Mother, Episode 3

TL;DR: Well, I’m glad that there’s one genuinely good mother figure in this show. (Also, this episode contains a mention of animal cruelty/death.)

I’m really glad we had the opportunity this episode to see that there was a period in Soo-jin’s childhood that was really good. I’ve seen a lot of fictional orphanages portrayed as hellholes, so it was lovely to see little moments of Soo-jin’s life with Sister Glara. Subtitlers, are you sure it’s not Clara? Between her (still unknown) biological mother and her adoptive mother, Yeong-sin, Soo-jin had a slice of happiness. One fond enough that she apparently wrote Glara, if infrequently, over the years, and that she thought to turn to Glara for momentary refuge.

There was something beautiful and heartbreaking in the way that Soo-jin questioned her ability to be a good mother. Before this episode, I thought it was because she’d had too many examples of bad motherhood to feel confident in being able to care for Hye-na, but now I think a significant part of her insecurity actually stemmed from the fact that she had a great mother in Glara. How could Soo-jin measure up to her? I loved the moment they shared in front of the Virgin Mary—the archetypical Mother—statue and how Glara provided Sooo-jin with some wisdom and reassurance about her abilities.

The most striking thing about this episode was the contrast between Glara’s nephew and Hye-na. Where Glara’s nephew is eagerly trying to stick Glara into a home against her wishes (when she could easily live independently for a while longer with in-home care—which he isn’t volunteering for) in order to profit off of her, Hye-na is worried about Glara’s well-being and upset at the thought of leaving her behind. I loved that Glara was able to say goodbye to them without getting caught. I’ll admit it, I cried when she claimed Hye-na/Yoon-bok as her last child and charged her with taking care of Soo-jin and then said that, if nothing else, she wanted to remember that Soo-jin became a good mother. It was a nice touch to have Hye-na give Glara the doll that represented the child Soo-jin—at least she will have that one of her many children with her.

The meantime, Chang-geun is doing his investigation thoroughly, and I’m rooting for him (so long as he doesn’t catch up to Soo-jin). He may not have any hard evidence yet, but he is going over every detail he can in order to dig up leads. I’m concerned that he already has Soo-jin on his radar, if only for the tenuous bird connection, but that raises my hopes that he will be able to eventually get both Ja-young and Seol-ak on child abuse charges. I’m crossing all my fingers.

I have a small amount of admiration for Ja-young and how well she is currently playing the grieving mother. She might not have actively wanted Hye-na dead, but she clearly is more torn up about her or Seol-ak being caught than finding out the truth of what happened. It was smart of her to turn to social media to air her “grievances” with the investigation in order to drum up support for her and pressure for the police.

In other news, I’m a little surprised at how smoothly Eun-cheol lied to Chang-geun. Like, it’s one thing to check up on a missing child for a colleague and then plant a tracker just in case, and it’s another to lie about the fact that Soo-jin was specifically concerned about Hye-na. And then send her a warning email! I hope this means that Eun-cheol will still be an ally for Soo-jin once he finds out about the kidnapping, especially since Ye-eun now has the package and could go to the police at any time after she opens it.

I’m still uncertain what’s going on with Yeong-sin. Like I get the whole metastasized cancer bit, but I don’t know what to make of the family dynamics. Why is Yeong-sin obsessed with finding Soo-jin? My first guess of organ donor is clearly a no now, so what gives? Is it really just regret for their estrangement come to a head now that her cancer is back?

Yi-jin is interesting, because for all she is an adult with a husband and children, her relationship with her mom seems very childlike. I also wonder if she has some resentment brewing toward Soo-jin—the few times she has mentioned Soo-jin, it sounds like she might—and what would have precipitated that. Yi-jin doesn’t seem to care too much about Soo-jin’s absence from their lives. How much of a danger could she be to Soo-jin, should she find out that Soo-jin just showed up out of nowhere with a kidnapped child?

And what’s the deal with the lady at the barber shop? Here’s hoping we find out soon.

By the Numbers

  • Haircuts: 2
  • Creepy birds: 1
  • Tracking rings collected: 14
  • Bechdel Test: 3 episodes passed

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