My Strange Hero: Episodes 31-32 (Final)
It’s time to say goodbye to our strange hero, meaning it’s time to see whether or not he has to say goodbye to Seolsong High. He found his first love at this school, he rediscovered that love, and he met even more people that he’s come to love since. There’s a lot of history in this place, and he’s going to make sure it comes with a future as well.
EPISODE 31 RECAP
As Se-ho is confessing to Chairwoman Im’s crimes, Bok-soo bursts into the interrogation room and calls him out on lying. Bok-soo angrily calls Se-ho selfish, saying he’s only making the situation worse–if he takes the fall, then the school is right back in Im’s hands.
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You selfish noble idiot!
Se-ho looks up at Bok-soo, his expression more ashamed than ever. So when Bok-soo leaves, he decides to actually listen for once. He takes back his confession so he can tell the prosecutor what really happened.
When he leaves the interrogation, Se-ho finds Bok-soo waiting out in the hall, wanting to make sure he told the truth this time. Se-ho nods, but he warns Bok-soo that Im has the connections to shut down the school. Unfazed, Bok-soo turns to leave, saying, “It’s not over yet.”
Bok-soo and Soo-jung head to the Education Committee to submit their petitions, but they stop short when they see Teacher Park arguing with his superiors. The committee has already finalized the closing of Seolsong, and there’s nothing Park can say that will change their minds.
As a last resort, Soo-jung gathers the faculty and parents willing to protest in front of the school. The inspectors who will be selling the school arrive, but the protesters deny them entry, claiming that the school belongs to its students.
And inside, Bok-soo prepares his “secret weapon” in a plastic bag, telling his classmates that he’ll be using it in substitution for violence. Young-min informs them that it’s time, so Bok-soo grabs his weapon and leads the kids outside.
They get there just as Chairwoman Im shows up to express her (totally fake) sympathy. Before Im can push her way through the crowd, though, Bok-soo and the kids make their presence known and file down the stairs.
Bok-soo unleashes his weapon, throwing the plastic bag in the air and releasing a flurry of wildflower petals. Wow, what an entrance.
He makes his way to the front of the crowd and faces Im, suggesting she turn around and leave. He takes out a single wildflower and holds it out to her, asking one last time that she not step all over Seolsong’s flower-like students.
Im smirks and accepts the flower, only to drop it and step on it with her heel. She addresses the whole crowd, saying that Bok-soo ruined Seolsong’s good name and high standing. So, she continues, if they want someone to blame for shutting down the school, it should be him.
But Bok-soo argues that she’s the one hurting Seolsong, as well as Se-ho. Im snaps at him not to compare “that kid” to her school, and he shakes his head. “No, there’s nothing different,” he says. “It might seem like that on the outside, but they’re damaged on the inside.”
He tells her that Se-ho and Seolsong aren’t hers to throw away, but she won’t listen; she yells at the inspectors to do their job and get inside. So the students step forward and link arms to block their path.
The inspectors urge them to cooperate, but the students shout, “No! This is our school!” Following their cries, police cars pull up to the school, and the officers approach Im with an arrest warrant.
She reminds them that Se-ho confessed to the embezzlement and bribery, but the officers inform her that he changed his testimony. The officers grab hold of her, making her freak out and curse the kids for messing with her precious school.
Bok-soo then turns her attention to Do-hyun’s recording phone and says she’ll have plenty of viewers waiting to judge her. He concludes that it’s not Seolsong that needs to go away, but her, and bids her adieu.
After Im is dragged over to prison, the video of her screaming is all over the internet, with netizens shocked to see the real her.
The Seolsong students are watching the video as well, amazed at how cool they look, when Bok-soo comes running through to present the current standing of the national petition. And the kids are overjoyed to see that over 200,000 people have signed it. They’re so happy that they crowd Bok-soo and toss him in the air in celebration.
Sometime later, at the Kang home, Bok-soo and Soo-jung see Im’s arrest on the news. They learn that the Education Committee has acknowledged the growing petition and canceled the abolishment of Seolsong. While the gang is all smiles, Se-ho quietly watches the news in his now dark and empty house.
The next day, Se-ho visits his old office and runs into Teacher Park. He tells Park that he’ll be going abroad soon, and he has one last request: He wants Park to become the principal of Seolsong.
Park starts to say that he already has a job, but Se-ho insists that he’s much more suited being a teacher. At that, Park gives him a smile, grateful, which Se-ho returns.
As Se-ho is leaving the school grounds, Bok-soo catches up to him and asks if he’s running away again. Doesn’t he have more to say to him? Se-ho sadly notes that apologizing now won’t fix his mistakes.
While Bok-soo agrees, he’d still like some sort of explanation; he’d spent years wondering why Se-ho did what he did nine years ago. So Se-ho looks him in the eye and explains, “I wanted to be you. And I was so envious that I hated you.” He assures Bok-soo that he did nothing wrong and apologizes for being the bad guy all this time.
An angry Bok-soo punches Se-ho in the face, saying he’d do much worse but that it wouldn’t fix anything either. So instead, Bok-soo chooses not to forgive him. “But,” he continues, “you should forgive yourself. Since you’re the only one who knows your pain and misery.”
Bok-soo then tells Se-ho to get lost, muttering that he doesn’t care whether Se-ho lives well or not. He walks past, and Se-ho watches him leave with a small smile.
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I won’t forgive you, but you should at least forgive yourself
Time passes, and Teacher Park takes his place as Seolsong’s principal. While broadcasting, he promises his students and faculty that he will change Seolsong for good, giving everyone the fair opportunities that they deserve.
Everyone, from the Wildflower class to the Ivy class are excited for these changes. They smile as Teacher Park signs off with finger hearts and a big “I love you.” Haha, always full of cheese, this guy.
Se-ho meets with his mom in prison, and he’s disappointed when she immediately asks what his plan is to get her out.
He calmly answers that he has no plan; he only hopes that her time in prison will change her. In the meantime, Se-ho plans to make Seolsong a public school. He says his goodbyes, promising to return when she’s released, and Mom is so hysterical that a guard has to drag her back inside.
Back at school, Soo-jung waits up for Bok-soo, joking that he has such an awesome girlfriend. They get into their usual bickering before Soo-jung shyly admits she’s not good with compliments. Still, she wants to thank him for always coming back to her. Bok-soo just opens his arms wide, inviting her into a hug, and she gladly accepts.
EPISODE 32 RECAP
One year later. The students all gather for their graduation ceremony, excited to hear their oldest classmate speak. Bok-soo heads up to the stand (tripping, of course), wanting to tell them about adult life since he’s already experienced it.
He says that life can be hard, ruthless even, but he assures them that it is definitely worth living. And they should know that there will always be at least one person rooting for them.
“K. Revenge once said this,” he says. “Whatever you do, wherever you are, you deserve to be loved.” His classmates erupt into applause, with Young-min leaning over to Seung-woo to ask who K. Revenge is. “Kang Bok-soo,” Seung-woo replies, and they both smile up at their hyung.
After the ceremony, Bok-soo and In-ho meet with their moms and proudly present their diplomas. And if there wasn’t enough excitement already, So-jung gets a text saying that In-ho got accepted into college. Omg, yay!
Teacher Park breaks up their celebration to congratulate the boys and offer to take the family’s picture. But Vice Principal Song, kissing up to his new principal, takes the camera and urges Park to join them.
Later, Bok-soo meets up with Soo-jung, and he’s surprised when she shows up in her old school uniform. He asks what’s going on, and she beams, saying she wants to have a little graduation of their own.
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Seolsong Couple: Bok-soo ♥ Soo-jung
Three more years pass, and we see Bok-soo walking to school–only now, he’s there as an art teacher. Teacher Kim catches him arriving late, however, and gets him in a headlock, so I guess not much has changed.
Bok-soo has his students draw a portrait, using Gyung-hyun as the model, and the female students pout that they’d rather draw him. Bok-soo shakes his head, warning them that their teacher already has a very pretty girlfriend.
Speaking of whom, Soo-jung heads into her third teacher’s interview this year. She explains the reason why she had to leave Seolsong, as well as the reason why she wants to be a teacher so badly.
Soo-jung starts to say that she was in charge of the “worst” students in the school. As she goes on, we see that In-ho and Jae-yoon are working for Gyung-hyun and that the “Your Favors” company has turned into “Your Own Business.” We then see that Shi-on is a makeup artist, and Seung-woo and Young-min work in the same court as a prosecutor and lawyer respectively.
“The school labelled them as hopeless students,” Soo-jung says, “but the more they were stepped on, the more they tried to prove the school wrong.” She knows she can teach her students beyond their textbooks, so she begs her interviewers to give her the chance to prove herself. She doesn’t feel too confident leaving the interview, but after some time, she receives a text saying she’s passed her entry exam.
Soo-jung calls Bok-soo to give him the good news, and Bok-soo immediately steps into Supportive Boyfriend mode. He has Gyung-hyun and Min-ji kidnap all the Wildflower kids (pfft, this never gets old), who willingly help to kidnap Teacher Park.
They all surprise Soo-jung with a party at the Kang restaurant, and everyone from the kids to Bok-soo’s family congratulate her on becoming a certified teacher again. Though she’s happy to see everyone, she’s disappointed to note that there’s no cake or gift, lol.
She learns that Teachers Ma and Jang are having a baby and that So-ra now writes romantic novels. In fact, So-ra’s latest story is based on Soo-jung’s romance, and it contains a steamy kiss scene behind a classroom door. Soo-jung and Bok-soo blush but laugh along with the rest of their friends.
That night, Gyung-hyun tells Bok-soo that he and Min-ji are getting married. But Min-ji states that she won’t marry someone who prints the wedding invites before proposing. She storms out, and Gyung-hyun merely says that she’ll be her nicer self tomorrow.
Se-ho’s mom is eventually released from prison, and Se-ho is there to greet her as promised. When she asks why he never called, he says that he needed time to forgive her.
Mom scoffs, saying it’s Se-ho who should be begging for forgiveness, but Se-ho isn’t hurt by this. He tells her that it doesn’t pain him to look at her anymore, so that means he’s changed.
“I believe that you’ll change someday,” Se-ho says, smiling faintly. “Just as an old friend of mine believed in me.” He’ll be waiting for that change, but for now, he bows and takes off. And this time, as Mom watches him leave, she looks more surprised than angry.
After another day at school, Bok-soo finds Soo-jung waiting up for him again. They slowly walk towards each other, each remembering all the times they’ve spent together.
When they finally reach each other, he takes hold of her hand (his ring still on her finger). Seeing her at Seolsong, he thinks that she definitely suits being a teacher. Now that she’s a teacher, though, she thinks she needs a new dream.
Bok-soo asks what that new dream might be, and she sweetly responds with, “Kang Bok-soo’s wife.” He grins from ear-to-ear and holds her hand even tighter.
We flash back to the day of Bok-soo’s graduation, when he and Soo-jung had gone out in their uniforms. They stopped at a black-and-white photo studio to get their picture taken together, and the photographer had asked what the occasion was.
They both answered, “Graduation,” before holding hands and giving the camera their biggest smiles.
Aw, what a sweet ending to a sweet drama. I think time jumps are pretty easy to mess up, but I actually enjoyed that short glimpse of our characters one year later and then the longer glimpse three years later. It gave us the chance to have a big reunion, to see everyone settling into their lives, which tied things up nicely. Well… not everything, but I’ll get to that later.
I wasn’t expecting many surprises in this finale, so I liked the little details that they sprinkled in. Mainly, I just liked the fact that everyone remained so close after graduation. Bok-soo was working with Teacher Park, In-ho was working with Jae-yoon, Seung-woo was working with Young-min, and even So-ra was working with Do-hyun. How cool is that? Maybe not the most realistic but believable since the Wildflowers had developed such a tight bond with each other. I’d guessed that Bok-soo would become a teacher, but that didn’t seem realistic either until it was revealed he taught art. (Sorry, Bok-soo-yah, you’re just not that smart.) And again, that was believable since he’d shown talent with that sketch of Soo-jung. More importantly, he loved the school and the students in it. With that said, I’m glad he came back to Seolsong. Again.
I also liked seeing Soo-jung struggle a bit in rebuilding her career. That was the most realistic for me. It took her four whole years to become a teacher again, which must’ve been really frustrating. Still, she was never the type to give up, and that paid off. She was an independent gal, but I’m sure it helped to have so many people support her, like Bok-soo and friends. If I had to pick one aspect of the show that I enjoyed the most, it would be the friendships. The best friends, the frenemies, the students and teachers–every relationship was beautifully layered. And the drama didn’t have to focus on characters too long for me to see that (i.e. Seung-woo and Young-min ♥). I’m a little salty about the Mama Kang and Teacher Park relationship not going anywhere, but hey, I’ll live.
What I can’t live with is how we left Se-ho. After all the buildup from last week’s episode, the first five minutes of the finale fell flat for me. I wanted way more conflict and way more emotion from Bok-soo and Se-ho. I came to terms with the fact that their bromance was unfixable, but argggh, I just wanted a bit more from them. Their history was so compelling–much more compelling than the romance–and I couldn’t understand why I felt nothing here. If this were a rollercoaster, I would say that the drama took us all the way up a hill, getting us pumped for something big and exciting, only to slowly fall backwards. Either way, I think the drama kind of made up for that with Bok-soo and Se-ho’s last interaction.
That punch to the face almost made me cry (I’m a baby, okay?) because a small part of me was still hoping Bok-soo would find it in his heart to forgive Se-ho. But, honestly, Bok-soo was being pretty nice considering all the shit that Se-ho put him through. And it was really big of him to urge Se-ho to forgive himself–Se-ho at least deserved that. I would’ve liked to see more of Se-ho after that major time jump, but I did appreciate having his final scene with his mom. His whole life had revolved around her, in the worst possible way, and it looked like he was finally able to let that go. At the same time, he still encouraged his mom to change, which tells me that Bok-soo definitely got through to him.
I may be mad at the romance for stealing most of the screen time, but you know what? The romance was so darn awesome that I’m willing to forgive. Not only did the actors have adorable chemistry, but the writing made them smart, relatable, and easy to root for. It’s always nice to have a couple that actually sits down and talks about things, whether that be feelings or future plans. Their decade-long misunderstanding could’ve ruined things for good, but they developed a foundation of trust instead. And that’s all our strange hero and his strange family needed: a little trust and a whole lot of love.
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