My Unfamiliar Family: Episode 12
Is it possible for two people to start anew when there’s a boatload of baggage between you? Our recently enlightened father plans to find out. Nothing can erase the hurt his actions have caused, but his brief return to his youth gave him some much needed clarity and a desire to right some wrongs. Our friend duo also has their share of baggage and stands at a relationship crossroads. The question of the hour: when is a relationship beyond saving?
Chan-hyuk tells Eun-hee he’s done, and she responds coolly he needn’t have come in person. She gets the message. They’re interrupted by Geon-joo, and after some polite chitchat, both men leave. Alone, Eun-hee contemplates both men’s accusations and opinions of her.
At Eun-joo’s, Sang-shik apologizes for not fulfilling the promise he made before she was born to be the best father and give her the best life. Eun-joo can’t bring herself to say anything, so Tae-hyung offers that Sang-shik raised her well.
Sang-shik makes them uncomfortable when he innocently asks how much Tae-hyung treasures Eun-joo. He thinks the awkwardness is due to Tae-hyung finding those sorts of questions uncomfortable. Sang-shik smiles proudly as he reminisces about how pretty Eun-joo was as a baby and how brightly she shined in college.
His smile drops, and both he and Eun-joo fight to hold back their tears. For such a daughter to have to support the family, he blames his own incompetence. Sang-shik returns the bankbook to her.
Eun-joo finally breaks her silence and admits she was flustered when he first gave her the bankbook. He spent a decade saving to repay something that can’t be calculated. Did he consider how the money could’ve helped Jin-sook live more comfortably?
She breaks down as she asks whether he would’ve felt so compelled to repay the money if it were Eun-hee’s. Tae-hyung jumps in to say she just doesn’t want to accept the money, but Eun-joo contradicts him. She’ll accept it since it makes her dad so uncomfortable to be indebted to her. Sang-shik helplessly watches his daughter sob.
Chan-hyuk goes to catch a cab, but Eun-hee grabs his arm and asks him to stay. She wants a reason; when she cut him out, she at least gave a solid reason. Chan-hyuk scoffs at her so-called reason, asking if she’s still under the mistaken impression that he would’ve hung out with Jong-min and that woman.
Eun-hee clarifies she believes the woman misinterpreted things and brings the conversation back to the topic at hand. Chan-hyuk always hated the expression that the closer you are to someone, the more polite you should be. He’d rather be comfortable. But now he realizes there’s truth in it, and she’s been too impolite.
Eun-hee asks how he can say he’s always been polite towards her when he told Seo-young everything. Chan-hyuk can’t believe she’d think he’d do something like that, and they both take a breath to calm down. What was she supposed to think when he was the only person she told, yet somehow Seo-young even knew Eun-hee’s exact wording?
Chan-hyuk thinks it’s useless to explain since she still sees him as the idiot who told all his friends about their “secret” walk that night. “Let’s end it,” he says and walks away. This time, she doesn’t follow.
Sang-shik sits with Tae-hyung and marvels at their spacious place. His and Jin-sook’s first apartment was half the size of the living room. He suddenly asks if Tae-hyung and Eun-joo are getting along well. Tae-hyung pauses before he says they are.
Eun-hee calls Eun-joo, but Tae-hyung answers. Thinking of Eun-joo’s claim that things will be different, she’s worried her sister is avoiding her calls, although Tae-hyung assures her she’s not. She hangs up, and a tear rolls down as she thinks that Eun-joo is the only person she wants to see.
Sang-shik finds Jin-sook waiting anxiously outside Eun-joo’s. He explains that he mistakenly tried to return the bankbook and made Eun-joo cry. Jin-sook realizes Eun-joo didn’t tell him and reveals that the kids all know Sang-shik isn’t Eun-joo’s birth father.
Not realizing it was his own slip ups that outed it, he accuses Jin-sook of telling them and trying to turn the kids against him. He walks in a daze, now understanding Eun-joo’s comments and behavior of late, and wanders into the street.
Jin-sook pulls him back, saving him from a potential Vehicle of Doom. He punches a tree and cries that he’s pathetic while Jin-sook hugs him. They sit and cry together on the sidewalk.
Seo-young is waiting for Chan-hyuk when he returns. She knows he went to see Eun-hee and asks how things went. Chan-hyuk comments that seeing Eun-hee holding herself back, afraid to make the same mistake as before, is stifling.
Chan-hyuk (who’s remarkably calm about this) wants to know why Seo-young snooped through his phone. She says that right after the assault, she happened to see her mom’s phone. She was texting her assaulter’s mother to smooth things over, saying Seo-young was being “too sensitive.” WHAT.
What did she wish her parents had done? Seo-young just wanted them to acknowledge it. Chan-hyuk doesn’t understand, so she explains that they smile and carry on like nothing happened. He observes that family sometimes ignores things in a way that looks cowardly for fear that addressing it will tear them apart.
Tae-hyung informs Eun-joo her dad took the bankbook back. She accuses him of stopping her from telling her dad the truth, but Tae-hyung saw how hard it was for her. He hasn’t spoken to his own father in 10 years. What’s the big deal about blood ties at their age?
Eun-joo doesn’t see what age has to do with anything. Is nothing a big deal after a certain age? Tae-hyung lets her know Eun-hee called and thinks Eun-joo is avoiding her. Eun-joo complains up a storm but next thing we know, Eun-hee is walking in with a beer stash.
She invites herself to stay the night and tells Eun-joo someone cut her out like she once did, and it hurt. Eun-joo thinks it’s good she learned firsthand the pain of hearing those words and speculates she must like that person. But Eun-joo denies being hurt when Eun-hee cut her out, naturally.
Eun-hee also shares her annoyance at what Geon-joo said about her not having desire or ambition. Eun-joo points out Eun-hee likes being perceived that way. The person who confronted her about it must like her.
Eun-joo is suddenly reminded of her dad sitting in that same chair, apologizing to her. She finds Eun-hee’s problems trivial, which Eun-hee acknowledges. Even though Eun-joo has never once comforted her, Eun-hee still finds herself running to her whenever she has a problem.
Comforting words provide momentary relief, but Eun-joo’s harsh words give her the strength to resolve her issues. Eun-joo is tired of being the villain and says she’ll no longer dispense advice. Regardless, Eun-hee doesn’t want to hear her comments about how things are different now or that they’ll grow apart.
Eun-hee confesses she came over because she suddenly really wanted to see her sister. She wipes her tears and drinks her beer while Eun-joo pretends to be unaffected.
Sang-shik sits on the bus, a handkerchief around his bleeding knuckles, while his daughters bunk together. Eun-joo admits she didn’t tell their dad. (She pushes Eun-hee off when she tries to snuggle with her.) Eun-hee slips up and mentions Sang-shik doesn’t have a place yet, but she pretends not to know details.
They start reminiscing, and the contrasting ways they recall their childhood showcases their personalities. Eun-joo complains about the hardships while Eun-hee recalls the warm aspects. Eun-hee finally wins and snuggles up to Eun-joo’s back, asking if she’s ever passionately dated. Of course, Eun-joo won’t answer. They fall asleep with Eun-joo curled in Eun-hee’s arms, and it’s adorable.
Things are awkward at the office the following day, so Chan-hyuk sends Seo-young and Ji-woo out to take photos. When Ji-woo mentions seeing pictures on her social media, she assumes he must’ve read the vicious comments about her pretending to be a sexual assault victim after being dumped. (People are awful.)
Ji-woo brings up all the supportive comments and encourages her not to live recklessly and hurt the people who like her. She smiles when he says he plans to treat her the same as ever and won’t let her off easily just because of her past. Seo-young admits he’s not as bad as most guys his age which she attributes to his sisters, although Ji-woo argues it’s all him.
Eun-hee drives Geon-joo and a colleague on a business outing and gets a call from Ji-woo. Seo-young impatiently snatches Ji-woo’s phone and tells Eun-hee that she read their text messages, and Chan-hyuk absolutely didn’t tell her anything. Eun-hee starts to get angry but hangs up, conscious of her colleagues in the car.
Sang-shik goes to Jin-sook’s to return the scarf (freshly handwashed) she lent him. Jin-sook asks if he’s okay; he was a mess that night. Sang-shik decided that it’s better to pretend he didn’t hear anything since Eun-joo doesn’t seem to want him to know.
Jin-sook thinks he’d have been better off pretending to still be the 22-year old, fondly remembering only the good times. It’s what she would have done. “Let’s do that,” he suggests. It was boring alone, so they should go there together.
He grabs her hand and leads her to his car. Sang-shik explains he no longer finds the one-sided love of a parent unfair. How is loving with all your might, even if it’s one-sided, a bad thing? He isn’t indebted to the kids and vice versa. “I’m only indebted to you.” He does the seatbelt lean-in and buckles her in.
Geon-joo still hasn’t given up on Eun-hee and claims he was trying to get across how things could change if they dated when he made that ambition comment. Eun-hee thinks saying to her face that she lives without desires or ambition while acting like it’s strictly good-intentioned advice is out of line.
He announces that unless she dislikes him or likes someone else, he isn’t going to give up. Eun-hee stays silent as Geon-joo exits the car. She calls Ji-woo – Chan-hyuk perks up at his desk – to ask for details of the phone snooping, but Ji-woo doesn’t know anything.
Eun-hee rants about Seo-young having access to Chan-hyuk’s phone, but Ji-woo doesn’t get why she’s getting so worked up when it wasn’t even her phone. Chan-hyuk overhears and snaps at Seo-young, demanding to know what they did.
Sang-shik and Jin-sook sip coffee and stare at the night skyline. He shares that their poorest times were his happiest. He can pinpoint the exact moment he began feeling rage toward Jin-sook. It all started with the book “The Bridges of Madison County” by Robert James Waller.
She’d underlined a part about only feeling such a definite emotion once in life, and he took that to mean she longed for Eun-joo’s father. (In a family of assumers, he wins gold for Least Supported Assumptions.) At home, Jin-sook sighs at his misunderstanding.
Eun-hee texts Chan-hyuk, asking if she can call. Meanwhile, Eun-joo and Hyo-seok meet at a nice bar. He explains that he’s lived working day and night without rest and never had time to even consider running away. That’s why he got so upset and behaved poorly when Tae-hyung fled.
Eun-joo points out that Tae-hyung’s comfortable life isn’t easy to leave behind. Hyo-seok plans to go to New Zealand to try and work things out with his ex. She balks when he asks her to pass the info along to Tae-hyung. Hyo-seok calls it a parting gift, advising her to let Tae-hyung figure out his feelings.
At home, Eun-hee opens a folder on her computer with what looks like several books she’s been writing. “I have ambition, too,” she voices to the empty room.
At the bar, Tae-hyung joins Eun-joo and stills when she tells him about Hyo-seok going to New Zealand. He shakily downs a glass of wine, barely holding it together.
No one’s favorite mother-in-law is waiting for them at their place when Eun-joo and Tae-hyung return. Tae-hyung is in no mood to fight with her about the alimony and locks himself in his room. They hear crashes coming from inside.
His mother is shaken and wonders what made him drink so much and act like this. Eun-joo shares that he got dumped by a guy he really liked. Her mother-in-law acts all affronted, so Eun-joo asks if she loves her son. Is it really that hard to acknowledge who he is? Eun-joo is starting to accept him; shouldn’t it be easier for his own mother?
Eun-hee sends Chan-hyuk another text that he ignores. Meanwhile, Sang-shik starts coming daily to see Jin-sook with a different household chore-related question each time. He gives her flowers and takes her for meals.
The night he drops her home after their arcade non-date, he asks “Miss Sook” if he can take her on a real date. Ji-woo soon starts noticing the oddities around the house like fresh flowers, his mom’s new clothes and some cute plushies from a claw machine.
Eun-hee doesn’t give up easily and texts Chan-hyuk that she’s delivering dishes he likes to his place. He comes outside where she presents him with an apple (“apple” and “apology” are homonyms in Korean) and a tote full of food.
She understands his anger and admits she was holding things in, afraid she’d mess up like last time. Chan-hyuk thinks she just has a low opinion of him, but Eun-hee confesses there were “other feelings” involved.
She was madder because it was the pretty, dazzling and honest Seo-young who likes Chan-hyuk. Eun-hee assumed they must be close enough to talk about stuff like this and wished them well. Chan-hyuk concedes she did pretty well considering how she let her thoughts run wild.
Eun-hee exuberantly agrees and congratulates herself, claiming the least he could do after that embarrassing confession is let her in. As she unpacks the food, Chan-hyuk complains that her apology gesture is lacking, but he can tell she’s genuinely sorry.
Geon-joo gets an email from Ha-ra gloating that she told Eun-hee they slept together, but it doesn’t seem like Eun-hee cares. Elsewhere, Eun-hee tells Chan-hyuk she’s had a reason for everything she’s done since reconnecting with him. She was so happy to see him again and didn’t want to complicate their comfortable friendship.
Even going to him about her one-night stand with Geon-joo was done to try to friendzone him. Chan-hyuk takes that to mean she sees him as a narrow-minded guy who’d never want to be romantically involved with her after knowing she had a one-night stand.
Eun-hee clarifies that she wouldn’t be able to get involved with him after admitting all that stuff to him. He says he gets it and asks if his comments about stealing glances and taking mental pictures of her were that burdensome. His tone is light, but his eyes are sad.
Ji-woo calls a sibling meeting at the café where he shares evidence of their mom’s possible new relationship. He thinks she’s got something going on with Seon-il. Both sisters ask simultaneously, “So what?” Ha.
Everyone, including the three of them, has secrets. Eun-joo maintains that family doesn’t need to know everything, and they should set boundaries. Eun-hee is all boundaries, schmoundaries and tries to get Ji-woo to spill his secrets as his leg bounces.
Tae-hyung stops by and once they leave, Ji-woo comments that Tae-hyung and Eun-joo seem to be much more comfortable now. Eun-hee questions his powers of deduction but encourages him to support their parents in their new lives no matter what. Ji-woo is onboard and admits he used the dating thing as an excuse to see Eun-joo. Aw.
Eun-hee brings up Seo-young and notes Ji-woo’s defense of her with interest. Ji-woo changes the subject and asks if she has any idea why Chan-hyuk has never gotten his driver’s license.
Sang-shik buys a flower while he anxiously waits for Jin-sook to arrive for their date. She steps off the bus looking lovely, dressed up with her hair styled, and they smile to see each other across the street. As he crosses to her, Sang-shik thinks, “Miss Sook, it’s not too late, is it? You’re smiling.”
But, naturally, that’s when he has another episode and collapses in the street. His last thought before losing consciousness is, “May I love you again?” Jin-sook yells his name in horror.
I knew they’d go for the dramatic collapse right when he learns to be happy again. Honestly, I’m not loving the idea of Sang-shik and Jin-sook continuing their relationship, even though it is cute to see them getting all the tropey romance stuff – the makeover, shy smiles and glances, seatbelt moments, even arcade trips – that’s usually reserved for younger on-screen couples. I find the snippets we’ve seen of Sang-shik’s prior fits of anger disturbing and seemingly abusive, which is hard for me to get past. I do believe his improving mental health and new lease on life has genuinely changed him for the better, and I’m glad they’re resolving their past issues and letting go of the bitterness. Maybe they could have a healthy relationship now that benefits them both, but I’m not confident enough to fully root for it. It is nice to see Jin-sook smiling, though.
I’m disappointed Chan-hyuk and Eun-hee still skipped right past their fallout. I never thought Chan-hyuk would’ve willingly hung out with Jong-min and his other girlfriend, but I find it hard to believe he didn’t know anything about the cheating. He lived with the guy, so how could he fail to notice he had two long-term girlfriends simultaneously? Whether he knew or not, I still think it’s ridiculous that he never explicitly clarified it with Eun-hee. Chan-hyuk seems like the type who asks, “Why do you think I’m mad?” and gets madder when you don’t know. Just be an adult and tell someone when they’ve done something to offend you. Don’t expect people to be telepathic. It helps no one to refuse to explain something because you think the other person should already know. Obviously, they don’t, and now nothing gets resolved because you find their intuition lacking. Additionally, with everything going on in Eun-hee’s family, it’s natural that she’d doubt the people around her. How could learning about so much deception and secrecy within your own family not affect your trust in people?
One thing I do really appreciate about Chan-hyuk, though, is how respectful of people’s wishes he is. He clearly wants a romantic relationship with Eun-hee, but he respects her desire to stay friends even while knowing she liked him in the past and maybe still does. He’s sad about her decision, but he doesn’t push or blatantly express his feelings in a way that would make her uncomfortable. Geon-joo could learn a thing or two from him. Eun-hee has clearly said she’s not interested in pursuing a relationship with him, but he just keeps pushing. You don’t get to decide which reasons for rejecting you are valid. He needs to stop with this entitlement nonsense and accept that she has turned him down.
Onto less annoying fare, I really enjoy the scenes between Eun-hee and Eun-joo. They agree on practically nothing and can barely get through a conversation without arguing, yet they truly get each other. Despite Eun-joo’s frequent comments that she doesn’t like Eun-hee and can’t relate to her, Eun-hee’s earnestness and warmth seem to reach her. Eun-hee is one of the only people who isn’t cowed or put off by Eun-joo’s prickliness. Maybe that’s why she gets under Eun-joo’s skin so much. Her distancing tactics don’t work on Eun-hee who has a “yeah, whatever” response to her spiky armor. And no amount of grumpy declarations can convince me Eun-joo doesn’t love her annoyingly sunny little sister who is just dying to hug her.
- Premiere Watch: My Unfamiliar Family
- Han Ye-ri adorably upset at best friend Kim Ji-suk in new stills for My Unfamiliar Family
- A mysterious family secret to be revealed in an ordinary, Unfamiliar Family
- Photos from first script read for tvN’s My Unfamiliar Family
- Casting news for tvN’s drama project (I Don’t Know Much, But) We Are Family
- Han Ye-ri confirmed for new tvN family drama