Seok-moo and Hwi-roo have been contemplating divorce for a while now, but they find that the process and aftermath of a divorce is much more tricky than they thought. They’re faced with unexpected challenges and issues pertaining to their divorce and find that they must learn to balance their marriage concerns with the expectations of their families.
Matrimonial Chaos: Episode 2 Recap
Hwi-roo and Seok-moo observe an elderly couple also exit the courthouse to file for divorce. They’re already elders, why are they getting a divorce? Seok-moo explains a story to Hwi-roo and concludes that you just never know when you’re going to break up with your significant other. You can be together for many years and then one day just decide to break up. There’s no knowing when your relationship will end.
Hwi-roo visits her favorite local restaurant to eat some food. There, she explains to the cook about filing for divorce with Seok-moo. Will she regret filing for divorce? Maybe she was just caught up in the moment? What about the text that she sent Seok-moo the night before? We learn that the person who was knocking at the door the night before was just the guest house customer Kevin. He was simply looking for some lipstick. And the strand of hair found in his bag? It’s a part of his outfit as a drag queen.
Of course, Seok-moo being Seok-moo, he was more concerned about his plants on the balcony than Hwi-roo that night which prompted her to go through with the divorce. Seok-moo talks to himself again at work about the divorce and is approached by Dong-koo who asks Seok-moo about it.
Ma-roo spends some time with Grandma and Soo-kyung at the cafe. Similar to the characters in the book that she’s reading to them, Ma-roo notes that she seems bright and cheerful on the outside, but changes completely when she gets home. Back at the house, Seok-moo grows angry and expresses his anger by slashing Hwi-roo’s exercise ball. This scares one of the cats so Seok-moo stops and heads outside to relieve himself of his anger instead.
As Seok-moo is about to take a walk, he encounters Jang-hyun, Yoo-young’s husband. Jang-hyun asks for Seok-moo’s help in unlocking his bike. As the two take turns in trying to break open the bike lock, Jang-hyun explains that he’s forgotten the lock code. Maybe someone changed the lock code as a way to keep Jang-hyun from going anywhere. Jang-hyun suddenly recalls the code a few seconds later and notes that he changed the last digit from ‘0000’ to ‘0001.’ LOL, all that work for nothing!
They head to Grandma’s cafe afterwards to talk and get to know each other. Seok-moo is curious about Jang-hyun’s thoughts on his marriage since he’s seen Jang-hyun with another lady in the neighborhood a few times. Jang-hyun doesn’t quite understand Seok-moo though and avoids Seok-moo’s questions. Yoo-young joins them a few minutes later.
We learn that Jang-hyun doesn’t want others to know about his marriage with Yoo-young. However, Yoo-young isn’t hurt by this. She seems okay with it and even wants to go on a double date with Seok-moo and Hwi-roo. Of course, Hwi-roo isn’t in town at the moment. She’s returned home to visit her parents. Ma-roo is well aware that Hwi-roo and Seok-moo have filed for divorce, but notes that that’ll only make things more complicated for them and their respective families. To conclude the conversation, Ma-roo suggests that Seok-moo also visit his in-laws and bring Hwi-roo back to town.
It’s a big family reunion as news of Seok-moo’s arrival in town makes its way through the family. They all convene at Hwi-roo’s parent’s house, but Hwi-roo isn’t anywhere to be found. She’s at school playing track with students so Seok-moo heads over to the school. There, he meets Hwi-roo’s ex-boyfriend who’s also a coach at the high school. Seok-moo and Hwi-roo aren’t afraid to tell him that they’re divorced and they aren’t embarrassed in bickering with each other either. Unlike what Hwi-roo thinks, Seok-moo isn’t in town because he misses Hwi-roo. He reminds her that Grandma and Dad’s birthday is coming up so they should head home to celebrate.
That night, Hwi-roo’s family hosts a family gathering at her house. After using the restroom, Seok-moo observes Hwi-roo and her mother discussing about their living situation. Hwi-roo’s sister-in-law is having another baby so there won’t be any available rooms at the house for Hwi-roo to stay in even if she wanted to.
After Hwi-roo leaves to deliver more food to her family members, Seok-moo approaches Mom and gives her a leg massage. She must be exhausted from all the cooking and cleaning. Hwi-roo witnesses Seok-moo taking care of Mom and watches in awe. Later on that night, she sings some karaoke while Seok-moo dozes off on the couch.
The two share a room for the night, but their feelings of despise and exhaustion for each other are still present. They sleep on opposite sides of the room and recall the night when Hwi-roo introduced Seok-moo to her parents for the very first time. The couple is okay with getting divorced, but they acknowledge that the divorce won’t just be between the both of them. Their families will also be affected and divorced as well. Still, Hwi-roo will make time to attend both Grandma and Dad’s birthday parties so as to not arouse any suspicion in the meantime.
They both agree that they’ll confess to Grandma about their divorce after Hwi-roo’s Dad’s surgery concludes. Hwi-roo will tell Grandma about the divorce after a game of curling. Until then, Seok-moo must not tell Grandma himself. The next morning, Hwi-roo and Seok-moo prepare to head back home. Before leaving, Dad hands Seok-moo a bottle of alcohol in hopes that it’ll give him the energy to make some babies with Hwi-roo. Lol.
Being back at the apartment feels a little awkward and foreign for Hwi-roo. She loosens up a little bit when Seok-moo notes that she seems like a guest. Hwi-roo greets their two cats – Yulmae and Kay – and is allowed by Seok-moo to sleep in the bedroom for the night. He’ll sleep out in the living room.
Meanwhile, Jang-hyun returns home after an entire day of work. Yoo-young takes a break from her cooking and greets him upon his arrival. She removes something from his hair and encourages him to prepare for dinner.
The next morning, Seok-moo checks up on the security alarm system at a building. There, he reunites with a colleague from college who still recognizes Seok-moo. The colleague speaks to Seok-moo in a condescending and demeaning matter for now working at a security company when he used to attend one of the most prestigious universities. The guy also sexually harasses one of his female co-workers in front of Seok-moo. Of course, this doesn’t fly with Seok-moo and he calls the colleague out for his toxic behavior.
Seok-moo suffers a blow in the face for his comments, but he doesn’t mind. The same female co-worker who was sexually harassed expresses her gratitude to Seok-moo for standing up for her. She hands him a cloth to help him wipe his bloody nose as a result of the punch to the face.
After the incident, Seok-moo’s supervisor encourages him to just head home and get some rest. However, Seok-moo rejects the opportunity and rather continue to work. He even asks to switch shifts with his supervisor because he doesn’t want to attend Dad’s birthday party that night. However, Seok-moo eventually makes it, but it’s obvious that he doesn’t want to be there. When both he and his sister’s family arrive at the house, he doesn’t greet anyone.
As his family prepares for the small birthday party, Seok-moo waits outside in the backyard. Hwi-roo joins him after and Seok-moo shares a childhood story with her about his former dog, Autumn, that he used to own when he was little. One day, Seok-moo’s dad decided to just give Autumn away to another family without any prior notice. Seok-moo was greatly upset and disappointed and even had dreams afterwards where Dad was much nicer and care-free and allowed Seok-moo to play with Autumn. It was because of this incident that Seok-moo was never good at goodbye’s. He simply never had the chance to learn how to bid farewells.
The small birthday dinner is ready so Seok-moo’s family all reconvene and eat at the table. Hwi-roo’s japchae dish doesn’t look so tasty, but Seok-moo isn’t afraid to eat it and grabs a whole bunch out of the bowl. He’s also hurtfully honest with his impressions of his sister Seok-young’s husband, Ko Myung-geun, who Seok-moo doesn’t seem to approve of. He also sarcastically speaks to Dad and hopes to be able to achieve all of the expectations Dad has for him. The dinner party is obviously packed with high and awkward tensions.
Dad isn’t the only one celebrating his birthday. It’s also Grandma’s birthday as well. Soo-kyung finds it amusing how Grandma and Dad share the same birthday, but Ma-roo explains to her the context behind the family history. Grandma isn’t Dad’s biological mother; she’s his step-mother and Seok-moo’s step-grandmother. Seok-moo’s Dad dislikes Grandma because she divorced Grandpa and because Grandpa died shortly after their divorce. Dad has never considered Grandma a part of their family.
After Dad’s dinner party, Seok-moo and Hwi-roo bid farewell with Seok-young and her family. Even until the very last second, the atmosphere is awkward and Seok-moo is looked down upon for working at a small security company that makes him average money. Seok-moo is used to it though and has learned to confront these expectations and sort of comments.
On the way back home, Seok-moo shares with Hwi-roo that he originally never wanted to get married because he was embarrassed of his family and didn’t want to introduce his wife to his family. Before the night ends, Seok-moo and Hwi-roo attend Grandma’s small birthday party to celebrate her special day as well.
The next morning, Hwi-roo and Seok-moo help volunteer at Grandma’s cafe. Soo-kyung compliments Hwi-roo’s children’s book that she drafted and adds that she likes it. Hwi-roo thanks Soo-kyung for helping her send it to a publishing company. No one in the family knows about Hwi-roo’s secret wishes of becoming an author. Ma-roo, Soo-kyung, and Hwi-roo agree to head to a concert that night to watch a local band perform at the club. It’ll be fun especially since Hwi-roo is now divorced. LOL.
So while Hwi-roo has fun partying at the club and watching the local band perform, Seok-moo goes grocery shopping. He witnesses Jang-hyun flirting with women again around the neighborhood, but this time there’s two different ladies. The guilt gets to him so he decides to visit Yoo-young to break it to her. They have a conversation over some food, but Seok-moo isn’t in the mood to eat. He confesses to Yoo-young about his divorce and ponders what things would be like if he and Yoo-young had never broken up.
But what about Yoo-young? Why did she marry someone like Jang-hyun? Yoo-young explains that she met Jang-hyun through her good friend and co-worker named Sora. She unexpectedly fell for him upon meeting him. Although she developed feelings for him, Yoo-young knew she couldn’t be with Jang-hyun because he was Sora’s boyfriend. However, her feelings consumed her every thought and she found herself spending more and more time with him. Yoo-young eventually stole Jang-hyun from Sora and married him.
Seok-moo attempts to point out to Yoo-young about Jang-hyun’s affairs and cheating, but she feigns ignorance. She excuses his behaviors and claims that he’s a good guy with no bad intentions. Plus, he listens to her and always does what she wants. Seok-moo is aware that Yoo-young isn’t okay though and wants to help her become the cheerful and energetic person she used to be ten years ago. That’s why he’s been reaching out to her and looking out for her.
Seok-moo rants to Yoo-young about how he wants to support her, but Yoo-young stops him mid-rant and confesses that she’s never liked him. She had no good memories with him when they used to date and even after. This catches Seok-moo off guard and renders him speechless.
Seok-moo fell sick and ill after being forced to give his dog, Autumn, away as a young child. He misses Autumn so much he dreamt that Autumn was sent to the countryside to run around and play freely with his dad. Seok-moo believes that this was just a dream, but actions prove otherwise. Dad visits a sick Seok-moo in his bedroom while holding onto a pink ball that was used to play with Autumn in a grassy field in the countryside. Maybe it wasn’t a dream after all.
Those epilogue’s always gets me. ALWAYS. Not only do they offer a different perspective and side of a moment that occurred in Seok-moo’s life, but they’re also just so touching and beautiful. I like the epilogue’s because they usually present the other side of the story that Seok-moo isn’t aware about. He just assumed that Dad sent Autumn away and, therefore, resented Dad for that, but what he wasn’t aware of was the fact that Dad spent time with Autumn until the very the last second. There’s always a reason or motive behind every action from our characters and the epilogue showcases that. I love it.
Like I mentioned, I’m caught up so far with the drama so re-watching the beginning episodes again helps me recognize and realize so many things that I didn’t catch the first time around. Watching Yoo-young share with Seok-moo how she met and fell for Jang-hyun makes so much sense. What goes around comes around and Yoo-young is no exception to the rule. She used to be the one who had a secret affair with him and then now she’s the one suffering as Jang-hyun maintains his side affairs with several other women. Jang-hyun cheated on his former girlfriend with Yoo-young and then is now cheating on Yoo-young with other women. It’s crazy and wild when you think about it. If he cheated with you, he’s going to cheat on you with other ladies as well. Jang-hyun clearly isn’t loyal and he has relationship issues. He can’t seem to commit to just one relationship and even when he’s cheating, he’s cheating with multiple ladies. Although there’s probably a reason for his cheating and affairs, it doesn’t take away the fact that he’s simply cheating.
I’m more intrigued on why Yoo-young seems to avoid the topic although she’s well aware that he’s cheating on her. I’m curious as to why she’s feigning ignorance about his affairs when she knows that he’s out spending time with other women. He’s not emotionally or physically invested in their marriage, but Yoo-young doesn’t confront Jang-hyun about it. Why is she not saying anything about it and is simply just letting it go? Why is Yoo-young just bottling all these emotions inside of her and not saying anything to Jang-hyun about his cheating? It’s interesting that she even defends him and claims that he’s a good guy with no intentions of doing anything bad. She doesn’t blame him for anything and doesn’t find any fault in his cheating (or at least doesn’t explicitly state it) so I find her marriage with Jang-hyun so mysterious. How can you be okay with knowing that your husband is cheating on you? I mean, is Yoo-young even okay? Why isn’t she speaking up about the cheating?
Maybe Jang-hyun treats her well when he is with her so she likes it. Maybe he listens to her and doesn’t complain about anything like Seok-moo does with Hwi-roo. Maybe he’s completely different from Seok-moo and all the other guys she’s dated and easily finds comfort in him. Maybe Yoo-young feels protected with Jang-hyun. Or maybe Yoo-young wants to maintain the image of her being happy and content with her marriage so she doesn’t say anything about his cheating to maintain that image. Confronting Jang-hyun about his affairs will only shatter that image and vision so she stays quiet. There’s many different reasons why Yoo-young chooses to remain silent, but it’ll be interesting to see how she reacts when she finally explodes to Jang-hyun.
This episode was absolutely heart-breaking with Hwi-roo and Seok-moo’s discussions about their divorce. The two are satisfied with the divorce, but they are also aware of how much impact and effect it would make on their families. They’ve been married for three years so their families are obviously acquainted and close; the reactions to the news about the divorce is going to hit our families hard and they’re obviously not going to react so well to the divorce. I like the message that the drama shared about divorce and how divorce is not just something that occurs between a married couple but that it also affects your respective families just as much. Seok-moo and Hwi-roo experience this firsthand when they have trouble revealing about the divorce to their families. They just can’t seem to do it or have to calculate carefully how they’re going to break it to their families. It’s a challenge that they probably didn’t think about when they were considering divorce or didn’t assume was going to be too hard to do after divorce. Now that they have filed for divorce, they’re presented with the reality of having to tell their families, but not knowing exactly how to do it in the most effective and least chaotic way possible.
We also get a glimpse of Seok-moo’s family dynamic which was interesting to say the least. Obviously, there’s high tensions in his family but especially between Seok-moo and his dad. The two bicker and argue over things such as Seok-moo’s marriage to his job to his expectations for Seok-moo. The two don’t get along, but you can also see how they’re similar to each other in that aspect. Seok-moo is similar to his dad in that he only thinks about himself and cares for what he wants. Unlike Hwi-roo, Seok-moo doesn’t put others first and unleashes all his anger out on others for things that are not their fault. Seok-moo isn’t content with his life and is quite exhausted with his family and marriage, but has no choice but to put up with it since there’s no way to escape.
I also like that even though Seok-moo is dissatisfied with his life and his marriage, he still shows his support and care for Hwi-roo in small ways. He gets jealous when she agrees to go out and celebrate her single life or he eats her japchae dish that none of his other family members wanted to eat. It’s small and might not mean much to him, but these actions illustrate that he still cares for Hwi-roo even if he might not feel the same way about her as before.
‘Matrimonial Chaos’ already has great and relatable messages about marriage, love, family, and relationships with just two episodes in. There’s not a lot of things going on in the show so I can understand why some people might get bored with it or why it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. However, once you sit down and sit back and just watch the drama for what it is and the types of messages that it’s trying to tell you about life, you’ll find that this drama has great learning lessons and hidden gems.
Bonus: Extra screenshots from the second episode~