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.

I loved the scene on the way to Yeong-sin’s chemo appointment. It took a surprising amount of courage for Yeong-sin to point out that she’s always playing the ice queen role and that Soo-jin is the only one she’s ever sincerely cried in front of. Soo-jin actually remembered that first conversation on the way back from the orphanage, and how she hadn’t realized the significance then of Yeong-sin saying she felt like she could be brave with Soo-jin in her life. It was wonderful that Yeong-sin also remembered that conversation, even if Soo-jin wasn’t ready to admit she did, too.

(And oh, my heart, when Yeong-sin said she had to do chemo because a mother can’t leave a child behind, and Soo-jin is still eight in her heart. And then Soo-jin took care of her during the chemo treatment, told her to stop being an ice queen, and asked her to hang on for six more months so she can have time to come back after going to Iceland. ;_; )

In a surprising first (so far as I can remember of my drama-watching experience), Yeong-sin actually isn’t using the threat of (dis)inheritance as a way to control her daughters. Furthermore, the way she has updated her will shows she cares about her daughters and wants to do what’s best for them. When Hyun-jin indicated she was fine with whatever her mother did or didn’t leave her and wanted to go, Yeong-sin didn’t make her stay. She let Hyun-jin rush off to her fast-paced career because doing her best there is what matters to Hyun-jin, not her mother’s wealth. Yeong-sin will be giving Yoo-jin her house and what essentially boils down to all of her material, personal possessions. Yoo-jin cares about luxuries and a home she can afford to take care of.

It was wonderful that when Soo-jin declared she didn’t want anything, Yeong-sin already knew. Yeong-sin had written her out of the will so that Soo-jin wouldn’t have any ties left to her and could truly be free. Yes, Yeong-sin has set aside money for a future child, should Soo-jin have one, but it will be up to that hypothetical child, not Soo-jin, to accept those ties. (It’s a clever move to avoid potential mother-child conflict down the road re: what do you mean you said no to a ridiculous amount of wealth?) And if there is no child, Yeong-sin will be taking that money to fund a charitable endeavor for single mothers and their children (which Yeong-sin may have been and Soo-jin currently is) and giving it to Yoo-jin to manage.

If we get a happy ending to this show, can Yeong-sin acknowledge Hye-na as Soo-jin’s child and give that money to her so Hye-na can have a happy life free of Ja-young? Please?

I loved how excited Yoo-jin was over that. Yes, she’s a great housewife right now, but she also appears to have career ambitions and the talent to do something like that. In the next five years or so, her children will be grown enough that it would be easier for her to transition back into a career, and her enthusiasm over the possibility was endearing. Honestly, it’s so very nice to see rich parents in dramaland who genuinely want to do right by their children regarding the division of wealth. I’m just worried that Yoo-jin’s suspicions over what secrets Soo-jin has could ruin this happy moment we have.

In far less happy news, Soo-jin discovered the barber is actually her biological mother. Honestly, the surprising part to me was that she didn’t know. (I’d gotten spoiled on that fact, boo.) I figured she had taken Hye-na there because she knew that the barber/her mother would take care of Hye-na without pressing for information. I thought the two of them were engaged in a I-know-that-you-know-but-neither-of-us-are-going-to-say-it dance, but it became clear quickly that Soo-jin was in the dark when she wanted to know if the barber had been the one to help her after the accident.

So now the question is, why didn’t the barber go back for Soo-jin? If I had to guess (and went for the least-awful scenario), my bet would be on her partner/Soo-jin’s father being the abusive man in Soo-jin’s flashbacks and the barber took her to the orphanage to get her away from him. And then either it was never safe to come back for her, or she realized…it was just a whole lot easier not being a single mother. But the fact that she opened a barber shop in Yeong-sin’s/Soo-jin’s neighborhood and kept the bike lock key means that she still cared about Soo-jin—or at least, had enough guilt to do both.

Right now Soo-jin’s relationship with Yeong-sin is going great—is it too much to hope that she can also come to terms with her biological mother’s identity? (Part of me hopes so because the barber and Hye-na were very cute together, and I’m sad that that is over for now.) In the meantime, we’ll have to see what happens now that Soo-jin has taken up Jin-hong on his offer of shelter.

Chang-geun continues to be thorough with his investigation, but his boss is starting to get on my nerves. He’s being hounded to find the body because a few tapes and a confession isn’t enough, and that puts Soo-jin in danger of discovery. I feel like, of anyone introduced so far, Chang-geun is the least likely to look at Soo-jin and just ignore his suspicions.

And Seol-ak—god damn it. Not only did we get a creepy parade of his exes and additional testimony that he did kill Won-hee, we also found out that he killed another child, So-mi. If only Chang-geun could uncover the fact that he was involved with the mothers when two other children died from “accidents”–maybe that would put him on the right track.

What’s worse is that Seol-ak has—not proof, exactly, but he knows that the pages about Won-hee and Soo-jin were deliberately removed from Hye-na’s notebook, and he now suspects that he saw the two of them together, alive, after Hye-na disappeared. This is Bad News, and my only hope at this point is that Soo-jin and Hye-na can hide from Seol-ak long enough for Chang-geun to go after him.

By the Numbers

  • Birds: 2
  • Polygraphs: 1
  • Ex-girlfriends: 2
  • Rent: ₩200,000
  • Bechdel Test: 5 episodes passed

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