My Strange Hero: Episodes 11-12
All this time, our hero has accused his first love of being a liar. While she is guilty of making assumptions, the only lies she’s ever told have been to herself. She’s tried so hard to keep the negative out of her life and in doing so, she’s also kept a lot of the positive out. And after everything she’s been through, she could use a positive presence right about now.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Soo-jung walks in on Bok-soo and Se-ho’s fight, takes in Se-ho’s cut and gets the wrong idea. Bok-soo crumbles right there, tired of being painted as the bad guy. Crying, he asks Soo-jung why she’s not getting his side of the story.
She’s thrown off by his tears but pulls herself together, saying she saw everything she needs to see. She feels there’s nothing left to say.
Se-ho may be hurt, Bok-soo says, but he’s hurt too–can’t she see that? Se-ho then steps in and suggests they head to the nurse’s office. So he takes Soo-jung’s arm and leads her toward the door.
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Don’t you see that I’m hurt too?
As they leave, Bok-soo flashes back to the day of the roof incident. He’d cornered the two girls who harassed Soo-jung and demanded to know how they found out she was poor. He was shocked to learn that they’d heard it from Se-ho.
Apparently, the girls knew about Se-ho’s crush and had told him that Soo-jung didn’t like him. That had provoked him to say that he wouldn’t like a girl who lived off food stamps anyway.
A furious Bok-soo had hurried up to the roof to confront Se-ho, and the rest is history. Present-day Bok-soo lies on the gym floor and continues to cry, thinking he must be going crazy.
Outside, Se-ho insists on going to the nurse himself. He also promises Soo-jung that he won’t talk about what happened with Bok-soo today. She’s glad to hear that, but as she walks back to class, she’s still bothered by Bok-soo’s words.
“What is there to ask?” she wonders. “Why you did it? Why would I…” She trails off as she sees her young self walking down the hall–being confronted by those two girls, hearing the rumors that Bok-soo only befriended her because he pitied her.
Overwhelmed, Soo-jung had run up the stairs to cry. She kept telling herself that Bok-soo didn’t pursue her because of pity, but the things that Se-ho and her classmates said were getting to her.
She reached the door to the roof, freezing when she heard two people fighting, followed by Bok-soo’s voice: “Don’t you feel sorry towards Soo-jung?!” She then crumpled to the floor, convinced that Bok-soo’s actions really were driven by pity.
She stood up, her hurt shifting to anger, which is when she heard Se-ho scream at Bok-soo to save him. This is exactly what she told the police when they came in to question her.
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My view from nine years ago
Afterwards, Gyung-hyun had asked what was wrong with her, saying she knows Bok-soo wouldn’t have done that. She cried that she didn’t know Bok-soo; she didn’t even trust him now.
And when Bok-soo had ambushed her in the classroom, asking why she was lying, she kept her expression blank until he was dragged out. Only then did she allow herself to cry.
Soo-jung is torn away from the memory when Seung-woo comes up to her. She’s glad to see him back in school, though she wonders why his parents wouldn’t answer her calls. He snaps that he doesn’t have parents and that even though she’s a teacher, she shouldn’t meddle in his business.
Seung-woo heads into class and looks a bit flustered to see Bok-soo. Though Bok-soo is looking emotionally drained, he still approaches Seung-woo and his buddies to confirm their snack order. Bok-soo turns to go, but Seung-woo grabs his arm and answers (in formal speech, hee) that he’ll buy the food himself.
The whole class is shocked to hear this, and an embarrassed Seung-woo hurries out of the room, followed by his friends. Bok-soo watches them go with an amused smile.
Meanwhile, Se-ho tells the principal and vice principal to handle extra funding for the Wildflower class. The two leave his office grumbling, though they find it very funny that if news of this funding gets leaked, Se-ho could get fired. Back inside, Se-ho receives a phone call from someone we don’t hear.
In the teacher’s office, Soo-jung sighs over Seung-woo’s test scores. Seeing that every single answer is wrong, she wonders if he’s been failing on purpose. Vice Principal Song then informs her about the Wildflower Class’s extra support, telling her to provide them with special counseling.
But before Soo-jung can even think about counseling, she gets a surprise phone call from Kim Myung-ho saying that he has her $50,000. He has her go on a treasure hunt of sorts, his texts sending her to a subway station and eventually a park.
She goes crazy digging through the park trashcan until she finally finds an envelope full of cash. As she jumps around with glee, Kim Myung-ho watches from afar and calls someone to say that the deed is done. Oh, don’t tell me…
That night, Bok-soo heads out on a last-minute delivery and notices Kim Myung-ho on the street. But what’s even weirder is that he sees Kim get into the car of none other than Se-ho.
Bok-soo hangs back and waits until Kim Myung-ho is alone again. He then surprises Kim (I love that this guy is genuinely afraid of him) and asks what’s going on. Kim whines for Bok-soo to stop bothering him since he returned Soo-jung’s money. Bok-soo’s jaw drops, realizing the money must’ve come from Se-ho. But Kim runs away before he can ask any more questions.
Later, Bok-soo asks Gyung-hyun what it means for a man to give a woman $50,000. Gyung-hyun laughs that that kind of gesture couldn’t be anything other than love, making Bok-soo frown. And elsewhere, Soo-jung happily places her bank book back in its hiding place. However, she worries that things are too good to be true.
The next day, Bok-soo does his usual morning spy routine by Se-ho’s office. He’s spouting quotes into his tape recorder, when Se-ho opens the door and asks what the heck he’s doing, lol.
Se-ho invites him inside and asks that he speak to him directly rather than sneak around. Now serious, Bok-soo asks if he really provided the $50,000. Se-ho has no problem admitting this, saying it was for a woman he liked.
“Don’t we suit each other?” Se-ho asks with a smile. He doesn’t even care if Bok-soo reveals all of this to Soo-jung; he thinks that the gesture pretty much says I’m your prince, ready to make your life better.
But the main reason why Se-ho doesn’t care is because he knows that Soo-jung won’t listen. He encourages Bok-soo to see for himself if Soo-jung will believe him or not. Bok-soo mutters, “You’re really a crazy bastard,” and Se-ho just beams, “Thanks for the compliment.”
As Bok-soo leaves the office, Teacher Park greets him with another sneak attack, and Bok-soo responds with another arm twist. The two then have a chat outside, where Bok-soo wonders why Soo-jung didn’t believe him back then. If the roles had been reversed, he would’ve believed her no matter what. He quietly asks himself if Soo-jung ever even liked him. Teacher Park smiles, thinking Bok-soo and Soo-jung have a lot that they need to talk about.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Soo-jung amps herself up for the Wildflower Class’s counseling, but her hopes are gradually diminished as each and every student reveals their lack of skills or dreams, save for So-ra, who wants to cash in on erotic novels.
The last one to come in is Bok-soo, and Soo-jung is taken aback to see that he’s not his usual loud self. She asks him about his dream, and he answers that it’s long forgotten. Ever since he got expelled, he’s only been told that he isn’t qualified for anything.
Soo-jung thinks he’s trying to get a rise out of her, but he insists that he’s just telling the truth. Getting kicked out of school ruined any opportunities, therefore ruining any dreams he might’ve carried.
Shaken, Soo-jung remembers the aftermath of Bok-soo’s expulsion. During lunch at school, Gyung-hyun and Min-ji had gotten into a fight with several kids who were badmouthing Bok-soo. And in the midst of the chaos, Soo-jung sat by herself, crying as she stuffed her mouth with food.
That night, Soo-jung had come home sobbing. She collapsed into her grandma’s arms, crying she should’ve lied and said that she didn’t hear anything. Grandma assured her that she did the right thing, but Soo-jung pressed that Bok-soo wasn’t the type of person to push Se-ho. Confused, Grandma wondered if she’d even asked for his side of the story. She was too scared, though; she just wanted to forget any of it ever happened.
In the end, Soo-jung traveled all the way to the Kang family restaurant to see Bok-soo. She stood outside, listening to him and his family fight about the matter. And after hearing his sister yell that his life was over, she tearfully ran back home.
In the present, Soo-jung looks up at Bok-soo as he explains that all the insults and rejections following his expulsion didn’t bother him after a while. What bothered him–what’s still bothering him–was that she didn’t believe him.
She tries to see the sincerity in his eyes, but all she can think about is what she heard on the roof. “I don’t want to talk about the past,” she says. “If you don’t know, then I have nothing to say to you.”
Defeated, Bok-soo sighs that he must be the only one stuck in the past. As he leaves her office, he remembers the time he told her that his dream was to become her boyfriend. He wonders if they’re truly over now. At the same time, Soo-jung sits back and shakily mutters that he wasn’t the only one who suffered.
The following day, Bok-soo ditches school and hangs out at Gyung-hyun’s office. He considers dropping out and Gyung-hyun, being one step ahead of him, hands him a resignation form.
Frustrated with Bok-soo’s absence, Soo-jung rests at her favorite convenience store. Simran hands her a free snack, saying that it’s expired. He continues that misunderstandings are the same way, and if she waits too long to untangle them, it’ll make her heart rot.
To Soo-jung’s surprise, Se-ho waltzes in and asks if she wants to share a meal. She’d rather stay here to eat, though, so the two share a variety of instant food. Watching her munch on her food, he asks if she wants to eat out with him three more times–as a man and woman. But if that’s too much to ask, he’d be willing to go out as simply director and teacher. Soo-jung drops her food and sighs as he smiles.
At the Kang restaurant, Bok-soo and his family are visited by Teacher Park yet again. He came to use one of his coupons, but he ends up ordering something that he has to pay for, ha. When he finishes and starts to leave, Bok-soo is surprised that he hasn’t asked about his absence. To that, Park merely says that he’s not saying anything since he looks perfectly fine.
The next day, Soo-jung actually smiles to see a backpack on Bok-soo’s desk. But her smile fades when she realizes that it’s someone else’s bag. With another absence, quite a few of Bok-soo’s classmates start to worry.
Soo-jung tries Bok-soo’s cell and starts rambling when someone picks up. But it’s Min-ji, not Bok-soo, who snaps that her “boyfriend” won’t be coming to school or seeing Soo-jung ever again.
Min-ji angrily hangs up and turns to find Bok-soo standing right behind her, having heard the whole thing. She starts to apologize, but Bok-soo just lets out a weak “It’s okay,” grabs his phone and leaves.
Soo-jung heads to Se-ho’s office to give him the Wildflower Class’s counseling reports, and he grabs her arm to take her to dinner. After all, she promised three more dates. Um, did she?
He takes her to the empty school kitchen and whips up some pasta. As they eat, she asks if there won’t be any backlash for her class receiving special treatment. He assumes that she’s worrying for him, and he’s touched.
“Sohn Soo-jung,” he says. “I like you.” Soo-jung’s face falls, to his utter confusion. He thinks he’s a good catch, being rich and good-looking, and Soo-jung points out that you don’t like someone based on certain conditions.
Se-ho asks if she’s hesitating because of Bok-soo, making her go silent. He reveals that after the roof incident, after he’d moved to America, he always wondered if she was okay. She tells him that she was, but he interrupts that he wasn’t.
He concludes that he doesn’t want to live in the past anymore. He suggests that they both bury it and move on. But Soo-jung can only think about Bok-soo and all the times he’d begged to just ask him what happened.
The sweet memories she had with Bok-soo hit her all at once, and she has to excuse herself and leave a disappointed Se-ho behind. She hides out in her office and imagines Bok-soo sitting across from her, looking as defeated as he had a few days ago.
Her eyes fill with tears as she looks at him, and she asks if her feelings back then were nothing but a joke. The Bok-soo in front of her says that he must be the only one stuck in the past, and she firmly states that she’s stuck too. She then bolts up and marches straight over to Bok-soo’s home.
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I don’t want to live in the past anymore
Bok-soo is surprised to see her there, but he’s willing to talk. The two sit on separate benches, in silence, until Soo-jung finally asks the million-dollar question: did he push Se-ho that day? He faces her in disbelief. Now emotional, he answers that he didn’t. She then asks if he spread the rumor about her being poor–she clearly heard him say that he found her pitiful.
She starts crying again and brings up the way he walked her home, smiled at her, found her dream, painted her gate–was it all because he pitied her? Bok-soo is too stunned to speak, so Soo-jung stands, assuming his silence is just confirmation.
Bok-soo stands as well and declares, “I did all of that because I liked you. Not because I pitied you.” She slowly turns to face him, crying harder as she apologizes for asking all of this so late.
Snow begins to fall, and Soo-jung narrates that it was this moment, when she believed in someone, that was the warmest part of her life. She and Bok-soo smile at each other through their tears and as we pan out, we see their younger selves finally looking relieved.
I wish the last scene had been milked a beat or two longer–those five minutes of confessions and tears were wonderfully cathartic. I want to be madder at Soo-jung for apologizing so late and I want to be madder at Bok-soo for presumably forgiving her so easily, but come on. When you have two actors like Yoo Seung-ho and Jo Boa crying so beautifully in the fluttering snow, how can you possibly stay angry?
I have to vent about Soo-jung, though. It’s annoying if I think about it too much, and that beautiful ending almost made me forget, but all of this could’ve been avoided if she had asked those two questions a long time ago. When it comes to the actual expulsion, she is not fully to blame. I wouldn’t even shoulder her with half the blame since she didn’t technically lie to the police. She reported what she heard and that was it. So if we’re going to blame people, it should be the adults in charge. And Se-ho, of course. But after a while, Soo-jung came to the conclusion that Bok-soo had to have been innocent. And she didn’t say anything. Nine years, and she didn’t step up to defend him. Nine years, and she didn’t reach out to him. Granted, I’m sure that after some time passed, she fell into denial and let that serve as some sort of comfort. I understand her difficult situation and complicated feelings–I truly do–but I can’t get over the fact that she knew and still walked away. She may have been young and naive, but again, she had nine whole years to grow up and correct her mistake.
Still, no matter how frustrating this was as dramatic conflict, it was handled realistically. Miscommunication may be a problem in this drama (in the majority of dramas, really), but that’s true to life. Koreans tend to have trouble showing their emotions and reaching out, so just think how much worse it must be for a teenager, like Soo-jung once was. Insecurity can be a dangerous thing and unfortunately, she let it take control over any and all rationality. And once Bok-soo left school, she probably comforted in the thought that she would never have to deal with it again. With that said, I’m proud of her for facing her worst fears. Yeah, I’m disappointed, but that doesn’t matter. She’s disappointed in herself as is, and that’s enough of a redemption for me. The nine years are forgiven because she’s 100% aware of the truth now, and she’s sincerely remorseful. That’s all that matters. And thankfully, it looks like Bok-soo thinks the same way. I think it meant a lot to him that she came and asked for the truth on her own.
Bok-soo’s resentment towards Soo-jung had been fading since his return to school, so it’s no surprise that that resentment completely melted away the second she apologized. Out of everything that happened back then, Soo-jung’s betrayal stung the most, and he finally got his relief. While I am happy for him and Soo-jung, I hope that they can grant the same relief for Se-ho. He did much worse than Soo-jung (who was mostly led on by lies), but he’s a part of this tragic love triangle of hurt too. In this episode, he acted even more like a child, trying to buy his way into love. What are you supposed to say to someone that delusional? What can you do to help them? I hope that our main couple can see him as the damaged soul he is. And I hope that our broken triangle of the school director, teacher and student can be one again.
Now that we have one major misunderstanding resolved, I’m curious to see where we go from here. Bok-soo’s feelings of revenge are sure to move away from Soo-jung and straight to Se-ho, so my hopes for a mended friendship won’t be fulfilled anytime soon. But, hey, no one said any of this was going to be easy. In the meantime, I look forward to what the drama has in store for Bok-soo and Soo-jung’s romance. If they fall right back into a romantic relationship (as teacher and student, no less), they’re going to face a whole new set of problems. They have a lot going against them, but I doubt that after all this that they’re going to let anything else get in their way. Not the school, and definitely not Se-ho. And if things do get complicated again, at least they have great friends and family to support them.
Lastly, I have to reiterate how much I love the relationships in this school. I love that Young-min considers Bok-soo as his savior and as his hyung, and I love that Seung-woo considers him as a respectable sunbae. But my favorite relationship here has to be Bok-soo and Teacher Park. They are the cutest teacher/student duo I’ve seen in a while–I laugh every single time Teacher Park’s sneak attack is responded with an arm twist. Plus, I don’t know if it’s just my shipper heart, but I could’ve sworn I sensed something between Teacher Park and Bok-soo’s mom. Now that would be cute, especially since Park and Bok-soo already act like father and son. Either way, Bok-soo has a big family outside of the Kangs. He has his friends, his classmates, and now at long last, Soo-jung. I hope that Soo-jung can start growing her family as well; she’s been alone for far too long.
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