Recap: Human Relationships Take Center Stage In ‘The Atypical Family’ Episodes 7 & 8

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 3, 2024 (Last updated: 3 weeks ago)
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The Atypical Family Episodes 7 & 8 Recap
The Atypical Family | Image via Netflix

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

3.5

Summary

Episodes 7 and 8 of The Atypical Family really begin to foreground human relationships over cliched superpowers, and the K-Drama is much better for it.

Time travel is a theoretical superpower that people tend to covet. It’s attractive because it gets at a fundamental desire in human beings to be able to redo their lives; avoid that embarrassing or painful moment, say, or ask that girl out, or whatever. But most people would probably use it the way Gwi-joo does in The Atypical Family Episodes 7 & 8, lingering in the past to try and cope with the present.

Doesn’t sound healthy, does it?

And yet here we are. Episode 7 begins with Da-hae’s confession in Episode 6 still fresh in the air, and the Bok family, though especially Gwi-joo, struggling to process it. Nobody’s quite sure what to make of the matter. Is Da-hae quietly well-intentioned and just in a bad crowd, or is she legitimately up to no good? If it’s the latter, her knowledge of the family’s powers could be a major problem.

Of course, Gwi-joo repeatedly returns to the past looking for answers that seemingly aren’t there. Da-hae’s practiced deception had him hook, line, and sinker. He was conned.

Yi-na Loses Her Glasses

As ever, Yi-na’s tricky social life makes for a significant subplot in Episode 7.

Ostracized by Hye-rim, Yi-na ends up losing her glasses, freeing up her power of reading people’s thoughts by looking into their eyes. In her panic, she turns to Da-hae. But things aren’t going swimmingly in Camp Da-hae, with the con artists doing their best to find a way of using the Bok family’s powers to make some money.

Of course, Yi-na is able to intuit Il-hong’s true intentions, and with a new pair of glasses, warns Da-hae that she’s being tested. Yi-na finds no such worrying thoughts in the mind of Da-hae, which is a useful plot device for safely developing their bond despite the breakdown of Da-hae’s relationship with Gwi-joo, who plans to free himself from the pain of her memories by erasing them for good.

However, Gwi-joo’s time traveling is proving useful, since another version of himself is able to tell Da-hae that she must warn present-day Gwi-joo of a danger to Dong-hee, who is almost killed by Grace in an effort to record her rekindled flying abilities.

A New Way Forward

Episode 7 of The Atypical Family is largely concerned with the Bok family bickering amongst themselves, which is understandable since there is lots to be pondering at the moment – Da-hae’s motives, all the paradoxical stuff with Gwi-joo’s powers, everyone else’s being on the fritz, and so on, and so forth.

As it happens, I like the show being in this spot since it’s allowing its human relationships to take center stage over the superpowered mumbo jumbo. Yi-na’s affection for Da-hae pushes Gwi-joo to be less of a baby about what happened and really interrogate why she jilted him at the altar. This compels him to strike a deal with Il-hong and figure out a new path forward for them rather than just scrambling her memory and having done with it.

Bonding Through The Ages

And The Atypical Family Episode 8 continues this idea, reiterating Da-hae’s significance to the family. Man-huem continues to have the same dream of her wearing the family ring, and Gwi-joo is willing to help line Il-hong’s pockets in exchange for creating more memories with her. She’s not exactly keen on the idea, wanting to move on, but Gwi-joo isn’t giving up.

This episode deepens Da-hae’s backstory by allowing Gwi-joo to explore her memories more, including one of her being strongarmed by Il-hong into paying back her father’s debts – at his funeral. Gwi-joo is there to pay his respects and comfort young Da-hae.

In the present day, all this doesn’t exactly endear Da-hae to Il-hong and Grace. Her reliability and trustworthiness are in question. Her loyalty to Gwi-joo and Yi-na may supersede her loyalty to her own “family”, even if she doesn’t realize it yet.

The Significance of the Shaved Ice

Through various elaborate circumstances, Gwi-joo continues to spend more alone time with Da-hae, and in that time both he and us, the audience, continue to get more illumination on her background. This includes the significance of her trying shaved ice for the first time in a particular bakery.

Until now, I haven’t really thought about the ethics of a relationship developing with the help of time travel, but it did come to my mind here, with Gwi-joo zipping around to and fro to recreate this important moment for Da-hae without the ice melting.

In the past, Da-hae had been given the shaved ice by a kindly older woman after trying to steal bread from the bakery immediately following the fire in the school. It is symbolic of her being treated with kindness even in the midst of feeling so alone. She also keeps a ring in her bag that was given to her by the person who rescued her from that fire.

Hitting the Jackpot

Speaking of ethically questionable gestures, Gwi-joo gives Da-hae the winning lottery numbers for the upcoming week in the hopes she will be able to pay off Il-hong with the jackpot. The numbers come in.

This lottery ticket develops more and more significance for several characters as Episode 8 goes on. Dae-hae gives it to Man-huem to hold onto, hoping that the stability it represents will help her sleep at night. But Soon-gu, who is being blackmailed, finds the ticket among his wife’s things and steals it.

But there’s a more metaphorical jackpot at play here, which is Gwi-joo’s realization that it was he who saved Da-hae from the fire and not his friend. This is identified by the family ring that Da-hae carries in her belongings. Man-heum’s dreams even confirm that the connection is genuine.

Next Time On…

At this point, there’s plenty to play for after The Atypical Family Episodes 7 & 8. After discovering that it was Grace who pushed her, Dong-hee forms a testy kind of relationship with her, with Grace promising to help her lose weight and get married. Yi-na’s school woes and the development of her powers are intertwining, and Il-hong is still trying to rip the Boks off.

That’s a lot going on for the next few episodes to unpack, and hopefully, as the show continues to improve, it’ll continue to treat its various characters and subplots with increasing warmth. Things do seem to be coming together for the show in a way that it didn’t look like they would earlier in the season.


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