Our characters attempt to start anew and to break away from their old habits. While some are successful, there are others who have a hard time stopping what they’ve been so used to doing.
Matrimonial Chaos: Episode 8 Recap
Seok-moo and Hwi-roo wake up in disbelief that they made love with each other on the one night they stayed at a hotel. The ride back home as well as the day after the trip is awkward for the divorced couple. Neither individuals can stop thinking about what happened that night. To clear the awkwardness, Hwi-roo accepts Seok-moo’s request to have dinner together that evening and volunteers to make him some curry.
Jang-hyun and Yoo-young look over photos of Seok-moo and Hwi-roo that they took back during the camping trip. While at work, Seok-moo notices Dong-koo’s fingernails that Mi-ri painted on him the last time he visited her at work and grows confused with the manicure. Back at home, Hwi-roo receives a phone call from her Mom complaining to her about Dad. Though Mom might find Dad frustrating and annoying at times, it’s obvious she loves him and cares for him. That’s marriage after all.
Seok-moo has lunch with his staff. While Dong-koo glares at Seok-moo in envy and jealousy, Seok-moo’s co-worker spills to him details about their other co-worker. It turns out that co-worker is busy preparing his wedding since he got his girlfriend pregnant. Seok-moo grows alert and cautious, reminded of the other night when he and Hwi-roo made love with each other. Dong-koo is still sulking and storms out of the restaurant after rambling at Seok-moo.
Jang-hyun breaks the news to his teaching assistant/side affair, Eun-joo. She pretends to be fine with the news and claims that she was going to leave him anyways after graduating. However, it’s obvious that Eun-joo isn’t fine. She suggests she and Jang-hyun can still keep seeing each other even after he files his marriage with Yoo-young, but Jang-hyun declines. He really doesn’t want to lose Yoo-young this time.
Hwi-roo stops by Grandma’s cafe and reunites with Grandma, Ma-roo, and Soo-kyung. They ask her for updates about the camping trip which causes Hwi-roo to grow nervous. Though she lies that she and Seok-moo argued a lot with each other on the trip, Ma-roo believes otherwise. Since Hwi-roo got drunk during the trip, she probably kissed Seok-moo since she kisses people whenever she gets drunk. Grandma is delighted at the assumption.
Jang-hyun ends things with his other affair, the store owner. He reveals that he was never actually married this entire time, but that he plans on filing his marriage with Yoo-young for sure this time. Just like with Eun-joo, the store owner reacts in disgust and frustration. Hwi-roo attends her part-time job as a kindergarten teacher. There, she finds Shi-ho performing for the little kids in the other room.
The two grab some coffee after work. Shi-ho plans on traveling around Europe soon and invites Hwi-roo to leave with him. He adds that he likes Hwi-roo and he confesses to her right there and then. Hwi-roo is shocked, but she’s clear on how she feels about Shi-ho. She liked that he was always there for her whenever she needed him and she’s grateful for him, but she already had a feeling that he liked her. Hwi-roo apologizes for using him and leading him this entire time.
Seok-moo walks home from work and continues to think about Hwi-roo. Just then, he’s approached by Jang-hyun who updates Seok-moo on his day. He’s revealed the truth to his affairs and has, therefore, ended both of them. Jang-hyun follows up on his request to have Seok-moo be witness to his marriage registration which Seok-moo is still uncertain about. Maybe Seok-moo and Hwi-roo can re-register their marriage too while they’re at it. Haha.
Shi-ho drops Hwi-roo off at home before bidding farewell. However, he’s afraid to let her go and gives her a backhug at the last second as she prepares to enter her house. Of course, Seok-moo witnesses this backhug from down the street and grows confused. Even photos of him and Hwi-roo at the camping trip sent by Jang-hyun doesn’t help him. Speaking of Seok-moo, his sister Seok-young catches her husband cheating on her with another woman at a hotel. She takes a photo of them two exiting a hotel room together and leaves shortly afterwards as well.
When Seok-moo gets home, he confronts Hwi-roo about Shi-ho as well as about her wish to have children. For the first time he shows concern for her; he doesn’t want her to get pregnant with someone else especially if she’s not prepared for it. However, the conversation then transitions into them discussing about them two having children. Seok-moo reiterates that he wouldn’t want to bring children into a world that is fully of misery and hopelessness which is why he never had children with Hwi-roo.
As if that wasn’t enough, Seok-moo brings up Shi-ho and expresses discontent with how Shi-ho has been interacting with Hwi-roo. Hwi-roo is upset with the way that Seok-moo addresses Shi-ho, but Seok-moo doesn’t care. It becomes obvious to Hwi-roo that Seok-moo hasn’t changed and that he never will change. She scoffs in disbelief in thinking that maybe their relationship could have worked out after the camping trip. Maybe she was wrong.
Soo-kyung is transported to the hospital emergency room after falling over in the restroom. Hwi-roo and Seok-moo head to the hospital where she’s stationed to accompany a frightened and panicked Ma-roo. The doctor refuses to operate surgery on Soo-kyung until they receive consent from her family or guardian. After attempting to get permission from Soo-kyung’s parents, it’s obvious that her family doesn’t care about her. Ma-roo grows impatient and asks Seok-moo for additional support in persuading the doctor to go through with the surgery. With Seok-moo’s help, the doctor reluctantly gives in and performs surgery on Soo-kyung with Ma-roo’s consent.
After staying the entire night at the hospital, Hwi-roo and Seok-moo leave the next morning together. While walking out of the hospital, Seok-moo receives a phone call from a couple who are interested in adopting their two cats Yulmae and Kay. The couple wishes to stop by later on that day to take them 😦
Jang-hyun and Yoo-young make plans to fill out their marriage registration document and to send it in later on that day after he returns from work. After shopping for a wedding ring, Jang-hyun meets with one of his side affairs Ji-hyun. She predicts that his relationship with Yoo-young will also fail just like all his past relationships and affairs have. But Jang-hyun feels different about Yoo-young; he’s going to make sure things work out with her.
Letting go of Yulmae and Kay is much more difficult than Seok-moo and Hwi-roo predicted. When discussing with the new soon-to-be parents for the two cats, Hwi-roo and Seok-moo continually ask them questions about their house and whether they plan on staying together forever to take care of the cats. The couple assumes Hwi-roo and Seok-moo are a married couple, but Hwi-roo breaks it to them that they’re not. They got divorced. She breaks down into tears upon thinking about giving Yulmae and Kay away to new parents (and I am too).
Dong-koo visits Mi-ri at work. While she paints his nails once more, she updates him on her feelings about him. She no longer likes Seok-moo and hints that she now likes Dong-koo instead. Yoo-young receives a visit from her sister who’s still living with their Mom. She brings up the affairs that their dad used to have while still married to their Mom and assumes this must be the reason why Yoo-young no longer contacts Mom. Yoo-young must feel guilty and ashamed for acting towards Jang-hyun exactly like Mom did with their dad. Yoo-young grows upset and frustrated, maybe even a little ashamed because what her sister said was the honest truth. Yoo-young’s sister leaves after saying such bold words.
After giving their two cats away, Hwi-roo and Seok-moo head out for some fresh air. They reminisce about the past and they reflect on their current situation. Hwi-roo realizes that she’s been thinking about the past lately which means she must be unhappy with how things are in the present. Back at Yoo-young and Jang-hyun’s apartment, the two fill out the marriage registration file. Things are going fine until Yoo-young begins to grow doubtful and concerned.
She finds an excuse to not complete the document, but Jang-hyun is adamant in marrying Yoo-young. It’s not until she witnesses Jang-hyun’s scorched chest that she figures something must have happened earlier that day. Jang-hyun is honest with Yoo-young; one of Jang-hyun’s side affairs threw coffee at him as he broke up with her. Yoo-young finally breaks down and explodes in front of Jang-hyun. She even attempts to rip apart the marriage registration file, but Jang-hyun holds her back from doing so. He really wants to marry her this time.
Hwi-roo and Seok-moo stop at some stairs by the river to continue their talk. Hwi-roo explains the story behind why she wanted to become a mom; she always thought it was something she’d be good at. Of course, she never received that opportunity to be a mother during her marriage with Seok-moo, but she’s okay with that. Hwi-roo has also come to terms that she and Seok-moo are two very different people who unfortunately weren’t meant to be. She doesn’t want to resent him like how she did in the past or possibly will in the future; Hwi-roo wishes to end things peacefully with Seok-moo.
Yoo-young firmly reiterates that she doesn’t want to get married to Jang-hyun. She was aware of his cheating from the beginning, but never said anything because it was a reality she accepted. Yoo-young shares the story of when her mother showed her as a young child her father cheating on her mother with another woman. Yoo-young hates that she’s exactly like her mother: jealous and full of anger. Yoo-young hates that there’s nothing she can do to change anything. She can’t bring herself to be mad at Jang-hyun and instead hated herself this entire time. Jang-hyun sheds tear listening to Yoo-young speak, but she shows no mercy for him. She rips apart their marriage registration document and watches as Jang-hyun leave the apartment shortly afterwards.
Once outside, Jang-hyun is about to return to the apartment after being reminded of the wedding rings he bought for them earlier that day. However, he receives a phone call from Ji-hyun right at that moment asking to meet up. Jang-hyun changes his mind, throws the wedding rings onto the ground, and heads to where Ji-hyun is located.
Ohhhh boy, once a cheater always a cheater! More so than discussing about Jang-hyun’s change of heart and mind at the end of the episode, can we just talk about Yoo-young’s explosion? We knew it was going to happen sooner or later and I’m glad that we finally got it in this episode. The pay-off was totally well worth it and I especially loved that we received a reason as to why she tolerated his cheating and affairs this entire time.
Yoo-young’s tolerance for Jang-hyun’s cheating was always something that I was curious about from the very beginning. Why wasn’t she confronting him about it? Why didn’t she say anything? Why doesn’t she just leave him if she’s fully aware that he’s meeting other women? Why be with him if he’s not even committed to her and never even registered their marriage in the first place? There were many questions regarding Yoo-young’s decision to stay with Jang-hyun despite his affairs, but there weren’t really any answers up until this episode. I was so satisfied with how the drama revealed to us Yoo-young’s motives in staying with Jang-hyun.
There’s a much more personal and darker reason for maintaining her relationship with him even though she knew it was the wrong thing to do and even though she knew she deserved better. Yoo-young is just like her mother; she resents Jang-hyun for cheating on her, but there’s nothing she can do about it. She hates herself instead for not being good enough for Jang-hyun so she makes herself feel better by continuing to be with him. It’s a difficult reality for her to accept, but one that she’s familiar with since her parents also went through the same thing when she was young. Yoo-young is just exactly like her mother and, in a way, learned from her mother how to tolerate the cheating and the affairs. It’s so heart-breaking to learn why Yoo-young acted the way she did and that there’s only so much she can do about the situation.
The way that the episode contrasted our two couples and their relationships towards the end was so interesting and intriguing. You have Seok-moo and Hwi-roo who we saw always arguing and fighting with each other now having peaceful talks where they could just sit down, listen to each other, and speak whatever is on their mind. They’re in a phase in their relationship where they can be more comfortable with each other and put themselves in the other’s shoes. Then you have Jang-hyun and Yoo-young who started off as the “perfect” couple who seemed happy and content with their marriage, but then shattered that false perception of a “perfect” marriage in this episode. All the issues and problems they had been avoiding this entire time is finally addressed in this episode which was a possible consequence for not having talked about these things earlier. Yoo-young and Jang-hyun maintained their image as the perfect and happy couple when in reality, they were anything but happy and perfect. Seok-moo and Hwi-roo are now the ones who are at a much better place in their relationship compared to Yoo-young and Jang-hyun who are in the worst possible point of their relationship yet.
Maybe this is what happens when you spontaneously marry someone who you haven’t spent much time with and unexpectedly fall in love with. Both of our couples never really experienced any of the other phases or steps that other normal married couples out there would. We learned that Hwi-roo and Seok-moo never had a wedding and, therefore, a honeymoon. They never even went on a trip together before. Yoo-young and Jang-hyun are similar in that their marriage was never filed so they too never had a wedding or anything similar in that realm. Our characters were too eager to be with each other and too impulsive on their decisions to get married. Maybe they were too naive, young, clueless, and innocent back then to think carefully about the future so now they’re suffering from these impulsive decisions years later in the present.
I’m really glad to witness Hwi-roo’s growth towards the end of the episode. She always wanted to be a mom, but came to terms with the fact that she’ll never be a mother (or at least with Seok-moo) which she’s fine with. She even thought about the topic of children from Seok-moo’s perspective and why he personally doesn’t want to start a family. These things that are seen as “normal” and common in other married couples – such as a wedding, honeymoon, or kids – doesn’t apply to all married couples. Like Hwi-roo said, some people are fine with being single and some are fine with being married. There is no standard across the board that all married couples have to abide to such as a requirement to have kids or to start a family. Every couple is different and Hwi-roo and Seok-moo is no exception.
I never really felt strongly about Jang-hyun as a character primarily due to his cheating. It might be wrong of me to feel that way since he is our second male lead and he’s Yoo-young’s husband, but I always felt indifferent about him. His decision to continue his affair with Ji-hyun at the end of this episode just gives me even more reasons to not care about him. Just minutes before, he was begging and pleading Yoo-young to take him back and then after getting rejected by her, he goes off with one of his women again. He didn’t change like he claimed he did. It then makes you think whether he really would have ended all his affairs had Yoo-young gone through with the marriage registration or if he would have still cheated on her even after they officially got married. Regardless, Jang-hyun is a cheater and there are no excuses to his decisions and behavior.
Also, props to Lee El for the ending scene where she exploded on Jang-hyun. Since her character had been limited this entire time, I didn’t think much about her acting, but she really showcased her abilities in this episode. I’m loving it!
Bonus: Extra screenshots from the episode~