My Father Is Strange – ep 49 recap

“Jong Hwa?’ Dad asks twice. But the man in the hallway turns and leaves. “Let’s go,” Dad says to his family. Only Hye Young knows that it was, indeed, Mr. Lim Jong Hwa.

Everyone waits for Dad and the others to return from court. They are all relieved at the probation sentence. Grandma is so happy and cutely offers to treat everyone to Chinese food, but Uncle won’t hear of it; it’s pizza and beer on him! Mi Young steps into the hallway to call Joong Hee. He is relieved to hear that things went as good as one could expect. The conversation is brief.   

Joong Hee wonders why she got off so quickly; Mi Young wonders why he was so formal over the phone. They are both sad that Joong Hee has a shoot tomorrow which means they won’t get to see each other for a two days. Ra Young is suspicious when Mi Young said she took a call outside to talk to a friend.

Mom has an announcement: she will be going on a four-day vacation with her friends. Everyone is shocked; it seems sudden and this is so unlike Mom. But they tell her to have a good time-no one deserves it more than she does. Only Yoo Joo looks down and is uncomfortable with the secret that Mom will be going in for surgery. Yoo Joo, who has taken three days off, tells Jun Young that a sudden work-related trip is scheduled. She, too, will be away for a few days. Of course, Yoo Joo is going to be by Mom’s side during the procedure. She is in a tough situation.

The sisters talk about how sad it was to see Dad cry in the courtroom . Hye Young tells them she is investigating because she wants to prove Dad’s innocence. But she can’t guarantee anything. She thinks to herself: Jong Hwa came to the court hearing, so there is still hope.

Mom pretends to leave on her trip. Yoo Joo leaves too, presumably on a work-related trip. The two of them take a taxi together as everyone else waves them off.

Dad and Hye Young discuss the matter of a retrial. Didn’t he ask her not to pursue that? Dad tells her to stop; he doesn’t want to be tortured by false hope. He researched retrials after she mentioned it and learned that they are very rarely successful. “Please, just live your life,’ he tells his daughter. She plays her final card and tells Dad that she quit her job. She really wants to clear his name, and maybe Mr. Lim will testify. Although they can’t know the results, what pains her most is knowing as much as she does and not doing something about it. “Please appointment as your lawyer,” she pleads. She tells Dad that he has done so much for her, she wants to repay him this way. She asks him to let her have a go at it.

Joong Hee sends Tae Boo for curry (at a far away restaurant) and sneaks over to Dad’s. He is dying to see how everyone is doing. He tells Dad how glad he is that the trial went well. Dad invites him to join Ra Young and Mi Young for homemade noodles. It is nice to see them relaxed for a change. Ra Young eyes her sister and Joong Hee and picks up on little things like her giving him noodles from her bowl and him giving back some to make sure she eats enough. They are subtly playful but this doesn’t escape Ra Young’s sharp eyes.

Mi Young follows Joong Hee upstairs to the rooftop room. She is surprised that he could stop by considering his shooting schedule. It’s true, he is busy and must head back soon. Still, seeing him is like a vitamin for Mi Young; I guess you could say that goes both ways. He couldn’t hold out seeing her because he missed her. She pecks him lightly on the lips. Not one to miss the opportunity, Joong Hee draws her close to him and kisses her. It is hard to be apart like they have had to be recently.

Jung Hwan informs his parents about Dad’s sentence. He explains that Dad is on probation for two years and how happy the family is that Dad doesn’t have to go to prison. The parents aren’t sure how they feel about things, still. But, this will have to wait. Landlady Oh and Husband have an event to attend. It’s the retired journalists’ get-together dinner. When a toast is proposed, the journalist who bugs Husband the most gets up and is long-winded and arrogant. Even Landlady Oh says the alcohol “is inviting me in” – bottoms up!

Somehow the story about Joong Hee comes up and the obnoxious journalist repeats all manner of rumors – the entire family helped Dad carry out the fake identity – the daughter is a lawyer and fixed the hearing to correspond to the statute of limitations expiration – the building that family lives in, well, Joong Hee bought it for them. Husband and Landlady Oh are incensed and maintain that none of that is true. As journalists, they shouldn’t be spreading rumors, now, should they? But the obnoxious journalist says that if he is wrong, he will burn his hand at which point Husband grabs his hand and holds it to the grill (which is not on). A brawl ensues complete with yelling, hair-pulling, water tossing, and shoving. The entire room is in chaos. Before you know it, Jung Hwan gets a call from his mother that they are at police station. “What?” he exclaims and calls Hye Young. By the time they show up, the parties are still throwing insults and accusations across the room. “My daughter-in-law is a lawyer, try suing me!” Landlady Oh explodes. Jung Hwan and Hye Young look sternly at the rowdy couples. Suddenly, the bickering adults are sheepish. Husband is embarrassed and tells Hye Young that she doesn’t need to be there, but she decides the act as their attorney and informs the other couple that if they plan to sue them, they should call her first. What good d-i-l she is!

Yoo Joo makes sure Mom is comfortable in her hospital room. But, she really thinks she should tell the family; the trial is over and they would most certainly wish to know about this. Mom doesn’t want to do that; she is too sorry to Dad and can’t put more on him than she already has. She was the one who made him live as Han Soo for 35 years, but he had to face the charges alone. She feels so guilty. Maybe she was selfish. “I deserve to be sick,” she confides. Yoo Joo protests, but Mom says she will tell the family after the results are in.

Yoo Joo has a confession to make, too. “I lied, Mother. My parents are alive.” She goes on to say that her mother abandoned her when she was five and her father shipped her off to her grandmother when he remarried. When her grandmother died, her father had no choice but to take her in. Still, he didn’t care for her at all. So, she is envious of Jun Young’s family – his parents, his siblings – and she lied out of embarrassment and shame. Mom listens. “I’m very proud of how you turned out,” she tells Yoo Joo. There’s more, but Mom tells her that she is loved and not to cry. I am sure Yoo Joo feels better to get that off her chest and receive Mom’s warm response.

Hye Young is busy researching in the library. With a tall stack of books, she sits down ready to dig in. A sweet note is on her laptop: You are the prettiest one in the library. Would you like a cup of tea? She is startled to see Jung Hwan standing in the stacks with a big smile. Once again, he is there to support her. She brings him up to date on the retrial prospects. With a hug he encourages her that everything will work out all right.

Ra Young waits for Cheol Soo at his office. With Mom away on a trip and Dad’s trial over, she wants to let him know that she missed him. Just as he leans over to give her a kiss, Chairman pulls him away. “Follow me, you two,” he barks.

Rather than having anything to say to Chairman, Ra Young asks for the apology he owes her. Chairman is speechless. Cheol Soo boldly states that they have not broken up. “My gosh, you two!” is all that Chairman can say. He’s beginning to realize that he can’t control them.

Mi Young is uncharacteristically fussy about what to wear as she holds up several outfits in the mirror. Joong Hee stocks his fridge, fills the table with snacks, and lights candles. “Is this too much?” he wonders. Mi Young rings the bell; they are shy. He offers her a drink and suggests they watch a movie together.

When he reaches over she pulls back; but he isn’t going for a hug – he’s just grabbing the remote control. Ha! Shall they watch Our Happy Times? Mi Young strongly objects. Joong Hee is startled. Well, his co-actress is in it, didn’t he realize that? Mi Young acts all jealous. He apologizes and fusses at her, “Aren’t we dating? She chooses another movie, but Jin Sung Joo is in it and now Joong Hee is jealous.

They settle on an action movie, grinning like a cute high school couple.

Mom is ready to go into surgery. Yoo Joo goes with her until she is wheeled into the operating room. That’s all Yoo Joo can take; she calls Jun Young and tells him what is going on.

Dad finally agrees to let Hye Young continue with the retrial investigation. But only if Jong Hwa will testify. If not, she has to promise to drop it. He doesn’t want her to get too involved and worked up. She promises that if Lim Jong Hwa refuses to testify, there’s nothing she can do.

As they discuss the matter further, Dad gets a call from Jun Young. “What?” he exclaims. Dad and Hye Young dash to the hospital. “What’s going on? What surgery?” Jun Young fills them in – there is s 3 cm tumor on Mom’s breast that they are removing. They don’t know if it is cancerous or benign, yet. Dad falls to the bench; he can’t believe Mom didn’t tell him a thing. Nothing. Yoo Joo is in the middle, trying to explain Mom’s reasoning. But Dad only feels more isolated and is upset that Mom went through this alone.

Ra Young and Mi Young come running. The family waits together, eyes fixed on the surgery schedule monitor. Time seems to stand still. Finally, Mom is out of surgery. Dad holds her hands tightly; the children stand around, worried. When Mom comes to, she asks, “How did you find out?”

She tries to downplay the surgery, but her family scolds her. How could she not tell them? Does she know how pathetic they feel? Four grown children and she went in alone? Mom apologizes, but comments that they sure are nagging a patient.

It’s a relief to be together. The doctor tells them that the biopsy will take a week. Also, Mom will stay in the hospital for a couple of days. Although the results aren’t known yet, the doctor assures them that either way, he got the affected tissue.  Everyone fights to stay the night with Mom. Hye Young thinks she should as the oldest daughter. Ra Young says Mom prefers Mi Young. But Dad shoos them all out the door: tonight it will be just the two of them. ♥

The siblings thank Yoo Joo for her part in all this. Yoo Joo was afraid they would be mad at her, but they are thankful instead. They ask Mi Young if she is on a date the way she is dressed up but she evades the questions.

Dad sits attentively by Mom’s side. He helps her sit up. They talk. Waiting for the surgery to end seemed like an eternity he tells her. Dad realizes how hard it must have been for Mom to watch the trial. “Watching hurts more,” he states. “Even if I’m born again, I’d marry you,” he tells Mom sweetly. “How about you?” he asks. Choking back tears Mom teases, “It depends.” It is a tender moment.

The next morning, Hye Young picks up Dad at the hospital. They have an important stop to make. Dad is nervous about facing Lim Jong Hwa. Hye Young leans over and hugs Dad tightly; “It’ll work out, Dad.”

The moment of truth has arrived. Dad enters the car repair shop.”Jong Hwa. It’s been a long time.”

“It’s been a while.”

The two men sit. The one thing Dad wants to know is this: Why did he back out? His mother visited him many times. He saw that he didn’t kill that person. He saw the three other students. They were friends who trained together. The rumors that Jong Hwa backed out to win the judo championships – Dad doesn’t believe them. So, why did he change his story?

Jong Hwa says nothing. Dad turns to leave. But then, Jong Hwa speaks up. “My mom was paid off.” Before he knew it, his mother paid off his father’s medical bills. One of the student’s father visited his mother and offered her money. That’s why he did it.

“I see,” says Dad. Indeed, he thought that was the case when he learned of Jong Hwa’s father’s operation back then.

Hye Young stands at the door listening in on the conversation.

Still, Dad asks, will he testify?

No answer.

“Okay. It can’t be easy to tell that story in court.” At least Dad feels better knowing the reason.

Hye Young bursts in. In rapid fire she screams, “You ruined a friend’s life. Testify! Say what you did!” She doesn’t stop, bombarding Jong Hwa with details about the guilt Dad has lived with and the disappointments he has had to face. All because he wouldn’t testify! Hye Young is very emotional.

“Stop it!” Dad shouts. Hye Young is shaking with anger. But this is why Dad didn’t want a trial. He knew she would get like this.

Dad can understand why his mother did what she did and why Jong Hwa backed out. He, too, knows what it is like to watch a parent wither away and not be able to afford medical care. He takes Hye Young’s arm and as they walk out the door Jong Hwa slowly stands up.

“I will . . . testify. The retrial – do it.”


  • I think the biggest sense I get in this episode is that the family – the extended family – is coming back together. After a lot of split-offs along the way, things are being worked out. And, isn’t that really a slice of life? It has taken thirty-five years for the what-goes-around-comes-around cycle, but the Lee aka Byun family members are working together and not against each other. As Mi Young stated, “My Dad will always be my dad.”
  • And, we can’t forget that a lot of the healing has come from Joong Hee’s willingness to work through things by working hard at it. He is a charming character in every way. I hope we get to see a happy-ever-after for him and Mi Young. Right?
  • The fact that Mom wanted to hide the surgery is a bit bothersome, but I wonder if it isn’t a cultural thing that goes something like this: I want my family by my side but it is selfish of me to put them through any more pain even though they would want to be with me. So, I will go it alone and not say anything, the will be easier for them and then I will tell everyone about it afterward. It’s for the best. (Fill in the particular crisis in this scenario.)  While I want to say that Mom hasn’t stopped lying – they lied so long about their identity and now she is covering her surgery with a story about going on a trip with her friends – I don’t think it is that simple. In kdramaland, this is where I have to say, okay, it all worked out. I can’t critique it any more or I will go crazy on why people shouldn’t be that way, etc. Mom and Dad telling each other that, even in another life they would choose each other, is their way of setting things right.
  • It felt good to hear Landlady Oh and Husband defend Dad.
  • The retrial will be the final step in clearing Dad’s name and reputation. The dust will settle, and all will be well.
  • Two more episodes, k-lovers. Let’s do this!

6 thoughts on “My Father Is Strange – ep 49 recap

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