Mother, Episode 5

TL;DR: Hey, look, more emotional trauma!

One of the many things that Mother is doing well is the slow development of Yeong-sin and Soo-jin relationship as they’re reconnecting. We still don’t know why such a huge rift developed between them, but now that Soo-jin is an adult and Yeong-sin is sick, they actually look like they have a shot at closing the gap between them. Continue reading “Mother, Episode 5”

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.

Continue reading “Mother, Episode 4”

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. Continue reading “Mother, Episode 3”

Mother, Episode 2

TL;DR: Turns out kidnapping a child is more difficult than anticipated.

Soo-jin’s letter to Ye-eun was a great way to kick off this episode. Even though episode one was all about showing us why Hye-na’s home life was so awful, episode two made Soo-jin’s thought process clear: she’s far more worried about Hye-na returning home than her being arrested for kidnapping. And the fact that she took the time to copy the audio recordings and photographs of Hye-na’s injuries means that she is sincerely worried that if she gets caught, Hye-na will be returned to Ja-young. That package also functions as a failsafe for her, that if she has exhausted all hope of escaping the country, Ye-eun will be given the truth of what happened and can decide whether or not to report it all to the police.

(I was particularly fond of the line about how Soo-jin though that she and Ye-eun could have been great friends if they’d met under other circumstances.) Continue reading “Mother, Episode 2”

Mother, Episode 1

TL;DR: This show is not for the faint of heart.

I think it would be best if I started out listing the trigger warnings for this episode: child neglect, domestic violence, child abuse (both physical and emotional), child sexual abuse (implied), murder of a child (described), bullying, and animal cruelty/death (described). There are also PTSD flashbacks to yet more child abuse and also a lot of scenes where the system fails to protect a vulnerable child. If you’re ready to handle that, then we can continue. If you’re not, then I would strongly suggest skipping this drama. Continue reading “Mother, Episode 1”

4 Hopes for Mother

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?