TL;DR: “Not for profane purposes” my ass.
Look, all I’m saying is that if Sang-mi’s first impulse is to leap to her feet, yell, back herself against the wall, smash some glass, and then grab a shard of that glass to threatens others and herself at the prospect of being made the Mother of Spirits, maaaaaybe there’s a small problem with your religion. On the other hand, I’m reluctantly intrigued by the idea that there might actually be some theology here beyond New Heaven apparently being a physical place, so that boarding the ship of salvation metaphor may not be a metaphor. (Yikes.)
I was very upset for and proud of Sang-mi in this episode. The moment where she point-blank told her father that she would never forgive him, even if he came to her begging, was beautiful. He has chosen the cult over his daughter’s (and wife’s) well-being, and the consequences are that she considers him a monster. She has begged him repeatedly to do the right thing, and he has refused, and she is entirely done with him. That just makes the Guseonwon group’s threats against her mother all the worse because her mother is unaware, her father is willfully not noticing the threats, and Sang-mi knows they have no qualms about murder.
And instead of framing it as surrender, Sang-mi decides she will stand her ground and use all her strength to save her mother. I don’t know what she will have to endure, but I am hopeful that she will continue to be unreadable to the Guseonwon leadership (or take a few levels in manipulation to give them only what she wants them to have). Good luck, Sang-mi.
I’m currently torn about Sang-hwan. On the one hand, I’m really glad that he doesn’t give up on people; on the other, I’m getting really tired of his whole “stand tall” shtick toward Dong-chul. Sang-hwan’s confidence isn’t something that has been truly tested since his father’s wealth and power has largely shielded him from any significant hardship. His fixation on Sang-mi is motivated in large part by his shame for refusing to help her before (with a bit of a crush mixed in), and his fixation on Dong-chul seems to be more about recapturing their old friendship instead of trying to make amends for the ways he failed his friend.
Dong-chul continues to be the universe’s chew-toy as we got flashbacks to his grandmother’s memorial service and a scene where he declared he wanted to become a policeman, which is definitely out of reach for an ex-con. (Side note: Good job, Dae-shik, for refusing to let Sang-hwan into the club. You’re looking out for your junior.) Luckily both Dong-chul and Sang-hwan seem to be cut from the type of boys comic book where beating each other to a bloody pulp is the preferred method of reconnecting. I imagine their relationship will continue to be rocky—honestly, it should be, because Sang-hwan hasn’t atoned for his failures properly—but I’m pleased that the possibility of Sang-mi being in danger was enough to get Dong-chul to pause. Prison didn’t stamp out your heroic streak, so be sure to help her again, okay? Maybe this time it will go better.
(P.S. I’m currently concerned by Eun-shil. It appears she may be jealous of Sang-mi’s position, and I’m concerned she might sabotage her preparation to become Mother of Spirits somehow. Possibly by trying to kill her. And if her “sin” that she needed to repent of turns out to be her daughter’s death, I’m going to stab things.
P.P.S. Why is Eun-shil so sure that suicide will deny salvation? That was the implication when she freaked out over Sang-mi threatening herself. How can she believe that while Sang-mi’s parents believe that Sang-jin is waiting for them in New Heaven?)
By the Numbers
- Flashbacks: 3
- Near-misses: 1
- Fruits of life: 9
- Spiritual manifestations: 2
- Bechdel Test: 4 episodes passed