My Strange Hero: Episodes 9-10
There is only so much teachers can know about their students, just as there is only so much our heroine can know about the two men from her past. But now that these two are constantly in her presence at school–annoying her to no end–she’s forced to face the feelings she’d thought were long gone. Oh, the hijinks that are sure to ensue.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Soo-jung stands among the disciplinary committee and declares that Bok-soo is the most dangerous student in school… but he’s still a student and they shouldn’t expel him after one small incident. If they always did that, there wouldn’t be any students left.
Appalled, Chae-min’s mother argues that Bok-soo isn’t even a real student and that he’s capable of causing more trouble later. What will Soo-jung do then?
“I will take responsibility,” she promises. Chae-min’s mom asks if she’d be willing to risk her teaching position for Bok-soo, and though she hesitates for a moment, she answers yes. Whether it’s Chae-min or Bok-soo, she will protect her students equally. Bok-soo laughs incredulously to himself.
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I’ll take responsibility for Kang Bok-soo
Soo-jung’s hands shake as the committee leaves in a huff. She moves to follow them out, but Bok-soo stops her and says she shouldn’t have done that for him. She coolly answers that he should just be grateful. Besides, if he didn’t want her butting into his business, he never should’ve become her student. She warns him to stay out of trouble before walking away.
Soo-jung has to deal with a confused Se-ho next, who doesn’t understand why she defended Bok-soo, of all people. Once she’s alone in the bathroom, she pulls her hair in frustration and wonders the same thing.
Bok-soo comes home to find his sister So-jung doting on In-ho with herbal drinks. Bok-soo rolls his eyes but thanks So-jung for coming by the school earlier. She shoves some of the drinks in his pocket (aw) and tells him to concentrate on graduating.
Mom comes into the restaurant, followed by Teacher Park. Teacher Park is here to use one of his many coupons, but Mom tells him that it’s after closing. And before Park can start blabbing about Bok-soo’s hearing, Bok-soo shoves him out.
The two go out for drinks, and Teacher Park drunkenly tells Bok-soo that he should take it easy on Soo-jung now. And though Bok-soo grumbles in annoyance, Teacher Park can tell that he’s worried about her.
Either way, Park states that Bok-soo and Soo-jung are in this together now. “If you fall, then Soo-jung will fall. So get a hold of yourself,” he slurs. Bok-soo agrees, only to groan when he looks up and sees that his teacher has already passed out.
Later, Bok-soo meets with Gyung-hyun and reports everything that happened, even impersonating Soo-jung’s little speech. He wonders if Soo-jung still has feelings for him. It would surely complicate his plans for revenge, but the thought still makes him smile.
Se-ho comes home, nervous to face his mother. But she already knows that Bok-soo was let off the hook. She waves off his excuses and says that he only ever reached a certain extent, so she couldn’t expect much.
He flashes back to 2009, the day he was ranked below Soo-jung. Though he promises Mom that he’ll do better, she’s disappointed that this is all she can expect from him. He secludes himself in his room that night, slashing a sunflower painting with jagged black lines until it’s just one dark mass.
The next day, Bok-soo can tell that Se-ho is feeling down, so he brings him and Soo-jung to the Kang restaurant. As Bok-soo and Soo-jung slurp down their food, sister So-jung wonders why the first and second place students hang out with the last place student. Mom smacks her, saying it’s okay to be bad at studying. Se-ho looks confused to hear that, but not as confused as he is staring at his bowl of jjajangmyun.
“It’s my first time trying this,” he explains, to everyone’s surprise. Mom sweetly mixes his bowl and urges him to eat. As he does, he thanks her and politely calls her “Mother,” which she absolutely loves.
Afterwards, Se-ho and Soo-jung walk home, and Se-ho sighs that Bok-soo is lucky to have a mother similar to those in dramas. He also admits that besides jjajangmyun, he’s never tried samgyupsal. At Soo-jung’s amazed reaction, he smiles widely.
She says that this is the first time he’s smiled with his eyes–he should do it more often. So at home, Se-ho looks in the mirror and practices his smile. His attempts look awkward until today’s events make him smile for real. Augh, this boy breaks my heart.
Transition to the stone-faced Se-ho in present day. His secretary gives him Soo-jung’s background info, including news of her ill grandmother. He asks that his secretary keep his tabs on Soo-jung a secret from his mother.
Meanwhile, Bok-soo begins his five days of punishment and cleans the school doors. He’s weirded out, however, when Teacher Ma stops by and stares at him like he’s some long lost love. Ma asks if he recognizes him, and Bok-soo’s eyes widen as he remembers him as the kid he saved years ago.
Ecstatic, Ma gives Bok-soo a tight hug and fist bump, swearing that he’ll repay him somehow. He then scurries inside, making Bok-soo laugh.
Class commences, and everyone in the Wildflower Class turns to see none other than Young-min walk in. Young-min happily slides an empty desk next to Bok-soo and reveals that he wants to be a wildflower now.
Bok-soo says that he didn’t give Young-min permission to sit near him, and Young-min replies that he didn’t have to since they’re best friends now. Bok-soo scoffs at that, considering their age difference. Okay, this is too many bromances in one episode–let a girl breathe!
Soo-jung comes in to bid the class good morning and is surprised to see a smiling Young-min. She also notices that Seung-woo’s seat is empty. She makes a note of this before asking Young-min out into the hall. She warns him that the class isn’t up to par with his academic level, but he doesn’t care.
“Instead, I have a comrade,” he says. He looks at Bok-soo through the class window and continues that he won’t be lonely since he has someone that can help him out. As he returns to class, Soo-jung watches him with an uncertain smile.
The kids head to lunch and upon seeing the new lunch lady, Bok-soo’s jaw drops. Min-ji smiles up at him and says that she’s going to take care of him. She hands him an extra bowl of food and sends him on his way. When Soo-jung goes down the lunch line, however, Min-ji gives her the tiiiiiiniest portion.
Recognizing her old classmate, Soo-jung takes Min-ji outside to talk. Min-ji comments that Soo-jung still seems like her old self, not even knowing how Bok-soo’s lived all these years. She lies that she and Bok-soo are dating, so she warns Soo-jung to back off.
Later, Min-ji ambushes Bok-soo while he’s doing his volunteer work. He notices something in her hair and picks it out, which is right when Soo-jung walks by. Min-ji sees her and acts extra flirty towards Bok-soo, prompting Soo-jung to walk the other way. As Bok-soo tells Min-ji to cut it out, he catches Soo-jung’s retreating figure.
Sensing something’s wrong, Bok-soo peeks into Soo-jung’s office and sees her pounding her chest. He stares at her all throughout class, concerned, but that only makes her pound her chest even more. So after class, he heads over to the nurse’s office and fakes indigestion to get some medicine.
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What is this suffocating feeling?
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Bok-soo heads back to Soo-jung’s office to deliver the medicine but stops short when he sees that Se-ho is already inside–he noticed she looked unwell and brought medicine too. Feeling stupid, Bok-soo heads back to class.
That night, Soo-jung can’t get Min-ji’s words out of her head. She tells herself that it has nothing to do with her, but her sad expression says otherwise.
The next day, Bok-soo attempts to snoop through Se-ho’s office again. He sifts through the desk until he comes across an old sketch of Soo-jung. Confused, he wonders, “Oh Se-ho… was that what it was?”
Bok-soo trudges back to class, pouting at Soo-jung when she chides him for being late. She can’t worry about him now, though; she leaves to try contacting Seung-won. He usually has perfect attendance, so his absences are starting to unsettle her.
As the day goes on, Bok-soo’s jealousy intensifies. While cleaning, he whips his mop through the air and accidentally splashes water in Teacher Kim’s face, lol.
After Bok-soo and Soo-jung are both lectured, Soo-jung reminds him that he has to behave himself. But he just silently glares at her and walks past. Once he’s out of sight, he leans against the wall and wonders what the heck is wrong with him.
In a tiny apartment, Seung-won lies in bed and scrolls through all the missed calls from his friends. Rather than call them back, he tries calling his mom. And when she doesn’t answer, he angrily deletes her number.
Seung-won’s friends tell Soo-jung that he works at a bar, so she goes out to find the place, letting Bok-soo tag along (even though he’s still acting petty).
They walk in to witness Seung-won arguing with his boss, who won’t cough up his pay since he’s a minor. Before Seung-won can get aggressive, Soo-jung steps in to defend him.
The boss comments that if Seung-won doesn’t have parents, his teacher should at least teach him well. This angers Soo-jung, and she says that the boss is in the wrong for taking advantage of a kid who’s trying to work hard. The boss raises a hand to hit her, and she stops it easily. But when he pushes her back, she stumbles…
Right into Bok-soo’s arms. Her heart beats uncontrollably as he holds her close and sneers at the boss. Assuming this isn’t the first time the boss has hired a minor, Bok-soo threatens to deal with this legally. At that, the boss shoves the couple into a table, knocking them down.
Bok-soo protects Soo-jung from the falling glass bottles, getting his face cut up. The two share an intense moment, with her reaching up to touch his face, before he looks up at the boss and threatens to add assault onto his charge.
Cut to: Seung-woo following his teacher and classmate out, his pay in hand. When Bok-soo moves past to leave, Soo-jung grabs his arm to look at his cut face. She tries to say something, but decides to let him go instead.
Bok-soo then turns to Seung-woo and tells him to come to school since his friends are worried. Seung-woo answers that he will, adding the formal speech ending and making Bok-soo smirk.
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Bar fight date
At the convenience store, Soo-jung gets drunk and stares at the hand that Bok-soo grasped. She shakes the hand, saying, “Hey, Kang Bok-soo, who taught you this? You only learned bad things, huh?”
She starts yelling at his picture on social media too, until the cashier Simran calls the number so she’ll stop making a racket and just talk to the guy, haha. She panics and hangs up just as a different call comes in.
Elsewhere, Bok-soo admits to Gyung-hyun that he’d thought Soo-jung had gone weak only to learn that she’s as feisty as ever. He then notices her missed call and tenses up. Gyung-hyun sighs and tells him to forget the revenge and get the truth out of her–that’s what he really wants.
After calling Soo-jung, Se-ho heads over to the convenience store to make sure she’s okay. She says that only friends do that and she doesn’t consider them friends.
“Then what am I?” he asks, rather hurt. And she answers that he’s her superior at work. Either way, among the many things she doesn’t have, a friend is one of them.
He walks her home, and he’s not sure what to do when she gets comfy on the hood of a car. She urges him to join her, saying it’s nice, so he does. He turns his head to look at her as they continue lying there.
From afar, Bok-soo watches them, disappointed that he may have arrived a little too late.
The next day, as Bok-soo nears school, he moves past Soo-jung and ignores her greeting. He heads straight for the gym to continue his volunteer work, and he finds Se-ho inside practicing his kendo. The two make their usual snarky comments, when Se-ho sees Bok-soo’s bandaged cut.
Se-ho reaches out to touch Bok-soo’s face, and Bok-soo swipes his hand away. He asks Se-ho when he started having feelings for Soo-jung, clarifying that he’s asking as a student concerned for his teacher. He says that he’s heard rumors about some wealthy trash obsessing over her.
“Don’t you think wealthy trash is better than an expelled loser?” Se-ho replies. Bok-soo’s smirk disappears; he warns Se-ho not to mess with Soo-jung. But Se-ho believes that he and Soo-jung are a better match now, whereas Bok-soo doesn’t even qualify.
Knowing he’s just pissed off Bok-soo even more, Se-ho drops his bamboo sword to the ground and grabs another. He suggests they both let off some steam and have a duel–maybe even wager a wish. Bok-soo is all for it, so they take their stances and jump into it, Se-ho’s moves swift and calculative while Bok-soo’s are impulsive.
Amidst the fight, Bok-soo’s sword snaps in half. Just when Se-ho thinks he’s won, Bok-soo grabs the broken sword, blocks his blow, and hits him by the throat. They freeze in that position, the jagged sword cutting Se-ho’s skin. Before Bok-soo has the chance to say his wish, though, Soo-jung walks in and cries his name.
She sees Se-ho’s wound and scolds Bok-soo for getting into trouble yet again. Frustrated, Bok-soo throws his sword aside and says to mind her own business. She then orders him to move so she can take Se-ho to the nurse, but he won’t. “Why aren’t you asking?” he demands.
Soo-jung is stunned as Bok-soo–voice desperate and expression hopeless–continues, “Nine years ago and even now, why aren’t you asking me what happened?!” Tears stream down his face, while Soo-jung and Se-ho can only look back at him, completely speechless.
Well, this was certainly the hour of Bok-soo, wasn’t it? Characters were appearing left and right to admire him, respect him, or in Soo-jung’s case, reevaluate him. And it’s rather satisfying, considering how likeable a person he is. He’s a good person, whether he wants to be or not, so his flaws (like his wacky temper and thick skull) are that much more endearing. It’s no wonder why Soo-jung is constantly drawn to him, or why Se-ho is constantly trying to upstage him.
I can’t shower enough compliments on Kwak Dong-yeon’s performance, because I’m still conflicted about his character. It would be easy to hate Se-ho, to write him off as a psycho, if he weren’t harboring so much pain. His flashbacks this episode revealed a lot of restraint, like he was trapped within the dark castle his mother had built around him and he was just itching to get out. He had some heartwarming moments with Bok-soo and his family (Oh, how I wish they’d adopted him!), but it wasn’t enough to counteract his own mother’s cold treatment.
Once again, I’m convinced that he is the way he is simply because he doesn’t know any better. He doesn’t know how to handle his feelings for Soo-jung or Bok-soo and unfortunately, his misguided actions only hurt them or push them further away. Se-ho may think that he wants to push Bok-soo away, but does he really? I wish someone would’ve told him that it’s okay to be jealous of friends, and that Bok-soo never had to be his enemy.
This was also an interesting episode for Soo-jung because up until now, she’s been telling us that she doesn’t care about Bok-soo or what she did to him nine years ago. For a while, I actually believed her. She rarely showed any remorse, so I assumed that she wanted to erase the past for purely selfish reasons. But now I’m thinking that she’s been wanting to erase the past because she knows that she messed up. Something in her heart is telling her that Bok-soo couldn’t have done what she thinks he did. The Bok-soo of her past and the Bok-soo in her present aren’t capable of it.
If she weren’t having these feelings, her heart wouldn’t be going crazy every time she’s near him. Even Bok-soo, who has every right to be angry with her, can’t ignore his heart. Their respective anger isn’t enough to outweigh the love they once had for each other. So if they could just find their way to the truth, they could re-discover this love together. Soo-jung may have been suppressing any and all guilt she’s had the past few years, so having it all flood out won’t be pretty. But, in the end, if that flood is able to wash away both her and Bok-soo’s pain, then it’ll all be worth it.
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