My Father Is Strange – ep 38 recap

Warning: be prepared with a box of tissues and a warm cloth to lay across your swollen eyes after this episode. Relationships are emotional that way so hold on to your seats for one turbulent roller coaster ride!

Mom wakes Dad up from another nightmare. He is drenched in sweat and is bothered that Joong Hee hasn’t come home or contacted him. He wants to go up and check on him, but Mom says to wait until the morning – it he’s there he’ll be sleeping anyway.

Mi Young wakes up to her alarm. She checks to see if Joong Hee has answered her texts, but he hasn’t. She tells Ra Young that she is worried about Actor Ahn. When she suddenly gets a text she assumes it is Joong Hee – but it’s Sung Joon asking if she can meet him for lunch. She’s disappointed, but Ra Young can’t believe Sung Joon is texting her sister. Mi Young couldn’t care less.   

Dad and Mi Young worry that something’s wrong when they discover that Joong Hee hasn’t come home at all. She recalls the other night when he grabbed her arm forcefully then apologized at his drunken and emotional behavior. She doesn’t say anything about this to Dad, though. He asks her to find out at work what’s going on.

Yoo Joo joins the family for breakfast. The girls are unsure what to say to her but she assures them she is fine and not to worry. Resting and eating the healthy food that Mom and Dad have made has restored her. In fact, she’s a bit bored and has decided to go back to work today. Even Jun Young is surprised by this. Mom and Dad gently try to convince her to take the full 30 days allowed at work to recover – after all, it’s only been a week – but she is anxious to return. Everyone is concerned.

When Jun Young asks her to take off a few more days, she says there are things to do. He pushes for her to rest her body bit more, but she is annoyed and asks if he thinks she lost the baby because she pushed herself and didn’t rest enough. That’s not it, he tells her not to twist her words. It’s just that he is worried about her health. She is sensitive and feels condemned; she decides to go to work on her own. Jun Young doesn’t know what to do.

Dad gets a call that aunt in the nursing home isn’t doing well. He is going to visit her and stop by Real Han Soo’s gravesite afterward. Mom won’t join him this time as she has hurt her ankle. She sends Dad on his way. When she goes to the rooftop room to feed Al the turtle she finds Mi Young already there doing the same. Mi Young is worried about Actor Ahn. Mom tries to reassure her that everything is probably okay. Then Mi Young mentions that he was a bit weird that night when he drank and pounded on the store door. He also got a bit upset with her asking if she knew anything. Then he passed out. Since then he’s been gone and can’t be reached.

Joong Hee stares into thin air. The tables are covered with empty soju bottles. He isn’t answering any calls. The DNA results are open before him.

He decides to call a friend, Gil, and asks for a favor: Can he find somebody for him? The name is Byun Han Soo and he was last in the States. He wants to know if  he alive and if not, when and  how he died.

There are so many confusing details that flood Joong Hee’s mind: How did Dad not know his mother’s name at first, yet he know that she hurt her hand? Why is he using his real father’s name and pretending to be his father? Joong Hee decides to have the DNA results delivered to Father’s Snackshack. Then he’ll see what Dad has to say.

When Landlady Oh returns home after her surgery she is surprised to be greeted by a housekeeper. Husband gruffly tells her that he’s arranged for the help. He tells Jung Hwan and Hye Young that he has done his duty and hired a professional for the housework; now they can go upstairs and not be bothered by Landlady Oh.

Jung Hwan has made a surprise event. He welcomes her to the “sauna” he’s prepared complete with rose petals and a bubble bath. Hye Young relaxes luxuriously in the tub and Jung Hwan offers his services as sauna masseuse extraordinaire.

Yoo Joo’s team is uneasy about her speedy return to work. She tells them not to worry and picks up the pace to get her project underway. Mi Young checks around for signs of Joong Hee. Sh even runs into Tae Boo and asks him if there is something up with Actor Ahn. But Tae Boo isn’t too concerned since filming has been preempted by a football game this week. She wonders if he went somewhere, then. It’s driving her crazy that he won’t answer her texts.

Mi Young walks in on Yoo Joo’s team as they are talking about her. They wonder if she returned to soon and is she is acting too calm about what happened. Mi Young overhears and scolds them not to make assumptions; just because she is calm on the outside doesn’t mean she is okay about what happened on the inside. Yoo Joo walks in on the end and hears Mi Young defending her.

Who should be waiting for Jun Young but Yoo Joo’s mother. Of course, they’ve never met before and Jun Young politely buys her a cool drink. She isn’t classy at all and gets right to the point: she needs money. Jun Young is speechless.

The pizza shop owner brings a poster for a pizza context: Aunt and Uncle can enter a new pizza idea if they want to. The experimenting begins with Grandma and Min Ha as the taste testers. Two huge pizzas emerge from the kitchen. Whose tastes better, Aunt’s or Uncle’s? Min Ha thinks they’re better than he expected but something is missing. Wait! Grandma has a brainstorm – mix then together and what each lacks the other supplies. Sure enough, they all try the combination and declare it the perfect new pizza flavor!

Someone is following Ra Young to her house in a black sweatsuit and cap and sneaks up behind her with a bear hug. But Jun Young happens to be there and knocks the guy down, thinking he is a pervert who is stalking his sister. After a scuffle, Ra Young realizes with horror that it is Cheol Soo. She tells Jun Young to stop – he’s her boyfriend!

They go up to the rooftop where Jun Young explains that is was a misunderstanding and he was protecting his sister. Big brother Jun Young asks questions: how long have they been dating? Who confessed to whom? When it is clear that his younger sister is dating, he softens: “I’ll buy you a drink next time.” Cheol Soo enthusiastically replies, “Thank you, brother-in-law!” Huh?

Mom has been turning things over in her mind all day. When she goes to the bathroom and sees Dad’s toothbrush missing, recalling how he’d asked her earlier about it, she realizes that Joong Hee had it tucked in his sleeve when he was in their room. As the wheels in her head are spinning, Dad calls and says there is a delivery for him and to please get it. Mom opens the DNA test results. She drops to the floor, the wind knocked out of her. She can’t reach Dad at the moment. So, she knows what she has to do.

Jung Hwan massages Hye Young’s shoulders. She is relaxed and enjoying it and decides to deduct some of his penalty points – in fact he earns two love points. Jung Hwan is thrilled. She playfully invites him to seduce her . . . will these two finally get some private time together as newlyweds? The answer is: no. Husband calls Hye Young’s phone for a family meeting downstairs. If it’s not Landlady Oh bugging them, it’s Husband. He bluntly announces that he is leaving: the marriage is over. They will employ the Graduating from Marriage concept and go their own ways. Landlady Oh and Husband argue over assets and arrangements in front of their children. “Isn’t this too much, Dad?” Jung Hwan inquires, but his father wants his freedom. Landlady Oh won’t agree to it. Hye Young steps in with some legal considerations: graduating from marriage must be mutual. If not, then it’s a separation in which case m-i-l is entitled to alimony. Husband yells at Hye Young to mind her own business. Jung Hwan tells his father not to yell at his wife. It’s chaos. With a final “Go ahead and sue me, then” Husband walks out.

Mom takes a taxi to Joong Hee’s studio. She is blinded by desperate and panic as she enters the elevator to his floor. Joong Hee lets her in, and with a stony look tells her that he wasn’t expecting her, but seeing tells him that she must know everything. Mom says she did something terrible. “Yes, you did,” he replies. The whole family must know, right? They’re all frauds. Mom assures him that the children know nothing. It is a heartbreaking scene when Joong Hee asks where his real father is “Did you murder him?” he demands. Mom shakes her head and, with tears streaming down her face, tells him that his father is dead. Joong Hee can’t comprehend what is happening.

Mom drops to her knees before him. She promises to explain everything and begins with Dad’s real name, Lee Yoon Seok. She talks fast, trying to get in all the details of the story as if to explain away 35 years of hiding the truth: Lee Yoon Seok and Byun Han Soo were neighborhood friends. Lee Yoon Seok moved to the States with his parents. One day Yoon Seok was on his way home from judo and reported some boys beating up on a student. The boy died and Yoon Seok was blamed for his death and sentenced to prison for three years. He was falsely made the culprit. His career as an athlete was over. To add to the tragedy, Yoon Seok’s mother passed away while he was in jail for yet another false accusation. His life was over in Korea and he suffered for years in a dark place. Then one day he got a call from Byun Han Soo to start a business in the States – she encouraged him to go and make a fresh start. But after being there for only two days, there was an explosion at the bar where they met for drinks.

Lee Yoon Seok woke up after being in a coma for a week to find out that Byun Han Soo had died in the explosion. Except the records showed the opposite: their identities had gotten mixed up because they had exchanged jackets at the bar with their passports in the jacket pockets. When Yoon Seok woke up, his name on the hospital chart was Byun Han Soo and the deceased was recorded as Lee Yoon Seok. Mom arrived from Korea to bring home LYS’s body – she was his fiance – when she realized the egregious error that had occurred. As happy as she was that Lee Yeon Seok was alive, she convinced him to remain as Byun Han Soo. The reason: she was pregnant. Yoon Seok didn’t wan to do that, but she pleaded, who would ever know? This way he wouldn’t carry his past any longer and their child wouldn’t be the son of a murderer.

Mom looks up desperately and asks if Joong Hee can he see how it all happened. Can he let it go? Can he protect her family and not say anything? A stunned Joong Hee stands stoic, unable to process her words, unable to believe her, unable to comprehend her audacity to dump all this on him. Mom is a mess, begging, pleading, knowing that she is shameless in the worst way – knowing that her actions all along aren’t even human.

“Do you want me to believe you?” Joong Hee manages to say. Mom swears she is telling the truth. He swallows hard. “Let’s say you are telling the truth, but why didn’t you reveal it to me? You had many changes to do so…” Mom is rambling, crying, and begging for understanding that she did it to protect their unborn baby. She wanted to believe that fate had sent them a change to live in this world. “I”m terribly sorry. I won’t ask yo to forgive me. Don’t forgive us. But please leave it buried at it has been.” Can he let it slide? For their children?

“How could you say that to me?” It is the hardest conversation that could ever happen between two people.

Joong Hee stoops and looks Mom in the eye: “What should we do? I have no intentions of doing that. I won’t let you be. No, I can’t.” He asks if she could do that if she were him. He firmly tells her to leave with a restraint that is holding back a storm of emotions. He doesn’t want to see her face again. He can’t even handle that his father is dead. Mom has dished a lifetime of lies and Joong Hee is the loser in the story. How could Mom do that to him?

Mom staggers out of the apartment. She has done the dirty deed. A broken Joong Hee repeats, “My father is dead? For thirty-five years he’s been dead?” and throws a chair, shattering a mirror in his deepest distress.

Dad speaks to the nurse on his way out from visiting aunt. He stops by Real Han Soo’s grave. As he sits, he tells him that Joong Hee is doing well with his drama and that Soo Jin showed up in Korea. He thought about telling Joong Hee everything but he couldn’t. He sits on the hill alone, admitting that he is a coward.

Gil calls with some information: what he found out about Byun Han Soo correlates with Mom’s story. It’s hard to tell whether Joong Hee is surprised about that or not. Mom sits on a bench at the Han River. It’s all over now.” She wonders if her husband will be able to sleep withough nightmares now. She doesn’t make sense.

Mom is a ticking time bomb. She busies herself making a last meal before the storm hits, and sends a text to her children to come for a family dinner.

Husband leaves the house with his bags and Chico. Landlady Oh finds a note in his study that he has left with hopes for a new future.

The Byun children eat dinner together. Ra Young says she enjoys having Hye Young with them. But, what’s up? the girls wonder. Dad and Joong Hee aren’t present and Mom has alled this family meal. Mom smiles and tells then that nothing is up. But her face is strained and even though she is a master at hiding her emotions if necessary, she can’t hide her downcast eyes from her daughters.

 

Hye Young talks to Mom in her room. “What’s wrong?” she asks. Mom admits that something is wrong but she will tell her later. Hye Young is scared, what is Mom hiding? But Mom evades the discussion.

Hye Young gets a call from her office: Her father-in-law is there; it seems as if he is a victim of an apartment rental scandal. Oh brother,

 

Dad bring some tasty things to Joong Hee’s apartment. Joong Hee lets him in. Dad makes small talk until he looks around and sees broken glass and funriture everywhere.

“I thought you said you were worried about me, Mr. Lee Yeon Seok.”

Comments:

  • I am still dabbing my eyes. Was this only one episode? I feel as if I’ve watched an entire drama in just this one. And I’m angry.
  • Mom was too much. Yes, she told the truth, and we know how deeply sorry she is, there’s no doubt about that. But she dumped on Joong Hee. No human being should have to stand there and take everything he is being told from the person he had come to love. Mom made it all about her and Dad – about them – and threw Joong Hee back on the outside of the family circle. It was clear how much she wants to protect her children, but she didn’t offer anything in the way of protecting Joong Hee. Mom was wrong in her approach. Mom – who has held the family together all these thirty-five years, handled this situation wrong. She brought on the storm but I don’t think she can fix it. The more I think about it, the more I am angry and upset at Mom for the way she treated Joong Hee in unearthing the truth of Dad’s past and his father’s death. She may not have meant to be cruel to Joong Hee, but she was.
  • You’re right, Lee Yoon Seok, you are a coward.
  • I wish Yoo Joo would allow Jun Young in on her – their – decisions more. I can see how she is fiercely independent and angry at her mother who isn’t much of one. But I am worried about her. I think Yoo Joo’s worst enemy is herself; she has a bully streak and there is no excuse for that, but she is hardest on herself. I’ve said before that I don’t think there is anything she can do to make her situation at work work for her. *sigh*
  • I’m done with Landlady Oh and Husband. Hye Young and Jung Hwan have been the only ones to try to make the living arrangements work. In doing so, they haven’t had one minute’s peace for themselves. I think as adults, they’ve done their best and need to move out. Quit with the hash marks on the chart.
  • it was cute how big brother Jun Young questioned Ra Young’s boyfriend after the misunderstanding was cleared up. Other than that, not much on the Ra-Cheol front this episode.
  • If I can find a fault, Mi Young’s character is getting lost in the shuffle. I hope the drama remedies that soon.
  • This was an exhausting episode. My comments are few, but my emotions for Joong Hee are running high. I am 100% on his side, whatever he decides I am behind because none of this is his fault. I hate where he finds himself at this point in the story – he didn’t ask for what he has to deal with. All he wanted is a relationship with his father and even worked out some things with his mother. The emotional trauma is devastating and I don’t know how this family can possible weather the relationship-wreck.

 

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “My Father Is Strange – ep 38 recap

  1. I think Hye Young and Jung Hwan need to butt out of the parents relationship. Being a good parent doesn’t mean you’re a good spouse. That is a relationship between a man and a woman, kids have no say in the romantic part of their parents relationship. Jung Hwan wants to excuse his mother’s behavior because he feels like his father was aloof when he doesn’t know what his father was dealing with as a husband. Yes, the father was being a jerk but I can see why. For 38 years he’s been looked down on and had to make apologies for his wife’s behavior not to mention that Landlady Oh refused to give him the money from his pension. HIS OWN MONEY. They grew apart as husband and wife but honestly they never should have gotten married.

    If Jung Hwan wasn’t such punk ass momma’s boy and kept his promise to Hye Young’s parents to move into their own place, he and Hye Young wouldn’t have to deal with the crazy everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hi! just wanted to thank you for your recaps. i love this drama, and your wonderful recaps have meant a lot to me especially since i cant get teh subbed episodes yet. Not many recappers online are willing to take on the 50 eppisode family dramas like this one. so thank you! You are a wonderful writer, and your thoughts at the end are always insightful (and i often find myself agreeing with you). Keep up the good work, it is appreciated!
    RM

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rhona, Thanks for the comment and for loving My Father Is Strange kdrama, too. I really look forward to the weekly episodes and hope you can get the subs soon!

      Like

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