Relationships aren’t easy. They never have been and never will be. Our characters learn this firsthand when they have to confront their burning realities that they’ve been avoiding and ignoring this entire time.
Matrimonial Chaos: Episode 9 Recap
After the intense and chaotic fight with Jang-hyun, Yoo-young stays at home and cleans up the mess that they both caused at home. As for Jang-hyun, he heads out to meet with his side affair, Ji-hyun, at a Subway restaurant (NOOOOO, not the Subway PPL!). There, he shares his reoccuring dream about the train that he has frequently: he ran away with a girl named Se-jin back in high school via train.
The next morning, Seok-moo returns home and finds Hwi-roo sleeping out in the living room on the couch. He receives a phone call from his dad to visit the house so they can do a 25th year anniversary memorial for Grandpa. Seok-moo refuses to go and Mom supports his decision. Mom complains that no one does 25th year anniversary memorials; Dad is just trying to find an excuse to see Seok-moo. Mom reminds Dad of his childish behavior at her mother’s memorial and adds that he should refrain from committing anymore childish acts.
When Hwi-roo wakes up from her sleep, she asks Seok-moo about his grandpa’s 25th anniversary memorial and also about Yoo-young and Jang-hyun’s marriage registration. Seok-moo assumes he should probably tell his family soon about their divorce. Afterwards, he calls out Yulmae and Kay’s name, but the two are reminded once again that their two cats aren’t with them anymore; they were given away to new parents 😦
While walking around the neighborhood, Seok-moo encounters Yoo-young jogging. He stops her to ask about her marriage registration with Jang-hyun, but she avoids the topic and just runs away. Ma-roo visits Soo-kyung at the hospital and takes care of her. Soo-kyung complains for Ma-roo to go home and wash up since she’s smelling a little funky. While the two bicker with each other, Soo-kyung’s childhood friend, Sun-hee, enters the room to visit Soo-kyung.
Hwi-roo prepares to put Yulmae and Kay’s cat food into a box, but she finds it much more difficult to do than she originally thought. Meanwhile, Seok-moo encounters a dangerous situation at work. He finds a man laying down on the floor of his work building with blood on his shirt. Seok-moo assumes the man is injured, but the man eventually wakes up and explains that he just fell over because he drank too much the night before. As for that red color on him, it’s just chili sauce. LOL.
Seok-moo eventually grabs lunch with Dong-koo and his new girlfriend, Mi-ri, at.. you guessed it.. Subway! While eating, Mi-ri explains that she’s satisfied that she chose Dong-koo over Seok-moo. Seok-moo always look uncomfortable and worried and that wouldn’t be easy for her to manage. Mi-ri’s harsh and honest words gets Seok-moo thinking about Hwi-roo and how she’s tolerated him this entire time.
Ma-roo’s jealousy gets to the worst of her and she confronts Soo-kyung about her relationship with Sun-hee. Sun-hee invites Soo-kyung to her wedding and encourages both Ma-roo and Soo-kyung to go. However, Ma-roo rejects the opportunity and walks out after expressing discontent with Soo-kyung. She grows jealous that Soo-kyung seems to cherish Sun-hee more than her.
Seok-young drops her son, Sung-bin, off with Hwi-roo so that she can visit her parents with her husband. Seok-moo too is at his parent’s house that night to update them on the divorce. He grows nervous and imagines different ways he could tell his father about the divorce. However, all the outcomes will probably be the same so Seok-moo gives up.
When he arrives at his parent’s house, his dad shares with Seok-moo his dream: to live in a house with three different families – Seok-moo’s family, Seok-young’s family, and his family. However, Dad’s dream has no chances of coming true. Seok-young breaks it to her parents that she wants to divorce her husband. Any plans of Seok-moo telling his parents the same news immediately diminishes. Seok-moo ultimately decides to just wait on telling his parents about his divorce for everyone’s sake.
Dad reacts in disbelief to the news and worries about how the divorce would affect himself. Seok-moo grows angry at his dad for immediately thinking about himself and not about Seok-young or anyone else in the family. He adds that he’s always thought about himself and how the entire family has always catered themselves around Dad. Seok-moo doesn’t deny that he too is becoming similar to Dad.
Mom breaks the intense and chaotic silence by permitting Seok-young to divorce her prosecutor husband. Although Mom was happy back then with news of the marriage, she never considered how Seok-young must have felt about her own marriage.
Back at the apartment, Hwi-roo reads her children’s book to Sung-bin which gets him reflecting upon himself. He must be a ‘bad boy’ which is why neither of his parents like him. He grows sad, but Hwi-roo comforts him and brings him to Grandma’s cafe to cheer him up with some desserts. However, he cries even more when they arrive at the cafe.
Sung-bin worries how others will think of him once they learn that his parents are divorced. However, Ma-roo cheers him up and comments that he’ll do just fine. He shouldn’t worry about what others think of him, and plus, he should live for himself only.
When the family meeting is over, Seok-young’s husband expresses dissatisfaction with the divorce. He won’t allow Seok-young to divorce him. Once he leaves, Seok-moo follows up on the divorce. Is cheating really the reason as to why Seok-young wanted the divorce? Similar to Yoo-young, Seok-young already knew about the cheating a while ago. She was just angry at herself that she couldn’t do anything about it.
Seok-young and Seok-moo stop by Grandma’s cafe to pick Sung-bin up. After exchanging friendly words with each other, Seok-moo updates Grandma and Hwi-roo on the family meeting. He wasn’t able to tell his parents about his divorce either. Ma-roo heads back to the apartment to visit Soo-kyung who has been released from the hospital.
There, Soo-kyung shares with her the history between her and Sun-hee as well as how her parents reacted when they found out Soo-kyung liked girls. Of course, her parents disproved of Soo-kyung’s relationship with Sun-hee and punished her for it. Soo-kyung was close to committing suicide, but her mom rescued her at the last minute.
Seok-moo finds Yoo-young jogging around the neighborhood once again. He asks her about her husband, but Yoo-young once again avoids the topic. She wishes for Seok-moo to stop asking her about him or how she’s feeling. Back at home, Hwi-roo has Ma-roo pack Kulmae and Kay’s belongings into a box for her. Ma-roo grows frustrated. If Hwi-roo can’t even let go of simple things like this, how will she live after the divorce? Ma-roo even questions why she and Seok-moo got married. Hwi-roo ponders over the question herself; maybe Seok-moo was a safe haven for her back then.
Hwi-roo heads to an interview later on that day for a new job. The interviewer isn’t impressed with Hwi-roo’s resume and suggests she find a wealthy man she can marry instead. Yoo-young prepares to head out for some drinks at a bar. After locking her restaurant up, the alarm system goes off when the window suddenly pushes open due to the wind. Seok-moo heads to the shop and attempts to contact either Yoo-young or Jang-hyun to come to the shop, but it’s unsuccessful.
Yoo-young herself is joined by a stranger who wants to have a drink with her at the bar. Yoo-young explains that she’s just taking some time to reflect on her relationship with Jang-hyun and whether everything will be worth it. While the man is more interested in doing other things with Yoo-young, she has no interest in him and exits the bar shortly afterwards.
Seok-moo meets with Jang-hyun and Ji-hyun at another.. you guessed it.. Subway restaurant. There, Jang-hyun shares with Seok-moo that he and Yoo-young won’t be registering their marriage as they originally planned. While Jang-hyun dozes off, Ji-hyun shares with Seok-moo the dream about the train that Jang-hyun repeatedly has. Back in high school, Jang-hyun ran away with his crush, Se-jin, on a train to escape from all the gossip and rumors she was suffering at school. Jang-hyun was so in love with Se-jin that he proposed to her on the train, but she ultimately rejected him because he wasn’t good enough for her.
Years later, Jang-hyun became an art teacher because the teacher Se-jin was in love with was also an art teacher. Se-jin eventually got married to another man, but the story still haunts Jang-hyun to this day. This could explain for Jang-hyun’s cheating on Yoo-young. Seok-moo carefully listens to the story, but he updates Jang-hyun about Yoo-young. Yoo-young has been so traumatized she’s been jogging! Lol.
On the way back home, Seok-moo and Jang-hyun encounter Hwi-roo and Yoo-young walking with each other. Seok-moo stops Yoo-young and urges her to listen to what Jang-hyun has to say first. Back at Dad’s house, he holds the 25th anniversary memorial for Grandpa, but it’s only him in attendance. No one else, not even Mom, is there. Mom is instead hanging out with Grandma and talking to her about Seok-young’s divorce.
Our quartet head to Grandma’s cafe to talk there. Seok-moo and Hwi-roo are especially curious as to why Yoo-young and Jang-hyun didn’t register their marriage like how they originally planned. Though it takes a while for Jang-hyun and Yoo-young to start talking, it’s obvious where Yoo-young stands. She still doesn’t want Jang-hyun back. She wants to break up with him and never wants to see him again.
Of course, Jang-hyun refuses to break up with Yoo-young. Hwi-roo assumes he must be hurt or sad, but Yoo-young claims that he isn’t. He’s not sad or hurt that Yoo-young wants to break up with him, but he’s rather hurt that he lost to Yoo-young. There’s a difference. Yoo-young adds that it’s better to just live alone. Marriage is indeed all just for show. At that moment, Seok-moo grows frustrated and upset.
Yoo-young and Seok-moo can’t be saying those type of things about marriage. If they do, then that means Dad’s dreams of having 3 families living under one roof won’t come true! The rest of the three stare confusingly at Seok-moo after his random outburst, uncertain as to what he’s suddenly referring to.
LOL at that ending scene. There was a lot more to it than what I described in the recap, but they were more minor details and attacks against Seok-moo so I didn’t feel the need to add them in the recap. It’s not a surprise that the three have some things about Seok-moo that they find aggravating and it also doesn’t come as a surprise that Yoo-young wants to be separated from Jang-hyun. She’s come to terms with her reality and her similarity to her mother; she’s also accepted the pain that Jang-hyun has inflicted on her the past few years and no longer wants to be a part of that.
I’m glad Yoo-young was so adamant in breaking up with Jang-hyun though. I was afraid that she was going to return to him pretty easily since she was in a relationship with him for so long despite knowing that he was cheating. I was afraid she was going to return to her old ways and forgive him easily. However, it’s so satisfying to see Yoo-young not be like how she was in the past and rather move forward with her life. Jang-hyun’s going to have to put in a lot more effort and work to win Yoo-young back if he still wants to be with her. Yoo-young’s observation that Jang-hyun is just upset he lost and not because he’s breaking up with Yoo-young was the most interesting to me. More so than it being about love or marriage, it’s a power struggle for Jang-hyun and he wants to always reign victorious in his marriage with Yoo-young.
We received a little bit more context on why Jang-hyun had been cheating on Yoo-young. With his traumatic past with Se-jin, Jang-hyun constantly went to other women because he felt like he was good enough for these ladies. With other women, he could fill himself with the pride and characteristics that Se-jin couldn’t find in him or didn’t find attractive about him. Jang-hyun yearns to be good enough for other women because he wasn’t good enough for Se-jin. I’m glad that we got some kind of reasoning, but it doesn’t do anything to change my opinion of him. I still find him a frustrating and off-putting character in so many ways and I wonder how his story with Yoo-young will conclude by the end of this drama.
Seok-young’s divorce with her husband doesn’t come as a surprise since it was hinted the past few episodes. However, what irks me about this drama is the fact that all our adult relationships are related to divorce somehow. Seok-moo and Hwi-roo are divorced, Grandma and Grandpa divorced, Jang-hyun and Yoo-young never filed their marriage registration, Seok-young wants to divorce her cheating husband, and even Seok-moo’s parents are going through relationship issues. I understand that this is what the drama is about (the title is named ‘Matrimonial Chaos’ for a reason), but it also feels a bit repetitive and frustrating to watch. You want at least one relationship in this drama to be a little different from the others and I guess Ma-roo and Soo-kyung’s relationship is that different one, but I still feel iffy about it all. Why do all the relationships in this drama have to be about divorce? I want at least one adult relationship where they’re not divorced or fighting with each other.
Even with this small and minor hiccup, I still heavily enjoy this drama because of the subtle messages about love, marriage, and relationships that this drama explores. I finally realized that recapping this drama is a lot more difficult than I had expected because there’s actually a lot of substance with every conversation. Almost every conversation has some kind of meaning or purpose behind it and you have to really pay attention to the details to understand it. Of course, watching this drama also makes me feel relieved that our leading actors are Bae Doo-na and Cha Tae-hyun. Overall, there’s not a lot happening and you’re following the same characters over and over again. However, in between every conversation or visit to a house or somewhere else, there’s many small and subtle details that you have to be able to express. Bae Doo-na and Cha Tae-hyun portray their characters so so well and I’m unsure if any other actor or actress could have pulled off their characters as well. Ultimately, I’m just glad that we got two very talented and expressive actors as our lead characters because Hwi-roo and Seok-moo are not the easiest characters to portray even if it might seem like they’re simple characters.
Things aren’t going well for any of our characters so far. They’re all facing challenges and issues in their relationships that they’re struggling to overcome or solve. Hopefully, with the support and help of one another, these couples will learn to work things out once and for all.