it an investment. Do it all the way or don’t do it at all, his father tells Cheol Soo. It sounds too good to be true.

When Cheol Soo finds Ra Young she is down in the dumps. The rec center didn’t renew her contract and now she is unemployed. To cheer her up he takes her to eat something delicious – well, she loves it but it’s too spicy for Cheol Soo who is eating it to keep her company. Ra Young laughs and rolls up a tissue for his runny nose.

Mi Young is thrilled to find stacks of fan gifts for Joong Hee in the storage room. His popularity is soaring! A co-worker catalogs the items and tells Mi Young to load them up for Joong Hee.

While doing so, Joong Hee comes to the van  (looking like a million bucks in a blue pinstripe suit, by the way). She rambles on about the fan gifts, but he can only stare and remains silent, trying to seem aloof and snuff out his feelings for her. She also wants to warn him, as his former manager, that being seen with his (ex)girlfriend will cause fan rage. Just a word of warning, she repeats. He gets in the van without a word.

Aunt, Uncle, and Min Ha brush up on quiz questions for the qualification audition today. Grandma is in on it, too, and shows up ready to go in a glamorous outfit that doesn’t fit her image at all. Still, she has dressed for the occasion, and is star struck at the TV station. The roomful of hopeful contestants fills out the preliminary questionnaire. Grandma is done in no time and falls asleep on her arm until time is up. Everyone bites their nails and fidgets as the scores are calculated, except for Grandma who recognizes all the older TV celebrities who pass by. When the list is posted Grandma’s name is on it! Who is going to be a star now?

Hye Young and Jung Hwan are greeted warmly by the family as if they haven’t seen them in ages. Hye Young wonders where Dad is and when she is told he is on vacation, she asks Mom if something happened. Mom glosses over it and says he just took a break. Jung Hwan compliments Mi Young for helping relieve the Joong Hee fiasco. They are glad things have died down. In fact, Hye Young really wants to see Joong Hee and calls him to come and join the family get-together. He is happy to hear from her and, with a big grin, heads over the Byun household.

Dad fishes alone at night.

Flashback: Yeon Seok and Young Sil are anxious and nervous after he takes on Han Soo’s identity. He frequently has nightmares. Once, after passing by two policemen, he becomes so anxious and sorry to Real Han Soo that he actually goes  to the police station. But when he gets there, he can only fall to the ground crying, sorry to his friend and sorry to his family. Young Sil sadly looks on. It isn’t long that their baby is born. When Yeon Seok fills out the papers, he makes things official by signing baby: Byun Jun Young and father: Byun Han Soo. There is no going back from this point forward. At the lake’s edge, a sorrowful son apologizes to his mother: Your son is dead. I will  become your son again in the next life.

Dad recalls these memories with a heavy heart. Joong Hee texts Dad: I came home because Hye Young came home. When will you be home? If you come tomorrow, I will wait.

The next the morning Mom comes into the kitchen and finds Dad preparing a feast. When she asks when he got home Dad turns and tells her, “Don’t worry. I’ll feed the children and leave.”

Dad has prepared everyone’s favorite dish resulting in a full table of food. Everyone enjoys the food and the company. But Mom is awfully quiet. Ra Young announces against Mi Young’s protests that actor Jin Sung Joon has asked Mi young on a date. Mi Young can’t protest against the comments enough, but the damage has been done: Joong Hee heard it too and has a weird look on his face. Dad goes into the kitchen for some mustard sauce.

The doorbell rings. Ahn Jin Soo has boldly come right to the household of the Byuns. She introduces herself and Joong Hee jumps up and shouts, “Oma!” and walks her out . Hye Young looks at her shocked Mom, realizing how sudden and awkward this situation is. So do the other children.

When Mom goes into the kitchen she finds Dad crouching down under the cupboard. It breaks her heart. Mom sobs pitifully in the bathroom. Dad goes up to the rooftop alone. He, too, looks pitiful and distraught.

Joong Hee can’t believe his mother’s forward behavior. Why did she show up? She explains that she did call and leave messages and no one responded. Can’t he understand that she wants to see where he lives now that he is with his father?

Joong Hee gently explains to her how happy he is. It is difficult for him to tell her this, but he was never comfortable with her boyfriends. He was always a third wheel. Parker is her husband but he is not his father. In this small, ordinary house with nine family members, he feels like part of the family. He felt the warmth of family for the first time when he enjoyed his first birthday meal there. Most of all, he found out how happy he could be sharing a meal with a family. Joong Hee knows the things he is saying are hurtful for his mother to hear and tells her that he isn’t condemning her. She turns away and tells him that she is fine. ‘Let’s talk later,” she says.

Back at her hotel room Soo Jin looks at the graduation photo of her and Joong Hee that she carries in her purse The words her son just said to her sear her heart. She calls and tells him that she will return to the US tomorrow. Joong Hee stops by her room to say goodbye. She has something to say. She didn’t intend to be rude to his dad. She only wanted to know what her son and his father were thinking. But since her son is happy, she tells him, it’s all good. Perhaps she doesn’t have to see his dad, now. She is thankful that Joong Hee was honest with her. Joong Hee is touched and swallows back tears; his mother’s words are surprisingly kind and understanding. She promises to visit more often now that she knows her son is settled, happy, and all right. He tells her that he’d like that.

When Landlady Oh, Husband, Jung Hwan, and Hye Young meet to discuss the edited contract, Husband drops a bomb: “I’m moving out.” What? x 3 echoes in the room.

Joong Hee drives his mother to the airport. He zips along and she comments that he drives like his father. But then there was a bad accident; she was in the car, too, and when his father shielded her to protect her he got a huge wound. It left a scar on his father’s back. Joong Hee thinks back to the sauna and tells his mother that he is sure there wasn’t a scar. He even scrubbed Dad’s back. Another hole in the story.

Joong Hee and his mother hug warmly as they part. She asks him to visit, too, so she won’t be lonely. With a big grin, he agrees to visit after his shoot. Soo Jin wants to give Joong Hee a photo. It is of her with Han Soo and another friend. Joong Hee doesn’t recognize the younger version of Dad at all, even though his mother looks much the same. Is that why she didn’t recognize him when they passed by earlier that week? His mother is surprised to hear that Han Soo walked by her and neither recognized the other especially since she looks very much the same as she did back then.  Joong Hee slowly looks up – more and more things about his mother and father are not fitting together.


  • First of all, I really like Joong Hee’s mother. She didn’t barge in and demand anything from Dad; she only wanted to meet up after all these years since her son is living with him. I think her actions are more than reasonable from her standpoint, even though she knows that Dad doesn’t want to meet her. I can see that she might think that he is saying it is too hard for him, but on the other hand, she has just as strong a reason for wanting to speak to him since her son lives with him. In fact, when she showed up at the door, it was only after several polite attempts to track down Dad’s whereabouts. The issue is about what her presence stirs up in Mom and Dad. And, wow, the way she heard what Joong Hee was telling her from his heart – how he felt left out in her relationships with other men, how he was so alone, and how he found a place in his father’s family and the way it makes him feel – I give her so much credit to sort it out in a way that respects her son’s decisions. She even thanked him for being honest with her which cleared the way for their relationship to continue on a better note than ever before. The conversation with her son, however difficult it was for her to hear, even made her set aside the need to see his father. Ahn Soo Jin is Joong Hee’s mother and not a party at all to what went down between Mom and Dad after Real Han Soo died. I hope Joong Hee appreciates his mother’s kind heart toward him when the other news is revealed. Because, how he has an actual picture that sends a huge red flag along with the other bits and pieces that were off – Dad isn’t the same person as his father, Byun Han Soo.
  • Mom is angry that Dad is wavering. I don’t blame her, but at the same time they are going to have to address the issue that is right in front of their faces now. And Dad was the one who signed the birth certificate with the family name “Byun.” There is so much stress on Mom and Dad right now that I hope something bad doesn’t happen. The scene where Dad sends off his real self and apologizes to his deceased mother, promising to meet again in the afterlife is the stuff epic stories are made of. Still, it is a lie that will have consequences.
  • Psychiatrist ex-girlfriend is the worst. No reputable doctor takes advantage of a patient’s weakness. Although, Joong Hee bears some responsibility for this because he was dumb enough to go to her in the first place in spite of their tumultuous past. I hate them together even if the presumed reason is to “heal” him of his “incestuous” feelings. So complicated.
  • I thought I was going to hate the Landlady Oh-Hye Young storyline this episode, thinking it was going to be more of the same. But, I think the writers have done a good job with the way Hye Young and Jung Hwan are committed to their contract and won’t quit over difficulties along the way. It is refreshing that they can have disagreements as a couple but can work through them and not let the extended family sidetrack them completely.
  • I don’t trust Cheol Soo’s father. He changed too easily. I hope he isn’t setting him up for failure under the guise of giving him what he wants. I also think Cheol Soo will bring on Ra Young in this soccer team project now that she’s lost her job.
  • About Yoo Joo: The doctor is likely aware how difficult it is for a working woman in Korean society to balance the hours that are expected of a full-time employee and needing to slow down enough to get proper rest. Yoo Joo seemed genuinely touched to know that the baby is a girl, perhaps thinking that they would choose the nickname for her. But taking off that important week for rest is foiled by the demands of the office and especially in this instance when Yoo Joo has the opportunity to be the heroine by taking on an important assignment that her nemesis can’t handle with her own demanding schedule. It’s a crummy situation for Yoo Joo as a career woman who is pregnant; we have seen the attitude of Mr. Kang and Ms. Lim who have pressured Yoo Joo on all sides in the name of taking care of the company and keeping pregnant women in their place, s to speak.  I feel sorry for her and hope bad things don’t happen to the baby, her, and Jun Young.
  • Grandma knocked the socks off them all with her contestant outfit (more power to her) and her brains. She made it to participant, now I can’t wait to see her answer all the questions and take home the stash of cash!
  • But I worry for Mi Young and Joong Hee. There are so many barriers, false or not, between them now.



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