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Mother: Episodes 11-12 (Open Thread)

Mother has always been visually quite stark, but despite its heavy material, it largely has not been dark. But the majority of this pair of episodes is spent in darkness, which seems appropriately symbolic given that we spend it in the shadowed psyche of an abusing, murdering villain.

With allies and protectors to light her way, it’s up to Soo-jin to end the dark night and save her daughter.

 
EPISODES 11-12

After Yoon-bok is kidnapped, Soo-jin gets into an accident chasing the wrong truck. Meanwhile, Seol-ak has Yoon-bok gagged and bound, and discovers the necklace given to Yoon-bok by Madam Cha. He sneers at the idea anyone could think she’s valuable, but it gives him an idea.

He cooks up a scheme with Ja-young to extort money from Soo-jin’s family if they want Yoon-bok alive. Struggling with her emotions, Ja-young says her daughter is already dead and only tells Seol-ak to spare her the details.

“You won’t throw me away, will you?” she asks him, voice cracking. That’s why you’re crying? Seol-ak makes Yoon-bok listen to the whole conversation.

Questioned by the police, Dr Jung tells them that he’s never seen a guardian as concerned for their child’s welfare as Soo-jin. Detective Lee’s partner wonders afterwards whether they’re barking up the wrong tree since everyone they meet is protecting Soo-jin so fiercely.

Threatened by Ja-young, Madam Cha begins to amass the money immediately, to Yi-jin’s dismay. Mom says in perfect seriousness that if Yi-jin breathes a word to the police, she’ll strike her from the family register. But she later does report it secretly, which puts Detective Lee back on the pair’s tracks.

Soo-jin and Dr. Jung and track down Seol-ak’s original truck. Madam Cha updates them on Ja-young’s threat, which Soo-jin recognizes as also being her revenge.

Seol-ak’s relocated Yoon-bok to Soo-jin’s old abandoned orphanage, where he recounts childhood memories of his own mother to Yoon-bok. Flashbacks show a capricious woman and little Seol-ak desperate to please her. She killed herself in the end, and he’d found the body. He tells Yoon-bok how much he loved seeing the moms cry after he killed their kids.

Soo-jin connects with Ja-young directly and wants proof of Yoon-bok’s continued safety. She receives a series of audio files where Yoon-bok narrates their book, “Mom, I’m Running Away.” Soo-jin discovers a coded message from Yoon-bok in it, which allows her to figure out where they are.

Seol-ak says the only reason Yoon-bok is still alive is because she didn’t cry. But he forces her to wet herself and then hoses her down (as his own mother did), before dragging her to the basement where he has a noose prepared for her.

Still dripping, Yoon-book says she knows he felt that he should’ve died instead, so his mother wouldn’t have. That really gets to him, and Yoon-bok notes that he’s crying. Furious, he ties her up in a sack and douses the place in gasoline.

Soo-jin and Dr. Jung split up when they reach the orphanage, with the doc taking a secret entrance. Soo-jin allows herself to be bound and desperately offers more money, but he has no intention of any of them leaving alive.

He tells Soo-jin that his first murder was an accident, but seeing the relief through the mom’s tears, he realized he had done her a favor. He says she has no right to call herself a mother when she hasn’t suffered the way those moms did, but Soo-jin contradicts him. She says one mom killed a man for her sake and the other was at her side for thirty years, watching over her: “So I know very well what it takes to be a child’s mother.”

Seol-ak readies the noose again for Yoon-bok, and Soo-jin distracts him with an astute reading of how his mother must have treated him. He attacks her instead, and running up from behind, Dr. Jung knocks him out with a Virgin Mary statuette.

The three of them then flee as the police enter the building. Detective Lee disables Seol-ak with a shot before pursuing Soo-jin, and Seol-ak locks himself into the basement. He relives a childhood memory of his mother leaving him, and face contorted with tears, he cries, “I told you not to leave me alone.” After a long moment, he tosses his lighter into the gasoline.

Flames engulf everything, and in his last voiceover, he promises his mom that if she were to come back to life, he would be quiet and clean, and would never cry. Ja-young receives a final text from him, in which he says he’s sorry. This is sad. But it’s not sad when police finally arrest Ja-young for Yoon-bok’s kidnap.

Dr. Jung is caught at a roadblock… alone. He doesn’t divulge anything about Soo-jin, though he does point out yet again that without Soo-jin’s actions, Yoon-bok would be dead. Aww, I like you so much. Left to work it out himself, Detective Lee narrows Soo-jin’s possible location to a Buddhist temple.

Carrying Yoon-bok on her back, Soo-jin makes her way through woodland towards the same temple to seek shelter for the night. The monk turns her away at first, but she reminds him of a visit she made twenty years ago. Back then, she wanted to become a monk to sever her ties with both mothers, because she wanted to live without a mother at all.

Now recognizing her, he smiles that she became a mother herself and sets them up in a guestroom. Yoon-bok wakes up crying from a nightmare that Soo-jin had died, and Soo-jin holds her. The monk, meanwhile, finds out about Yoon-bok’s kidnap from his phone.

Detective Lee’s partner questions his dogged pursuit of Soo-jin, when she clearly isn’t a risk to Yoon-bok, but Lee replies grimly that he’s worried about them turning up dead in this cold. They make it to the temple by morning, but there’s no sign of Soo-jin. But Detective Lee discovers a still-warm guestroom and realizes the monk gave him the slip. Thanks to him, Soo-jin escapes.

As Ja-young is led out of the police station, protests Seol-ak’s innocence, and yells at the gathered press that Soo-jin—who is the daughter of actress Cha Young-shin—killed him. This woman is really something. Madam Cha sees it on the news and wants to call a press conference to tell the truth about Soo-jin, but then faints.

The detectives catch the monk, but his only companion was another monk. He’s as close-lipped as Dr. Jung and maintains that he hasn’t seen Soo-jin or Yoon-bok. Detective Lee’s superiors want to see results, and threaten to take the case away from him.

Soo-jin’s identity and photo has been released in the press. Mother and daughter board a ferry, Yoon-bok coaching Soo-jin to show a nonchalant expression so as not to raise suspicion. While they look out to sea, they don’t see policemen board behind them, coming ever closer.

COMMENTS

This show sure is a killer with its cliffhangers, argh! The tension is still tight as a spring, but I hope it doesn’t lapse next week now that Seol-ak is out of the picture and Soo-jin is about to be caught.

I didn’t expect Seol-ak to go like that, but we only really learned about him this week. I’m pleased with the nuance with which his character was treated, and how what drives him was more complex than the usual “women are filthy evil dirty creatures” which turns up so much in drama killers. It’s not that he’s exaclty relatable, but you can see how he ended up in that place from all the bad starts and wrong turns.

It never excuses his actions, but I think his ultimate arc made him more human and less demon, leaving us with a lot to think about. It’s tempting to look at people like Seol-ak and write them off as irredeemable psychopaths, but in setting up the contrast of Yoon-bok with Seol-ak, I feel like it intends to show us that they’re perhaps two sides of the same coin. They have common origins but opposite fates—the result of a cumulative series of differences in circumstances, choices, and personal outlooks.

It didn’t surprise me, then, that he connected with Yoon-bok, and that with her small voice and old soul, she shook him to his core. For her, the love that she’s received since becoming Yoon-bok—from Soo-jin to Hong-hee, Madam Cha to Dr. Jung—gives her courage, but it also gives her a deep insight into the ways in which Seol-ak has broken and been broken. It’s not novel to discover that Seol-ak has been replaying the beats of his childhood, but there’s a painful poignancy in it when it is such an accurate reflection of real life abuse stories.

I wonder if his only possible resolution was to die, because he never sought to heal. He only sought to recreate the cycle of pain and reckoning—not to absolve himself, but to keep arriving at the same answer: that a mother will only be happy when the child she doesn’t love is dead. It feeds something in him to prey on that combination, where every woman is his mother and every child he kills is himself. Perhaps that’s why his last moments are so sad, and for the sake of the child that he was, you can allow him the closure of ending his pain—both that which he feels and that which he causes—by ending his life.

In a super-twisted way, the relationships between Seol-ak and those women turn out to have been mutually beneficial, though in the end, both Seol-ak and Ja-young only prove how tenacious the bond between child and mother is. For Seol-ak, even though his mother didn’t love him, he loved her with all a child’s desperate abandon. For Ja-young, as much as Yoon-bok is an inconvenience to her, approving her murder comes at a shattering spiritual cost. I’m sure her neediness and fear of abandonment stems from her own childhood issues, but it’s disturbing to realize it’s nevertheless an inevitable choice: Of course she’ll throw her away, just as she’s thrown her away before. Like Seol-ak, she’s frightening because of how true to life her character is.

At first, I speculated on whether her inability to love her daughter was down to post-natal depression, but it must be much more than that, because this woman has a total inability to decenter; her only priority in life is herself. And that’s the root of her failure to evolve from biological motherhood to emotional, where her priorities for ongoing survival and happiness would have shifted from centering on herself to centering on her child. Sacrifice is the absolute distilled essence of motherhood, and Ja-young has none of it, and that’s why nearly every other woman in this show makes more of a mother than she does.

I wanted to talk about how Yi-jin is not actually as callous as she appears; I was going to argue that she made the most sensible choice she could in that situation, and that it took courage to go against her mom. But by her own admission, she was driven by anger and resentment, so I’m not sure in what light that casts her previous opposition to Soo-jin and Yoon-bok’s appearance. Though she’d come off as unfeeling, I felt like she was disadvantaged by not knowing the true state of affairs (unlike the others), but also in having the most sheltered outlook of the three girls. Soo-jin had her painful childhood, but youngest sister Hyun-jin was also able to understand Soo-jin much more, since from being a reporter, she would have seen much harsher things than a genteel upbringing would have allowed. And that’s not a fault on either sister, it’s just that they can only approach their lives with the experiences that they have, which always made Yi-jin appear to be living out a completely different genre from her mother and sisters.

There’s a definite sense that she’s always competed with Soo-jin for her mother’s love, and feels like she didn’t get her due. I can understand that, because it’s clear that as much as Madam Cha cherishes her daughters, she’s always yearning for the one that left the nest. Maybe there’s an added insecurity there for Madam Cha, because unlike with her blood-tied daughters, the bond with Soo-jin must have felt more tenuous to her. She must always have been afraid that she would leave forever because there was nothing to bring her back. I can see how hard it would have been for her to read someone like Soo-jin, who doesn’t volunteer her emotions.

In that sense, Yoon-bok’s arrival in Soo-jin’s life has not only woken up a protective maternal instinct, but also has given her more understanding for both her mothers. Combined with the shock of Madam Cha’s terminal condition, there’s also the beginnings of a new filial instinct to cherish both women, and I hope we’ll get a chance to see those relationships grow before we say goodbye to this show.

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I couldn't possibly watch this, but I love your write-ups, Saya. Great commentary!

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Same here, I can only read these little open thread posts, because this show is too much for my sensitive heart. But, it's so good, and everyone is just slaying!!

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These 2 episodes were the most emotional, disturbing and dark so far. I applaud the entire crew for their stellar efforts in this series. It is a big departure from traditional kdrama and I, for one, very much welcome it. Even without the darkness of this material, though, the quality of this drama is unique. The attention to building the history of the characters, in particular a vicious serial killer, is also so well done. My chest was tight and I was depressed and drained at the end of these 2 episodes. So I was doubly thankful for the outtakes at the end of episode 12. It took a huge burden off me! Loved your insights on this. thanks.

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This drama is dark but it's an enlightening darkness. It makes you aware of all the emotions that a child goes through and I love @saya 's comments.

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The subject matter is heavy, but the feel of the show as a whole is very hopeful and empowering. Even if you grow up in a dung heap, you can still become a flower. That little girl is amazing in her acting! And Lee Bo Young continues to amaze. The baddies were so good, too. I appreciated the fact that the latest episode ended a bit early, and that they played a few minutes of behind the scenes clips to show that the real life actors are not actually the creepy characters they portray. Also, it was good to see that a lot of the scary stuff had to do with editing and filters and music, and that no little girls were scarred in the making of this drama, either... Looks like she had a fun time playing on set.

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I'm not watching this but I liked what you wrote about the bts in the end very much!

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@Saya . Thank you for the recap. I was touched how they showed BTS segments of Son Seok-Koo & Heo Yool together. Poor guy said he’d received death threats. I do admit though, I was happy when Doc cracked Seol-Ak upside his head.

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With the ultimate symbol of motherhood, no less.

And yeah, the BTS were awesome. Also slightly disconcerting. Because apparently I needed that reminder that the actor is not the character.

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Is there a separate link to the bts segment?

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Thank you! :)

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Thank you so much for the weecap, Saya!

I honestly can’t think of anything to add because your comments perfectly summed up my thoughts on these episodes. This show continues to impress me ever more with its complex characterizations week after week. This writer is impressing me so much. Of course it helps to have brilliant source material, but it still takes an excellent writer to adapt a story so well--we’ve seen so many bad remakes of great shows! I hope she continues to write dramas as well as movies.

While this show is definitely heavy, it has not been as difficult for me to watch as I thought it would be after episode 1… until this week. Episode 11 was especially hard. It made me feel sick. But even so, it was so satisfying to finally learn about Seol-ak and what drove him.

I was beginning to worry that Seol-ak’s character would end up being crazy just for the sake of being crazy, with no rhyme or reason behind his actions, but the show managed to make me understand him so perfectly in just an episode and a half. Talk about impressive. You’re absolutely right that it does not excuse his actions--nothing could excuse them--but I actually gasped when everything about his character began to click into place for me at the beginning of episode 12. I agree that death was his only way out of this story. He was irredeemable.

I continue to love the various physical mother figures used throughout the show. Dr. Jung using the Virgin Mary statue to knock out Seol-ak was simple but brilliant.

This show is shaping up to be my favorite of 2018 so far. I’m sad that there are only a couple of weeks left. I’m equal parts eager and apprehensive to see where the show will bring us this week. Wednesday can’t come faster!

Oh, and I adored the BTS scenes after episode 12! It’s so sad that Seol-ak’s actor is getting death threats on IG, but I suppose it’s a testament to how well he played his character. I look forward to seeing him in more shows in the future.

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Im glad they added the extra of the yon bok and the evil samchun off screen just being friendz cuz these two episodes were hella dark and frightening.

Made me feel much better!

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FYI, the English title of the book is The Runaway Bunny. By Margaret Wise Brown. It was one of my favorites as a kid.

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Kudos @saya for your awesome commentary!

The only gripe I had with last weeks' episodes was the death of Seol-ak. While I think letting go of the character is a bold and good move, I felt that Seol-ak died too abruptly(I never thought he would be content to sit amidst the flames just because he had a leg wound and was reminded of his mother by Yoon Bok) and it's too cliche that an abuser had to be a childhood victim. However, they used it well to make the statement that abuse is often a vicious cycle.

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you see this is not a thriller ... and since its all about mothers show.. the fact that he turned bad because of a mother makes sense its like every character is driven by relating to their mothers including the doctor ...this whole sick killer thing was not in the original if i am not wrong they took a story to a new level to stress on abuse both for victim and killer ...the fact that killed himself cause he is committed to his role ( if you cry you die )

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It's precisely why I think or prefer that this is not a thriller that I don't mind Seol-ak dying so that the show can focus on the real issues at hand. However, I felt his death was too quick and convenient for a lack of better words. He had methodically pursued Yoon Bok with such purpose and I'm sure he grappled with the ghost of his dead mother all these years. So why did he just snapped now to the point of choosing death?

Anyway, this is a small gripe. I love the show to bits and am looking forward to the final sprint. The drama is intelligent and insightful so I am quite hopeful that the ending will be one which we will chew on even after it's long over.

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Like @sandy80 said, "If you cry, you die." When he talked to Yoon Bok, he cried. He told Soo Jin that is why he was dying. (The rule only seems to apply to kids, but in his mind he is pretty much still a kid).

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Also, the only alternative to suicide is to face arrest and go to jail probably for life. He must have had a really bad experience when he went to jail early in his life. He said he was never going back. Probably in his mind, death was a better option than a lifetime in jail.

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Ah, you are right...I forgot that detail!

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I'm going to be harsh and say that for him it was the easy way out.
It's just really hard for me to feel any kind of sympathy for him regardless of his upbringing.
What about the years of abuse that Hye-na went through?

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I think it's a mix of drama/suspense/thriller. It's
brutally honest in making us viewers face the reality of motherhood and child abuse.

I didn't care for the double kidnapping because it makes me question the intelligent of the people around Yoon-bok.
I mean, if you are on the run with a kid you wouldn't let her go to an outdoor bathroom alone.
I guess it's easier said than done.

I hope that the ending makes real sense whether we feel that it's happy or sad or both.

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I'm actually relieved that Seol Ak died and they revealed his background to connect it to his present behavior. His death didn't seem abrupt because it felt like Yoon Bok's discussion with him cracked his psycho wall by making him cry again. That got him to gassing the house with the intention of no one leaving alive, including him so in a way, he was ready to check out. It also seems to put all the victims of mother trauma in one pot if he had been successful. If we look at the 3 of them facing that situation, we can actually say that not all of them are irredeemable and would not want all of them to go down in the same way we want Seol Ak to go. That is a hopeful contrast for victims of abuse. I love how every little detail in this show is connected. Amidst the scary stuff, I often feel glimmers of warmth in this show. Yoon Bok is so amazing that everyone around her is touched by this little girl.

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thanks for you commentary, Saya. the open thread is perfect for us who can't really watch the drama but want updates from the story ^^. I had thought thay seol-ak may be abused as a child but what happened was tragic, but with him gone now at least yoon-bok is safer. now we're left with tug-of-war of the mothers...

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Tug-of-war of the mothers...ooooohh I like that. This is where we get to really see the different types of mothers and root for them. It's so satisfying to see a show that is so female-centric and so well done. No screaming babbling mothers collapsed in tears while the calm guys are thinking it through. The traumatized women are finally depicted as thinking along with the men to try to deal with the situation. Sorry, I got into God's Gift: 14 days and I can't get the annoyance from hearing mom's tearful screams of "Saet Byul!" EVERY 5 MINUTES out of my head.

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Thank you so much for opening this thread. I love this Drama so much. I have cried a lot watching our Yoon Buk/ Hye na suffer through a lot. The commentary that started episode 12 made me cry too. And when they recited that book together I felt this connection between them. For 2018 this is one of my best dramas already. I sincerely wished our child actor will get an award but it's cable. I know next week will be trying for them but I will keep cheering them on.. Hwaiting...
I love the idea of the BTS... And the death threats made me laugh.. This drama messed with a lot of people's mind. Thank you to all the cast

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its funny one viewer found that using virgin mary statue as a weapon and breaking it as disrespectful from a religious view and criticized the show ... while its actually when you look at it just another way of paying respect to mother virgin mary and to motherhood ... that she helped to save a child

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I didn't find it either way, but definitively very symbolic.

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I thought it was symbolic too and maybe a tribute to Mother Teresa who never gave birth to a child but devoted her whole life to care for the abandoned, needy and helpless.
Soo-jin's foster mother was like Mother Teresa to these children even to the very last day when she was taken away.
I was hoping for a little bit more of her. Did she pass away? Is Soo-jin going to visit her again?

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Such a good show. Here is short interview with Son Seok-koo who played the evil oppa Seol-ak.[OSEN]
Q: You debuted in national drama with 'Mother'.
SSK: I am happy because I feel like I made the idealistic debut any actor dreams of. Most of all, after watching the reaction from mother viewers who have children, I feel like I made some contribution on a page of views on social issues so I feel proud and grateful.

Q: What was the reaction after the broadcast?
SSK: Seol-ak is a character who commits the terrible acts, but I didn't try to portray him just scary. There are not many people who recognize me yet, but I remember one time there was a man who got off from his car while driving and chased me. It turned out that we were same age. He said I was not scary at all in person, and we shake hands and took pictures which made me happy.

Q: Which part you paid the most attention to play Seol-ak character?
SSK: I tried to be immersed in any situation I was in. While filming I often felt that a child who could never grow up is stuck inside the grown man named Seol-ak.
Q: How was the set atmosphere?
SSK: Yeol followed me well. I saw some people worried about acting for tormenting scenes, but actually set atmosphere was not heavy at all. I was nervous when we filmed the scene in the first episode where I had to grip small kid's thin neck. I felt Goosebumps and it was hard for me mentally. I was worried if Yeol would be ok, but she was more professional than me. Yeol is more cheerful child than any child I know.

Q: What is the scene you remember the most?
SSK: I remember I was sitting in the truck a lot. I don't drive (just have the license), so I was happy I could improve my driving skills this time.
Q: One word for Hyena (who plays Yeol)?
SSK: Hyena-ya. I hope you grow up cool and become great mom.

Q:How do you feel now that you finished filming.
SSK: 'Mother' gave me the opportunity to learn about acting and life. It was my happiness for last few months showing the result of filming hard to the viewers and sharing the feedback. I have not read the scripts from the point SA died. I plan to watch the rest of story as a viewer feeling anxious. I am very grateful that our production team could work with the pride "We are making a well-made drama" thanks to the cheers from the viewers.

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Wow.... Sometimes you get so into a story, you tend to forget these are actors, and they are earning a living and believing they can really make art. In this case, it is true. Mother is a piece of art and it is beautiful.

What a difference the evil character Seol-ak, from the evil kidnapper in SWDBS!! Not that the other actor didn't make a good job, but the writer didn't convey a comprehensived villain, whereas here, Seol-ak was very well portrayed and we got to understand a little bit. Son Seok-koo acted also very well. It is a villain we will most likely never forget... not a cartoon evil at all.
Thanks for sharing the interview!

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Mother is that rare gem of K-dramas that come along once in a blue moon with the perfect writing, directing, acting and everything else. Those people who complain about how K-dramas are all silly with piggyback rides, white trucks of doom etc. should watch this one.

That said, one of the few male characters in this drama, Seol Ak, is very interesting. Seol Ak is a famous and beautiful mountain in Korea and it seems like the writer is using mountain as a male symbol and ocean as a female one (a lot of mother-daughter bonding, escape etc. happen by the sea). Also, in Korean "seol" usually means snow and "ak" usually means evil. The Seol Ak character is very dubious in that he can be an evil masquerading as something good or evil that still has some purity, some redeemable quality left to him.

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That is because this is an adaptation or a remake of Japanese drama 'Mother' that this has no such usual tropes. I'm saying they figure out why the original is so beloved and manage to adapt it well into Korean specific social condition and NOT the Kdrama generic formula.

The Kdrama Mother has more emotional display and the usual complicated interconnection, which is fine. The Jdrama feels simple and grounded, more in realism and pensieve quality, and has less commanding music to dictate your mood and more sounds from nature to ground you, which I like.

I like the child more in the Jdrama but I like both versions. This 'Mother' is a well made adaptation which stays true, to an extend, to the original Jdrama.

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"Mother" has been the best and my favorite remake/adaptation ever!
I'm glad the writer kept all the characters from the original because none of them were useless.
"Mother" is the first of Yuji Sakamoto's dramas that I fell in love with. This man knows how to write realistic and complex female characters. I'm a fangirl for life.

I'd say good on TVN for getting Chung Seo-kyung from Chungmuro to do the script. She is no stranger to female centric. The female characters in her films all stood out.

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Thank you for that. I was noticing that the show was using winter and snow to give a sense of peril and a sense of claustrophobia to the situation these characters are in. A name like 'Seul-ak' being 'evil snow' fits that imagery.

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I'm currently watching two shows, this one and Misty. They're both excellent shows and I love both of them for different reasons. Mother feels a bit slower and heavier but not because it's boring. It's a deep, thought-provoking and honest drama about very real and unfortunately very common situations of child abuse and abandonment. It's not usually the type of drama I would watch but it's a nice change of pace and an eye-opener. Definitely one of the best dramas of the year.

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I'm catching up on last week's episode and I just wanted to say something about ep.11.

What a POWERFUL moment that was when Hye-na confronted (comforted?) Seol-ak and brought him to tears.
Just wow!

I'm continuously in awe of this little girl's strength. Both as Hye-na and the child-actress herself for taking on this role... and delivering on it superbly. She will go places.

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I also believed it was amazing and made cry as well. My parents were not so evil, but they were also not good parents and they abandoned us most of the time. Immature simply. But then again, even though I didn't have these kind of traumas (I had others), I could perfectly relate to those words and I felt totally touched and sad again. When I was little I used to say to myself: I my parents who had me don't love me, then who will? No one will.
It is a very sad thinking. Still today, I think it is sadly true (90%) of times. I found comfort in Christianity. But even knowing that, having a hope and having friends... I still feel inside that if my parents didn't love me, then no one else will. It hurts so much, but it shows how powerful is the influence of parenthood in our lives. It has to do with our origins, at least, here on earth. And it could take a whole life to change this feelings and pattern in our brain.
I loved when Soo jin acknowledged that both of her moms loved her. I think and she makes me feel she didn't believe it before. Maybe after that experience her relationship with two of them will get better. Maybe...
But really, I was shocked how beautiful and deep this show is. And as hard as it can be to talk about child abuse, this is something that has been happening for long long time. And the scars left, all these invisible wounds are source of pain, struggle, inferiority complexes and sorrow. It is all around in every country, social class and culture. It is a very sad part of our lives as a specie.

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Now that I watched it all, and was scared the whole time, even though it is still scary out there... still, now I can breathe... wow, this show kills me. Lee Bo Young is amazing!!!!

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Saya, thanks a lot for the post.Really thank you! Much obliged.

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This show is so emotionally amazing and powerful for me. The writer seems to be exploring what it takes and means to be a mother. For those women who give birth and those who don't. For those who abandon the children or choose to give them a better life. It seems to explore the pain of motherhood and the joy as well.

Every time I watch this I find myself in tears as I listen to each woman talk about her pain, from the pregnant woman whose child was killed by the evil boyfriend, to the woman who adopted Soo Jin, Soo Jin's birth mother who chose to 'give her up', and finally to the woman who gave birth to Yong Bok (I hesitate to call her a mother because of the choices she made). Ommah takes on so many different flavors and faces.

Watching this show brings out so many of my feelings as a mother and it is so powerful and painful at the same time.

Motherhood and parenting is different for all of us because we all learned what a parent is from our moms and dads. It isn't an easy thing - to become a parent - but once we experience that love it's game over. All we want to do is protect the child that has become a part of our heart.

Soo-Jin took her experience and became a woman full of intense love to make up for what she thought she didn't get (tho to be fair she got a lot of love from her adoptive mom), and Seol-ak used his experience to keep hurting others.
I know I'm rambling, but this show just gets me in the gut every week. It is beautifully shot, the music is sublime, the acting is incredible (especially Yoon Bok) and I hate to see it end.
Well done to all the cast and crew and especially the writer!

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Thanks for the recap @saya! It's interesting what you say about the show setting up the contrast between Yoon-bok and Seol-Ak and how she was the one who made him cry by understanding how he felt when his mother killed herself.

As I was watching it (I know I'm a week behind!) I felt that they were also contrasting Seol-Ak with Soo-Jin. Both were grown-ups who had been mistreated as children, but one of them goes on to murder children who were in the same situation as he was, whereas the other rescues one of them.

Too often (serial killer) dramas show that the killer had been mistreated as a child - as if that was a reason to 'understand' why he was doing it. In my view, Mother is saying: these two people both were abused as children, were both abandoned by their mothers, but see how differently they now act as grown-ups.

And I think that the prize for the most annoying sister in these episodes actually goes to the reporter, who didn't understand that she was strung along by Ja-young until Yi-Jing told her about the blackmail. She comes across as incredibly naive for a reporter. Instead of asking the woman some probing questions (hadn't she seen the evidence that the mother abuse Hye-Na? or at least heard that from the police?), she was having drinks with her. To write a balanced article? Then she went gone completely the other way and wrote a front-page article using info that her sister has given her. I think this girl doesn't understand the word 'balanced'.

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I think the producers knew they were dealing with a dangerous topic. After this episode (at least in the Drama Fever product) they spent a considerable amount of time showing behind-the-scenes footage of the actors joking and acting sweet with each other. As though they were telling us "Don't be too upset, this was only a TV show. Everybody's alright"

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