My Strange Hero: Episodes 3-4
Things are more serious this hour, but I’m happy to report that the added drama doesn’t completely wash out the glorious humor. Bok-soo and his first love Soo-jung have gone through a lot since their high school romance, and the aftereffects are still with them today. They’re trying their best to move forward, but it seems like certain people won’t allow it. And those certain people could include themselves.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Bok-soo pulls a woman out of the river and, having no idea that it’s actually Soo-jung (with her hair covering her face), he lies her on the ground. Young-min comes crawling out from the water too and panics when Soo-jung won’t wake up. Young-min’s cries grow desperate, so Bok-soo shoves the kid aside to take care of it.
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He brushes the hair away from Soo-jung’s face and freezes, his memories of her hitting even harder than before. And in these memories, the young Soo-jung looks horrified and then unusually stony. He’s still in shock when an ambulance arrives to take her and Young-min away.
Bok-soo sits out in the hospital waiting room, unsure of how to feel. When Young-min finally comes out, Bok-soo demands to know why Soo-jung was trying to kill herself. But Young-min doesn’t know why she was acting that way either.
At Young-min’s thanks for saving her, Bok-soo shoves his business card at him and suggests he pay him back. A group of reporters then flood in, wanting answers from the river rescue hero, and the female reporters swoon at how handsome he is, lol.
A nurse comes out and guides the two away from the reporters to let them know that Soo-jung is conscious.
Soo-jung’s eyes flutter open and the first thing she sees is Bok-soo standing over her. But she blinks and realizes that it’s actually Young-min. She breathes a sigh of relief that it’s not Bok-soo (hm, interesting) and thanks Young-min for saving her.
He starts to say that it wasn’t him but is interrupted by the arrival of his worried parents. While the family gets their hugs and crying out, Soo-jung leaves to get her wet phone working again and walks by a hiding Bok-soo.
She dials the number that had called earlier and is horrified to learn that it was just a phone sex number. She tries Kim Myung-ho’s old number again and curses loudly, surprising Bok-soo (who’s still hiding behind a corner).
Soo-jung leaves an angry voicemail, saying that the $50,000 was the settlement money from her father’s accident. Her sick grandmother didn’t even want to use that money to go to the hospital.
Bok-soo overhears the entire story of how she foolishly handed over the money because she was so desperate for a full-time position. He lets it all sink in as he watches her walk away.
Starving, Soo-jung finds the cafeteria and a family eating fried chicken. She encourages the son to hand over a piece, saying she nearly died today. The boy complies, heh. While eating her chicken, she sees herself on the news…being saved by Bok-soo.
“It really was Kang Bok-soo,” she realizes. She walks back to her room in a daze, remembering all the sweet moments she shared with Bok-soo. But then she remembers standing on the roof and crying out in horror.
She shakes her head and tells herself to get it together; she needs to find her money. At the same time, Bok-soo sits at the bus stop and tells himself to forget about her.
At the airport, a young man exits his gate and notices Bok-soo’s heroic story on the news. The man, OH SE-HO (Kwak Dong-yeon), chuckles and notes that Kang Bok-soo is the same as ever, still getting involved in other people’s business.
The next day at school, Soo-jung’s students give her an enthusiastic welcome. Young-min, however, receives different treatment. When he returns to his honors class, classmate Chae-min coldly tells him to leave if he doesn’t want to be there.
After all, Chae-min likes the fact that the school system is selective. And he warns Young-min that he better watch out if his online post actually changes things.
It’s a bit late for that, though–it looks like the post has already set off a public outrage. Protesters camp outside the administration office, demanding equality. The school’s board of directors watch from inside, and they don’t look happy.
The chairwoman IM SE-KYUNG (Kim Yeo-jin) looks especially annoyed and asks Principal Kim about an anonymous complaint letter. Back at the school, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL SONG (Kim Kwang-kyu) demands to know who wrote said letter.
He turns to Soo-jung and asks why she went after Young-min when she’s just a contract teacher. She scoffs and answers that maybe it’s because she’s a contract teacher that Young-min trusted her. (Oooh, snap.) When Assistant Principal Song leaves, the other teachers sweetly take her side, but only seconds later, they start piling more tasks on her as usual.
Meanwhile, Bok-soo stands awkwardly on stage as the police station gifts him a brave citizen award. His friends are totally geeking out in the background, and they even photobomb his picture with the officers.
Chairwoman Im sees Bok-soo’s picture in the paper and learns that it’s the Kang Bok-soo that was involved in Se-ho’s case and got expelled. And speaking of, Se-ho makes his entrance and greets Chairwoman Im as his mother.
Se-ho was called in to act as chairman, and as his first act, he wants to offer Bok-soo another chance at his high school degree. Se-ho thinks that if they accept the city’s latest hero, the public may get off the school’s back.
At the Kang family restaurant, Bok-soo’s mom is loud and proud as she announces to friends and family that her son got an award. When the hero himself shows up, he beams and accepts the applause.
Someone then enters the restaurant and Bok-soo’s smile disappears–it’s Teacher Park, here to chat.
Once they’re alone outside, Teacher Park asks that Bok-soo meet with Soo-jung. “I think you two were forced to become adults with bruises on your hearts,” he says. And he thinks it’s about time they try to fix what happened.
Bok-soo doesn’t see the point, so he refuses. He turns to leave but stops when Teacher Park calls out that he needs to face the past if he wants to move forward. He walks away anyway, making Teacher Park sigh.
Flashback to 2009. Teacher Park excitedly tells his class that Bok-soo and Soo-jung’s scores had the most improvement. Though Bok-soo is loving the praise, he’d still like some sort of tangible reward.
Later, Soo-jung hangs out on the roof and works on a cute handmade award. Bok-soo comes up to meet her, and she hands him the slip of paper with congratulations. He smiles before joking that he’d still like a separate prize.
Soo-jung scoffs at that and tries to leave, but he sticks out his leg to block her path. He leans in close, making her nervous, and asks why she’s holding back. He continues that he wants his prize, so Soo-jung shuts him up by closing the gap between them and giving him a soft kiss.
She leans in again, as if going for another kiss, but instead mutters, “If you tell the other kids, I’ll kill you.” She walks past with a smile, leaving Bok-soo in a puddle of happiness.
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Why do you skimp on love?
When they’re in class again and she’s reading Poetry by Pablo Neruda, Bok-soo gazes at her, totally smitten.
Back in present day, Bok-soo looks at the old award Soo-jung gave him. And on the back is a drawing of her when she’d read in class. He picks up his phone and calls Gyung-hyun, saying he needs to find someone.
The next day, Soo-jung finds Kim Myung-ho’s address but no Kim Myung-ho.
Instead, she finds his abandoned daughter, who says that her dad doesn’t come home for a while after scamming someone. Soo-jung sighs in frustration, prompting the little girl to offer her bag of ramen as an apology. However, this only makes Soo-jung feel worse.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
After Gyung-hyun gets Kim Myung-ho’s info, he asks Bok-soo why he needed it. Bok-soo explains that the woman he saved was Soo-jung and that she tried to commit suicide after being conned. Shocked, Gyung-hyun says, “You should’ve left her to die after what she did to you!” Jeez, what the heck did she do?
All of a sudden, Teacher Park bursts into their office and nearly makes them jump. He tells Bok-soo that the school wants to reinstate him for saving a teacher. But the boys just laugh in his face, asking why a 27-year-old would go to high school. Bok-soo’s mom bursts in, having heard the whole thing, and says that Teacher Park can forget it; she’s still furious over what her son went through at Seolsong.
With that, Mom literally shoves the teacher out the door. She then hands Bok-soo the lunchbox she brought and leaves too. Bok-soo catches up to her to thank her, and she notices his sad expression–does he want to go back to school? He smiles and assures her that he wouldn’t dream of it.
At Seolsong, Principal Kim reprimands Teacher Park for taking no for an answer. He tells Park to do whatever it takes to bring Bok-soo back. At her desk, Soo-jung freezes at Bok-soo’s name. Elsewhere, Chairwoman Im is upset over Bok-soo’s rejection as well, so Se-ho promises that he’ll bring him back. “We’re friends, after all,” he says. Hmm.
Bok-soo is busy performing more favors, like helping a man exercise and doing a live mukbang for a wealthy woman. (Uhhh… weird.) His next favor is a Chinese food delivery, and he’s confused when he’s led to an extravagant home.
Bok-soo enters the home and slows to a halt. His eyes exude an intense fury at the sight of a smiling Se-ho. He tries to drop off the food and leave, but Se-ho says that he has another favor to ask– come back to school.
Nonchalant, Se-ho says that Bok-soo must feel wronged by the school incident. At that, Bok-soo grabs him by the collar. Bok-soo: “Because of you–!” Se-ho: “That’s why I’m telling you to come to school.”
Bok-soo releases Se-ho and says that he tried to forgive Se-ho for being a pitiful guy who was suicidal. But now he feels like an idiot. Smirking, Se-ho says that he should be the one to forgive since he was the victim.
After leaving in a huff, Bok-soo gets a phone call from Gyung-hyun–he’s found Kim Myung-ho. Bok-soo heads out right away, finding a disheveled Kim Myung-ho wandering the streets.
But Kim Myung-ho freaks out and makes a run for it, initiating a chase all the way to the top of a building. Kim Myung-ho cries that he’ll jump, making Bok-soo flash back to the incident that got him expelled.
Bok-soo and Se-ho had been on the school roof, fighting about Soo-jung, and it somehow led to Se-ho standing on the ledge and laughing like a maniac. Soo-jung arrived just as Se-ho fell, saw Bok-soo standing there and assumed the worst.
Afterwards, Bok-soo learned that Se-ho was saying Bok-soo pushed him. To make things worse, he learned that Soo-jung had already testified to this. Bok-soo burst into the classroom, demanding to know why she was lying, and… She just gave him a cold, empty look. Crying, Bok-soo gave up and let the security guards take him away. And that cold look was the last that he ever saw of her.
In the present, Bok-soo snaps out of it, grabs Kim Myung-ho and drags him away.
That night, Soo-jung is walking home when Kim Myung-ho appears out of nowhere, a fresh bruise on his face, and falls to his knees in apology. Furious, Soo-jung threatens to take him to jail, but he points out that his arrest will reveal the fact that she paid money for a job.
With no other choice, Soo-jung lets him go. She then notices someone hiding around the corner and cries, “Come out! I know that you’re over there, Kang Bok-soo.” Bok-soo hesitates, but he eventually comes out to face her. She demands to know why he’s butting into her business.
Bok-soo laughs dryly, saying he’d been curious as to why she would try to kill herself, but he never would’ve thought it was because she paid money for a job. Soo-jung snaps that she never asked him to save her.
She tells him that coming to school won’t change anything–he’s just getting his fifteen minutes of fame. Offended, he turns to leave, and she yells for him to stay out of Seolsong. Bok-soo yells that he wouldn’t even pee on the school grounds and stalks off.
The next morning, Soo-jung is still shaken up from last night. She goes to the chairman’s office and is surprised to see Se-ho sitting before her. The two then go out for drinks to catch up.
She had no idea that he was the chairwoman’s son, and he answers that there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him. Like who he had a crush on in school. She knowingly averts her eyes. In the background, they hear a wealthy woman rejecting her daughter’s boyfriend.
Se-ho then requests that she help him bring Bok-soo back. Angry, she bolts up to leave, when he mentions that he knows about Kim Myung-ho. He stares her down and says that he’ll hire her full-time if she brings Bok-soo. “You helped me before,” he smiles, “in the past.” She looks at his face, at his calculating eyes, confused.
Se-ho walks out, Soo-jung right behind him, and we see them walk past Bok-soo. He’s there for another favor, acting as the rich daughter’s “boyfriend.” And it’s clear that he heard everything his former friends said.
Later, Bok-soo wanders the streets, wondering why everyone seems to be out to get him. His eyes fill with angry tears when he sees Se-ho’s face on a TV screen–the news state that Se-ho plans to completely revolutionize Seolsong’s system.
Bok-soo clenches his fist. “If he’s going to play with my life like this,” he says, “then I should mess with him properly.” Oh hell yeah. You go, Bok-soo!
Soo-jung sits at her desk the next day, as conflicted as ever, until the bell rings. She gets up to pick up her planner and notices something out the window. When she moves to get a closer look, her jaw drops.
Out on the field, approaching the school, is a familiar figure in a Seolsong High uniform. It’s Bok-soo, looking more determined than he has in a long time. And as he gets closer, Soo-jung thinks to herself, “Kang Bok-soo… Bok-soo is back.”
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Bok-soo is back
You guys, I can’t express how pumped I am for this. Now that we have a better idea of what happened, the conflict is shaping up wonderfully. We’ve got a broken romance, a (maybe) broken friendship, and three broken lives due to one fateful incident. No one truly knows what happened on the roof that day except for our three main characters, and what makes it interesting is that all three have different ideas on what went down. Or… do they? I don’t want to doubt Soo-jung right now, but there were certain moments this episode that made me question her judgement.
For one, I thought it was strange the way Soo-jung just shut Bok-soo out. She only witnessed the last few seconds of Bok-soo and Se-ho’s fight, and she still testified in favor of Se-ho’s false claims. The girl can be stubborn and presumptuous, but that seemed like much, even for her. I at least thought that she would hear Bok-soo out, or I don’t know, something. Though I understand her viewpoint–walking in on that scene wouldn’t look good to anyone–that cold look she gave him felt like the biggest betrayal. That one look was all it took for me to understand Bok-soo’s deep feelings of resentment. And it makes me wonder if Soo-jung really does know more than she’s letting on.
Se-ho isn’t the funny villain that I wanted, but I’m totally fine with that because Kwak Dong-yeon’s performance is stellar. And surprisingly chilling. (I get goosebumps every time he smiles.) We’ve been told that he was suicidal, that he then attempted suicide, only to turn around and place all of the blame on Bok-soo. For what? For a fight about Soo-jung? If that’s the case, then I don’t know how to feel. However, I don’t think it is. Because Se-ho was right–we don’t know anything about him yet. And there’s obviously so much to explore there. I’m already looking forward to joining Bok-soo and Soo-jung as they try to figure him out.
With most of the high school flashbacks revealed, I am totally rooting for Bok-soo and his “If they’re gonna mess with me, I’m gonna mess with them” attitude. Se-ho threw him under the bus, and Soo-jung pretty much drove that bus. As much as I like these characters, and as much I believe that they deserve a second chance, I also believe that Bok-soo deserves his second chance first. They owe him that. So while I know that Bok-soo is only attending for some delicious payback, I hope that he also listens to Teacher Park and uses this opportunity as a way to turn his life around. Then I hope that this act encourages Soo-jung and Se-ho to turn their lives around.
Soo-jung got out of high school with no trouble, but she’s still struggling in life. She (presumably) lost her parents, she has a grandmother in the hospital, and her career is in jeopardy. And Se-ho got out of high school and an assault scot-free, but… I’m guessing he’s still struggling too. If he wanted so badly to cover up his suicide attempt, there has to be a logical reason. Maybe not a good one, but a reason nonetheless. So with all three characters affected by this incident, it seems that the only way to fix their problems is to face the past and work from there. I just hope these folks are ready because they made a big mistake in messing with a dude whose name literally means revenge.
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