TL;DR: So we didn’t get any answers, and things got worse.
It’s quite possible that the worst time to encounter your birth mother is when you’re on the run after having kidnapped a child. Soo-jin put on a very brave face this episode when there were others around her, but it’s clear that not knowing why Hong-hee gave her up has the power to wreck her. It was something she could push away 95% of the time when she had her regular life to live, but now that she’s constantly stressed about trying to escape the country with Hye-na and is trying to reconnect with Yeong-sin, the last thing she needed was the abrupt and painful reopening of a massive childhood wound.
(I…am neutral about Jin-hong stepping in and “knowing” Soo-jin more than Soo-jin does, though I get that they’re playing with his doctor status. Of course he’d liken her emotional trauma to a physical wound and try to treat it via super rare bird watching. I am just not sure I buy how well that seemed to have worked for her. Can he be well intentioned and wrong at some point and stay further away from her boundaries?)
It’s frustrating that we didn’t get any straightforward answers from Hong-hee in this episode, but we did get a lot of implied answers. Hong-hee regularly saved money, just in case Soo-jin needed it someday, which is both very optimistic and a bit hopeless considering who raised her. (And Soo-jin actually needs the money right now! Yet her pride would never allow her to accept that money from Hong-hee—she barely managed to go ask Yeong-sin for some cash.) She opened a barber shop in Yeong-sin’s neighborhood so she could watch Soo-jin go back and forth from school, and she guards those videotapes of Yeong-sin’s documentary with Soo-jin in an actual safe and watches them while crying. It’s just so hard watching Soo-jin confront her and not get the answers she has wanted for decades.
Part of me is terrified that Hong-hee did not come back for Soo-jin (or came back too late) because there was something horrific going on in her life. If that’s the case, then there’s a chance that Soo-jin and Hong-hee could reconcile. But the rest of me is terrified that Hong-hee just…chose not to come back (especially after the documentary). If that’s the case, then I don’t think there will be a chance for Soo-jin and Hong-hee to reconcile—at least, not at this point in the show. Not with Yeong-sin bursting into Hong-hee’s shop to slap her. She didn’t even know Hong-hee’s identity at that point! It looked like it was fueled mostly by jealousy, and that’s not a good look, yikes.
I knew that Hye-na had to be discovered by Soo-jin’s family at some point, but I’m surprised that it happened so quickly. We went from a chance encounter with Hyun-jin to every single member of the family knowing in the space of half an episode. (Hyun-jin, I sure hope you protect any future sources better than you protected Soo-jin, because that was abysmal for a reporter.) I can see why Hyun-jin would want to tell Yeong-sin about Soo-jin having a daughter, what with her possibly terminal illness, but things got out of hand. Really out of hand.
On top of the explosive confrontation at the end of the scene, I am extremely worried about what Yoo-jin will do. She’s not Soo-jin’s biggest fan, and I think she’s jealous sometimes. How is she going to handle the fact that Soo-jin
kidnapped has a daughter? That means the money she might have gotten to create and run a social services foundation for single mothers is going to be set aside for Hye-na instead. It’s totally out of her reach now, and she was so excited for the project. Maybe I’m just being paranoid and Yoo-jin will just be thrilled to have a niece?
Also? There’s absolutely zero chance that Yeong-sin is going to be cool with Soo-jin fleeing the country with the brand new granddaughter she thinks Soo-jin has hid from her for years. This is not going to turn out okay.
In the meantime, Jin-hong is being super extra kind to both Soo-jin and Hye-na, and it worries me. If this were solidly a romance and not mostly a thriller, I think I’d be delighted by how kind he is and how much he respects and admires Soo-jin. But it is a thriller, and for all he placated Hye-na with food, he still knows/suspects a dangerous amount about them. This makes me anxious.
And speaking of things that make me anxious, Seol-ak is making Ja-young snoop around for more information on Soo-jin. While we are somewhat blessed by Ja-young’s lack of interest in the matter (hey, if she really did kidnap my daughter, they’re in Iceland now, and the worst I could be punished for my systematic abuse of my daughter is probation!), Seol-ak continues to dig into it. These loose threads are causing him some concern—plus, the man still has a murder kit stashed away, and that’s never good.
(Obligatory shoutout to Ye-eun, who continues to cover for Soo-jin by making Soo-jin seem like a terrible teacher. XD It cracks me up every time.)
By the Numbers
- Rare birds: 1
- Videotapes: 6
- Types of MREs: 4
- Bechdel Test: 6 episodes passed