Mother, Episode 4

TL;DR: Soo-jin’s family is getting more complicated by the minute.

Just what happened between Soo-jin and Yeong-sin all those years ago? At first I thought that maybe Yeong-sin had something to do with Soo-jin’s abuse (still not ruling that out entirely), but now I’m not sure. She seems genuine about wanting to reconnect with Soo-jin, even if it’s at a million won per visit negotiated fee. Yeong-sin’s insistence that Yi-jin not tell Soo-jin about her possibly terminal cancer implies that she’s trying to get in some solid mother-daughter time without guilting Soo-jin into it.

Which makes the two visits we see just really…heartbreaking. Yeong-sin is trying to build herself a big, happy family through a family dinner and child talent show, like this is a regular occurrence for her and her daughters. Like her oldest, adopted child never walked out of her life (for reasons we still don’t know) and cut off contact so thoroughly she sent her assistant out of the country to try to track her down. Yeong-sin is trying to cram in a lifetime of being a good mother into ten paid visits when she’s aware that Soo-jin could bolt at any moment and she may not ever have another chance.

And there is definitely some serious resentment built up on Yi-jin’s side. I found her line about doing everything her mother wanted in her life to be particularly telling—there are some serious prodigal child vibes running through her relationship with Soo-jin and Yeong-sin. Especially since the responsibility of caring for their mom should probably have been spearheaded by Soo-jin as the eldest daughter. Yi-jin’s done everything right, from dressing how her mom wants to producing two kids and running Yeong-sin’s household, and yet Yeong-sin is squarely focused on Soo-jin. While Yi-jin seemed pleased by the praise Soo-jin had for her and her children, there is definitely a lot of anger (and maybe jealousy?) simmering under the surface. Yi-jin let the cancer secret slip already—what else could she do in the future?

In the meantime, I am absolutely thrilled by Ye-eun. The first couple episodes had me worried that she would turn the package’s contents over to the police in a heartbeat, because, let’s face it, most people would freak out if they found out that their temporary coworker kidnapped a child. But it turns out that Ye-eun is actually Neutral Good, not Lawful Good, and when the system has failed a child as thoroughly as it had failed Hye-na, she is entirely on board with keeping quiet about a crime.

Scratch that, she’s entirely on board with aiding and abetting. You should have heard my shriek of delight when she forged Hye-na’s homework to imply that Hye-na was feeling suicidal. Ye-eun lied to Chang-geun’s face to push the idea that Hye-na drowned in the ocean so that they will stop looking for her alive. She wants Soo-jin to escape with Hye-na, and furthermore, she wants Ja-young and Seol-ak punished for their increasingly well-documented abuse. Ye-eun is doing everything in her power to get the police to focus on Ja-young and Seol-ak and stop searching for Hye-na. I know Chang-geun isn’t going to be so easily led, but damn, is it satisfying for Ye-eun to be on board the Help Soo-jin Escape train.

I’m not sure what’s going on with the barber right now, but it’s clear there is some kind of strained relationship with her and Soo-jin that stretches back to childhood. Why would Soo-jin trust her enough to drop Hye-na off there when she tells Hye-na scary stories about her? Why would the barber be okay with that? I’m getting a “you owe me to do this and not ask questions” vibe between Soo-jin and the barber—so what happened there?

Jin-hong is an interesting variable to throw into the mix, and I’m not quite sure what to make of him. If this were more of a romance drama, I would be all over his desire to meet Soo-jin so the two of them can be cute and talk about birds. He’s polite, respectful, eager to help, and really just in awe that she was able to make a career out of something he also wanted to do but didn’t have the courage to do himself. I could ship them so hard.

But right now he’s a new person who knows way more information than he should, and Soo-jin doesn’t know that he knows it. This makes him very dangerous, even though right now he’s all smiles and doesn’t push when Soo-jin can’t answer his questions. He knows Hye-na’s real name, Ja-young’s name, and that Soo-jin is acting extremely shady. If it turns out that he is actually Lawful Good, then we are going to have some serious problems when he realizes that the details he got from the feverish Hye-na match up with the missing child case.

(Please don’t be Lawful Good. Please be Neutral Good like Ye-eun. And let’s hope that Ja-beom is, in fact, okay with small illegal things and keeping them secret from Yeong-sin.)

I’m glad that Chang-geun found video evidence of Ja-young abusing Hye-na and arrested her, but I’m also worried that he may not find similar evidence for Seol-ak, who deserves to go down even more. So far as we saw, most of Seol-ak’s abuse of Hye-na occurred inside the home, which means there aren’t any CCTVs to catch it. I could easily see Seol-ak try to pin everything on Ja-young, and without Hye-na to testify to the contrary, he could get away with it.

After all, Seol-ak has already started to destroy evidence—and bought components of what could only be called a murder kit. He’s far more dangerous than Ja-young, and I’m worried about how cornered he might be feeling now that he saw her get arrested. It’s only a matter of time before he lashes out at someone, and as much as I want Ja-young punished for what she did to Hye-na, I definitely don’t want her murdered by her boyfriend in his attempt to escape justice.

By the Numbers

  • Shopping bags: 3
  • Hours sleeping: over 20
  • Falsified documents: 2
  • Money requested: ₩10,000,000
  • Bechdel Test: 4 episodes passed

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