I love Lee Bo-young, and I’m particular fond of Lee Bo-young in fiercely protective and/or maternal roles, so I was thrilled to find out she was cast in Mother. I haven’t seen the Japanese original (no spoilers, please!), so I’m heading into this with just a premise and some high expectations. Here are four things I hope Mother delivers on:
- Ja-young’s abuse isn’t pinned on her single mother status. Single mothers already have enough uphill battles to face in Korea that the last thing I want is to see Ja-young’s single mother status being trotted out as the reason for her abuse of Hye-na, especially since men are more often abusers. She can (and should be) portrayed as a terrible person for abusing Hye-na; her single mother status shouldn’t be one of the things that make her terrible.
- The show tackles the social and cultural failures of preventing child abuse. There are a lot of reasons why child abuse goes underreported and even unpunished, and I want this show to dive deep into all of it. I want to see how the whole system fails Hye-na to the point where Soo-jin thinks the best course of action is to literally kidnap her from her mother.
- Hye-na is able to make decisions that are respected by Soo-jin. It’s important to me that this abused little girl is able to figure out what makes her happy and what she wants out of a mother. I don’t want her to be trading one tyrant for another.
- Soo-jin gets to explore both the good and the bad about motherhood. It’s great that she wants to swoop in and save the day, but there’s more to motherhood than impulsive heroics. The bad, the sad, the boring, the frustrating, the happy, the joyful—I want a full spectrum of what it’s like to be responsible for a small human being.
Will you be watching Mother? What are your hopes for the show?