My Strange Hero: Episodes 25-26
Today’s the day. It’s the day when our hero and his friends finally get some good ol’ payback on Seolsong High. They’re not entirely sure how it will go, but any sort of change is better than no change. Unfortunately, they still have no idea what they’re truly up against. And if they’re not careful, the changes they cause could stir up some serious trouble.
EPISODE 25 RECAP
Soo-jung tells the Your Favors gang that she’s the witness they need to take Seolsong down. She knows the consequences, and she’s willing to face them. But Bok-soo thinks she’s being ridiculous, so he takes her aside and tells her to stay out of this. He argues that her career as a teacher will be over, and she stops him right there.
“I’m not qualified to be a teacher,” she says sadly. She paid money for a position, and that is not the example she wants to set for her kids; she’d rather be a good guide for them. Still, Bok-soo reminds her, becoming a teacher was her dream. She smiles, reminding him that he found that dream for her and that he can find her another one.
With Soo-jung’s mind already set, the group has to go along with with her wishes. So they fill her in on all the evidence, starting with the payments Chae-min’s mom sent in exchange for test answers. Hesitant, Soo-jung says she’ll check to see if Chae-min is actually using these answers before fully blaming him.
Afterwards, Bok-soo walks Soo-jung home, staying a few feet behind since they’re technically exes now. (Pfft, you guys suck at breaking up.) Before she heads inside, he tells her that the life expectancy is 100 nowadays, and no job lasts a lifetime. So he promises to find plenty more dreams for her to explore.
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I’ll help you find another dream
The next day, Soo-jung is conflicted as she stares at the template of her final exam. Vice Principal Song urges her to hurry up and submit it, but she’s not quite ready.
Song announces that Teacher Hong will take over Teacher Park’s duties, creating a bit of an awkward atmosphere. Soo-jung looks over at Park’s desk, where Hong now sits, and remembers the way Park used to smile at her.
Chae-min sits in his glass booth, alone and frustrated, while we see that the Wildflower Class is busy studying for finals. A couple kids crowd Seung-woo’s desk, wanting the first place student’s wisdom.
As Soo-jung watches over her class, she thinks back to yesterday when Bok-soo had commented that Chae-min was pretty much stepping all over his classmates’ hard work. Having come to a decision, she heads back to her computer and changes one of the answers on her exam.
Meanwhile, Chairwoman Im leads the Board of Directors meeting, and the first thing on her agenda is to vote on the dismissal of Se-ho. She’s thrown off, though, when Se-ho doesn’t seem the least bit surprised. Se-ho sits there and takes all the complaints from his fellow directors, and only stands once they’re finished.
He then hands out a document of rebates from the school’s business partners, which the directors, his mom included, have maintained. He knows that he’s only a temporary director and that he’s still young, but if the adults are going to handle such a huge sum of money, then he’d like to be a part of it too.
Mom is practically shaking with anger, but knowing she’s been caught, she’s forced to reject Se-ho’s dismissal. Once everyone else leaves the room, Se-ho turns to her and says, “I warned you what would happen if you tried to take my school from me.”
He asks if this is the son she’s been wanting to see–someone who gains control by finding a person’s weakness. Mom smirks and states, “No matter what you do, you can’t become the son that I like. It’s been that way since you were born.” And as Mom stalks off, Se-ho sighs that her harsh words are getting exhausting.
The rest of the faculty hear about what happened, with Principal Kim wondering which side he should really be on, Se-ho’s or Chairwoman Im’s. Either way, he has to get back to his dirty work. He takes the final exams from the main office’s safe, having no idea that he’s being recorded.
Chae-min receives the answers from his mom, but he can’t do this anymore; he’s too scared of getting caught. His mom argues that he placed fifth in the last test, and if he’s not placed first, then he’s useless. She hugs him, saying she’ll do whatever it takes to make him first, but he’s not at all comforted.
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You did your best, you’re just not good enough
We then cut to Bok-soo sitting his mom down to confess that he’s getting revenge. Mom raises a hand to smack him, saying he should be focusing on studying, and he rambles that there’s too much corruption going on and that he needs to set things straight.
Mom blinks with surprise–that’s his revenge? Well, hell, she’s all for it then. Her one condition is for him to graduate, and he nods, saying he’ll definitely make that wish of hers come true.
Testing day arrives, and all the Wildflowers gather around Seung-woo’s desk to absorb some of his intelligent energy, LOL. The poor guy doesn’t know what to do with himself as Bok-soo joins in for one final cheer.
The Wildflowers get to working, while in the Ivy Class, Chae-min fills in every answer by memory. He goes through them so fast that he doesn’t notice the small change that Soo-jung made.
Chae-min is shaking pretty badly after the test, and even more so when the results are posted and he’s ranked first over Seung-woo. He escapes to his glass booth to calm down, and he jumps when someone knocks on the door. Soo-jung lets herself in and gently asks if there’s anything he wants to tell her.
He snaps that there isn’t, so she tries again: “Chae-min, there are all kinds of people making mistakes. I’m an adult, and even I make mistakes. But if the chance to right a wrong comes and you keep your mouth shut, there will definitely be a time when you regret it.”
She continues that that kind of mistake could ruin his life, and he bolts up, telling her to get to the point. Rather than explain, she asks one more time if he has anything to say. His eyes are full of anger and fear and an incredible amount of stress, but again, he denies this. Soo-jung gives him a hard look before leaving.
She meets up with Bok-soo in her office and confirms that Chae-min did, in fact, cheat. She asks if Bok-soo will really be okay leaking all of this information out, and he responds that it’s just something he has to do. He takes her hand, only to flail away when Young-min and Seung-woo burst in with the test. The boys are here to point out that one of her questions is wrong, and she looks up at them to say that she already knows.
EPISODE 26 RECAP
Soo-jung’s error with the test sends confusion throughout the teachers’ office. They just don’t understand how Chae-min could’ve gotten the “right” answer when the question was all wrong. But Teacher Kim (who’s been in on all the cheating) warns his colleagues that they shouldn’t gossip.
It’s too late for the students, though–the Ivy Class is already gossiping over Chae-min’s results. Now that everyone, even his friends, are suspicious of him, all he can do is weakly defend himself before storming out.
Se-ho notices Bok-soo heading for the school exit and suggests he think of Teacher Park before getting into any trouble. Bok-soo just warns him not mention Park’s name and continues on his way. As Se-ho watches him go, he mutters to himself that they both have their own work to do.
With finals over, it’s almost time for the gang’s revenge. Soo-jung gets Bok-soo alone first, and she admits that she returned Se-ho’s $50,000. She asks why he didn’t say anything when he knew about everything Se-ho had done.
Bok-soo’s taken aback but honestly tells her that he was afraid she’d get hurt. She’s understanding, of course, and makes sure there’s nothing else he’s kept hidden. He nods and takes her hand, suggesting they continue trusting each other as they are now.
Once they’re good and ready, the couple join Gyung-hyun and Min-ji at the office to start filming. They create an entire segment discussing evidence of Seolsong’s corruption, with Bok-soo acting as host in his school uniform.
The video is posted online and immediately gains a crazy amount of views. Everyone, from the students to the teachers (wait, are Teacher Ma and Jang dating now?!) learn of the money that their school has accepted and the information they’ve given out in return.
The video also contains an interview with Soo-jung–her voice distorted–talking about the corruption behind the school’s hiring. She swears to reveal herself and testify if an official investigation is opened.
To close, Bok-soo asks for his audience’s help to ensure an investigation. “Of course, Seolsong will try to sue me for defamation,” he says, “but would a school like this have any honor left to protect?” Boom! And only now are the reporters interested in the story.
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Is it still defamation if you had no honor to start with?
And only now is Chairwoman Im feeling genuinely threatened. But as usual, it doesn’t take her long to come up with a plan.
She calls Principal Kim into her office and orders him to take responsibility for everything. He initially refuses, saying he was only following orders, and Im states he should be wiser at a time like this.
Meanwhile, Chae-min tells his mom that he’s too afraid to return to school. His mom pushes him into going anyway, saying if he doesn’t act shameless, it’s like admitting he did something wrong.
At school the next day, the Wildflowers find it so cool that they made top news. Bok-soo comes by, and they all shower him with praise–even Seung-woo reverts to formal speech, making him cringe. They’re worried, however, that he’s now put himself in a vulnerable position, so they crowd around him to act as his personal bodyguards. Aw, you guyssss.
The atmosphere isn’t as warm in the teachers’ office, as they’re bombarded with angry phone calls from parents. To Soo-jung’s disappointment, she hears every one of her colleagues lie to their callers that there’s no corruption within the school. On top of that, people are starting to wonder who the mystery teacher on the interview was.
A nervous Chae-min braces himself before walking into the Ivy Class. And as he feared, the kids are already suspecting that he’s the student accused of cheating. But he just sits at his desk and takes it like his mom told him to.
Bok-soo is called into the teacher’s office to get reprimanded by Vice Principal Song. Song and Teacher Kim tell him that he’s officially ruined the lives of these students, but Bok-soo replies that the adults already did the ruining by allowing all this dirty corruption. And that thought silences the room.
Just then, Teacher Ma bursts in and urges them to turn on the TV. There’s a press conference going on as they speak, with Principal Kim accepting all the responsibility by resigning. Stunned, Bok-soo and Soo-jung run out of the office, and at the same time, Se-ho has already run out to see what’s going on.
Se-ho gets to the press conference as his mom steps up to the podium and tearfully apologizes. She assures the reporters that she’ll be taking care of everything by dismissing the principal and current director. Se-ho looks on, incredulous, as she takes one final bow (hiding the evil smirk on her face).
Outside, Bok-soo and Soo-jung stop Principal Kim and demand to know why he lied. Bok-soo says he obviously couldn’t be responsible for the tens of millions of dollars the school has been hoarding. But Kim insists that he’s the only one who’s guilty and walks past. He then recalls his conversation with Chairwoman Im, when she’d told him to think wisely. She’d promised to make him the president of a university if he did this one thing for her.
The reporters clear out, and Chairwoman Im steps down the stage to face Se-ho. Bok-soo and Soo-jung reach the doors in time to hear her say that Se-ho lost to Bok-soo once again.
Se-ho quietly asks if she’s really that happy that it’s over for him; he’s her real child, not the school. Mom firmly states that she never loved him, that she’s been hearing him whine about this for years, and she’s tired of it.
She screams that Se-ho and Seolsong were the only two things she got as alimony from the family that abandoned her. She worked so hard for this school, and she refuses to love anyone weak enough to jump off a roof. Jesus Christ…
That gets Se-ho crying, and he blurts out that he hates her. Mom smiles cruelly and says that’s impossible since he’s always been like a dog wagging his tail for affection. And, frankly, she’s horrified that this school will be left to him once she’s gone.
“I don’t need it,” he cries, his eyes practically pleading. Mom shakes her head and walks away, which is when Bok-soo and Soo-jung finally step away from the doors. Se-ho snaps just like that, shouting, “I said I don’t need such a thing!” He breaks down as the words echo throughout the empty room.
In the Ivy Class, Chae-min’s friend directly accuses him of being the cheater. That sends Chae-min over the edge, making him punch his friend and initiate a fight. He storms out of the class right when Se-ho runs into Bok-soo and Soo-jung in the hall. Soo-jung starts to ask Chae-min what happened, but he panics and runs toward the roof.
Chae-min is looking as hopeless as ever as he walks over to to roof’s edge and looks down below. Bok-soo and Soo-jung get to the roof, Se-ho right behind them, and shout his name, but he threatens to kill himself if they get any closer.
He steps onto the ledge, his balance unsteady, and Bok-soo can’t help but remember Se-ho in that exact position, right before he fell.
And to everyone’s surprise, it’s Se-ho who eventually walks forward. He locks eyes with Chae-min and blankly says, “Then die.” Bok-soo and Soo-jung can’t believe what they’re hearing as he continues, “Just die there.”
How am I supposed to react to that ending? HOW? I honestly don’t know. There were quite a few moments this episode where my heart started racing because I thought Se-ho was about to, you know, do something. When he burst through the doors to the press conference, I thought he was going call his mom out on her bullshit. And there, on the roof, I thought he was going to calm Chae-min down.
Even though Se-ho has disappointed me time and time again, I was not expecting him to say those final words. It’s not what I wanted to hear, but in retrospect, I’m wondering if it’s what Chae-min maybe needed to hear. Is Se-ho trying to do some reverse psychology? Is he trying to get Chae-min to fight for himself? Just as Se-ho should’ve done years ago? It’s a huge risk, but I could see this conversation going well if Se-ho played it right. Then again, those may not be Se-ho’s intentions. He just walked out of an emotionally-draining fight with his mom, and he could be focusing all of that anger on Chae-min. On Chae-min, who has become the literal mirror image of his past. If he’s really talking to Chae-min as if he’s talking to himself, then anything could happen.
We’ve seen Se-ho argue with his mom plenty of times throughout the show, but he never seemed to leave any of those fights with a different perspective, which has really annoyed me. But after this last fight, I now understand what has been going on inside his head. He’d been letting Mom break him down day after day, hating her and wishing she weren’t his mom… But at the same time, he still wanted her approval and affection. He had genuine hope that he could still make this woman view him as her son. And this is where it all fell into place for me: His life doesn’t revolve around Soo-jung. It doesn’t even revolve around Bok-soo. It only seems that way because his mom made them look like obstacles. When it comes to Se-ho’s suffering, it’s always been with his mom, and it always will be unless he does something about it.
But what can he do now that his mom has taken away his last bit of hope? His main goal in life has been proving himself to her, and now he knows that’s been a lost cause all this time. Even if he doesn’t know where to go from here, I’m hoping that Bok-soo and Soo-jung do. They were well aware of Se-ho’s circumstances back in high school, but it’s a totally different thing when you actually see it for yourself. Now that they’ve seen what Se-ho has to go through everyday, they might have a better idea of how to help him. We only have a few episodes left, so I’m just dying to see these three reconcile. At the very least, I want them to get Se-ho out of his mom’s house; I want him away from that terrible environment. Without his mom, he may think he has nothing left, when really, he’d be opening himself up to much more.
I’m proud of the Your Favors gang for exposing the school, even if they didn’t get the results they wanted. The important thing is that the news is out there. And they can find even more news if they get to the black heart of the school–Se-ho’s mom–and tear it down from there. Se-ho would, of course, be a great asset to accomplishing this, but I’m not sure if he’s ready to join Team Bok-soo yet. Or if he ever will be.
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