My Father Is Strange – ep 40 recap

“Happy birthday, Abeoji,” says Joong Hee as he joins the family celebration. Grandma tells him to be sure to sleep at home even if he’s busy. To the rest of the family, Joong Hee is now Star Ahn. But Mom and Dad are stiff, not knowing what to do or what might happen with him there.

The family has dinner together and then head home or up to bed. “Let’s have a talk. Both of you,” Joong Hee solemnly says to Mom and Dad and they go to the Snackshack.   

Joong Hee is upset. He wants to know why Dad is going to turn himself in – to pay for his crimes? To reduce his sentence? To lessen his guilt? If he never found out, were they going to go on as they had been, living a lie? Now, Dad will be comfortable tuning himself in, right? Can they even imagine how much pain he is in? Why didn’t they at least stop him from believing that he was his dad so that he wouldn’t be so hurt? Mom and Dad sit stoically as Joong Hee pours out his heart.

“I was so happy to find my dad after 35 years and you ruined it,” Joong Hee tells them. ”So don’t turn yourselves in, I’ll decide that – if I report you to the police or tell your beloved children. Don’t do a thing until I decide.” He will live with them for a while, under their noses, so they can feel what a broken heart is like. With that, Joong Hee leaves Mom and Dad sitting silently at the table.

Up in his room Joong Hee sheds more tears. It’s a dark time and what should he do? What can he do? Poor devastated Joong Hee, he seems exhausted.

Mi Young avoids Joong Hee – she can’t seem to face him. There is tension between Mom, Dad and Joong Hee at breakfast. Yoo Joo compliments Dad’s cooking but Joong Hee cryptically comments that there’s something else he’s good at: acting. In fact, he tells the siblings, there may be something their parents are keeping from all of them that they can’t imagine.

The mood is off; the siblings notice and wonder if Joong Hee is upset.

Hye Young can’t decide if she should act as m-i-l’s agent in graduating from marriage – “I will, I won’t, I will, I won’t,” she says as she plucks the lettuce leaves one by one.

Hye Young stops downstairs to discuss it with Landlady Oh. If she acts as her agent, there are conditions m-i-l must follow. First, don’t drop in without asking. Second, don’t text unless it’s necessary and don’t call during work. Third, if she successfully prevents graduation from marriage then they will move out after six months. Landlady Oh reluctantly balks at the conditions but accepts them in the end. So representation begins: what is m-i-l’’s position? The bottom line is: m-i-l still loves Husband. He was once young and handsome and they’ve shared thirty-eight years together. Next, Hye Young asks Husband a few questions: why does he want to graduate from marriage? His answer: he wants freedom, he wants him life back, and he and his wife have nothing in common. Tell me something we don’t already know. He trails off with a poem, life is like a short nap in the middle of summer…

Jung Hwan waits, tapping nervously, for his boss to review his proposal for a new show. This time, his idea passes. In fact, his boss seems thrilled with the idea of a three-episode pilot for a show about marriage internship. Wait, is this a good idea? How will Hye Young react? While reality makes for a good basis for some shows with a bit of humor added, I’m not sure his own personal circumstance as a show is a good idea. (Gulp*)

Dad has a lot to think about. Ht tells Mom that Joong Hee is right – he should be the one to decide how the truth of his father’s identity is revealed. At the film site, Joong Hee is struggling. He is distracted, probably depressed, and the script doesn’t help. He is to portray a son who understand his father’s deceit and lies and right now, he just can’t do that. Unfortunately, the staff thinks he is being difficult. They decide to break and shoot another scene instead.

Tae Boo wants to know what’s bothering him. Joong Hee won’t say anything. Just then, Mi Young brings in a change of clothes for Joong Hee. She finds herself unable to look at him. Joong Hee wonders if she is in the wrong room; Sung Joon is next door he tells her.

It is an uncomfortable few minutes in the room together. Tae Boo asks if she can fill in for him for a couple of weeks but she quickly says she can’t, and bows with a “sorry,” avoiding looking at Joong Hee. She rides the bus home, confused by the way she feels. She shakes her head, “It can’t be” as she tries to talk herself out of her own feelings.

Yoo Joo and Jun Young wait for her check up; he takes her hand to comfort her when he notices her looking at the other pregnant women and women with newborn babies. At least his silly face makes her laugh and breaks the tension. The  doctor gives Yoo Joo a good report and tells Jun Young to take good care of her. They go to an expensive restaurant together for a long overdue date. Yoo Joo tells him that she would like to keep her job for now and promises not to overwork herself. He agrees and thinks they might wait before they try again for a baby. He can get established at work and they can mature a bit. Yoo Joo would like to read up on motherhood and be more prepared, too. And, Jun Young wants to spend one weekend day together as newlyweds. “Deal,” they say simultaneously. For the first time, they are able to talk about things and plan for their future.

Ra Young’s supervisor is impressed with how she handled the Chairman. When she meets Cheol Soo, he asks how in the world she was able to sell drinks to his father. “Doesn’t my dad scare you?” he asks but she replies that his dad is like him and she isn’t scared at all. Cheol Soo wants to meet her family; after all, she has met his brother and Dad. The altercation with her brother needs to be smoothed over, too. Ra Young thinks they should take it slow, but since Jun Young offered to buy drinks, they might start there.

On the way back to work, Ra Young and Cheol Soo stop to pick up some facial basics. She thinks he should protect his skin since he is outdoors so much of the time. Cleanser, mask, and two-for-one deals fill up their basket. He says she really is a good salesperson to make him buy so many products.

Mi Young turns to avoid Joong Hee again on the way home that night. He doesn’t know what to make of her treating him that way, as if the deceit of Mom and Dad aren’t enough to worry about. Mi Young sits alone at the playground. She doesn’t know what to do, either.

Landlady Oh grills meat for dinner and invites Husband to join her. She has made his favorite: tenderloin. It sure sounds a lot better than instant noodles and so he agrees with a caveat that he won’t eat what she cooks after this. These two (sigh). After dinner, Landlady Oh texts Hye Young: I did what you told me to do. I cooked meat for father-in-law. Hye Young texts back not to cook dinner next time. The plan is to make Husband enjoy a meal then not be available after that – in other words, play hard to get. Prove your value by being absent. That’s Hye Young’s plan. Next, they are to meet at the bookstore at 7 p.m.

The plan: to improve m-i-l’s communication skills. She is weak in spelling and vocabulary, so Hye Young will help her in those areas. It’s harder to take someone seriously when they can’t properly express themselves, Hye Young tells m-i-l.

Grandma wants to know if Uncle and Aunt have decided how to spend the money – will it be the business or Min Ha’s education? They decide to do a three-way secret ballot – however the vote comes out will be the final decision. When the papers are opened, all three votes are for Min Ha’s education. But the winds have changed for Min Ha; as he waits at the bus, he heart flutters when a lovely woman sits next to him. He asks for her number. She notices he is working on calculus. “Kid,” she says, “I teach math at Onjeong High School. When you’re the right age I’ll teach you.” She hops on the bus.

A google-eyed Min Ha enters the pizza shop and says, “Mom, Dad, Grandma. I want to go to Onjeong High School. I really want to study there.” That solves that dilemma.

Mi Young is zoned out at work. Her supervisor tells her to carry in a box of CDs. When she goes to get on the elevator, Joong Hee is already there and turns to take the stairs. She struggles with the heavy box, misses a step, and falls hard. Her elbow and back are badly scraped adding insult to injury to her already hurting heart. Even she can’t believe how out of control she feels. “Mi Young, get a grip,” she tells her image in the mirror.

Psychiatrist ex-girlfriend is waiting in the hall. When she asks Mi Young where Joong Hee is, a jealous Mi Young tells her that he isn’t around. But, then Joong Hee walks up and there she is, caught in the middle. Mi Young sits in the stairwell holding her head between her hands and wondering why in the world she is acting so crazy. “He’s your brother,” she tells herself and sighs in confusion.

Psychiatrist ex-girlfriend has come to break up, as it were, with Joong Hee. She still has feelings for him and he hasn’t come by for sessions recently, so perhaps their interaction has concluded. First, Joong Hee knows Dad isn’t his real father which makes Mi Young not his sister – at least he doesn’t have to resolve those feelings for her any longer. Well, parting isn’t easy but it’s necessary. Neither feels great about it, but seeing each other isn’t helping, either.

Hye Young calls out for Jung Hwan’s at home but he doesn’t answer. She calls to discover that he is at her parents house and will meet her there. He has brought fruits and greets Mom and Dad warmly. He has decided that they should spend time with Hye Young’s family this weekend. Mom cooks plenty of chicken for everyone. Joong Hee joins everyone, but with Mom and Dad freezing up every time he is around, the atmosphere is awkward. “I couldn’t let you eat in peace, could I?” he says, once again setting the mood on edge. Hye Young notices her parents’ solemn expressions. Jun Hwan tries to lighten things up and compliments Mom on the delicious meal. He invites Hye Young’s parents to their place for a housewarming, apologizing for not asking them earlier. Mom says they will gladly come. Joong Hee asks Dad why his mother wasn’t invited to join the family when she stopped in; isn’t that the way parents and children are?

Hey Young won’t let that comment go and tells Joong Hee that he is being rude.

“She says I’m rude,” he replies.

When Hye Young insists that Joong Hee is out of line, Dad interrupts her. No one can figure out what’s going on.

Joong Hee gets up and leaves. The siblings wonder if there is a problem between Joong Hee and their parents. Hye Young can’t believe Dad yelled at her and not Joong Hee. Everyone is puzzled.

With the sisters all sleeping together, Hye Young goes to get blankets from her parents’ room to make up a bed for Jung Hwan in the living room.  She finds an envelope tucked in the drawer and opens it: it’s the DNA report: Byun and Ahn – no match.

Mi Young drinks alone, drowning her sorrows in soju. She stumbles home and finds herself fact-to-face with Joong Hee. “Byun Mi Young,” he calls. “Why are you running away from me? Answer me. Do you hate me like the other family members? You don’t know anything…”

She says she isn’t avoiding him. He is upset and insists that she is unfairly avoiding him.

I like you, Actor Ahn.” Mi Young covers her mouth, but not in time to stop what she just blurted out.

Comments:

  • So complicated. The household, which was once warm and inviting,  feels so crowded and uncomfortable now. While Yoo Joo and Jun Young are growing closer and talking, Mi Young and Joong Hee are as distant as they’ve ever been. Mom and Dad act stiff, afraid to breathe whenever Joong Hee is around. It is terribly sad; I hate how Joong Hee is no longer a natural part of the family’s activities. He is pushed to the edge to make cryptic, unsettling comments that make him look difficult. However, it is Mom and Dad who have put him in that situation. They need a better plan than to let Joong Hee, a ticking time bomb, explode in anger and anguish and say things he might regret. He was the one who went to them to express how he feels; I think it is on Mom and Dad to protect him and tell him they love him and will protect him while he works through how he feels. Even if he rejects them, they should step up and embrace him in his sorrow and hurt. They caused it. I am still very upset with Mom and Dad.
  • I can appreciate Hye Young’s efforts to help refine Landlady Oh’s ability to think and create a reasonable argument for her position, but it sure is A Lot Of Work. And, maybe after 38 years, the adults should work through their impasse themselves.  Both are bores, as far as I’m concerned.
  • Jun Hwan may have opened up a can of worms to create a pilot entertainment program based on his own marriage contract. I don’t think Hye Young will appreciate a TV show based on their own experimental experience, at least not yet.
  • Ra Young is cute. And smart. She is different from what she seems; for example, she wants to introduce her boyfriend to her family slowly. And she isn’t afraid of Cheol Soo’s father. People like him just need someone to stand up to them and they back down.
  • Aw, Min Ha – there’s more to life than numbers for him, after all. What a sweet kid. And good for Uncle, Aunt,, and Grandma for putting Min Ha first.
  • Poor Mi Young and ouch! That scrape on her back looks really painful. It’s probably nothing compared to her hurting heart, though. I hope she and Joong Hee can be on the same page soon – maybe he will tell her everything first in order to clear up their relationship so they can like each other romantically and legitimately. But even if that part is cleared up, what about dealing with Mom and Dad’s fraud? Will anyone be able to get past that? With only 10 episodes left, there are a lot of loose ends to tie, right?

 

 

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “My Father Is Strange – ep 40 recap

  1. I so wish Mom and Dad had worked up the nerve to tell Joong-hee before he figured it out himself. At this point, I understand why they are handling it the way they are — after all, when you have done something this wrong, what is there to say? — but I like your direction. Hug him and let him know he is loved!

    Like

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