Superdaddy Yeol: Episode 7
Two different types of pride clash in this episode—Yeol stubbornly refuses to bend, while Mi-rae believes that one ought to endure any kind of humiliation for the sake of family. Meanwhile, a conspiracy is formed by those who mean only harm to Yeol’s marriage. But with Yeol and Mi-rae unable to see eye-to-eye on practically anything, will the conspirators even need to lift a finger? Never has the future seemed more uncertain for this fragile family.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Mi-rae kneels down in front of Ki-tae, asking him to forgive her family for putting Bo-mi in danger. Ki-tae’s anger seems mostly appeased, but he still jabs at Yeol for letting his wife kneel down in front of a friend before stalking off.
Dr. Shin watches this scene unfold from inside the hospital room, and starts to walk out to defend Mi-rae. But Yeol’s father, who is being treated for the injuries he received saving Sa-rang and Bo-mi, tells him not to interfere. Yeol might not always act like it, but he’s not someone to let others run his family down.
Bo-mi’s mother makes harsh comments about Sa-rang acting out because of Mi-rae being a single mother, until Yeol can’t take it anymore. He demands that she take back her harsh words. He pulls Mi-rae to her feet, then reaches out his hand to Sa-rang. After a moment of hesitation, she accepts it.
Yeol yells at Mi-rae for kneeling so easily in front of those jerks, but Mi-rae is equally angry that Yeol couldn’t proudly announce that Sa-rang is his daughter and put aside his pride for her.
Mi-rae thinks nothing of apologizing if it means getting Ki-tae to forgive her daughter or save “her man’s” job. Once Yeol hears her calling him “her man,” though, he’s all smiles. Mi-rae gets flustered and protests that it just came out that way, but Yeol is determined that they start again, as husband and wife in addition to mother and father.
In the parking lot, Mi-rae sees Sa-rang’s hard-worn sneakers and remembers what Yeol said about the shoes being the cause of Sa-rang’s tendonitis. She feels bad that she was too busy working to notice, and promises Sa-rang to buy her new shoes. Sa-rang cheerfully says not to worry, and a tearful Mi-rae pulls her into a hug. Yeol watches from a distance, wearing a sappy smile.
Mi-rae helps Sa-rang with her bath, and checks off a list of everything she knows about her daughter’s medical status. She is sorry for not protecting Sa-rang well enough, but she also tells Sa-rang not to suffer things in silence until someone else notices—that way she might end up alone.
Sa-rang laughs that Mom will always be there for her, and Dr. Shin is reliable even if she’s not sure about Yeol yet. Those words bring Mi-rae to tears, since she knows only too well that she can’t always be there for her daughter. But Mi-rae quickly regains her self-control, and goes back to splashing Sa-rang with soapsuds.
Yeol hears them playing and thinks back to the mistakes he made trying to help Sa-rang, and the question Mi-rae posed to him: Why couldn’t he proudly announce that he was Sa-rang’s father, and that they were a family? When Mi-rae goes looking for Yeol in his room, he is nowhere to be found. Mi-rae remembers his determination to make her see him as a man and not just a substitute father, and her heart starts to pound. “Is this a side effect of the pain medication?” she wonders.
Yeol buys a beer from the convenience store and starts to drink it outside, while thinking about what happened. Mi-rae finds him, and asks if he’s reflecting on his actions. Yeol admits to feeling bad about causing her to have to kneel to Ki-tae, but Mi-rae asks what the problem is with kneeling—she has done far more difficult things for the sake of her family.
Mi-rae offers to take in Yeol’s dad while he recovers for her injury, as a way of thanking him for saving Sa-rang. Yeol protests that Dad isn’t like this all the time—saving children and all that—and that he won’t appreciate the offer.
Of course, Dad bolts upright in his hospital bed when he hears the offer, beaming from ear to ear. He accepts immediately, saying how expensive hospital bills are and how excited he is to try his daughter-in-law’s cooking. Hurray for the new houseguest!
Dad has a little trouble adjusting to Mi-rae’s cooking, which includes Western-style cereal and healthy vegetables for breakfast. He goes to the kitchen to find some kimchi, when Ppappa decides to snack on his shoes.
Sa-rang gets up to rescue him, but Yeol stops her—it looks like he’s happy to let someone else suffer the initiation he had to go through. He gives the command to attack, grinning maniacally. Poor Dad!
Yeol comes back to the apartment later in the day to find a gaggle of ajummas who wanted to visit Dad in the hospital. Mi-rae has thrown a little party to thank him for saving Sa-rang, and everyone including Mi-rae is dancing happily in the living room. Mi-rae ushers them into the kitchen for drinks, and assures Yeol that the neighbors won’t mind because she already asked them for their consideration. Yeol worries that the food and utilities bills will skyrocket, but Mi-rae says they can make up their losses another way.
It turns out that Mi-rae is a mean gambler, handily beating the boys at Go-Stop even when they try to collude. She cleans them out, though they don’t seem to mind much. The whole family plays and laughs together, ordering in food for dinner.
When it’s time to sleep, Dad oh-so-innocently grabs the couch, shooing the newlyweds into their room. Yeol is first through the door, while Mi-rae lingers in the living room. Dad gives her “the sign,” which he adapted from when he was married and needed to arrange opportunities for, uh… conjugal relations in crowded living conditions. He urges Mi-rae to try for a second child, while she squirms in utter embarrassment.
Mi-rae immediately kicks Yeol out of the bed, but he has to jump right under the covers when Dad knocks on the door a second later. He pokes his head in, assuring them that Sa-rang is fast asleep and they should not worry about anything and enjoy themselves. Oh, Dad—you sneaky old man. Yeol shamelessly uses the opportunity to snuggle up to Mi-rae, but once Dad closes the door he’s back on the floor.
Yeol drives Sa-rang to school, and apologizes for his interference earlier. He explains Min-woo’s theory about Sa-rang being “red” (meaning prickly and quick to anger), and how he thinks that’s just a front to cover her vulnerable side.
Sa-rang isn’t happy about Yeol pretending to know her, and they bicker until Yeol accidentally rear-ends a car at a stoplight (SERIOUSLY?! Watch the road, Yeol!). A group of burly men scramble out of the car, shouting angrily, and Yeol locks the doors and pretends to have fainted.
The doctors at the rehabilitation clinic are having a meeting, when Ji-hye gets a call from Dr. Shin. She sneaks out into the hallway to take it. She reports that there have been no developments in their plan to spy on Mi-rae and Yeol, though she wonders why Dr. Shin has started talking to her in banmal. He surprises her in the hallway, and says that now they’re comrades working towards the same goal, they should be comfortable with each other.
Dr. Shin and Ji-hye decide to badger Yeol to throw a housewarming party. They are sure that his marriage is fake, probably even a contract marriage, but they need proof. The two conspirators vow to expose the marriage, looking quite pleased with themselves.
Mi-rae meets with Hyun-woo, who has successfully undergone surgery for his injured neck. He notes that Yeol has changed since he married Mi-rae; he’s become brighter and happier. Hyun-woo will trust Yeol and do his best during rehabilitation, in the hope that he can change as well.
Mi-rae looks pleased, then scolds Hyun-woo for talking about Yeol without using honorifics. A call comes in from Bo-mi’s mother just when Mi-rae is getting warmed up, inviting her to a gathering of the coaches’ wives.
Mi-rae goes to Sa-rang’s school to meet with her teacher, who hands her two pictures that Sa-rang drew in art class. The old one is darker and more forbidding, while the new one is a bright, happy picture of the whole family, titled “Our House.”
The teacher is optimistic about Sa-rang’s new mindset, though she notes that Sa-rang still has trouble resolving disagreements with other students. Still, she seems to be opening up to others, and the teacher says she looks forward to seeing Sa-rang’s next drawing.
Dr. Choi and Coach Bang arrive at the clinic at the same time, brushing past each other while entering. They take the same elevator, then try to push past each other when getting off. When Chief Hwang walks by, both men call out to her at the same time.
Both men have come to ask the chief for a favor: Dr. Choi wants Mi-rae to come back to his hospital sooner, while Coach Bang hopes that her stay with the rehabilitation clinic can be extended. The men trade insults and try to appeal to Chief Hwang, but the chief says they’ll have to settle their disagreement themselves.
Mi-rae prepares herself for the gathering of the coaches’ wives, gifts in hand. She greets the others warmly, only for Bo-mi’s mother to remind her to adhere to the strict hierarchy and treat all the wives above her with due respect. Mang-hae seems uncomfortable with the formality, but Mi-rae only smiles and goes along with it.
Bo-mi’s mother unwraps her gift… which is Sa-rang’s old painting of the creepy trees, set in a fancy-looking frame. Bo-mi’s mom examines it with a giant looking-glass, and pronounces knowingly that it has the vigor of one of Picasso’s drawings. Clearly the trees must depict a revenge affair, while the moon represents a hidden half-sibling! Pfft.
With her gifts and exaggerated show of respect, Mi-rae succeeds in gaining Bo-mi’s mother’s acceptance into the wives’ club. What that means, however, is that Mi-rae has to throw a housewarming party and invite them all. She’s astonishingly frank about it being like a hazing ritual, and Mi-rae has no polite way to decline.
Yeol wants nothing to do with this housewarming party, since he fears they might get caught. But Mi-rae reminds him that Bo-mi’s mother can always make trouble for them by complaining to her husband, so they have to stay on her good side. And of course Chief Hwang and Ji-hye walk by the next moment, and Ji-hye says they should have a housewarming party… if they have nothing to hide, that is. With that, the party is set for the weekend.
Mi-rae leads the others in cleaning the apartment and preparing the food for the party. She sends Yeol and Sa-rang out shopping, with a list and strict instructions for Sa-rang to keep Yeol in line.
It’s only minutes into their grocery adventure that Yeol is whining about all the vegetables on the list, and Sa-rang has to remind him sternly not to buy only snack foods and meat. They bicker good-naturedly, until Sa-rang sees Min-woo shopping with his mother and runs away. Yeol urges her not to avoid the boy anymore, but Sa-rang says that he thinks she’s prickly and stubborn—she doesn’t want to confront him until she can show him her true self.
A television with a singing group catches her eye, and Yeol remembers the way Sa-rang looked at the competition poster hanging in the school outside the choir’s practice room. Sa-rang obviously wants to sing in front of her crush, but she walked away instead of asking anyone about the poster. In the supermarket, Yeol smiles suddenly and tells Sa-rang to come with him.
Mi-rae starts getting flustered, as time passes with no sign of her grocery shoppers. She calls Yeol, getting no response. Then the bell rings, signaling the arrival of Sang-hae and Mang-hae. Mi-rae asks them to wait thirty minutes, and makes a call to a delivery restaurant.
Yeol’s idea of training is to take Sa-rang to sing noraebang, where she offers a rather tone-deaf interpretation of A-Pink’s LUV. Yeol doesn’t hesitate to criticize her, claiming that he has good taste in music because of his vast record collection.
Thankfully, Sa-rang isn’t too discouraged by his criticism, scoffing that he doesn’t know as much as he thinks. She chooses a new song, and when he sees the title Yeol can only stare, dumbfounded.
Commence the most awkward housewarming party ever. Mang-hae sets the tone by thoughtlessly remarking that the food looks like it was delivered, and Ki-tae and Dr. Choi begin sniping about Yeol’s financial situation.
Ji-hye and Dr. Shin begin their scheme by asking pointedly why Yeol and Sa-rang are absent, and if that makes sense for such a supposedly happy family. Poor Mi-rae—this looks more and more like hazing with every passing minute.
In the noraebang, Yeol listens to Sa-rang sing his favorite song, the one he used to share with Mi-rae. He can practically hear Mi-rae singing it, and he thinks back to when it became the song that linked them together.
Years ago, Mi-rae lost a patient after an unsuccessful surgery. Yeol hummed that song to comfort her, and promised that the song would become their signal. If Mi-rae sang it, he would appear and make her feel better. In the present, Yeol asks Sa-rang how she learned that song.
At the housewarming, Mi-rae leaves the table to try calling Yeol once more. As soon as she’s gone, a heated argument rises between those who want to badmouth Yeol and those who want to defend him. Ji-hye and Dr. Shin raise their suspicions about the marriage, citing the lack of pictures and Yeol’s absence as evidence.
Sang-hae is about to drag Dr. Shin outside to fight, when Mi-rae re-enters the room. She demands to know if she’s unreliable because she’s a single mom, or if she has no right to make a family. Everyone looks down at the table, ashamed. Near tears, Mi-rae declares that she’ll tell everyone the truth they are so curious about.
Suddenly the lights dim, and Yeol and Sa-rang finally arrive. Sa-rang is carrying a cake, and they’re both singing Mi-rae’s favorite song. A flashback to the noraebang shows Sa-rang explaining that Mi-rae used to sing this song alone whenever she was sad or stressed, and Sa-rang overheard and came to like the song too.
Yeol and Sa-rang sing their duet for Mi-rae and all the guests, while Yeol thinks back over all his happy memories with Mi-rae. Mi-rae joins in the singing, as her tears begin to fall.
When the song ends, Yeol says that he has been waiting ten years for Mi-rae to give him a signal. Instead of suffering alone, she should have called out to him, and he would have gone to her (although honestly, she’s been calling you for hours—why the hell was your phone turned off, Yeol?!). The guests applaud, and even Coach Bang and Dr. Choi agree that the song was beautiful.
It’s too much for Ji-hye, who yells that they’re just putting on a show. Looking more than a little crazed, she barges into the bedroom and points out the single bed, insisting that the marriage is an act.
Yeol admits the truth immediately. “It was a rehabilitation marriage with an expiration date. But then…” and he leans over to kiss Mi-rae. After a second, she closes her eyes and kisses him back. Turning to the guests, Yeol explains how everything changed.
Suspicion became trust, and hate turned to love. Now he is Mi-rae’s man, and Sa-rang’s father. Like Mi-rae wanted him to do earlier, Yeol announces proudly that they are one family. A real family, from this moment on.
I have to say, I am very tired of Uhm Ki-tae. He’s probably the most glaring example of what I like least about this show: Adults acting like complete children. Already in this episode Ki-tae punched someone in front of his daughter, and Ji-hye called out Mi-rae on her marriage in front of Sa-rang (though she was definitely drunk, which maybe explains her lack of judgment without condoning it). It’s getting to the point where I legitimately have difficulty thinking of the characters in this show as adults so much as caricatures, which makes it harder for me to feel invested in their story.
Now, I know I’m probably being a little bit unfair. Heaven knows I’ve seen enough villainous second leads in my time that I shouldn’t be surprised when I see selfish, small-minded people in dramas doing things that make no sense. But even Yeol made some decisions in this episode that I simply could not fathom.
The first was that ridiculous car accident, which I think was meant to be funny but actually enraged me. If he can’t keep his eyes on the road while talking to a passenger, then Yeol has no business driving at all, let alone with a kid in the front seat. Secondly, what could he possibly have been thinking to ditch the housewarming party for noraebang? He knew when it was supposed to start, and he should have been able to guess how Mi-rae would have felt about being late. And not even a text message to check in? I have to believe that this was sloppy writing, because otherwise there’s no way in hell I’m going to believe that Yeol has turned over a new leaf by the end of the episode, or even that he’s worth keeping around. And I want to believe, I really do.
Sorry about the rant. Aside from a few baffling character moments that tempt me to treat individuals like caricatures, I actually like this episode quite a bit. I love Yeol’s father, especially when he’s busy turning the family’s home life upside down.
There seem to be some unresolved issues between Yeol and his dad, which remain between them even when Dad does something as selfless as sacrificing himself to protect Sa-rang. I think the show could do more to delve into relationships like this one, deepening our understanding of the conflicts that have shaped our characters and make them unique.
I am also excited to see sparks beginning to fly between Mi-rae and Yeol. My default belief is that love can triumph over anything, but in this case Mi-rae’s love for Yeol can only increase the guilt she feels about lying to him. It might even weaken her resolve, because the more she comes to love him the more she stands to lose. I can’t wait to see how Mi-rae will juggle her growing feelings with her resolve to protect Sa-rang at all costs. There’s a tragic and compelling story waiting, and I want to see it unfold.