Superdaddy Yeol: Episode 8
Our patience is rewarded this week with a funny, heartwarming episode (and Han Groo). Mi-rae gets a strong dose of home truth that she needs to hear, because it takes a kid to tell you you’re being childish. Sa-rang schools the adults on their flawed approach to life, and sets out with something to prove: that you don’t have to be the best or the first to take a shot at something. Instead, you should just try your best, and believe in possibilities, not probabilities.
But there’s seriousness afoot, too — how long can their “real family” last, with the shadow Mi-rae’s illness casts over their blossoming happiness?
EPISODE 8 RECAP
In an opening narration, Sa-rang speaks of how she never felt alone because Mom was always there. Even if she was late, she always turned up. She and Mi-rae watch schoolkids run to their dads, and her voiceover is wistful when she says that she still wanted, at least once, to call out “Dad” — then Mom could smile.
We pick up at the housewarming. Yeol confesses that they’re fake, but — and kisses Mi-rae, right in front of everyone.
We take a quick rewind to Mi-rae hiding out in her room, listening to her guests’ increasing suspicions. Yeol calls and she panics that they’re about to be rumbled. He’s got the perfect solution he tells her, and instructs her to follow his lead no matter what.
He finishes the kiss, and tells Mi-rae that from now on, she’s his woman, and he’s her man — for real. Turning to their audience, he declares, “We’re a family, for real.” He and Mi-rae smile at each other, and even Sa-rang wears a huge grin.
Ji-hye slumps to the floor in defeat, and Woo-hyuk’s head drops, while Sang-hae raises a cheer.
The party breaks up when Dr. Hwang takes out daughter Ji-hye. Mi-rae offers to send her home so the elders can enjoy another round.
Ji-hye waves Mi-rae away, as she’d rather go alone. But a stumble brings Mi-rae to her side. She asks anxiously if she’s okay…and grabs her by the hair? What, lol. She throws Ji-hye into the lift and menacingly steps closer.
“I know everything!” she tells Ji-hye ominously, and vows to protect her man. Sloooowly, she weaves her fingers into Ji-hye’s hair. If she flirts with (or even drools about) him again, she’ll die 100%, Mi-rae threatens.
The lift doors suddenly open to Yoo-ra, and Mi-rae beckons her in. She tries to escape but Mi-rae bodily throws her in to join Ji-hye. She has a hand wrapped around each screaming woman’s hair as the doors close on them. Hahahaha.
A quick cut back to the party shows the guests enjoying themselves, while Woo-hyuk takes Yeol aside. Back in the ladies’ lift, Mi-rae’s attention is now on Yoo-ra. Pulling on a pair of surgical gloves and cracking her knuckles, she makes Yoo-ra eat each derogatory remark she made about Sa-rang. HAHA and she SITS on Ji-hye when she tries to escape. Oh man, please let this be real.
She makes Yoo-ra kneel, and the latter begs for consideration, reminding her of the gift Mi-rae gave her. The Picasso? Mi-rae blows up the glove and buffets Yoo-ra’s face with it. That wasn’t Picasso, Mi-rae tells her, it was Sa-rang. She gets right into her face…and passes out in her lap. Uh oh.
On a walk, Woo-hyuk tells Yeol that he knows about the true state of affairs in their house — he heard it from Sa-rang. And he knows that it’s not real until Sa-rang gives her approval. But it’s the first time he’s seen the otherwise inscrutable Mi-rae girlish and aflutter.
If she’s happy, he’s happy, Woo-hyuk says, and he’s decided to trust her judgement no matter what. But he asks Yeol if he has the confidence to take responsibility for Mi-rae and Sa-rang forever.
Yeol’s assurance is interrupted by Sang-hae bearing the news that Mi-rae collapsed. They run back.
They try to revive her, but Woo-hyuk confirms that she needs to go to hospital. Yeol carries her on his back, and in voiceover, he asks, “Why didn’t I know then?” And would he have loved her enough to protect her?
His voiceover concludes as he sits beside her hospital bed. Because he’s always late, he’s a bad guy.
He tells Sa-rang Mom fainted because she overdid it for the party. He tries to take Sa-rang home because she has school the next day, but she refuses to budge until Mom comes around. Instead, hand in hand, they go to eat.
Woo-hyuk confronts Mi-rae’s hoobae doc about the medication he found on her — a painkiller prescribed to final-stage cancer patients. She replies that Mi-rae didn’t want her to say anything.
Woo-hyuk is at Mi-rae’s bedside when she wakes up. She pretends it was the alcohol, but he doesn’t let it slide, and asks her why she’s hiding her illness and prognosis. She begs him not to say anything to Sa-rang or Yeol.
Back home, half the party come out to meet Mi-rae, and again, she blames it on the drink. A sharp look from Mi-rae has Yoo-ra backtracking on her backhanded “sympathies,” and she and Ki-tae make a quick exit.
Inside, the family find Coach Bang and Dr. Choi passed out on the floor, sockless. With the outsiders, there, Yeol sighs to Mi-rae about keeping up appearances and oh dear, they won’t be able to sleep separately. Mi-rae wordlessly points at the floor, but he ignores her and heads into the bedroom.
As Yeol brushes his teeth, he relives the kiss, heart racing. In bed, Mi-rae does the same. She swallows, and says to herself that it’s not 100% yet. She quickly pretends to be asleep when Yeol comes in.
Just as he’s about to settle to sleep on the floor, she invites him up. Gah these sound effects. She nearly retracts it when he’s too slow, but he leaps in as if his life depended on it. She says it’s only for tonight, but Yeol complacently returns that once becomes twice easily enough.
They settle down…until Yeol tries to jump Mi-rae two seconds later. But she’s faster, and throws up the Iron Curtain (aka a pillow). She threatens him, but he thinks it’s worth dying for, lol. But his hopes are swiftly dashed by a kick in the nuts.
Meanwhile, Coach Bang and Dr. Choi get to enjoy more skinship than our rehab couple, and Yeol’s dad finds the sleeping men cozying together. “They must be really lonely,” he muses, and takes a spot between them, sighing happily that it’s like being at the army all over again.
Mi-rae asks Yeol why he hasn’t asked about Sa-rang’s bio-dad. His answer surprises her: He doesn’t want to add to her pain by bringing it up, and it doesn’t matter either way. Behind the barrier, Mi-rae is increasingly affected, and Yeol removes the pillow so they’re eye to eye. She did a great job raising Sa-rang, he tells her — there’s no one better at being a mother or father than her.
Mi-rae stops his words with a finger to his lips. Eyes closed, she leans close to kiss him (agh intrusive sounds SHUT UP), but he blocks her and she smooches his hand instead. Since he hasn’t completed his mission, he hasn’t earned kisses yet, he says — Sa-rang still hasn’t called him “Dad.” She tries to argue, but he insists. Okay, but what about five minutes ago, mister?
Instead, he nestles her into his arm, and calls her “my woman.” She tells him he’ll regret it, “my man.” Oh he does. He pulls her under the covers — but a cry from outside kills their moment. Oh my lols, who’s biting whose nose now?
The next day at the clinic, Ji-hye has trouble recalling the night before, and remembers up to Mi-rae’s elevator threats. So she’s badly spooked when Mi-rae catches her elevator now and the doors close on them.
Mi-rae deadpans that because of her fainting, she doesn’t remember anything, and Ji-hye quickly catches on. She also remembers nothing, she says, while in her head, she confirms her belief that Mi-rae is one scary lady.
At their floor, Woo-hyuk waits for Mi-rae, and they leave Ji-hye hanging.
In her office, he drops a sheaf of papers in front of her. It’s a clinical trial for a new drug, and he wants to procure the last test slot for her. She refuses. She won’t do anything if she’s not in first place.
She advises him to give up — she has. Woo-hyuk insists that there are miracles, too, and she reminds him that for her, it’s 100% or zero, “That’s me.”
Woo-hyuk flips his lid, and she asks who he is to want that from her. She reminds him that he likes her — if that’s true, she asks him to respect her choice. She wants to live out her remaining time as a doctor, not a patient. Rather than a sickbed, she wants to live in a house filled with family.
Woo-hyuk catches Sa-rang at the clinic, and they go outside for a chat. Sa-rang tearfully asks him to tell her if Mom is really sick, since she’s the kind of person to pretend she isn’t. He reassures her that Mi-rae was just tired, and she beams with relief. Instead, Woo-hyuk says, he needs her help so she doesn’t get sick again.
Mi-rae and Sa-rang go shoe-shopping, and Sa-rang promises to stick to Mom from now on, so she won’t worry and get sick. But Mom tells her to do as she’s told instead. She scoops Sa-rang up and reassures her that Mom is strong.
They buy millions of shoes and need a snack-break. Sa-rang thinks back to Woo-hyuk’s advice. He had told her that she needs to prove to her mom that everything doesn’t always have to be 100%, and that miracles are possible.
Sa-rang confides to Mom that she’s going to sing, and try out for choir. Mi-rae, knowing where her talents lie, tries to dissuade her but Sa-rang counters that she heard that if you wish for something and work hard, it will happen. “I’ll show you a miracle,” she promises.
Yeol arrives on the scene, and snaps a picture of them. Sa-rang happily admits that she summoned him to be their bellboy. Mom is surprised because she usually calls Woo-hyuk. Sa-rang makes the transparent excuse that he’s busy (and also weak). Yeol pulls out a selfie-stick and they snap some more happy family shots.
On the drive home, Mi-rae sleeps and Yeol tells Sa-rang that he agrees with her mom. She can’t sing and is tone-deaf, he points out. Sa-rang shoots back that she can improve with practice, but Yeol tells her it’s pointless to waste energy and hope on something impossible. His mantra is that he won’t hit balls that are difficult to hit, or catch balls that are difficult to catch. Well, you get dad-points for being encouraging. Not.
Sa-rang says she wants to show someone, and is unimpressed by his “give up” anti-pep-talk. Is that what a real dad would say to his real daughter? Meanwhile, Mi-rae stirs and makes a bawdy remark in her sleep HAHA, which Yeol tries to cover up.
The next morning, he sends winks at Mi-rae over breakfast, and even tries to get in a little footsie. She loses her cool, and Dad chuckles that since his cast is off, it’s time for him to leave the passionate young people to it (Yeol nods to all this, lol). He tells them he’ll drop Sa-rang off to school today, and they hustle out.
As soon as they go, Mi-rae delivers Yeol a sharp shin-kick. She gloats that she told him he’d regret it. “The train’s left,” she digs.
Changing subject, she heard he was going to help Sa-rang with her audition. It looks like the first he’s heard about it, but she tears into him for deviating from the plan. She leaves, mad, and he calls after her to tell him when the next train’s due, ha.
Yeol picks Sa-rang up from school, and interrupts her confession by asking if she really wants to do it that much, even to the point of humiliation. She nods.
The rehab team — him, Sang-hae and Mang-hae — suffer through her rendition of A-Pink. Mang-hae dubs her a triple threat: tone-deaf, rhythmless, and can’t dance. Yeol pleads for her help, and Mang-hae can only think of one possibility.
She tells the story of a legend, Lola Jang (aw yeah, cameo by Han Groo!), who outshone all her lip-syncing peers with her live-singing talents…until one day, she, too, was exposed as a mime — a really good one. That Lola Jang is none other than her own sister, she reveals.
It’s news to Sang-hae — does she mean his sis-in-law Min Gam-hae? (She’s “sensitive” ha, this family’s names! They’re already “fed up” and “embarrassed”!)
Yeol and Sa-rang wait for Lola on a rooftop. She arrives all of a sudden, but the very picture of unglamor, which doesn’t inspire them at all. Lola surveys Sa-rang up and down and delivers some caustic remarks which make Sa-rang yell with anger. That’s it, Lola approves, bring it out from the chest!
Next, she plucks her up and takes her to the edge of the building, which Sa-rang reacts to with a high-pitched scream, and Lola applauds her again — good job, that sound was from the head! As long as she can produce those two things, she can do it. Yeol silently mimes “crazy” at Mang-hae, who gestures back that they just bear with it.
Now to dancing, Lola says. She strips off the tracksuit (to this theme, ha!) and reveals a stage-ready leather-and-chains outfit. Eyes up, Yeol. Style, she tells Sa-rang, is vital. But I’m not so sure I agree with the creation of a “9-year-old Lady Gaga” busking in public and shaking her booty in little more than a mini-stripper outfit, while people drop money at her feet. Just no, Show. NO. STOP IT.
Lola’s advice is not to be nervous performing in front of a lot of people. As for the dance itself, she says it’s the same kind of co-ordination and rhythm that you need in fighting, but put to music. Yeol and Sa-rang practice first in a boxing ring, then with music.
Mom catches Sa-rang at home, and remonstrates with her for going against her advice. She tells her that what can’t be done, can’t be done and she shouldn’t waste her time on useless things. Sa-rang says she sounds just like Yeol. She gives it to Mom straight: Their way is cowardly and dumb. Why would you give up before you even try? That’s what I’m saying.
But Mi-rae chides her for not understanding that she’s saying it for her own good — so that she doesn’t fail and suffer. She wants her to grow safely and happily, like a flower.
“I’m not a flower,” she tells Mom in frustration, “I’m a person.” Because she’s a person, she can get hurt and get up again, and put medicine on her cuts. That’s what she wants to show her. She throws off Mi-rae’s arms and stalks away.
Mi-rae calls after her. Joining her, Yeol tells her to let her go. Sa-rang is right, he says. And with that much spirit, she’ll be fine. But Mi-rae turns her frustration on him and tells him to butt out. If Sa-rang ends up hurt because of this, she won’t forgive him.
The school is busy with prep the next day and the auditorium fills up. Backstage, Yeol encourages a nervous Sa-rang, but has to admit Mom isn’t there. He messes with her hair to get her temper flaring, and it works, banishing her nerves. Before she goes, he tells her that if she makes a mistake and wants to run away, to call him. He’ll appear like Superman and rescue her, he promises.
Bo-mi and Min-woo pass Sa-rang on their way out, but she’s busy texting Mom — isn’t she coming?
The competition gets underway, and Yeol catches Sa-rang trying to break for it because she’s lost her nerve. What about her miracle, Yeol asks. There isn’t one, she says. The person she wanted to show that she could do well on her own, even if it wasn’t 100%, was Mom, and she’s not here.
“I’m here!” Mi-rae calls brightly. Wherever Sa-rang is, she is, Mi-rae says. She’s been to every first day, picnic and competition, and she’s here now, ready to hold her hand, “Like this,” she says, wrapping her daughter’s hand in both of hers.
Beaming, mother and daughter exchange high-fives before they split.
Sa-rang takes the stage, while Mi-rae tells Yeol that she hopes it’s worth it to Sa-rang, even if it’s not 100%. Yeol points out that Sa-rang was right for trusting in her mom to turn up, rather than in probabilities. But they rush in when they hear Sa-rang start.
Sa-rang sings their song, “The Meaning of You,” and aw, the whole fanclub is supporting her — Sang-hae and Mang-hae, Dr. Hwang and even Ji-hye. Lola Jang(-mi) coaches her from the audience, proud. Yeol and Mi-rae’s apprehension slowly become smiles as she hits her stride.
Taking her cue from Lola, Sa-rang throws off her trench-coat, and transforms to rapper-style. Her rendition of “One Candle” is met with whoops.
Backstage, Coach Bang and Dr. Choi walk in on Sang-hae and his boys kitting up in suits…aw yeah! They join Sa-rang onstage as backup dancers, and it’s so impressive that Yoo-ra’s jaw drops (she’s been making catty comments about Sa-rang this whole time) OH HA even Dr. Choi is one of them!
But unfortunately for Sa-rang, she stumbles. Although she gets up right away, she’s already lost confidence. Mi-rae panics and sends Yeol off to do something. Jerk Ki-tae boos, because he’s a twat.
Everything blurs in front of Sa-rang and she remembers Yeol’s instruction to call him if she needs help. Long and loud, she calls out, “Dad! Help me!”
Yeol stops in his tracks. Mi-rae runs onstage to help, and Sa-rang’s opening voiceover loops back: She wanted to be able to call out “Dad” just once.
Yeol comes back in like a rockstar, belting out a new song. He leaps onto the stage, and Sa-rang finishes: “That way, Mom can smile.”
Now this is more like it. This show does best when it keeps thing light and fast, and the comedy this episode was really nicely balanced against its weightier emotional moments. I hope this is a good omen for the remaining half, because mining the good in this show has been pretty hard these past few weeks.
I’ve been trying to diagnose its exact problem, and a large part of it centers on Mi-rae — the actress, the character, how she’s written — and her interactions with Yeol. There was a little improvement this episode, although that might just be because there was less of it overall.
I’m really glad Sa-rang has been her voice of reason this episode (thank you!). That “100% or zero” attitude is problematic in a grown woman, and Mi-rae consciously holds onto her simplistic worldview, resisting common sense and living proof that she’s wrong. In someone more ignorant or less worldly, that might be acceptable, but in Mi-rae, it’s not naivete, it’s wilful ignorance. And wilful ignorance is unforgivable.
But Sa-rang gets both their attention when she points out that not trying isn’t a way of gaming the system so much as it is cheating themselves of experience. And that’s what’s great about her stage debut. Because even if she messed up, she at least had the courage to try. It’s telling that it’s the adults who panic when she stumbles, and it highlights again that for Mi-rae, it’s about being in control. If you’re only doing something you know you’ll succeed in, that’s basically a controlled, no-stakes environment. That the beauty of life lies in variables — the possibility that lurks between the numbers — is something both Yeol and Mi-rae are beginning to open their eyes to.
The conflict between Mi-rae’s instinct to protect and Sa-rang’s desire to prove herself was played sensitively. It’s an age-old question, but something every parent has to face eventually — not just that you can’t stop your kids getting hurt, but that getting hurt is a necessary part of life, because it’s what builds you up. I LOVED it when Sa-rang said, “I’m not a flower, I’m a person.” Damn straight.
But all this talk of miracles really only serves one point, and it’s not about whether Sa-rang can sing and dance at the same time. With the clinical trial now also on the table, the stage seems to be set for Mi-rae’s recovery. Objectively, I can see both sides of her dilemma. If she commits to the trial, she could be giving up her remaining time. Instead of going through that, if she gets one more day, one more month, with the family she’s built, she sees that as more worth it.
But at the same time, when you have a kid you desperately don’t want to leave, don’t you owe it to her to try? Although she refused now, I’m sure she will in the upcoming episodes. I’m a bit dissatisfied that at this point, only Woo-hyuk knows about her illness, because I want to get right into the fallout for Yeol and Sa-rang, and have more time to explore it. If it gets dragged out too long, then the resolution could be rushed, which could end up in not enough payoff. But this episode has me hopeful that we might see a good finish yet, and I’m willing to be an optimist, too.