Mother, Episode 7

TL;DR: Yeong-sin, I worry that you’re slipping into JustNoMIL territory.

Now that Yeong-sin knows that Soo-jin has a daughter, things are starting to spiral out of control in a big way. One of the few good things to come out of this unfortunate sequence of events is Yeong-sin’s confirmation that her daughters are her daughters by simple fact that she raised them. Biology is irrelevant in determining if she is their “real” mother. This gives me hope that when she inevitably finds out that Soo-jin actually kidnapped Yoon-bok/Hye-na, she will be fiercely on Soo-jin’s side and continue to love and dote on Hye-na.

What worries me is that she’s taking it to the extreme in such a short amount of time. Dear lord, you just found out you have another grandchild and you’re already asking to keep her and raise her? I get that you like kids and that you’re terrified of your long-term survival odds, but yikes. That’s such a huge thing to ask/demand! Though from Yeong-sin’s perspective it’s not entirely out of bounds, considering Soo-jin’s cover story is that she did indeed leave Yoon-bok behind with her other grandmother while Soo-jin researched abroad for a few years. Wouldn’t it be better if Yoon-bok stayed with family who loved her and could take care of her instead of uprooting her to another country right before she’s of age to go to school? Yeong-sin could take care of any material needs, would shower her with love, and would probably pay for any and all tickets for Soo-jin to come back to visit.

Unfortunately, that is not a thing that is likely to happen. Soo-jin and Hye-na actually need to flee the country if they’re going to be safe. (And even then, their safety is dubious.) Plus, Yeong-sin’s initial rush of obsessions/favoritism hasn’t gone unnoticed by Yi-jin and Tae-mi, and jealousy is starting to manifest via snide comments and childish retaliation. Having Soo-jin and Hye-na move into the house is only going to ramp up the attention once Yeong-sin gets discharged from the hospital.

I’m less than thrilled that Yeong-sin immediately started a campaign to oust Hong-hee from the neighborhood. We kind of glossed over what she did when she found out her husband had been having an affair, but we got a taste of it in this episode. I get you’re dying and feeling insecure about Soo-jin, but uprooting a woman’s life and livelihood just because you’re feeling vicious and petty is—well, vicious and petty.

At the least, Jae-beom’s digging got us a partial answer about why Hong-hee did not come back for Soo-jin: she turned herself in for killing her boyfriend and served several years in prison. I’m glad that both Jae-beom and Yeong-sin actually respected Hong-hee’s decision not to answer why she killed the man; Yeong-sin is almost certainly right that the boyfriend was a terrible person and that Hong-hee didn’t want Soo-jin to grow up with the stigma of being a murderer’s daughter.

Couple that with Soo-jin’s recovered memory about Hong-hee asking if they should both drown in the sea and Soo-jin insisting she wanted to live, and it looks like Hong-hee may have murdered the boyfriend in (self-)defense. Soo-jin had that flashback of a man strangling her, after all, and based on what we’ve learned about her past with Yeong-sin, the man definitely wasn’t connected to Yeong-sin. It’s probably Hong-hee’s boyfriend, and my guess is that Hong-hee killed him to protect herself and/or Soo-jin.

I’m glad that Yeong-sin relented at Soo-jin’s request and will not oust Hong-hee from her barbershop. Now that we know the technical reason why Hong-hee couldn’t return to Soo-jin and have guesses as to the motive, there’s a chance that Soo-jin and Hong-hee can reconcile. I hope so!

But we’ve hit a far more significant snag, and that’s Hyun-jin. After what happened last episode, there’s no way in hell I’ll believe Hyun-jin is capable of keeping Yoon-bok’s true identity to herself. There’s just no way it won’t come spilling out of her once sufficient pressure is applied by Yi-jin or Yeong-sin. Hyun-jin is the sort who can’t lie about her older sister having a secret child; she definitely won’t stay quiet long about her older sister kidnapping a child and passing her off as her secret child.

I know that someone at some point had to connect the dots who wouldn’t be as easygoing as Jin-hong is about the discrepancies, but I hadn’t really thought that Hyun-jin would be the one to discover it first. Yi-jin was the one I was worried about the most due to her personality and possible jealousy. So where does the story go now that the eager, righteous reporter has discovered that her sister committed a very serious crime? We’ll have to see which tests of character she passes, which she fails, and whether she decides to shift or stick with her current worldview.

(And, as always, Seol-ak is being a huge creep. STOP WATCHING the publicly available documentary that the entire nation has seen, okay?)

By the Numbers

  • Secret messages: 2
  • Tumor length: 3 cm
  • Keys: 3 (+2 metaphorical)
  • “Accidentally” spilled drinks: 1
  • Bechdel Test: 7 episodes passed

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