Hi Bye, Mama! : Episode 5
This episode, we get some much needed insight on the second wife in this awkward family situation. Mysterious Min-jung never revealed what was really going on in her head or her heart, other than the fact that she was somewhat unhappy. But within her own past love story and her current parenting story, there are signs that this awkward situation is actually a heartbreaking one.
EPISODE 5: “Every Moment When Chance Turns into Fate”
In the college days, we see Kang-hwa nodding off on the subway, a curious Min-jung eyeing him the whole time. At his stop, he jerks awake and scrambles out, accidentally knocking into Min-jung and leaving his backpack in her lap in the process. She keeps the backpack, even though she doesn’t know how to return it to him.
Lucky for her, when she gets to school, she comes to find that he goes there too. She witnesses Doctor Jang lecturing him out in the hall (even back then, huh?). And watching him act like a total doof, she smiles. She narrates: “There are some moments when a small coincidence you experience grows into a huge thing called fate.”
One day, she tries to build up the courage to give him chocolates, but hearing him and his friends talking about his new girlfriend Yuri, she walks past them, deflated. She figures right then that her supposed fate turned back into a coincidence.
But then, years later, Min-jung sees Kang-hwa again — in the hospital nursery, after Yuri’s death. Now a nurse, Min-jung sadly watches as Kang-hwa turns away from his baby and leaves for the funeral.
Back in the present day, Hyun-jung runs into Yuri and is stunned speechless. But remembering all the weird things that have been happening to her, it all starts to make sense. Yuri just looks at Hyun-jung, tears in her eyes, knowing that she can’t lie her way out of this one.
We cut to Geun-sang in the restaurant, still freaking out over the CCTV footage. Boy, does he really lose it when his wife comes in with Yuri right behind her. While he escapes to his room, Hyun-jung just turns to Yuri and embraces her, letting her emotions spill over.
At work, Kang-hwa gets a text from Geun-sang of what happened and he immediately jumps up to leave. Of course, when Doctor Jang comes by seconds later and learns the knucklehead left early, he collapses out of frustration, lol.
Once Kang-hwa joins the others and our two couples are reunited, they struggle to come up with a game plan. Hyun-jung suggests they go see her mom first, but Yuri continues her charade of amnesia and argues that her mom is too weak-hearted.
They at least want Yuri to stay at the restaurant instead of the hotel, but she doesn’t want them to fawn over her. “Just two months,” she says. “No, just 49 days. Just leave me be for 49 days.” After that, she promises, she’ll make up her mind.
With that, the group agrees to keep her a secret from Mom and to let her do what she wants. Hyun-jung tells her she did good in coming back and brings her into another hug. The guys go outside to give them some privacy, Kang-hwa wondering what he heck he should do now.
He tells Geun-sang that Min-jung already saw Yuri and that she assumed she was a look-alike. Though Geun-sang thinks it’d be better to tell her the truth, they both decide to listen to Yuri and leave things alone for a while, at least for the 49 days. “This should be good news,” Geun-sang notes. “So why do I feel like something’s wrong?”
Kang-hwa waits until Yuri and Hyun-jung are finished hugging and crying to drive Yuri back. He tells her that he’s glad Hyun-jung was so happy to see her and that he’s disappointed in his own initial reaction, thinking he should’ve been more happy than shocked. Yuri looks up at him, understanding in her eyes; she knows better.
In fact, Yuri remembers her night at the hotel, when the front desk kept calling her to make sure she was okay. Before she checked out, she’d asked the clerk why they did that, and he informed her that it was all Kang-hwa. He’d come by the hotel, even late at night in his jammies, to beg the clerk to check up on her. Aww.
“Idiot,” Yuri mumbles. She then tells Kang-hwa to drop her off there and gets out to walk. She goes all the way to her parents’ house, unaware that Kang-hwa is following her. They stay there in their respective spots, looking up at the house wistfully. Inside, we see that Mom is upset over some wild seaweed a friend brought over — the seaweed most likely some sort of reminder of Yuri. Mom retreats to her room to play a game of Go-Stop on her phone.
Meanwhile, Min-jung looks through Kang-hwa’s books to find the picture of Yuri, coming up with nothing. She later dismisses the weekly housekeeper, who jokes that their house is too clean and that her husband doesn’t leave any messes for the wife to take care of. She smiles at that, only to frown when the housekeeper leaves.
The next morning, Kang-hwa declines Min-jung’s offer to make breakfast, instead downing an energy drink. She brings up Yuri’s picture, making him do a spit take (haha). At that, she drops the subject and goes on to get him an umbrella since it’ll snow. But her face falls as she notices he already has an umbrella.
They say goodbye, Kang-hwa off to work and Min-jung left deflated once again. She turns to Seo-woo’s backpack, putting a boxed lunch inside, and is confused to find handfuls of red beans at the bottom.
Cut to: Yuri (in a new outfit!) gathering up all the ghosts near Seo-woo’s school, using the oh-so-powerful red beans. When the ghosts refuse to leave, Yuri whips out Midongdaek’s bell rattle and forces them up in the trees until they finally comply. She lets them down and they run away from the school, making her feel triumphant. That is, until she turns and sees the kindergarten teachers staring at her like she’s crazy.
Yuri skips off, stopping when she comes across an arcade full of crane machines. A pink toy catches her eye, and thinking it’d be perfect for Seo-woo, she heads inside to play the machine. However, she loses over and over, wasting a good amount of money, and she’s jealous when she notices the young man across from her winning toy after toy and stuffing them in a plastic bag. And whataya know, it’s the ghost family’s son Pil-seung.
Yuri asks Pil-seung if she can buy one of his pink toys with her leftover money (three dollars, haha). He’s unwilling to sell, but he does help her with the crane machine she’d been struggling with. Before they can get the pink toy, the ghost family sees them together and cries out, scaring Yuri and subsequently scaring Pil-seung.
The family informs her who he is, and she remembers the toilet paper incident. “Wow,” she says, eyes darting between Ghost Dad and Pil-seung. “How could someone with your looks have a son like this?” The family begs her to cook a proper meal for him, initiating an argument, but all he sees is this lady talking to herself.
Through with the ghosts, Yuri snatches the pink toy and attempts to run away, instead smacking face-first into the glass doors and falling to the ground with a bad nosebleed. Pil-seung takes the pink toy back, smirking, and gives her a stuffed dinosaur instead, which she has no choice but to accept.
Yuri leaves disappointed, the ghost family still following and pestering her to take care of their son. They threaten to hang around Seo-woo if she doesn’t, making her whip out the bell rattle and threaten them right back. But then Midongdaek appears and takes the bell rattle, furious that Yuri stole it from her.
Everyone returns to the columbarium, where Yuri’s secret is officially out. Midongdaek explains the situation to the ghosts, also forbidding them from asking Yuri for any favors. Some folks figure that God must have a plan for Yuri, and Midongdaek states that despite her praying, she hasn’t gotten any answer as to what that plan is.
Midongdaek thinks that Yuri should at least see her mom, but Yuri doesn’t see the point when she’ll disappear soon. “I’ll just give her false hope,” she says. So she’d rather handle her business with Seo-woo and leave peacefully; she’ll be happy with that.
Min-jung takes Seo-woo to an English learning center, worried when Seo-woo doesn’t respond well to the lessons. The teacher asks Min-jung if she speaks with Seo-woo, saying that would help her progress, and Min-jung admits that she only speaks with her when necessary.
Afterwards, Min-jung and Seo-woo go out for ice cream. They don’t talk much, and it seems to bother Min-jung, especially when she notices a nearby mother and son being silly and loving. That night, she comes home to grab her secret bottle of soju and sees that it’s almost empty.
At a convenience store, Yuri and Hyun-jung sit outside with a table full of food. Yuri’s about to dig in, freezing when Hyun-jung asks, “Aren’t you curious about what kind of person Seo-woo’s stepmother is?” Yuri smiles and states that she’s sure to be a good person, and Hyun-jung agrees.
Yuri’s smile drops and she immediately jumps up and runs behind the corner. Hyun-jung turns to see it’s because Min-jung is coming their way. Min-jung greets her and then heads inside for more soju. And watching through the store window, Yuri sighs. She remembers when she was a ghost and when she watched Min-jung drink late at night, impressed with her choice in hard liquor.
This time, Min-jung turns away from the soju and buys a can of beer instead. Hyun-jung tries to keep cool the whole time but is stuck in a tight spot when Min-jung comes out and joins her at the table. They make some awkward small talk about the neighborhood moms and how they’d probably judge them for drinking out alone. Min-jung insists the gossip doesn’t bother her, but the eavesdropping Yuri scoffs that she’s just trying to act tough.
After a beat, Min-jung asks, “Is Seo-woo really that strange?” She then dismisses her own question and sips her beer, while Yuri and Hyun-jung’s expressions turn sad.
The next day, knowing it’s parent participation day at the kindergarten, Kang-hwa tries to get out of it by pretending Seo-woo is sick. But innocent little Seo-woo says that she’s fine, so there’s no way around it. Hyun-jung and Geun-sang show up as well, Hyun-jung embarrassed because her hubby and son are sporting matching coats.
Everyone’s on edge, afraid that Min-jung will bump into Yuri, but Hyun-jung actually hopes it happens, thinking it’d be best if she knew what was going on. Eventually, Min-jung does bump into Yuri, when Yuri’s bringing a bowl of red beans to the children, and she’s obviously suspicious. Yuri just ducks her head and gets back to work.
The kids play with the red beans, and one mom scolds Seo-woo for stealing some of her daughter’s. Hyun-jung tries to defuse the situation, but the mom keeps at it until she’s showered by a whole bowl of beans. Yuri smiles slyly and states she’s simply making the atmosphere more fun. (Ha, can’t stop a mama from defending her child.) Unfortunately, Min-jung takes note of this, even more wary of this supposed look-alike.
For the next activity, the families make their own fruit skewers. Yuri is excited for this, thinking back to when she was pregnant and she had a huge craving for strawberries. She also thinks back to her ghostie days, when Min-jung had given Seo-woo a piece of cake without strawberries; she’d grumbled that Min-jung didn’t know Seo-woo at all. So when it’s time to hand out all the fruit, Yuri makes sure to give Seo-woo extra strawberries.
Min-jung stops Yuri, saying they don’t need the extra strawberries, but Yuri keeps insisting she take them. Then a teacher hurries over and tells Yuri that Seo-woo can’t eat strawberries — she’s allergic.
Yuri steps aside, surprised, when another girl bites Seo-woo and makes her cry. Yuri is on Seo-woo at the speed of light, acting way more concerned than a simple kitchen worker should. Kang-hwa fidgets nervously as Min-jung stares wide-eyed.
Once at home, Min-jung searches through Kang-hwa’s desk until she finds what she’s looking for in the bottom drawer. Now, holding Yuri’s picture, she looks as if she can’t deny her suspicions any longer.
At Hyun-jung’s restaurant, Hyun-jung is reassuring Yuri that the allergy thing is no big deal, but Yuri isn’t worried about that. She’s more worried about Min-jung discovering who she really is.
Hyun-jung argues that she’ll have to tell Min-jung some time. “Will you continue to live as a kitchen worker?” she asks. “Aren’t you going to raise Seo-woo?” Yuri averts her eyes and answers, “No.”
Hyun-jung demands to know why, so Yuri comes to a decision. She tells her friend to lean in, ready to reveal her secret… But then Min-jung walks in, disbelief in her eyes as she takes in Yuri.
In 2015, Min-jung starts as a nurse in the gynecology department. Mere moments after she’s introduced to her team, the nurses are called into the OR for an emergency. Min-jung is one of the first in, and she’s immediately handed a newborn, told that the mother was in a car accident. Just as Min-jung turns to leave, she hears the mother’s heartbeat monitor suddenly flatline.
Min-jung turns back and sees Yuri on the operating table and then looks down at baby Seo-woo in her arms. We see Yuri’s ghost walk out of the OR, walking straight towards Min-jung and Seo-woo. She cries seeing her daughter right in front her and knowing she’s unable to touch her. Min-jung narrates, “Coincidence was already making itself bigger and bigger unbeknownst to me.”
Phew… @abirdword wasn’t kidding about those framing flashbacks. They really do some damage to the heart. So far, the opening flashbacks always leave me with this feeling of Oh god, I can’t handle this drama, it’s too depressing, but then the rest of the drama unfolds. And it’s so delightfully funny with just the right amount of heartbreak. If I had to describe the drama with just one word, I’d describe it the same way I would Yuri’s journey: bittersweet. There is no episode with just crying or just laughing. It’s both all the way through, and it makes for quite the viewing experience.
I wasn’t completely into Min-jung’s character, other than feeling kind of sorry for her, so her voice in this episode was very much appreciated. We still don’t know a whole lot about her, and I’m still craving that flashback with her and Kang-hwa’s courtship, but I’ll take what I can get. Now knowing she had a one-sided crush on Kang-hwa long before any of the tragedy happened, it changes the way I view her. It tells me that there are real feelings involved that don’t necessarily revolve around pity. She had these feelings, yet they were always overshadowed by Kang-hwa’s feelings for Yuri. That was the case then, back in college, and that was the case a few episodes ago, back when Kang-hwa was drowning in grief. I’m now seeing all the small moments when Min-jung tries to push herself into her husband’s life and he reflexively keeps her out. And it’s not entirely that he’s self-sufficient; he just doesn’t let her be a wife.
Then there’s Min-jung’s relationship with Seo-woo. It’s obvious that Min-jung loves Seo-woo and vice versa, but Min-jung is holding back. She’s being a mother, but she’s not being a mom — someone who is 100% feeling that role, like Yuri does. Sadly, I do think Min-jung’s reluctance stems from her feeling of being second best. In her head, Yuri will always be Kang-hwa’s beloved wife and Seo-woo’s birth mom, while she’s the intruder. She’s the ghost that’s not welcome. What’s important to note, though, is the fact that Yuri doesn’t see her as an intruder. Maybe she did before, but there’s certainly no hate in her heart now. As much as Yuri wants to take her place as Seo-woo’s mom, she knows that she can’t. It’s interesting that both female leads feel as if they can’t replace each other. Hopefully, they both learn to see their value in Seo-woo and, of course, Kang-hwa’s lives.
I’m not sure how Min-jung will react to Yuri being alive. She saw the girl die on the operating table with her own eyes, so she’s sure to be as freaked out as Geun-sang initially was. What I hope is that she doesn’t see this as fate trying to kick her down again. As Yuri coming in to fix her mistakes and save everyone. Contrary to what she believes, Min-jung has actually done the best that she could, her only downfall being lack of communication. But with where her head is now, I fear she’ll continue feeling like that college girl with the one-sided crush — the girl who could never compete with Cha Yuri.