My Unfamiliar Family: Episode 9 – RECAP

A common misconception is that we know the most important things about people that we’ve been with for a long time. This episode (if not this show) is out to prove that wrong.

I’m back

Sang-sik is back, for real this time. You can see it in his eyes. Gone is the wide-eyed naivete of his 22-year old soul trapped in an old man’s body; instead, it’s been replaced by the weariness that comes with having lived an unhappy life throughout his adult years.

He remembers how his life with Jin-sook began: wanting to die at 22 but meeting her; marrying her; starting a family with her as we see little Eun-joo and little Eun=hee welcome him home in their old cramped apartment. He comes home one night to Jin-sook crying over a book, “Bridges of Madison County”. I can’t recall the significance of this book in the show but the book is about a woman trapped in a passionless marriage. While young Sang-sik could brush this off, things change when he opens their apartment gate to Eun-hee wailing and Jin-sook and Eun-joo gone. Sang-sik figures that she ran off to find Eun-joo’s father. Absolutely hurt, he vows to himself that if she ever comes back, he will only live as the children’s father and no longer her husband.

He drives off and goes to find Young-sik, who he now remembers as his son. He’s apparently a grandfather, too, and Young-sik explains that he didn’t run off from the construction site. Someone saw his son’s mother in the area, and he’ll go back as soon as he finds her. Young-sik starts crying that life is hard and Sang-sik tries to cheer him up.

Sang-sik shows up at the elderly care center where Jin-sook volunteers, surprising her as she’s walking with Mr. Yoo, the fruit store owner. Sending Mr. Yoo away, Sang-sik tells her that he remembers everything now and that he followed her. He saw her and Mr. Yoo get into the car in front of the fruit store last year. He asks why she put up with him and instead of responding, she brings him to her patient. Turns out, the patient is Mr. Yoo’s wife and now, Sang-sik looks like a fool. Outside the hospital, Sang-sik asks why they ended up the way they did, and why Jin=sook never explained her side of the story. Jin-sook says she didn’t bother since he never listened and he hated the sound of her voice. He backs off, saying he didn’t want to fight, and that there’s something he wants to tell her and the kids.

A childish relationship

After last week’s confrontation with Ha-ra and Eun-hee, Gun-joo takes a few days off from work. Kyeong-ok, our resident gossip, insinuates that he’s with Ha-ra, and Eun-hee is forced to maintain a neutral expression. The days pass and Eun-hee keeps stealing glances at Gun-joo’s office. Was this supposed to show that she misses him? She could have just called him if she wanted to hear from him.

As a contrast against her faltering relationship with Gun-joo, there’s some progress on the Eun-hee and Chan-hyuk front. Chan-hyuk gets a call for a meeting in the meditation center which, as luck would have it, is after Eun-hee’s meeting in the same place. Eun-hee sees the center’s calendar and is hoping to run into Chan-hyuk. That’s exactly what happens: they meet at the entrance and Chan-hyuk is panting but tries to act normally. He asks her to kill time with him before the meeting (with romantic music, of course *rolls my eyes*).

In a picnic table outside the center, Eun-hee confesses that she wanted to call him but didn’t. She shares that she taught Ji-woo when he was a kid that if he lies then shakes his leg, it will be alright. [In another scene, they highlighted that his leg was shaking but more on that later]. Eun-hee asks if Ji-woo knows about the paternity issue and Chan-hyuk confirms it.

Chan-hyuk confesses that he just pretended to run into her. He apologizes that it was immature of him to tell her that he didn’t want to talk for a while but he was worried about her and Eun-joo. He notices that she looks disappointed and teases her about it. Eun-hee tells him that he made her heart flutter when he said that he was just pretending and she thought of asking him out. Then, she plays it off as a joke and they’re exchanging awkward glances. Back to Eun-joo, Eun-hee tells him that all of them have been mean to her. Chan-hyuk disagrees, and he learned from Eun-hee that people need to put in effort in their relationships. She’s a good person and she shouldn’t blame herself for everything. Eun-hee gives him a longing glance as they part. And of course, Chan-hyuk does the same when she turns around.

[I really don’t like this ship, if only because I love their friendship and it would be great to have a drama wherein everyone wants them together but they just remain friends. Maybe this isn’t the show that will give me that (I hope it isn’t Hospital Playlist either.).]

Back in the studio, the Golden Goose gang are at a shoot for a baby. The couple seems to be a mutual friend of Eun-hee and Chan-hyuk. She recounts a story when Eun-hee pretended to write a sexy letter for Chan-hyuk when he was in the army. When his fellow solders were asking for proof that he had a girlfriend, Eun-hee sent Eun-joo’s picture instead. The mom is insinuating that Eun-hee had a thing for Chan-hyuk even when they were back in college and that Eun-hee should’ve gone out with Chan-hyuk instead of Jong-min. Again, Chan-hyuk brushes this off in annoyance but Ji-woo and Seo-young exchange awkward glances.

Now, here’s the reason for this section’s title. Gun-joo finally gets some screen time and sees Eun-hee late at night in the office. Ha-ra was sick and he couldn’t call or text, he explains. Eun-hee barely reacts and Gun-joo seems angry about her indifference. She then throws a barrage of questions at him: what did he and Ha-ra do for a week, why did he stop Ha-ra from breaking up with him three years ago, why is he breaking up with Ha-ra now? What’s the point of knowing?, she asks. She doesn’t want to do a childish relationship at this age. Gun-joo tries to stop her from leaving and, while Eun-hee shakes him off, she stops and turns around to give him a piece of her mind. As the week went on, she felt more at ease with not having him around. Maybe that means something and she thinks this one week of no-contact is a good enough reason to end things. Gun-joo doesn’t want to break up but Eun-hee says she’s moved on.

[Well, that was pretty fast but honestly, Gun-joo’s whole situation with Ha-ra was stupid. I know Ha-ra’s clingy and they have all this history together. But he could have just ended it definitively with Ha-ra if he really wanted to be with Eun-hee. Get a restraining order if he had to. Oh well, he and Eun-hee had good chemistry though.]

The secret

We continue from last week’s scene with Eun-hee and Jin-sook in the kitchen. Eun-hee is trying to fish about Eun-joo’s paternity, hoping against all hope that her intuition is wrong. Her mother tries to evade by saying that her father’s memory is still patchy. Eun-hee brings up the time Jin-sook left home, why she only took Eun-joo with her. She confesses that ever since that episode, she tried not to get on her Mom’s bad side because she didn’t want to be left behind next time. Jin-sook understands and recognizes Eun-hee’s trauma, how she seemed more cautious and hyper-aware of her mother’s presence when they returned. Eun-hee recounts her older sister’s wedding, when she heard Sang=sik say, “I’m sorry I was not suitable to be Eun Joo’s father”. Jin-sook admits it and cries, how she wanted it to just be hers and Sang-sik’s secret forever. Eun-hee wants Jin-sook to tell Eun-joo the truth. To ruin the moment, Ji Woo shows up and pretends he didn’t hear them. Eun-hee confronts Ji Woo and notices that he’s shaking his leg. She asks if he has anything to tell her but he shakes his head.

Tae-hyung and Eun=joo have a drink together in their apartment. Tae-hyung talks about his lack of relationships, with Eun-joo being his only family/friend ever since he started medical school. He informs her that he’ll start working again tomorrow and he wants her to start afresh in life and have a family, which she can never have with him. Our queen, Eun-joo, though, remarks, “You don’t need to plan my future so meticulously.” It’s hard to be his friend, but if she ignores that one thing (his homosexuality), she can make it. It’s easier now because she knows. She wants to decide for herself what she wants; he can’t just decide and notify her. He agrees.

[Please don’t tell me that she’ll stick to this marriage just because of her reputation or whatever. That’s such an outdated trope. She is not her mother.]

Jin-sook and Eun-joo meet up. She takes Eun-joo to her childhood neighborhood and talks about her mother who was spiteful and greedy, which was why Jin-sook hated it when Eun-joo said that about her. She tells her that a pregnant, unwed college girl (e.g. her) was a disgrace to the family back then. While she did consider having Eun-joo aborted and living in a temple somewhere, she chose to keep Eun-joo. Eun-joo realizes that her mother, at one of the lowest points in her life, decided to become a family with Sang-sik, after being abandoned by her family and the baby’s father.

Eun-joo seems angry after the revelation and says little. Jin-sook is prompting her for a reaction but and Eun-joo sarcastically asks if she should ask about her birth father. Jin-sook tells her that she never thought about him and Eun-joo wonders if Jin-sook regretted having her. Jin-sook says she doesn’t regret it. Eun-joo holds her mother’s hand and comforts her, seeing the lost 22-year old who didn’t know what to do. In her mind, Eun-joo thanks her for not giving up on her. She feels bad for her mother, who sacrificed so much. But Jin-sook says it wasn’t a sacrifice for her; they were so happy in their small apartment and she remembers when Sang-sik would even drive all night just to see his daughter. Eun-joo thinks otherwise though, that Sang-sik must have hated her, and that he is not her father. She sends her Mom home as she needs time to think.

That night, Tae-hyung looks for Eun-joo but is unable to find her in their apartment and in the cafe. He reaches out to Eun Hee, who reaches out to her mother and Chan-hyuk. After her break-up with Gun-joo, she finds Eun-joo standing outside her apartment, staring into space. Eun-joo lashes out at her younger sister for sending Jin-sook alone to tell her about the truth. They have nothing in common now, but for Eun-hee, Eun-joo is still her older sister. Eun-joo realizes how hard it was for her mother, enduring a life with a man she didn’t love for the sake of her children, and now, she wants out. Eun-hee argues that their father still loves their mother, based on how he acted when he lost his memory. Eun-joo says that that was ages ago, and that Sang-sik was violent and controlling. Eun-hee says that Eun-joo used to loathe their mom for looking down on their dad, since he did physical labor. However, with the new revelation, Eun-joo now realizes that she was Jin-sook’s weakness, and Sang-sik used that against Jin-sook to keep her in the marriage. Eun-hee begs to differ, that Sang-sik saw Eun-joo as his real daughter and not just a weapon. Eun-joo attacks Eun-hee for being idealistic and naive but Eun-hee turns that around and accuses Eun-joo of being conceited and arrogant. Eun-joo leaves the apartment and bursts into tears outside. After realizing that she needs to be there for her sister, Eun-hee runs after Eun-joo and sees her crying against a wall. Eun-hee reaches out but Eun-jee pushes her away, hyperventilating on the ground.

Eun-joo is brought to Tae-hyung’s hospital to recover. Tae-hyung tells Eun-hee to go home and that he’ll take care of her. Just to clarify, Eun-hee confirms that he’s still breaking up with Eun-joo, even if he’s there for her now. Jin-sook calls Eun-hee to tell her about her discussion with Eun-joo, and that she’s anxious about Eun-joo. She implores Eun-hee to see her sister and Eun-hee agrees, not letting her know about what happened with Eun-joo. Instead, she informs her that Ji-woo knows the truth as well and thus, the whole family knows.

The cliffhangers

The greatest hook of this show, aside from the emotional moments, is the cliffhangers.

Eun-hee is acting professionally around Gun-joo, as she submits Chan-hyuk’s photos to him. When she arrives home for their family meeting and hides in Ji-woo’s room, he lets slip that Chan-hyuk is going to a marriage meeting tonight. Chan-hyuk is seen dressed up and tidying up his studio for this marriage meeting, presumably. However, it turns out that it’s Gun-joo who’s coming over to Chan-hyuk’s place, and we’re left to wonder why.

And finally, for tonight’s main cliffhanger: the family meeting. Sang-sik arrives and while all the children greet him, he only addresses Eun-joo and calls her his eldest daughter. He calls someone in and to everyone’s surprise, it’s Young-sik and his son. Jin-sook grasps the wall for support and Sang-sik stares at everyone, commenting that “we’re all family here”.

Thankfully, we get the next episode tomorrow so this cliffhanger isn’t too bad. See you!

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K-drama enthusiast, aspiring yogi, and loves angst

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