Oh my gawsh, I love this drama. For seriously. And it breaks my heart because my loyalties are divided between this one and Rascal Sons, both of which are competing for weekend primetime ratings. Sigh. What to do? I mean, I have almighty power over the ratings, right?
My Daughter Seo-young is off to a heck of a start, both story-wise and ratings-wise. A lot of the times I fall in love with shows that struggle with ratings – it’s part of the Pinkblossom Malady (rooting for the underdog, falling for the second lead who’ll never win the girl, etc. etc. etc.). But this time, I can’t trash-talk viewers for watching Seo-young. It’s seriously worthy of the accolades it’s getting, and on so many levels, too. I’m not gonna try to compare or contrast this one with Rascal Sons, because they’re two very different shows with their own strengths and attributes. I just hope both can continue to be amazing.
For those who didn’t read my little spiel about weekend dramas, here it is again: Weekend shows are generally family-centric, both in terms of story and targeted audience. Because they’re usually 50+ episodes, the pace isn’t quite as speedy as the usual weekday miniseries. Plus there are maaany more characters, so if all the storylines get their turns each episode, you just don’t move as quickly. But! You get that much more attached to the characters – it’s like watching a single season of Pan Am versus eight seasons of House. Well, there ain’t no Korean show quite like House or character like Gregory House, but you get the point.
So anyhoo, it may take a bit of time to get all the characters and relationships straight (family, friend, frenemy, arch nemesis, lover who turns out to be a half-sibling-cousin-nephew-thingy, long-lost granddaughter who was adopted then orphaned again then re-adopted by your arch nemesis, etc.). But once you do, it’s quite fun, and you’ll appreciate the large cast. Just something about large, extended families, ya know?
Enough of my long-windedness and on to My Daughter Seo-young! [Note: For Rascal Sons, I introduced the characters first before detailing their story, because the Yoo family is really at the center of the whole drama. With My Daughter Seo-young, though, the three families are pretty much on equal ground, so I’ll just do a ‘traditional’ recap.]
We open with a beautiful summer day at the poolside as Lee Seo-young (Lee Bo-young) and her boyfriend try to claim the title of “Best Couple.” Turns out, though that the dude has a girlfriend – and Seo-young doesn’t give a damn about it. Ensue catfight… which comes with the territory for being on some skanky ‘hidden camera’ TV show. It’s a side job for Seo-young, who’s one tough cookie.
Kang Woo-jae (Lee Sang-yoon) is being discharged from mandatory military service today, and his comrades can’t decide if he’s the il/legitimate child of a chaebol. His mom came to visit him once, clad in all her finery and escorted by a chauffeur – but he spent all of his vacations at a nearby motel instead of going home. As he heads out of the military complex, he recalls his mom regretfully telling him she can’t be there when he’s discharged – his father will kill her. Hahahaa I can see the dramatics coming from her already.
Seo-young gets a call from her mom who says she’s sending over money for Seo-young’s tuition. Seo-young knows her mom doesn’t have that kind of money, but Mama Lee hesitantly says Papa Lee helped out, much to Seo-young’s disbelief. Well, that disbelief wasn’t misplaced, because Papa Lee (Chun Ho-jin) is at the racetracks, betting his money away. He wins and firmly tells his friend he’s gonna cash in his winnings. No more betting, even though another win will pay off half of his debts.
Lee Sang-woo (Park Hae-jin) sneaks up on Seo-young, and it turns out the two are fraternal twins – she’s all of 3 minutes older, but she sure likes acting like a noona (older sister to a guy). Awww. It’s adorable how he goes back and forth between calling her “Seo-young-ah” and “Noona”. He’s more friend/equal than younger brother, and the two are obviously very close. (Traditionally, the noona is like a second mom to her younger brother.) Seo-young is a law student prepping to take the bar exam, and Sang-woo is a med student. I don’t know where he gets the time (or Seo-young, for that matter), but he tutors and ‘chauffeurs’ on the side. Seriously, med/law school + work? You two are crazies.
Woo-jae arrives at home to hear a guitar being smashed to smithereens. Smashed guitar belongs to Kang Sung-jae (CNBLUE’s Lee Jung-shin), the baby of the Kang family and master of getting rid of tutors. Woo-jae walks in to see the latest tutor quitting the job (after smashing Sung-jae’s guitar), and Mama Kang (Kim Hye-ok) goes crazy when she sees her son. Oh my gawsh, I for seriously LOVE Kim Hye-ok like no other hahahaa!! She does the hilariously dramatic mom SO well. Yeee I’m excited!
Papa/President Kang (Choi Jung-woo) comes home and stalks off to his room, none too pleased to see his eldest son discharged from the military. Hmm, what’s going on here? Mama Kang is disgusted by both her husband, who didn’t let her son come home for all 671 days (hahahaa love that she counted the days), and her son, who chose not to come home either. Hee! Looks like father and son are locked in a battle of wills.
Woo-jae tells his family over dinner that he’s going back to America next weekend to finish up his studies in film production. Turns out the reason for the father-son hostility is Woo-jae’s refusal to enter the family company. While father and son continue their power game, the last Kang sibling Mi-kyung (Park Jung-ah) comes home. She’s a med student and the furthest thing from a girly girl, much to Mama Kang’s despair. Mi-kyung asks Woo-jae how things are going with Jung Sun-woo (Jang Hee-jin, who hasn’t made her appearance yet). Everyone’s surprised that Woo-jae and Sun-woo are dating, and Sung-jae comments that it’ll be impossible for Woo-jae to marry someone he loves and whom the parents approve of. Ooh la la, I smell the romance already.
It’s well past midnight but Papa Lee still hasn’t come home (he’s off gambling, sigh) and isn’t picking up his phone, either. The next morning Mama Lee desperately searches their cramped, filthy room for the money she has saved up. It’s gone (Papa Lee’s work, for sure) and Mama Lee clutches her chest in pain.
Seo-young films her last shady ‘hidden camera’ episode, dressed like a hooker. She approaches some poor unsuspecting dude and asks to borrow money – she just got her purse stolen – and offers to give him her number as insurance. The guy bumbles as he hands over his phone, which she intentionally drops then bends over to pick up, giving him an eyeful. All of this is witnessed by Woo-jae, who’s out for a ride on his bike (by bike I mean motorcycle, not engine-less bicycle). He eyes Seo-young with distaste, noting the backs of her ankles rubbed raw by the ill-fitting high heels.
A friend/coworker finds Mama Lee passed out and frantically calls the police.
Seo-young finally finishes filming and bandages her ankles before slipping on her tennis shoes. She goes to change out of her clothes and sees that Sang-woo has frantically been trying to reach her – their mom is in surgery. With no taxis stopping for her and at wits’ end, Seo-young grabs a free-standing motorcycle and races off to the airport (her parents live in Jeju Island). The bike belonged to none other than Woo-jae, who was meeting up with a friend, and he chases after her, but to no avail. A furious Woo-jae reports the theft to the police, and he high-handedly demands they block off all the roads to catch her. He recognized the hair (a wig Seo-young was wearing) and outfit, and he believes she’s a professional con artist – she even changed into tennis shoes to steal his bike!
Seo-young arrives at the hospital and Sang-woo tells her their mom apparently had heart disease. Papa Lee belatedly arrives as well, and Seo-young rails at him for not picking up his phone when his wife collapsed, for not even knowing she had heart disease. The doctor comes out then and regretfully informs them that Mama Lee passed away during the surgery. T_T They cremate Mama Lee and go to a bluff to spread her ashes, but Seo-young refuses to lay her mom to rest there. It wasn’t Mama Lee’s hometown, she didn’t have a single friend in that place, and she was miserable. “Father, you killed Mom,” she says, and leaves with the ashes, in tears.
Loud voices clash outside the Lee’s small room – debt collectors who want their money back from Papa Lee. He’s been collecting debts across the peninsula, and he got scammed on top of that. To add insult on injury, he gambled away the money Mama Lee had saved. No tuition money, no land, no collateral. Just a heap of debt. Seo-young coldly tells the debt collectors she has no legal responsibility and leaves. She’s got a chip on her shoulder, this one. But when she arrives back in her rooftop one-room house, she wires over 10,000,000 won (~$10,000), leaving all of 320,000 won (~$320) in her checking account.
Papa Lee goes to the bluff at dawn, regret and sadness overwhelming him. He steps towards the precipice, but at the last moment he hears Mama Lee’s voice stopping him. Surprised, he turns around and sees her (in his mind) shaking her head, and he falls to the ground in tears.
President Kang is in a foul mood and tells his uber efficient Secretary Yoon (Jo Eun-sook) about the latest headaches induced by his sons. She promises to look into a new tutor for Sung-jae, and President Kang tells her to have Director Choi (Hong Yo-seob) handle it – at which said Director sheepishly makes his presence known in the elevator. Hahahaa. President Kang talks to him in informal speech, as with an old friend, asking when he got in. Iiiinteresting.
In an uber cute girly room is Choi Ho-jung (Choi Yoon-young), talking in her sleep. Mama Choi (Song Ok-sook) comes in and asks her questions, to which Ho-jung responds. Hahahaaa. Ho-jung is super sweet, but not the sharpest crayon in the box. People trample all over her, and it drives the smart, strong Mama Choi bonkers. I feel ya, lady, I feel ya. She gets a call from her hubby (Director Choi), telling her they’ve made a big, big mistake – he totally forgot Woo-jae was discharged yesterday. He tells her to hurriedly go over to see Mama Kang – but make sure to call and apologize first, for not having remembered and welcomed Woo-jae home. LOL.
Mama Choi laments her life – her husband is always apologizing and kowtowing to his friend (aha, they are friends!), thus she has to do the same to her high school classmate as well. Hahahaahaa I can tell already I’m gonna love the dynamic between Mama Kang and Mama Choi. High school girlfriends no longer on equal footing – gonna be fun fun fuuun! Mama Choi tells Ho-jung this is why it’s so important she marry the right guy, and tells her to start prepping for the blind dates she’ll be arranging. I have a feeling Ho-jung’s gonna be disappointing you maaajorly, Mama Choi!
Ho-jung’s a music major, specializing in the harp, and her friends sigh that there is no bigger mama’s girl on the planet. Pretty much sums it up.
President Kang and Director Choi have lunch with their friends, and President Kang complains that they’re meeting for lunch like a bunch of girls, instead of for drinks like real men. Hahahaa. He asks his friend Professor Jung if there’s no way he can make a generous donation to the university to scoot Sung-jae in through the doors. Ha!
Sang-woo arrives at Seo-young’s rooftop house and he apologizes… ’cause he brought along Papa Lee. She says there’s no way she’s living with Dad and barely manages to keep things civil when she sees him awkwardly standing outside the doors. He promises to get his act together but she coldly ignores his olive branch and heads off to school to submit a leave of absence request.
At school a kind sunbae (senior colleague) tells Seo-young that Professor Jung’s friend is looking for a tutor. The family is wiling to pay double the usual, for two-hour-sessions twice a week. They’ll even give her a bonus if his grades go up. She says she’ll do it, but she still needs to take an LOA because she can’t take out a loan. The sunbae offers to pay the semester’s tuition for her, and she can pay him back once she gets starts getting paid – she’s already taken so many LOA’s, and he doesn’t want her to take another one with just one semester remaining before completing her studies. Aww, so kind. And oh my gawsh, this is gonna be epic – Seo-young and Woo-jae are finally gonna come face to face!
That night, Papa Lee, Seo-young, and Sang-woo all sleep together in the cramped room, each lost in their own thoughts…
Sung-jae is horrified that another tutor is coming, and President Kang tells him to just get a degree, even one from a vocational school. Just something. If he skips his tutoring sessions or flakes again, Sung-jae will die at President Kang’s hands. Hahahaa.
Seo-young picks out clothing for her first day on the job and remembers shopping for the white dress with her mom. She heads out, and it’s pouring cats and dogs. At the same time Woo-jae is showin’ off his toned bod at the gym. Seo-young searches for the Kang residence, and Woo-jae drives down the street. He gets a call and is excited, thinking the police have finally found the motorcycle thief. It’s his girlfriend Sun-woo, though, who’s annoyed he never called after being discharged. He gets an incoming call and goes to pick it up but drops his phone. He reaches down to get it, not seeing Seo-young standing at the edge of the street. He finally picks it up and continues on his way – but drives through a puddle, splashing Seo-young’s white dress with dirty rainwater. Eek! Seriously, though, something always happens when you wear white.
Woo-jae is oblivious to what just went down, and he excitedly asks Detective Park if they found his bike. Seo-young is royally pissed and chases after his car, but he of course doesn’t hear her cries to stop. She hurls her backpack at his car, which finally gets his attention. Woo-jae screeches to a stop and angrily gets out of his car.
Woo-jae: Did you throw this bag at my car?
Seo-young: Because you didn’t stop and just kept going.
A dumbfounded and pissed Woo-jae: Do you know me? Do we know each other?
Seo-young: Are you a blind man with open eyes?
Dang, girl, you are one tough cookie. Seo-young angrily points at her ruined dress and he asks if he’s responsible for it. “Do you have short-term memory loss?” she spits back. Woo-jae coolly says it looks like he made a mistake and opens his wallet. He only has a 10,000 won bill (~$10) and 100,000 won bills ($100) in his wallet, so he hands her the 100,000 won. She tells him to first apologize, because she didn’t run all the way here to get money. He curtly bows his head and says he’s sorry, but before he finishes she stalks off. He holds out the money again, which she refuses and continues to walk away. Angry, he grabs her arm and says material damages should be recompensed by economic compensation. He shoves the bill in her hand and walks back to his car, but she grabs his arm this time and stuffs the money back in his pocket. The two stand there and glare at each other…
Eee! Loving the crackling tension between them already!! All of the characters were so well-introduced (by the drama) that I wanted to introduce them to you in the same manner. Now that the groundwork has been laid, I’m just gonna do mini-caps of the remaining Episodes 2-4.
Seo-young tells Woo-jae that the victim, not the perpetrator, decides what form of compensation to receive, before stalking away. He stomps off as well, stopping to look back at her retreating form and scoff at her temper. Seo-young arrives at the Kang family residence, and both she and Woo-jae are surprised to see each other. Mama Kang gives her one of Mi-kyung’s brand new, unworn dresses, which Seo-young is forced to accept against her wishes.
Sung-jae predictably pulls all kinds of stunts to get rid of his new tutor, but he ain’t got a chance against Seo-young. Mama Kang and Secretary Yoon wonder what in the world is going on with Seo-young’s strange behavior, but Woo-jae smiles in reluctant admiration – they’ve finally found the perfect tutor for airhead Sung-jae.
Papa Lee tries to find work but doesn’t have much of a resume. He experiences further heartache when he learns how hard a life Seo-young led – people called her the “leftover lady” because she only bought all the leftover groceries marked down because no one else wanted them. Sad panda.
Seo-young heads home, leaving behind a horrified Sung-jae. “She’s not right in the head,” he says, and Woo-jae only smirks. President Kang comes home and coolly asks Woo-jae if he has booked his flight to America yet. Woo-jae answers in the negative, saying he has something “important” to do. President Kang hilariously gets all excited, asking his wife if Woo-jae is starting to waver (if he’s thinking of working at the family company). So. Funny. Mama Kang primly informs him that the “important thing” Woo-jae is doing is finding his motorcycle thief, not entering the company. And then she rubs salt in hubby’s wounds by reminding him that he was K.O.’d in the very first round: He gave Woo-jae an ultimatum – choose between entering the company or the military – and Woo-jae flew back to Korea the very next day to enlist in the military. HAHAHAAA. Love this family, for seriously.
Papa Lee has hung out the laundered clothes to dry and made dinner, but it does nothing to thaw Seo-young’s hardened heart. She packs her bags and leaves for a go-shi-won. (A go-shi-won is cheap, minimal-standard-of-living housing traditionally for law students prepping for the bar exam. Students are usually poor, and they really have to live and breathe books ’til the bar, so they live in these tight, cramped quarters. Poorer people also live here if they don’t have money for a down payment on an apartment.) Sang-woo tells his sister that he feels bad for Dad, and worse for her. She replies that she feels worse worse worse for Mom. “I dislike Dad.” Aww, sad panda.
Director Choi suggests his wife take Ho-jung with her when she visits the Kangs. Mama Choi is appalled by his attempts to pair up their daughter with Woo-jae, and she tells him she’s only being obsequious to Mama Kang so Ho-jung will have a father in a high position of a big company. Sigh, the sad reality of high society – you ain’t gonna marry a chaebol if your father’s merely got an entry-level job. Mama Choi says she doesn’t care about his measly salary – she’s got enough money of her own. News, that. And poor Director Choi. Cut to Mama Choi toadying up to Mama Kang. Hahahaa. And dang, that’s a lot of food she brought over.
Ho-jung, oblivious to all her mom’s efforts, goes out to console her newly boyfriend-less friend over drinks. The cute ditz gets totally wasted and falls asleep in an alley.
Sang-woo is chauffeuring again and gets stuck in traffic. Turns out a man crashed his car, which is causing the jam, and Sang-woo sees the man needs immediate medical attention or he’ll lose his leg. Mi-kyung was already at the scene and is a bit put out by Sang-woo’s knowledge & gutsiness (he’s only a fourth-year med student like her). He performs an emergency procedure, then runs off to chauffeur his client again.
Sang-woo picks up Papa Lee from his tough manual-labor job to go home. He was supposed to pick up one more client but s/he’s a no-show (it was Ho-jung), but they find her passed out in the alley and take her home. She wakes up in his house the next morning and thinks he kidnapped her. Sobbing, she offers ransom money, but he dryly tells the ditz all that she can’t remember: She barfed all over him and pretty much made a huge spectacle of herself last night. Papa Lee feeds her before sending her back home, and Mama Choi is relieved beyond measure to see her daughter safely back home.
Sung-jae finds out his entry has been accepted for a fashion contest, but he can’t go the show because of his tutoring session. The solution? Pull another prank: Shorten Seo-young’s dress, which Mama Kang had dry-cleaned. Seo-young arrives with her own dry-cleaned dress (the one Mama Kang forced on her), which she refuses to keep. She puts on her own white dress, shortened a good six inches, and proceeds to teach Sung-jae without batting an eye. LOLOL.
Woo-jae continues to search for his motorcycle thief and learns they caught her on CCTV security cameras. He heads out to the police station as Seo-young is leaving the Kang home as well. He asks why she didn’t thank his mom after receiving her paycheck and she says his family should be the ones thanking her for teaching their rude, dumb, delinquent child. So prickly. He offers her a lift “as a thank you gesture” which she refuses, so he tells her “in words” that he’s thankful she’s teaching his rude, dumb, delinquent brother. He then asks why she never smiles, which she doesn’t credit with an answer. Eee, Woo-jae, you are interested in her for sure!
Seo-young goes to her go-shi-won and sees Papa Lee coming out. He left banchan for her (side dishes) in the communal fridge, and she rips off all the name labels (making them free-for-alls). Woo-jae, meanwhile spots his culprit on the CCTV footage and zooms in on her…
Woo-jae hotheadedly demands the police find the thief immediately. He’ll post a reward – his motorcycle(!) – to expedite the process, but the detective tells him there’s no way they’ll find her by next weekend (when Woo-jae was planning to go to America).
Mi-kyung’s boyfriend brings loads of food his mom specially made for her. His mommy is not at all put off by the fact that Mi-kyung is an orphan living at her friend’s place. Hahaha, is that what you tell the world, Mi-kyung? Looks like this boyfriend passed the test, but she’s in no way ready to meet his mommy. She races off at the attending physician’s page, all too eager to get away, and the car accident man from last episode thanks her for saving his leg. The honest girl tells him and the attending that someone else performed the emergency procedure.
Mi-kyung comes home still miffed that a fellow fourth-year (Sang-woo) figured out something she couldn’t. She’s determined to be loved as the person Kang Mi-kyung, not the daughter of Winners Group’s president. As for Woo-jae, he’s pushed back his flight because he’s determined to catch the thief before he leaves.
The next day, Mi-kyung finds Sang-woo at his school’s library and tells him the patient wanted to thank him in person. She officially introduces herself and asks how he knew what she didn’t, giving us viewers the chance to learn she ain’t no dummy either. He gets called away, though, by Papa Lee – they have a guest at their home waiting for him.
Who could it be but Ho-jung, who came to the Lee’s rooftop house bearing a huge load of gifts. Sang-woo isn’t all that pleased to see her, and she takes every word of his at face value. It’s so funny but only because she’s so cute. If she wasn’t, oh man I think I’d go bonkers. Sang-woo tells her to take everything back, but relents on just a couple slabs of beef when Papa Lee says they should at least feed her dinner. My heart breaks a little when Papa Lee slips a few pieces of meat into their house – for Seo-young, obviously, though she’s sure to reject it again. Ho-jung hurriedly stuffs the beef in her mouth and tries to leave before Sang-woo gets angrier, but in her haste she suffers a bit of indigestion. Resigned, Sang-woo helps her – by putting his arms around her in a Heimlich-ish maneuver. To Ho-jung, though, it’s no different than a back-hug, and she goes home flustered and embarrassed by the un-ladylike belch the Heimlich released. LOL.
Sung-jae shows off his runway walking at school and assures his friends he’ll have no problem getting to the fashion show tonight. He convinces mommy dearest he’s determined to get tutored despite feeling unwell, then calls Seo-young and convinces her he’s at the police station and won’t make it home in time for their session. Unable to believe his luck, he climbs down the secret rope ladder from his second-floor room and slips out the front gate – only to run smack dab into Seo-young. LOL. She offers to make a deal with him (which Woo-jae overhears), then tells Mama Kang they’re going on a field trip today. Sung-jae takes her along with him to the fashion show, and the banner outside says it’s 2009(!!). I noticed that the cell phones were a bit old-school, but wowzas, my mind is having trouble readjusting.
Anyhoo, Mama and President Kang’s minds are positively boggled by Sung-jae’s uncharacteristic actions – he willingly followed his tutor to a field trip. What whaaat?!? Hahahaaa. President Kang and Woo-jae engage in another bout of mind-game-chess-ery, which also serves as a not-so-subtle way of informing the viewers that Woo-jae’s not the type to back down when he feels his pride has been maligned. You would so fit into Regency era England. I could totes see you slapping some idiot across the cheek with your snow-white glove and demanding satisfaction. But I digress.
Sung-jae turns out to be all fluff once he gets on the actual stage, but Seo-young comes to his rescue, totes pwning the fashion show director with her typical spitfire and cool logic. After the show, she tells Sung-jae in her no-nonsense way that he’s pretty skilled with a needle and that he shouldn’t think of himself as worthless just because he’s not the academic type. He thinks she’s trying to suck up to him, but she shows him her empty wallet and says this is the reason why she’ll never quit first. If she doesn’t tutor him, she’ll literally starve. She runs to catch the bus and flashes him a smile just before boarding – and thus begins his high-school love for his teacher. Awww, I think this is the first time I thought a high-schooler-teacher romance was cute. Prolly because she doesn’t return the feelings LOLOL.
The starving Sung-jae races to the kitchen to sate his hunger and President Kang asks Woo-jae to fetch Seo-young (who just droppd off Sung-jae), because he wants to speak with her. Woo-jae jogs out to catch Seo-young and sees her slowly walking home. He falls into step behind her, just walking with her, and it’s absolutely ADORABLE. These two are cutest when they’re not talking. Hahahaa. Seo-young feels the presence behind her and catches Woo-jae unawares. Cute!
President Kang just stares at Seo-young, then chuckles to himself that he sure likes her (not in a guy-girl way, but as equals – he likes her spunk), and then suggests she move in with them. Whaaat?! Which is exactly what Mama Kang says. He offers to triple what they’re paying her now and add a bonus if Sung-jae’s grades go up. He’s never seen Sung-jae act this way before and would like for her to fix him up proper. Seo-young says she’ll think about it (wow!), and Woo-jae smiles to himself. Eee! President Kang asks that she make her decision by tomorrow and move in the following day, and she agrees to let him know by tomorrow. Dang, these two get along well.
Woo-jae takes her home, not above using blackmail (he heard her dealing with Sung-jae) to get her in the car (the ride home was President Kang’s orders). Love that he’s just as tough as she – Seo-young has met her match! She thinks to herself, “This man… he is toying with me,” and he thinks to himself, “This woman… I am curious about her. She makes me curious.” Eeeeee!! She tells him to just tell her not to move in, but he answers that he has no reason to oppose. When she tries to explain what went down with Sung-jae and the ‘deal’, he says she has no need to explain. Dang, no one is giving an inch, are they? They arrive at their destination, and before Seo-young can run off, Woo-jae asks her to make a deal with him, too. “Move in. If you don’t move in, I’ll tell my father you took Sung-jae somewhere else today. I’m asking you a favor, because this might just be the last chance for our maknae.” Gawsh, I love him already.
He comes home and tells Sung-jae he’s really toast now. Sung-jae fail-nonchalantly says he’ll just have to bear it, and mentions that Seo-young didn’t have a single dollar in her wallet (1000 won). Woo-jae is shocked, and Sung-jae continues that his tutor voice-recorded her own study guides and listened to them while traveling. Dang, girl. Just then, Woo-jae gets a tip that his culprit was seen at Gimpo Airport, and the next day he asks to see the CCTV footage from the airport that day…
Seo-young drops off her stuff at the rooftop home and packs the essentials to live at the Kang residence. Papa Lee is against her having to live uncomfortably like that (it’s not her own home, so she always has to tread carefully), but she tells him it’s no worse than all she suffered over the years, thanks to him. She storms off and arrives at the Kang home, just as Woo-jae is driving up. He spent the day looking at CCTV footage and identified the back of the culprit (once she took off the wig and changed into her regular clothes). He smiles when he sees Seo-young, who happens to be wearing the same outfit + hair + backpack that she wore at the airport, and he gets the back view of her when she turns away to head inside. Just before she can step through the gate, Woo-jae stops her… Eeee!
Fakeout! Woo-jae just stops her so he can carry her luggage in as a token of appreciation for making their deal. She curtly refuses his help but allows Sung-jae to carry in her bag. Hee! Sung-jae gives her the grand tour, and she moves into her room, which is right next to Woo-jae’s. She unknowingly drops the stuffed bunny that was attached (like a ginormous keychain charm) to her backpack, and Sung-jae pockets it.
As for the Lee family: Papa Lee has finally gotten the hang of things at work, but he gets fired when he accidentally collides with a valued customer. Sang-woo is out chauffeuring past 1 in the morning, and Seo-young has trouble sleeping, thoughts swirling through her head. The next morning, the Kang family is surprised to hear that Seo-young left for school at the crack of dawn.
Sang-woo finds her at school and asks how she’s doing. She promises to pay for his final semester’s tuition, but he tells her he’s gonna take an LOA to fulfill his mandatory military service. There’s no way he’s gonna lean on her, especially when she can finally breathe again. He can’t afford to take out any more loans, not when he has Dad’s debts to pay off as well. That incenses Seo-young, who makes clear that she would avoid Dad at all costs if she could. She’s sick and tired of him. But Sang-woo doesn’t feel the same – he didn’t have it that bad, because Seo-young and Mom took the brunt of their hardships. Seo-young tells him that’s all the more reason for him not to take an LOA with just one semester left of med school. It was their mom’s dream for her son to go to school and graduate on time – and once he graduates, he can serve as a physician in the military instead of a regular infantryman.
Mama Kang relieves her stress at home, gowned in a ginormous ball gown and matching hat while singing opera. HAHAAHA oh my gawsh, did I mention how much I love Kim Hye-ok?!? Woo-jae is still hunting down the culprit and fears he’ll have to push back his flight yet again. Sun-woo calls him and asks when he’ll come back to America (and her), and he says he’s not sure. Seo-young walks by, just then, and they stare each other down without a word. Woo-jae mutters “She’s determined not to say ‘hi’ first, is she?” and Sun-woo wonders what in the world he’s saying. Hehehehee, Sun-woo, just go away now. No need to come into the story. Seo-young turns down the offer to dine with the family (she already ate), and Mama Kang mutters that Seo-young is like a female President Kang. Hahahaa.
Sung-jae is doing better in his studies and opening up to Seo-young, who shares a bit about her hard life with him as well. He asks why she doesn’t smile, and she answers, “Because there’s no reason to smile.” Sad panda. She boils water and takes the kettle into her room, that night, which Woo-jae sees. He knocks on her door and sees the instant ramen she was planning to eat, and asks her to meet him outside to discuss something important about Sung-jae. He tells her to get in the car and they drive off… to a seol-leong-tang restaurant (yummy yuummmy soup made of ox bone and stew meat). Ohmygawsh how cuuuuteee!!!
Woo-jae tells her to eat up, and Seo-young is dumbfounded. She keeps calling him “Sung-jae’s older brother” so he tells her his name is Kang Woo-jae. Call me “Kang Woo-jae-sshi… or Woo-jae-sshi… or Oppa.” KYAAAA why is that so shmexy?! They haven’t even gotten to the admitting-my-feelings part and I’m already dyyyiiiinggg. He basically pokes holes through all her defenses, and, backed into a corner, she does what she does best: lash out. “Don’t talk to me,” she says, “Sung-jae’s older brother.” She storms out in a huff (she seems to do that a lot, hmm?), leaving a shocked Woo-jae behind. He takes hold of her arm, and she pries each of his fingers off before hailing a taxi. Strangely cute.
Back at home, Mi-kyung finally introduces herself to Seo-young, who just bows in acknowledgement then shuts the door in Mi-kyung’s face. Hahaha. An angry Woo-jae buys every kind of food item available at the market, then gives it all to Seo-young. She derides his callous attitude towards food (buying all this stuff she obviously can’t finish), but then sees the seol-leong-tang and remembers how he went through the effort to time their reservation so the food would be served as soon as they arrived at the restaurant, as well as his sincere desire to feed her. His sincerity is what gets to her, and she eats the seol-leong-tang.
Ho-jung has been visited by the love fairy, and she can’t get Sang-woo out of her head. (Side note: We learn that this is Director Choi’s second marriage.) She tries to ‘accidentally’ run into Sang-woo at his school, but just faaails and makes me cringe in embarrassment for her.
Seo-young leaves at the crack of dawn, as usual, but this time Woo-jae goes out to exercise at the same time. She continues to put him down with her cutting remarks, and he continues to marvel at how she does/says the unexpected every single time. He jogs next to her, asking if she isn’t scared – it’s still a bit dark so early in the morning. She says she isn’t scared at all, so he suddenly grabs her shoulders and spooks her – and she totally freaks out. Hahahaa. He’s amused despite her piercing glare, and he warns her that there have been kidnappings in the neighborhood. He tells her he’s leaving for America in a few days, and she seems a bit… disappointed. Eee! He tells her to be careful, and jogs off… only to reverse past her then jog up beside her again. So. CUTE!
She snaps at him, asking if it’s that fun to tease her. He answers that that was what he thought it was at first, too – he wanted to tease her. But it turned out that he was actually curious about her. He apologizes for all the things until now, acknowledging that he’s got a sharp tongue. And as for this jogging thingymajiggerbobbers, he’s acting as her bodyguard since he was gonna exercise anyway, ya know? Heheehee!! He says it’s kind of like a token of apology before he ‘disappears’ for her (goes to America). Awwww. She says that she understands and to go on his way, and he does his little jog thingy, which makes her break into a small smile. It’s only a half-smile, but still, progress! 😀
Ho-jung still can’t get Sang-woo out of her mind, and she asks his friend where she can find him. The guy in question is working at the hospital, and he runs into Mi-kyung, who is also on duty. They agree to go have drinks after they’re done for the day, and Sang-woo watches her retreating form with a smile. Ooooooh love triangle already? He walks off, only to come to a screeching stop when he sees Ho-jung. Hahaha the way he’s positively horrified to see Ho-jung is hilarious. She tells him she came to meet him and explain the craziness that went down last time, and says she’ll wait for him.
Sung-jae is holding Seo-young’s rabbit while studying, and it’s cute how he tries to be so nonchalant in front of her. Woo-jae comes into Sung-jae’s empty room and sees the rabbit on the desk… and finally recognizes it! Sung-jae explains that it’s Seo-young’s, to Woo-jae’s shock. He looks through the pictures again and finally realizes Seo-young is the thief he’s been looking for all this time. Oh my gaaash! Seo-young, meanwhile, has brought her mom’s ashes with her and tells her mom that she doesn’t completely revile the Kang residence anymore. *face palm* Of course, you have to say that, just when things are starting to brew. A furious Woo-jae barges into her room and tells her to hand over his motorcycle. He shows her the picture from the CCTV, and she finally connects the dots. She totes forgot about the bike, and he thinks she’s putting on a show. They take it outside like bros and he demands to know where his bike is. She tells him she neither sold it nor knows where it is, and tries to explain that there were extenuating circumstances. He’s beyond furious and tells her that there’s no such thing as “extenuating circumstances” for people like her – even if she told him her mom died he wouldn’t believe her. Oof. Her eyes overflow with tears and he scoffs at the obvious ploy, shoving her into the car. They arrive at the police station and he drags her with him… Dun dun duuun!
Oh my gollies I can’t believe I’m so invested after a mere four episodes! The story is definitely clipping along at a veeerrrry good pace, so that we get the tension and subsequent release pretty rapidly. A lot of the times, especially with weekend shows like this, the secret/mystery/whatever is dragged out too long, and the tension just dissipates. Hence the big release doesn’t do jack. But My Daughter Seo-young has done a really good job with letting the secrets play out at just the right speed, so that we feel nervousness but never annoyance.
The story itself is nothing ground-breaking, nothing new, but it’s done so well that I can’t help but be sucked in. There’s just something about this show that draws me to it. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I LOVE the cast. I mentioned in the Rascal Sons recap that I love the veteran cast of this show, and I was SO happy to be 100% completely vindicated by their performances thus far. Seriously, everyone is rocking the house, but espeeecially my favs Chun Ho-jin (Papa Lee), Kim Hye-ok (Mama Kang), and Song Ok-sook (Mama Choi). And man oh man, are Lee Sang-yoon and Lee Bo-young acting their socks off – the chemistry between them is just *mwah* I love it. I wasn’t too big a fan of Lee Bo-young in Hooray for Love, but here, she is so into character. Lee Sang-yoon is so good as the cocky, entitled Woo-jae, and Park Hae-jin: welcome back to Kdramaland!!!
This post is soooo long, so I won’t say anymore. Just that My Daughter Seo-young is rocking the weekend scene, and it breaks my heart because there can’t be two kings when there is only one crown. For those who haven’t voted yet for the Weekend Dilemma Solution, please do so before the end of Sunday! 😀