Between my late start and general life hectic-ness, it took me an extra six weeks to complete Mother, but I’m glad I finished it. Mother was a solid show, filled with a variety of women in different stages of life, economic class, and background. While I had various nitpicks throughout the show, I had few actual grievances with it. It’s time to look back at my four original hopes and compare them to what the show actually did.
- Ja-young’s abuse isn’t pinned on her single mother status. Aside from a few lines, the show was actually careful not to assign Ja-young’s abusive behavior to her single mother status. It really helped that Yeong-sin, Soo-jin, and Hong-hee were portrayed as good single mothers who were capable of living up to what the show had decided was its criteria for True Motherhood. Unfortunately for me, I actually sided against the show on that point. Ooops.
- The show tackles the social and cultural failures of preventing child abuse. I really liked the setup to Soo-jin’s decision to kidnap Hye-na. The show didn’t shy away from pointing out all the ways the school and the police failed to protect her, and it even got meta toward the end with Hyun-jin writing exposés about Hye-na’s case. If these systems hadn’t failed Hye-na so thoroughly, this show never would have happened.
- Hye-na is able to make decisions that are respected by Soo-jin. Soo-jin was amazing at this. I loved how often she checked in with/consulted Hye-na and explained things to her in an age-appropriate way. Honestly, the show gets full marks for this, especially since they also had Hye-na run off and do things on her own/in spite of what Soo-jin would have wanted for her. It felt like Hye-na had agency and that she was respected by Soo-jin.
- Soo-jin gets to explore both the good and the bad about motherhood. I don’t think Soo-jin had a whole lot of the bad, per se—most of the bad was directly related to her being on the run from the law—but with all the other mothers in the show, we got a long, hard look at some of motherhood’s more disappointing and/or unsavory aspects. I’m still ready and willing to pick a fight with the show over its True Motherhood conclusion, but I didn’t walk away from it thinking it would be all joy and rainbows, either.
So what did you think of the show? It’s going to end up high on my list for 2018, that’s for sure.