Aw, we’ve come to the end of My Father Is Strange, how will we part with such a wonderful family? As far as endings go, this one is tops! Thanks for following cimiart recaps for the past six months. I hope you enjoy the conclusion of what has become one of the more endearing kdramas to date.
Final Episode ~ The Perfect Wedding Gift
As is the family tradition, everyone comes to congratulate Dad on the retrial application hearing. They all attended yesterday’s solemn court hearing and were quite nervous.
Min Ha offers Hye Young his respect for her awesome court presentation. The rest of the family follows suit. Hye Young doesn’t put on false modesty airs, but it true to herself and accepts the compliments. There are also lots of online comments in support of Lee Yeon Seok’s story and the retrial application. Mom and Dad haven’t looked so happy since, ever. Jun Young reminds Dad that he will receive a new ID with his name: Lee Yeon Seok.
“Congratulations, Yeon Seok,” Joong Hee refers to Dad’s new, real name. “Wait, I’m getting a new husband now,” Mom claps her hands in delight. The kids cringe at Mom and Dad’s playfulness. Grandma happily comments that “Everyone is finally where they belong, now.” Then she makes an odd side comment that she wouldn’t ask for more if she could see Young Shil’s (Mom’s) wedding.
Jun Young is thoughtful at hearing Grandma’s comments. He calls the siblings together. “How about we have a wedding for Dad and Mom?”
“They didn’t have a wedding? Then it’s a great idea,” Joong Hee adds. They are all for it and offer to oversee various aspects of the preparation. Hye Young thinks they should keep it small. Jun Young will look into the cost. Yoo Joo will do the dress, hair, and makeup. Jung Hwan will film the event. Joong Hee will find the venue (it’s good to know a celebrity they tease).
Dad has the same idea and asks if Mom would like a wedding. After all, he was using Han Soo’s name and she was pregnant with Jun Young, so they couldn’t back then. Mom objects. “How can I wear a wedding dress? Forget it,” she tells him.
Jun Young tells Dad to come around lunchtime to get his new ID. Oh, and there’s a surprise, Ra Young tells Mom. Mi Young adds, “We want to plan a wedding for you.” Jun Young tells his parents to register their marriage now. “Well, I won’t look good in a wedding dress . . .” Mom begins, but the girls insist that she will be beautiful and elegant and talk her into it. “Thanks guys,” she says bashfully. Dad teases that she said no when he asked but Mom puts up a fuss that the kids won’t let it go, they are asking so much about it so she just gave in. How sweet to think, though, that Mom secretly likes the idea very much.
Jun Young is pleased to be the one to issue Dad’s new ID: Social Security Card Lee Yeon Seok. Dad finally has his identity back. It is very touching. “Congratulations, Dad,” Jun Young earnestly tells him. “Getting it from my son makes me even happier,” Dad beams.
Dad feels legitimate and complete now. Mom feels like she’s gone back to her 20s and met Yeon Seok all over again. Their long ordeal is over. Now they can do what they never could before – get a bank account in Dad’s name and, well, get a driver’s license. Mom looks on as Dad takes the driver’s ed test; his driving is a little jerky and the wipers are going, but he moves the vehicle forward on the course. Mom claps, cheering him on.
Mi Young unenthusiastically answers a call as she looks online for jobs, but this time it really is a job offer! She can’t contain her excitement and runs over to Joong Hee’s apartment. He has news too, so they say it together:
“I got a job!” – “I renewed my contract!”
She tells him about the call from Eye Entertainment, an agency with a great reputation that must have liked her credentials. But Joong Hee isn’t excited at all. He renewed his contract on the condition that they bring her back to Gabi Entertainment. Mi Young protests that it is an inappropriate request by an actor and she doesn’t like that set up. But Joong Hee wants to spend more time with her. And, by the way, didn’t Sung Joon sign with Eye Entertainment? He acts jealous. “Did he?” Mi Young asks, innocently. They look online and sure enough, he is with the agency she just took a job with. But, it’s not like that, she insists.
Flashback: High schooler Mi Young visits her favorite singer artist, Yoon Mi Rae, at a radio station. See carries a Teddy Bear with a note ‘I love You.’ At the same , Joong Hee is also there, as a singer in Steel Heart. He was a fan of Mr Rae, too. He thinks they very well may have run into each other back then.
Mi Young doesn’t want him to be mad and makes her cutest pouty face. Joong Hee tells her to stop, but she is huggy an flirty. How can he still be mad at her with all that cuteness?
Hye Young comes home after an interview to find that Jung Hwan has made her favorite dish, pasta and clams. They enjoy a nice dinner over wine. She has a lot of interviews, even Husband got her an interview through his connections. They discuss his pilot project and he tells her that their own marriage internship plan helped him develop the concept of a reality show with three couples who enter an internship. Speaking of marriage internships they have an evaluation to make on theirs. They count up their points: 51 for Hye Young. What a surprise (and a conflict; they agreed that 50 points could be reason to call off the marriage.) Isn’t that too high Hye Young wonders?
Looks like their marriage crisis wasn’t about his difficult parents after all. Hye Young’s demands, regardless, kept them apart and unable to meet the requirements on their list. Jung Hwan tries to make excuses; she was busy with the retrial and many things came up. But, rules are rules, she insists. So, they will meet in a week for the big decision: will they continue their marriage or end it?
Husband has agreed to go shopping with Landlady Oh even though he is a bit weary with an armful of bags. She looks at a sports coat for him. Husband doesn’t want her to buy him anything more, but she wants to pick out something for the in-laws wedding this weekend. Husband asks if she might need a new pair of shoes, taking an interest in her and showing a side of himself that Landlady Oh hasn’t seen in a long, long time. He tells her to pick out something for her upcoming birthday.
That gives her an idea: what she wants as a birthday gift is a proper family portrait. This time Landlady Oh, Husband, Jung Hwan, Hye Young, and Chico go to a photographer for a lovely family portrait that now hangs on their living room wall. Landlady Oh sighs. She tells Husband that she is sad the children will be leaving in January. What? Husband didn’t know about that. Why not just ask them to stay? Landlady Oh almost blurts out the reason: she promised Hye Young that if she was successful in helping her with the marriage graduation (and not having it go through), then Hye Young and Jung Hwan could move out at the end of the year. Well, it’s their little secret.
Uncle – CEO Mr. Na, Aunt, and Min Ha stand in front of their new pizza shop. It’s a dream come true. (Let’s hope Uncle can keep this business afloat!) Aunt wonders if it’s okay to have a ritual with a pizza; nevertheless, they all make a wish. Uncle: please hep us succeed, Aunt: please make us rich, and Min Ha: please get me a girlfriend! Uncle and Aunt turn and look at him, “What?” Then their first customers enter.”This way!” they greet them in unison.
Ra Young is a big hit as the home shopping host. Cheol Soo congratulates her. She (not Cheol Soo) gets a call from the Chairman who figured Cheol Soo would tag along with his girlfriend. Chairman has some things he wants to say. First, he hands back his son’s resignation. Chairman uncharacteristically compliments Cheol Soo by telling him that he is the best person to continue the soccer team. He turns to Ra Young and asks if she’s been looking for a full-time position. Ra Young replies that she has, at which point Chairman offers her a position, trying hard to convince her that the company looks after their employees and may even offer to pay for her host academy school. Ra Young’s immediate reaction is to jump at it, but she composes herself and says that she will consider the offer. Chairman tells her to do so, but as for Cheol Soo – he has nothing to think about and should get to work asap! “Learn from your girlfriend. . .” and whatever he says after that, Cheol Soo doesn’t hear but asks, “Did you just call her my girlfriend?” “Yes, go ahead and keep dating her.” Ra Young calls him Abeoji. Chairman tells them to settle in their job positions, and then they can talk about marriage. Aw, Chairman really can be a softie at heart!
Ra Young and Cheol Soo remember to thank Father, laughing happily at the fortunate turn of events. And ~ sealed with a kiss.
Ra Young is excited to tell her family the good news about her PR and Marketing Position with Good Base Company. And, she will continue to be on TV and will be sent to the academy! Mom can’t believe it. Jung Hwan points out that it was a company offer, too. They are all quite impressed with the youngest, Ra Young. She tells them how people call in and buy whatever it is she sells and now, she is the queen of selling everything! Jung Hwan says he can see the similarity between Ra Young and Hye Young – who replies, “Why am I a bit offended, though?” to everyone’s laughter. In the midst of the family fun, Mi Young gets a text from Joong Hee: come to the rooftop.
Joong Hee waits for her after his shoot. He is dressed in a suit and looking quite handsome. He hesitates. They look up at the full moon. Joong Hee apologizes ahead of time about an article that will be published tomorrow and wonders if she would take a look at it. He hands her a rolled sheet with a sparkly ring around it. The announcement reads: Ahn Joong Hee is getting married soon. His fiance used to be his manager. Mi Young starts to say something but Joong Hee is the one who speaks. He realizes that they have only started dating and while it may be too early for them to talk about marriage, he knows in his heart that if he ever ends up marrying someone, he is 100% sure it will be with her.
Mi Young tells him not to publish this article. He is a rising star and… but Joong Hee cuts in; he’s been a rising star for ten years. In his deep, smooth voice, Joong Hee romantically asks, “Mi Young, will you marry me?” She smiles brightly and promises to be by his side 24/7 until the day she dies. And ~ sealed with a kiss. Not. The siblings barge onto the rooftop. “What are you guys doing here?” Mi Young and Joong Hee ask, surprised and interrupted.
“Uh, the door was open a bit. . .” they fumble, caught eavesdropping and embarrassingly falling through the door. The guys tease Joong Hee and the sisters give Mi Young a hard time like sisters will do. Joong Hee tells Mi Young that he had planned on telling her parents later, but since the word is out, apparently there is no time like the present. Hye Young tells them to carry on with what they were doing, and so that kiss – it happens.
With all the surprises these days, Mom and Dad are in for one more. Joong Hee kneels and tells them that, although it won’t happen for around six months they’re thinking, he would like to marry Mi Young and asks for their permission. Mom and Dad are taken aback, but only because they didn’t see it coming. As long as they love each other, they are happy to give their permission, to Mi Young’s delight.
Joong Hee dashes to the kitchen for some water. He held it together fairly well, but anyone would be on edge in the same situation. Dad finds him in the kitchen and the two men readjust yet again to their relationship status. Joong Hee tells Dad that when he asked him if he wanted to be his son that day they went to his father’s gravesite together, there was a reason for his answer. But, he promises, he will be the best son-in-law who is like a son. Dad smiles and promises to be the best father-in-law who is like a father to him. “Can I give you a hug?” Dad asks Joong Hee and they embrace. So much water has passed under the bridge.
Hye Young and Jung Hwan have their talk over dinner. He wants to start, but she insists on going first. With some hesitation, Hye Young begins by saying that she doesn’t think she is cut out for marriage. She is too self-centered. Being defined as someone’s wife or mom is not for her. Jung Hwan looks pensive. But, she continues, she has come to realize some things. She wouldn’t have made it through this time of crisis if it wasn’t for him. And being married isn’t the point in and of itself. It is being married to him – that is the difference for her. Without him, she wouldn’t have been able to weather the storm. She owes him so much. He is the only man who can handle the one and only Byun Hye Young.Lee Hye Young. Hye Young pulls out a jewelry box with matching wedding rings and asks Jung Hwan, “Will you marry me?” On one condition, he states. Jung Hwan wants to reevaluate their marriage every year so as not to grow too comfortable. She agrees. Jung Hwan has come equally prepared. He, too, has a jewelry box with wedding rings. “We’re too much, aren’t we?” he laughs, and asks Hye Young to marry him.
They put the rings – two each – on their fingers – a vow of their decision to stay married.
Is this a movie set? Such handsome men on their way to the public bath together! They joke that they had to wear sunglasses to make sure no one would recognize Joong Hee. They are very pleased with themselves as they enter the public bath house. It’s what real men do.
Ra Young leads the women in yoga as they stretch and limber up together. Grandma complains that they should have gone to a bathhouse like the men. Yoga is a workout that has them all groaning! This one is for puffy faces, Ra Young says, reminding Mom to think of that dress she will be wearing.
The men exit the bathhouse refreshed. Dad makes a big deal about Jung Hwan’s ratings on his new show, giving Jung Hwan room for bragging. “How do you feel?” Uncle asks Dad. “I’m pleased. Like I’m getting married,” Dad laughs and gets teased plenty for being a romantic. But, there is one thing they all agree on: the women are too headstrong. “Mi Young isn’t like that. She is sweet and naive,” says an innocent Joong Hee. They tsk at this poor, unsuspecting guy. “She is headstrong. She did judo for a reason – one wrong move and she might kill you,” Jun Young informs him.
Joong Hee hadn’t considered that. “Do you think anyone can beat Ms. Na Young Shil who birthed them all?” says a confident Dad. “You win! You win!” they have to admit.
It’s like a scene from a royal garden wedding with the couples dressed to the hilt. Joong Hee has chosen a lovey venue. Grandma’s heart is pounding even though it’s not her wedding. She looks radiant and pleased, maybe even relived. The sisters wonder if they aren’t too dressed up; after all, Mom should stand out.
Yoo Joo reminds them about the way they dressed up to outshine her at her wedding, strutting like celebrities. On that note, Hye Young whispers to Yoo Joo, “You’re the prettiest one here.” Next, the in-laws arrive. Landlady Oh and Husband are gracious this time, joking that Grandma is getting a new son-in-law. “Am I?” Grandma wonders, “or is it second-hand?” making everyone laugh.
Joong Hee acts as MC. The ceremony begins with his announcement, “the bride and groom!” Mom and Dad enter to the cheers and applause of the entire extended family. It is a delicate, emotional ceremony, one that has been thirty-five years in coming. With his restored name, Dad says, “I, Lee Yeon Seok, want to be Young Shil’s husband for a while.” He thanks her for marrying him, finishing with a tender “I love you.” Mom takes the mic and says she would like to retire from her motherly duties for a while. She has warm words towards Dad, saying that he put aside himself for his wife and children all those years. But from now on she wants to spend time doing whatever he wants. “And even if I’m born again, I will marry you,” saying the words Dad wants to hear most. For a moment at least, there is a solemn, respectful hush in honor of this precious occasion.
Then Joong Hee calls out, “C’mon, let the celebration begin!” The children seat Mom and Dad for a fun dance they have prepared to “Marry You” by Bruno Mars.
Ra Young and Cheol Soo: “Not bad for a soccer player.” ♥
Mi Young and Joong Hee: “Not bad, Mi Young.” love
Jun Young and Yoo Joo: “Not bad for the eldest son.” chill
Hye Young and Jung Hwan: dancers extraordinaire. ♥♥
It’s time for the bride and groom to join in dancing. Mom and Dad throw caution to the wind and thoroughly enjoy themselves on the dance floor. And then, “Do it Joong Hee. You nailed it!” they all yell. With an elegant twirl, Joong Hee hands the bouquet to Dad to present to Mom. Everyone chants, “Kiss the bride. Kiss the bride!”
Landlady Oh can’t contain her passion any longer. She attacks Husband, knocking him to the floor with kisses.
Hye Young’s phone rings. She can hardly hear above the music. “Yes?” she says. “Okay,” and puts down the phone. “Mom, Dad, this is the perfect wedding gift. Our application was approved. We got you a retrial.” Mom gasps, unable to hold back the tears. Everyone applauds, rejoicing over the happy results and there isn’t a dry eye in the crowd. But Hye Young tells them to STOP! they haven’t taken the photos yet.
Wiping her tears, Grandma comments, “We went from laughing to crying to smiling.”
“Can you look over here? 1, 2 . . .” says Uncle, and the occasion is recorded for posterity as he takes the wedding pictures.
(look who caught the bouquet)
Joong Hee holds a PR press conference. When asked about his ratings and how he wants people to think of him he answers, “I want to be an actor you can trust.” What is his secret? “My great looks?” he teases. Well, he doesn’t really know, he admits. “Shall I give you a scoop?” he suddenly offers with excitement. “Three months from now I will be married.” The reporters are surprised, but not as surprised as Mr. Kang who tries to calm himself. Joong Hee is throwing sticks in the bicycle spokes again. However, Joong Hee is confident and calm and won’t let this be a rumor that ruins his career. He wants his news to go public. “I will marry my beautiful ex-manager and girlfriend. I can’t keep quiet. I’m getting married.”
Lawyer Lee Hye Young is back in the game. “A retrial candidate wants you to defend him,” she is told as she enters her office. But the candidate is crass and annoying. She has no problem telling him that if he wants her to defend him, then he’d better watch his attitude. She is in his face, making sure he knows who is boss and how he should conduct himself if he wants the best retrial attorney in his corner. Is that clear?
Our Hye Young is the best at what she does.
The siblings and spouses send Mom and Dad off on their honeymoon. Of sorts. Actually, they are off to travel in their new Father’s Snackshack food truck – the perfect combination of work and pleasure.
Dad is the driver, too. Mom can’t be nervous because it makes Dad nervous. ‘Where shall we go?’ Mom asks. “Where our hearts lead us?”Dad suggests. “Deal!” they agree together as they drive down the highway. Happily ever after.
~ The end ~
- I watched the final episode several times, just letting myself enjoy the Byun/Lee family’s happy moments. If I wanted to, I could go back and find the holes, but I find myself content as it is. The drama concluded in a way that leaves me smiling and everything I wanted to happen did, so yay! Grandma stated it perfectly when she said, “Everyone is finally where they belong, now.”
- I appreciate how the characters were true to their personalities throughout the drama (thanks to good writing and acting). “Slice of life” is a fitting description of My Father is Strange. Joong Hee’s story could have taken a bad turn at several spots, but he was reflective and matured before our very eyes under pretty devastating circumstances beyond his control. Wanting to take revenge was a natural response to the way he felt used, but he came to understand himself and what he really wanted – that is, love and belonging – even before those who should have understood these things did (his mother, Dad, and Mom). What’s more, he changed from seeking revenge to working through life’s disappointments and betrayals, as hard as it was, to giving love and forgiveness to those who weren’t worthy – at least at the time.
- I have mixed feelings about Dad. I didn’t warm up to him for a long time, probably for 40-some episodes – exactly because of what the judge said: he had numerous times to turn himself in and he didn’t. Add to that the times he could have been honest with his children and wasn’t, and so thirty-five years passed where he was known only as Byun Han Soo. There were many times I thought Dad was a coward for allowing misunderstandings of his responses or lack thereof to go unexplained because he didn’t want to own up to his lies. Saying nothing was his way of avoiding the underlying truth. But the judge said something else: that taking another’s identity wasn’t done for personal gain or to harm society. Hmmm, so it was Dad’s way of surviving for having been unjustly framed for murder and sentenced for three years for a crime he didn’t commit. He wanted his unborn child to have a chance in society without being branded the child of a murderer. And it was a way for him to secure some sort of future for his wife and family. It was too bad that this all began to be revealed when Joong Hee did the DNA test on his suspicions that things weren’t as they should be. My blood still boils thinking about that. I haven’t completely forgiven Dad, but since everyone else seems to have forgiven him, I’ll think about it. For Joong Hee’s sake, and for Dad’s children. Well, Mom was pretty convincing during their wedding ceremony when she said how much she respected Dad for putting aside his career and dreams for his family. And she was as much in on the decision back then as Dad. I’m still thinking things over in my head.
- We are left to believe that the retrial will bring justice even though we don’t get the details. Basically, everyone who was guilty was rich enough to pay off everyone who was a witness or was involved in the investigation. The power of money for corruption is scary, but nothing new.
- I loved Joong Hee’s meaningful but simple proposal on the rooftop where life’s issues – good and bad – always go down in kdramas. Joong Hee and Mi Young together is the stuff that dreams are made of.
- What a great final episode in terms of going one by one, and couple by couple, to wrap up what was standing in their way (the Chairman for Ra Young and Cheol Soo, the marriage contract for Hye Young and Jung Hwan, the proposal for Mi Young and Joong Hee, the retrial for Dad and Mom, reconciliation for Landlady Oh and Husband, the business for Uncle and Aunt, and Min Ha wishes for a girlfriend but always has Grandma by his side). Happy endings are good endings.
- Mom and Dad’s wedding and the happy couples’ Marry Me dance were a blast – and an exciting and satisfying conclusion to 52 weeks with the family. I’m gonna miss this gang.
- Please add your final thoughts and comments! I’d love to hear from you! Thanks, cimiart fans for catching my blog. Look forward to another recap soon! \♥/