My Strange Hero: Episodes 19-20
For the Wildflower Class, and for our hero in particular, every small victory is to be celebrated. But for the unhinged Oh Se-ho, every small victory is just that–small. In his eyes, he could win a dozen battles and it still wouldn’t be enough. The people he hurt keep getting up to fight back, and with more rallying against him, he’s starting to get desperate.
EPISODE 19 RECAP
Bok-soo and Soo-jung tear apart from their embrace when someone walks into the office. It’s Seung-woo, there in search of his phone. Seeing his teacher and classmate together, he makes a quick U-turn and heads out, muttering to himself that Bok-soo sure has guts.
Panicking that the romance he waited so long for is over, Bok-soo catches up to Seung-woo and asks if he’s a talker. Seung-woo smirks, saying that what he saw must be true then. He gives Bok-soo a pat on the shoulder and says that he’ll have to think about all this.
However, Bok-soo doesn’t give him much time to think. The next day, he bursts into class and makes a scene by calling Seung-woo out.
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Why did you have to hug me so tenderly?!
The students are confused, but not as much as Seung-woo is when Bok-soo ends up leading him to the English-only snack bar. Bok-soo tries to spit out some English but gives up and tells Seung-woo to order whatever he wants. So Seung-ho orders a variety of food, surprising Bok-soo with his decent English skills.
The two sit outside with their purchases, and Bok-soo quietly admits that it’s true–he likes Sohn Soo-jung, and he has for nine years. He starts rambling that a twerp like Seung-woo oughta listen to his elders and keep their secret, making Seung-woo joke that his mouth suddenly feels like talking. Bok-soo sticks a snack in his mouth to keep it shut for now, haha.
Teacher Park starts his lecture for the Ivy Class, though he stops when he realizes the students aren’t opening their textbooks. Chae-min coldly states that Teacher Park should think long and hard about why they’re protesting.
Later, in the hall, Chae-min runs into Young-min and Seung-woo and asks if they bribed Teacher Park to be on their side. Young-min retorts that Chae-min is the one who does all the bribing. (Seung-woo had filled him in earlier.)
“There’s something else I’m curious about,” Young-min says. “Do you really raise your grades yourself? Or was that done with money–” Chae-min punches Young-min before he can finish the sentence.
Young-min slams Chae-min against the lockers, and the boys struggle until someone grabs Young-min’s arm. Bok-soo warns him that it won’t end well if he uses violence, and though it doesn’t calm him down, he does back off. The teachers come running over and, seeing Chae-min on the floor, all assume different things.
Se-ho makes his way through and asks if this was Bok-soo’s doing again. Young-min starts to deny this, but Se-ho interrupts and orders the witnesses to submit an accident report.
Chae-min gets sent to the hospital, while Young-min is simply sent to Nurse Park. As the nurse tends to Young-min’s wounds, his classmates joke that he’s stronger than he looks.
In the teachers’ office, Teacher Park stares at a blank apology letter, which he has to fill out to excuse his decision in the debate. Across the room, Vice Principal Song sighs to read the differing accident reports.
He calls Teacher Kim and Soo-jung over, saying the Ivy Class are blaming Young-min and the Wildflower Class are blaming Chae-min. Both teachers defend their own students, though, so Song decides to go with whatever.
The bell rings, and the teachers all disperse, leaving Min-ji alone to do her work. She passes Teacher Kim’s desk and notices something odd on his computer: award certificates made in advance. She saves it all on a USB.
An announcement is posted for the school violence committee, with Young-min listed as the perpetrator. The Wildflower Class think it’s ridiculous, and they wish they could do something. That’s when Bok-soo turns to Do-hyun, who’s carrying his phone and recording everything as he does every day. Ahaaa.
Soo-jung is also outraged that Young-min was accused, but Vice Principal Song believes that the Ivy Class’s word is more dependable than her class’s. She then gets a text from Bok-soo saying he already has a plan.
Outside, Bok-soo is meeting with old classmate Teacher Ma (who’s still quite fond of him) to get a key.
Bok-soo sneaks down the hall to the broadcasting room and unlocks the door so his buddies from the Wildflower Class can file in. As Bok-soo stays out to keep watch, the kids plug Do-hyun’s phone into the computer and broadcast the video of Young-min and Chae-min’s fight to the entire school.
Meanwhile, Se-ho tells the principal and vice principal to finalize the Wildflower students’ transfers; he says that the average is sure to rise once they’re gone. The principal wonders why he’s like this when he originally wanted to give the Wildflower students special treatment with guest speakers and everything.
“I was rejected,” Se-ho blurts out, only to clarify that he was rejected by the guest speakers. Teacher Kim then barges in, in a panic, and turns on the broadcast, which shows Chae-min throwing the first punch in the fight. Vice Principal Song bolts up to take care of this.
Song finds the broadcasting room, but Bok-soo tackles him with a hug to keep him out. Teacher Kim comes running with a spare key, throwing it their way, and it goes straight into Gyung-hyun’s dustpan. He nonchalantly walks off with it, saying he’s just doing his job.
Song later reprimands Soo-jung for letting her kids create such a fuss when she should’ve handed the evidence straight to him. Soo-jung feigns ignorance, saying she had no idea the evidence even existed. But when Song isn’t looking, Soo-jung smiles as she remembers Bok-soo and Do-hyun coming to her with the video.
She assures Song that she’ll punish her kids, so long as Chae-min gets punished as well. At that, Song shrinks in his chair and stutters that they should just forget the whole thing. Back in the Ivy Class, Chae-min’s classmates are shocked over the video. Chae-min doesn’t know what to say, especially when Young-min walks in.
Young-min cuts to the chase, saying he and his friends could easily discount Chae-min’s grades with their evidence. But he’s willing to make a deal. “From now on, don’t mess with my classmates,” he says. “And return the awards you bought with your dirty money.” Seeing Chae-min’s defeated expression, Young-min assumes they have deal.
Song reluctantly gives Soo-jung her students’ debate awards, and she beams with pride to see Bok-soo’s name on the top certificate. She returns to class and has Bok-soo, Young-min and Seung-woo come up front to receive their awards. The boys glance at each other with triumphant smiles as their classmates cheer and clap.
Soo-jung stops by the office to give Teacher Park a drink. Park smiles at the sticky note attached that expresses Soo-jung’s thanks and her wishes to be a teacher like him. He puts the note in an old journal, where there are pages and pages of students’ notes.
There are also pages of his own notes on Se-ho–things he jotted down whenever Se-ho’s behavior concerned him. He picks up an old photo of him with Se-ho and Bok-soo, and he remembers the night he visited Se-ho in the hospital, right after the rooftop incident.
He’d talked with Se-ho’s mom in the corridor, insisting that Bok-soo couldn’t have pushed him. Se-ho’s mom had asked if he was accusing her son of lying, and he wasn’t sure how to answer. In the present, Park sticks the photo back on its page and locks his journal away.
EPISODE 20 RECAP
Seung-woo has cleanup duty that afternoon but since Bok-soo is still sucking up to him, he offers to clean instead. Before he leaves, Seung-woo teasingly asks if Bok-soo just wants to be alone with Soo-jung–after all, he doesn’t want to see their precious teacher get hurt.
Soo-jung stops by to see how the cleaning is going, and she’s surprised to see Bok-soo by himself. Bok-soo smiles mischievously and says that of course he’s doing a good job. He inches closer to her, making her back up, and continues that he’s sooo diligent and smart that he even won an award. Shouldn’t he get another reward from her?
He keeps moving closer, but she bumps into the lockers, with nowhere else to go. She snaps herself out of it and warns him that they could get caught again–they’re in school and he’s wearing his uniform.
“The uniform is the problem?” he asks. He takes her by the waist and throws her behind the door, before slowly leaning in and giving her a soft kiss. When they pull apart, he grins as she just stares at him.
She then grabs him by his uniform and gives him a much longer kiss. Omg, I’m melting… But omg, stop before someone sees you!
We transition into a kiss scene from rom-com 500 Days of Summer. As Bok-soo and Soo-jung watch the movie, Bok-soo leans over and whispers that they’re much hotter. Okay, seriously, STAHP.
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Pfft! Our kiss was hotter!
After their movie date, Soo-jung has one more place she wants to go: the hospital. She introduces Bok-soo to her grandma as the boy who painted their gate, and Grandma curses at him, saying the color always gave her a headache. Well, now Bok-soo knows where Soo-jung’s swearing came from.
Grandma starts hammering him with questions on how to take care of Soo-jung, and he happily answers each one. Finally, Grandma needs to know that he won’t disappear and hurt Soo-jung like her father did. At that, Bok-soo promises that he’ll never leave Soo-jung alone.
Grandma notes that he’s great husband material, making the couple smile at each other. But then she asks Soo-jung to let her marry him, and the couple’s smiles drop.
At school the next day, Teacher Park congratulates the Wildflower Class on a job well done. He says that adults are those that understand what’s right and fix what’s wrong, which means that they’re way ahead of the Ivy Class. He suggests they at least study more, which is when everyone takes their napping positions.
That night, at their office, the Your Favors crew look over Min-ji’s findings. They can’t believe that the school would make awards for Ivy students for competitions that weren’t even held yet. “What are you talking about?” someone asks by the door. They look up to find a shocked Teacher Park.
Since he’s already heard what they said, they show him all of their evidence proving Seolsong’s corruption. Bok-soo assures him that they’ll get their revenge, but Park is so ashamed that he merely says they shouldn’t have to deal with this. So he leaves for the school, where he fills out an indictment form.
The next day, the school gets a visit from the education office. When Vice Principal Song furiously asks who submitted a complaint, Teacher Park doesn’t hesitate to admit it was him. Song slams a different list of complaints on Park’s desk, saying he should worry about his poor teacher reviews.
And it looks like Park’s efforts were for naught; the second Chairwoman Im comes in and speaks to the investigators, they bow their heads and apologize for the “mistake.” Im then turns to her son, appalled that he ever allowed a whistleblower in her school. She throws a plane ticket his way and yells for him to get out.
Se-ho stands and corrects her, saying Seolsong is his school now. She asks if he’s gone crazy, and he spits out, “Yes, I’ve been crazy for a long time. How could anyone stay sane under you?”
His mom smiles and notes that he’s finally acting like her child. He says she has no right to call him that, and she just leans in and reminds him that he’s never accomplished anything on his own. With one swift movement, she knocks over his nameplate, breaking it, and stalks off.
Se-ho lets out a shaky sigh and falls into a memory. Nine years ago, he’d asked Soo-jung if she wanted to run for student body VP while he ran for president. Overhearing this, Bok-soo wanted to run as well. And to Se-ho’s surprise, the students actually loved Bok-soo’s philosophy.
Bok-soo had admitted that he wasn’t smart, but he was caring and loyal, and he would do whatever he could to help a student in need. Though his classmates were totally all for him, it was Se-ho that ended up winning. Se-ho could tell that Soo-jung was disappointed in the results, but he was more confused to see that Bok-soo wasn’t being a sore loser.
Still, he’d come home to announce to his mom that he’d won. Mom had just thrown a glass at the wall, a shard scratching his face. She seethed that he lost to Bok-soo and that she couldn’t let a guy like him beat her son–so she manipulated the results. Crying, Se-ho had stated that she should’ve loved him no matter how lacking he was. Because she made him this way, no one liked him; even he hated himself.
That night, he’d gone to the Kang restaurant to watch Bok-soo and his family. Seeing how happy they were, he’d thought that something was wrong with him. “I hate you,” he said, his eyes on Bok-soo. “If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be feeling this way.”
We then cut to after the rooftop incident, with Se-ho waking up in the hospital. He’d looked at his mom and started to ask about Bok-soo, but Mom cut him off and asked if Bok-soo pushed him.
He hesitated, but seeing Mom’s cold expression, he eventually said yes. And later, he overheard Teacher Park defending Bok-soo to Mom. In the present, Se-ho orders the principal to inform the Wildflower Class of their transfer. Right now.
The principal enters the class and tries to explain the best he can that the director wants them to transfer schools–with their low grades, they’d be better off in low-level schools.
“What if we don’t want to leave?” Seung-woo asks. Young-min and Bok-soo voice the same thing, but the principal states that their transfer has already been decided and that it’s for their own good.
Now that that’s done, Se-ho heads to the teachers’ office to confront Teacher Park. He tells Park that if he doesn’t like Seolsong, he can leave; he’s already filled out Park’s resignation letter. Nooo!
Park starts to argue that the system here isn’t right, but Se-ho snaps that Park’s own philosophy is an empty promise to the kids. “You might’ve been a good teacher to Kang Bok-soo,” he says, his voice faltering. “But not to me.”
He continues that he’s living proof that Park’s philosophy doesn’t work, because back then, he pretty much died.
Just as Park picks up the resignation letter, Bok-soo bursts in and grabs the letter from his hand. He tears it up and drops the pieces to the ground, saying, “Director Oh Se-ho… The owner of this school isn’t you.”
There’s a lot to unpack here. First, I let out the biggest sigh of relief when I found out that it was Seung-woo who walked in on our couple. I consider him one of Bok-soo’s best allies (even if Bok-soo doesn’t necessarily think so), as well as one of the smartest. He impressed me with his speech in the debate, and he only gets better as the show goes on. It’s like he’s finally starting to wake up and put an effort into school, whether that be with his teachers or his classmates. The same goes for Young-min, who woke up in a different way. For him, he was putting in a little too much effort when he should’ve let himself relax a bit. Now look at these boys–they’re hanging around people that they never in a million years would’ve considered as friends. And they look happier than they did only a few weeks ago.
It was so brave of the kids to stand up against the school in order to get their rights back. After all, they’re only one class against the rest of Seolsong. The honors students only care about themselves, the teachers only care about the honors students, and the director only cares about… well, I don’t really know. There are plenty of good teachers in that office, but they’re too scared to talk back to The Man. It seems like only Soo-jung and Teacher Park have the guts to talk back, to actually fight back. And while these teachers are awesome in all that they do, they’re just two people. Like Park mentioned, the Wildflower Class need to help out a bit. It may not seem like much, but studying could really make a difference. They need to show the school that they’re just as worthy as anybody else. And that doesn’t mean that they have to be as freakishly smart as the top students–all the teachers ask for is that they do their best. That they try. I mean, remember how much Bok-soo improved when Soo-jung challenged him?
I love seeing the parallels with Soo-jung and Teacher Park. They have such a fun and loving relationship with their students, and they’re willing to take certain measures to guarantee their safety. I kind of wish Teacher Park hadn’t jumped right into that indictment, but it must’ve been quite a shock to have learned about years and years of corruption within his own workplace. Corruption invades the supposed safety of hospitals and courtrooms, but when they invade the safety of schools–where there are freaking children–it’s downright terrifying. However, there is no place quite as terrifying than Se-ho’s own home. I have to praise actress Kim Yeo-jin because she portrays one of the most vile mothers in dramaland that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve only ever seen this actress in warm and kind roles. And, of course, the same goes for Kwak Dong-yeon. What ever happened to the bumbling idiot from Modern Farmer? It just amazes me the level of talent in this show.
Anyway, I always appreciate whenever we’re given the chance to step into Se-ho’s shoes. Because as crazy as Se-ho can be, his feelings in high school are surprisingly relatable. I can definitely think of more than one occasion when I was so jealous of someone that I wanted to hate them. Even if I knew that that someone was a good person. Now, for me, I could just get over it and move on, but because of his mother, Se-ho can’t. He can’t get over the fact that everyone likes Bok-soo. He can’t get over the fact that Bok-soo is still happy even after a loss. He’s lived in a household where loss wasn’t accepted. A loss would simply get replaced with a manipulated win.
Come to think of it, Se-ho has never been able to appreciate his own hard work, his own successes and most importantly, his own failures. It’s twisted his way of thinking, of viewing life, so Bok-soo’s carefree attitude only seems pathetic to him. But what’s sad is that deep down, Se-ho wishes he was given the luxury of being carefree. Of being free, period. I liked seeing his flashback this episode because it revealed that even back then, he was capable of standing up to his mom. But the fight against his mom has always been futile, so he’s convinced himself that he has to to fight against his friends instead. If there is a redemption in store for Se-ho, and I’d like to believe there still is, it’s for him to realize that an impossible fight may not be so impossible. He can fight his mom for the right reasons–for the reasons a school director and a friend should.
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