My Strange Hero: Episodes 7-8
First week back at school, and our hero already manages to get himself into trouble. He just can’t stay still when the people around him are ignoring the system’s blaring problems. And since he’s paying attention to these problems, everyone else starts to too. Perhaps he has a lot more to offer besides some simple revenge scheme.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Bok-soo and Soo-jung find Se-ho on the roof standing on the ledge. Bok-soo smiles at him and says that it’s been a while since the three of them were here. He continues that he’d always wondered why Se-ho was so desperate to die that day, but right now, he couldn’t care at all.
He turns to Soo-jung, wondering how she could believe he actually pushed this guy, and she replies that she heard it–she heard Se-ho yell “Save me.” Se-ho smirks at that. Bok-soo cries that even if everyone misunderstood him, she should’ve believed him. She throws back, “How could I believe you?”
Done with all of this, Soo-jung turns to leave. She hesitates, however, when a heartbroken Bok-soo asks if his feelings really meant nothing to her.
Flashback to 2009. In class, two girls ask Soo-jung to reveal whoever her tutor is. They pout when she stutters an excuse and leaves the room; they assume that since she’s so rich, she doesn’t want to say how expensive her lessons are.
After school, Bok-soo follows Soo-jung and insists on walking her home. She’d rather he wouldn’t, but she can’t say no to his puppy eyes. They reach a big house in a nice neighborhood, and Soo-jung urges him to leave.
To her dismay, he jokingly rings the doorbell and runs off. Over the intercom, she quickly tells the owner she got the wrong house. She then turns to see a surprised Bok-soo, who’d forgotten to give her her favorite yogurt drink.
Soo-jung takes Bok-soo to her real neighborhood, a much poorer side of town. She starts rambling that she never technically lied since their classmates only assumed she was rich, but trails off to see Bok-soo’s warm expression.
He takes her hands in his and gently says, “No matter where you live, Sohn Soo-jung is just Sohn Soo-jung.” And though she’s still embarrassed when she has to kick her rickety old gate open, his smile makes her feel better.
The next morning, Soo-jung and her grandma are surprised to find their gate fixed and painted pink, two small hearts by the latch. She gets a text from Bok-soo saying the gate is now as pretty as her (d’aww), and she beams. Hiding behind the corner with a paintbrush, Bok-soo beams as well.
Soo-jung is still giddy as she walks into school, when Se-ho nervously pulls her aside. He warns her that Bok-soo said something he shouldn’t have. The two girls from earlier then step up and demand to know why she acted all high and mighty when she was actually poor. Soo-jung tries to defend herself, but the damage is already done–everyone knows.
She hears someone comment that Bok-soo must’ve helped her because he felt sorry for her, and she runs out in tears. Se-ho comes out to check on her, and he says that Bok-soo must’ve really pitied her if he even painted her gate. She looks up at him, her eyes hurt.
Back in the present, Soo-jung has that same hurt look. She tells Bok-soo that because of him, she can’t trust people anymore. Bok-soo sighs and decides that he won’t ask her or Se-ho about that day anymore; he’s just going to make them pay. After all, they don’t deserve to be in their positions after all their deceit. “You’re going to regret bringing me back to school,” he promises.
Later, Soo-jung has her session with the honors class, and she notices bully Chae-min pestering Young-min. Chae-min says that Young-min doesn’t belong here, making Young-min bolt up and exclaim that he’s not leaving.
Soo-jung then meets with Se-ho in his office to set one thing straight–she testified because of what she heard, not because she was on his side or anything. He’s still grateful, though, and hopes that she can find some way to trust him.
Before she can answer, she gets an alarming call concerning her grandma. She hurries to the hospital, where she learns that Grandma’s condition has worsened. Grandma will have to be hospitalized for a while, meaning a pretty big hospital bill.
Bok-soo handles another favor by lip-syncing for someone at a club. Backstage, he remembers Se-ho saying that a director has a better chance of getting revenge than a student like him. Bok-soo bangs his head against the table and wonders how he’s going to pull this off, so Gyung-hyun suggests he get some intel.
They head out for drinks, and Bok-soo is surprised to have the tough Seung-woo (In-ho’s bully) as their server. Meanwhile, Se-ho orders his secretary to provide background checks on the Wildflower Class, as well as information on forcefully transferring students.
The next day, Bok-soo turns into a bumbling spy and sneaks into Se-ho’s office. But he’s immediately caught by Se-ho’s secretary. He tries to butter the secretary up by asking to be friends, and the secretary merely says he already has a boyfriend before walking past. Bok-soo makes note of this on his tape recorder, HAHA.
Since Operation Se-ho failed, Bok-soo decides to snoop through Kim Myung-ho’s desk in the administration office. But he ducks behind another desk when he hears someone coming. It’s Soo-jung, there to snoop too, only to panic at the sound of someone else coming. She doesn’t know what to do, so Bok-soo grabs her, pulls her in close, and keeps a hand over her mouth.
They stare at each other, affected by the closeness, until they hear two teachers stumble in. Teacher Jang coos at Teacher Ma (the former student that Bok-soo defended in Episode 1), wondering when he’ll finally make a move on her. Bok-soo and Soo-jung look at each other incredulously as Teacher Jang continues to flirt.
Once the teachers leave, Bok-soo and Soo-jung awkwardly stand. Soo-jung figures that Teacher Jang is a rich lady trying to seduce a younger man, and Bok-soo remarks that her view on love must’ve changed when she lost her money. Soo-jung sighs and says, “I see you still hurt people when you don’t even know anything.” She walks away, with Bok-soo looking somewhat regretful.
Bok-soo’s mom meets with Teacher Park to discuss Bok-soo’s reinstatement. Teacher Park comments that he sees this as a second chance for both Bok-soo and himself, so he promises to protect her son this time.
Mom gives him an envelope and her sincere thanks, but Teacher Park is unwilling to accept her money. She scurries off before he can say much else, so he opens the envelope and finds coupons to the Kang family restaurant. He can’t help but smile.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Young-min gets lectured by his teacher, Teacher Kim, about his low ranking. Kim tells him to clear out his glass booth (a luxury for honors students) and to take a lower-level class instead.
Young-min stalks back to class, when Chae-min and his buddies shove a trash can at him. Chae-min coldly compares Young-min to the trash, making Young-min slam it to the ground. Cursing, Chae-min punches him in the face.
Before Chae-min can get another punch in, a hand grabs his wrist. Bok-soo stares him down and suggests he give it a rest. Young-min, however, tells Bok-soo to mind his own business; he just wants everyone to leave him alone.
When Teacher Kim appears to separate them, Young-min storms off and locks himself in his glass booth. Kim and Soo-jung urge him to come out, and he screams, “This is my seat! I’m saying this is my place!”
Of course, the mothers of the honors students are on a tour right then and hear all the commotion. A big crowd forms around the booths, with Se-ho coming up front to talk Young-min out. Se-ho is interrupted by a loud “Hey!”
Bok-soo picks up a chair and slams it against the door, cracking it. He then delivers two sharp kicks and smashes it to pieces, the flying glass cutting his cheek. (Excessive, but okay.) As everyone jumps back in shock, Bok-soo kneels before Young-min.
Bok-soo gives Young-min one of his quotes: “Bob Marley said this. ‘None but ourselves can free our minds.'” He broke the prison of the glass booth, but it’s up to Young-min to break the prison in his mind–the prison that truly drives his hardship.
Young-min sheds a tear, the realization setting in, and smiles. Satisfied, Bok-soo stands and makes his exit, leaving the crowd speechless. Even Se-ho fails to maintain his smug grin.
The honors students’ moms have a group meeting and agree that Bok-soo needs to be expelled. They hope the director will take care of it. And speaking of, Se-ho broods in his office and mutters that it’s not the right time.
In the nurse’s office, Soo-jung helps bandage Young-min’s wounds, unable to get Bok-soo’s cut face out of her head. She sighs that she doesn’t think she deserves to be a teacher, and Young-min jokes that she’s just a temp anyway.
She snaps that she’s full-time now and urges him to rest. As he gets comfy, he reveals that he’d always memorize his studies while lying in bed, so he’s content that he’s finally able to lie down and actually rest.
Teacher Park finds Bok-soo outside and can neither compliment nor criticize his actions from earlier. All he can do is agree with Bok-soo that the school needs to change. He then realizes that Bok-soo is missing class and freaks when Bok-soo just bolts, lol.
Bok-soo finds his mom in the restaurant and makes up an excuse for the cut on his face. He takes over Mom’s cleaning and, feeling her stare, is reminded of how she reacted to his expulsion.
The two had gone to several different schools, with Mom begging the principals to accept her son. But news of the “assault” traveled fast and no one wanted him. Still, Bok-soo and his mom tried to stay positive.
Bok-soo stops his cleaning and asks if there’s anything he can do to make Mom feel better. Improve his grades? Stop getting into fights? Mom says that there is something–she wants him to get his diploma.
His joking demeanor disappears, but instead of answering, he just continues to clean.
Meanwhile, Soo-jung confides in her convenience store friend Simran that she wants to become a good teacher. And to her, a good teacher is someone who can help students realize their dreams, who notices when students are having a hard time.
The next morning at school, Bok-soo and Se-ho find an announcement stating that Bok-soo will have to defend himself before the school committee. Overhearing the positive gossip from students, Se-ho wonders why people like Bok-soo so much.
Bok-soo sighs and says that the way Se-ho is running Seolsong is all wrong. “You said you hated your mother, right?” Bok-soo says. “But you and your mom are the same.” At that, Se-ho gets in his face and insists that he’s different. He’s going to change Seolsong.
Se-ho leaves to attend a meeting with his mother Chairwoman Im. Once Soo-jung arrives (as Bok-soo’s homeroom teacher), the chairwoman cuts to the chase and orders that Bok-soo be expelled.
Though the glass booth could easily be replaced, the chairwoman believes that Bok-soo breaking it down could tell others that the school itself is capable of breaking down. And she can’t have that. It’s more complicated than that, though, so Se-ho asks Soo-jung for her opinion.
Soo-jung thinks back to the way Bok-soo kicked down the door and the way he comforted Young-min. She squeezes her eyes shut and blurts out that she thinks Chairwoman Im is right in wanting Bok-soo gone. *sigh* Seriously?
Soo-jung returns to homeroom, surprised to find her entire class applauding Bok-soo. She tells them that breaking the door was a bad thing, and Bok-soo wonders if he should’ve just ignored Young-min’s obvious cry for help then.
Crossing her arms, Soo-jung argues that the teachers could’ve done something, and Bok-soo throws back that they wouldn’t have broken the door.
Student So-ra chimes in, saying that she admired Bok-soo’s actions. After all, she’d always felt that the honors students were the only ones considered special. The entire class voices their agreement.
Soo-jung says that everybody is the same student and that no one is special. “No,” she corrects herself. “You’re all special.” Touched by her words, the class erupts into cheers. Even Bok-soo manages a small smile.
Teacher Park is upset that he’s excluded from Bok-soo’s defense, so he barges into Se-ho’s office to complain. But it’s no use; Bok-soo will have to go in alone.
Thankfully, he’s not alone. His noona So-jung surprises him by showing up as his guardian. She faces the committee (Soo-jung included) and tells them that while Bok-soo destroyed school property, his heart was in the right place. And she knows that deep down, Bok-soo really wants to be in school.
Bok-soo tells his sister that he’ll take it from here, so she leaves him to it. Bok-soo does apologize, but doesn’t think he did anything wrong. He quotes something Soo-jung said long ago, that there are many variables to the rules of the world and that they should be memorized.
He tells the committee to memorize him, because he’s going to be the variable in Seolsong’s regulations.
Vice Principal Song interrupts and gives Soo-jung the floor. She’s still confused with her feelings, though, flashing back to every time Bok-soo said she was unqualified as a teacher.
Having come to a decision, she stands and firmly states that Bok-soo has made himself out to be the most dangerous student in school. He looks up at her, and they hold their gaze, equally disappointed in one another.
There’s a “but” to that, right? Tell me there’s a “but,” Soo-jung. Because you’re making it very difficult for me to root for you. I was pleased when she told her class that they were all special because she blurted it out as if it was by accident, as if it was a reflex. And that’s a good sign for her. But she has to use a lot more than pure instinct if she wants to be the teacher she’s aiming to be.
I have a lot to say about this episode’s flashbacks, so let’s jump into it. This whole thing just doesn’t make sense. Bok-soo isn’t the type of person to go around saying Soo-jung is poor or that he painted her gate, even to Se-ho. Something tells me that Se-ho was stalking her. He followed her all over school, so I could see him taking it a step too far. And after seeing Soo-jung and Bok-soo acting all lovey-dovey in front of her house, his jealousy could’ve provoked his lies. Though this seems like a terrible thing for him to do–and it definitely is–it also seems strangely childlike. Present-day Se-ho exudes utmost confidence and intelligence, but 2009 Se-ho exudes a dangerous kind of innocence.
Se-ho lives with a mother who doesn’t even know (or just doesn’t care) about his food allergies. So I doubt that Mom ever tried to be a part of her son’s life. He’s had to do everything himself, learn everything himself, to the point of only knowing what he’s studied in books. His studies were all he had until he came to Seolsong High. Until he was ranked lower than Soo-jung. While that may have started a doomed crush, it’s not what started his downfall. It was Bok-soo. Bok-soo, who had never gotten a good grade, who had never moved from his bottom rank. Bok-soo, who everyone still respected and adored, Soo-jung included. And since Se-ho’s mom probably raised him into thinking he had to be the best, he had to be better than Bok-soo. After all these years, he’s still trying to outdo Bok-soo, with no idea as to how.
Apparently, the only way for Se-ho to outdo Bok-soo back in high school was to make him evil in Soo-jung’s eyes. And I’m just going to be honest–I am extremely disappointed in Soo-jung for letting her emotions get the best of her. Like Se-ho, her studies were really all she had. She locked herself in her own mind so she could focus on nothing but school, and so she couldn’t get hurt. It’s telling that whenever we see flashbacks of her right before the roof fight, she’s nervously standing behind the door, afraid to open it and confront what’s happening. Instead, she went off what she heard and what she was feeling in that moment. She was feeling anger and hurt and betrayal, and those emotions eventually led her to hurting someone else.
I felt sorry for Soo-jung when her secret got out (freaking kids can be so cruel), but um, that does not justify her getting Bok-soo expelled. That does not justify her ruining his life. Not even close. No matter how mad she was, she should’ve gotten his side of the story rather than fill in the blanks herself. Because, with where her mind was at the time, those blanks were doomed to be filled with exaggeration. So I had to agree with Bok-soo when he called her fake. She may find it intimidating or downright scary, but she needs to break through the prison of her mind and face reality. Bok-soo managed to knock one prison down (it was overdramatic, but I’ll give it a pass since it was also badass), and I’m glad that it’s already started to inspire others. I could tell that Soo-jung was inspired too; she just doesn’t want to admit it.
I know that Bok-soo wants his revenge, but rather than the petty remarks or impulsive actions, I think the greatest revenge would be actually changing Seolsong High. The students are getting suffocated by the system, and Bok-soo is like that bit of fresh air that they need. He may not be able to save himself, but he could very well save his classmates. If he wants to do that, he has to get through to Soo-jung and Se-ho. It may seem impossible to him now, but there has to be a sliver of hope.
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