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Mother: Episodes 15-16 (Open Thread)

Mother has never been about just one mom, and its final act is an ode and a prayer for all its forms. It’s definitely a finale of two halves, and where Episode 15 breaks you open and carves out your still-beating heart, the next stitches you back together again.

Tissues advised, and maybe go find your mom (biological or otherwise!) and squish her. In case you missed it, the big news is that our show was nominated in the first Cannes International Series Festival, so Mother, fighting!

 
EPISODES 15-16 WEECAP

The terms of Soo-jin’s probation forbid her from having contact with Yoon-bok, so she pours herself into being a dutiful daughter in Madam Cha’s final days.

One afternoon, Hyun-jin uncovers a tin buried in the arboretum and discovers an adoption document along with a number of videotapes. They show Yi-jin as a baby and a little Soo-jin asking Madam Cha to keep her adoption secret, which, woah.

Yi-jin finds out. Soo-jin takes responsibility, explaining that she didn’t want people to look down on Yi-jin the way they looked down on her, but Yi-jin is too upset to listen. Her anger dissipates after watching all the videos, and she makes peace with her mom and Soo-jin.

Hyun-jin guesses that she must also be adopted, and Madam Cha offers her one further truth: Jae-beom ajusshi is her real father. Madam Cha calls Hong-hee to make her peace there, too, and tells her it’s her dying wish for Hong-hee to become Soo-jin’s mom again. She breaks down crying when Hong-hee gifts her with Soo-jin’s baby clothes and pictures.

That night, all the family, including Hong-hee, Jae-beom ajusshi, and Dr. Jung, have a grand gala of a dinner. Madam Cha retires early, and tells Soo-jin that her only remaining regret is the hurtful things she said to Yoon-bok.

Meanwhile, Yoon-bok has secretly been preparing to run away from her orphanage in Mooryung. She makes her way to Seoul after sneaking away during a group trip, and finally arrives at Soo-jin’s doorstep. They’re delighted to see her, although Soo-jin has to take her back the very next day.

Yoon-bok slips off to Madam Cha’s room in the middle of the night, and they’re overjoyed to see each other. Yoon-bok gifts her one of her Matryoshka dolls representing Soo-jin, and falls asleep beside her.

Madam Cha slips away from life with a sigh, quoting a lament from a character she’d played—a young mother who passed away, leaving her child behind.

Because of Madam Cha’s funeral, Soo-jin and Yoon-bok have an extra day together. They visit Mother Clara before returning to the orphanage.

Fast-forward two years, and Soo-jin is living with bio-mom Hong-hee, while Dr. Jung still comes to her to get his hair cut. (Why aren’t you together, though?!) Soo-jin’s probation is up, and she gets a last-chance offer to finally go to Iceland. She’s excited about going, but wants one last glimpse of Yoon-bok first.

Soo-jin discovers that Yoon-bok is about to be adopted out from the group-home she’s currently in, and seeks legal advice about whether she can adopt Yoon-bok herself.

One of the main conditions is to get approval from Yoon-bok’s current guardian, but the foster mother harshly refuses, even when Soo-jin gets on her knees. The foster mother tries to speed up Yoon-bok’s adoption, but grows worried over the child’s increasing distress.

The new parents finally bring her back after she gave them a note asking them not to take her away, adding, “I already have a mother.” Yoon-bok finally speaks when the foster mother asks what her mother’s name is, replying, “Kang Soo-jin.”

The foster mother reads the book Hyun-jin just published on child abuse, which has a whole chapter on Yoon-bok’s story, including Soo-jin’s words in court. Combined with Yoon-bok’s distress, she at last gives Soo-jin her approval.

Together at last, Yoon-bok takes Soo-jin to a place where she buried a box of keepsakes of their time together, and eagerly reclaims her Yoon-bok identity. She just can’t stop smiling as she’s reunited with grandma Hong-hee and the rest of the family.

Over a noisy, fun-filled dinner, they talk about the future, and Yoon-bok says she’s already become what she wanted to be: Yoon-bok, a child who eats delicious food with her family.

Sometime later, Hyun-jin produces a documentary interviewing Soo-jin, Yoon-bok, and others in their story. When asked why she wants Soo-jin to be her mom, Yoon-bok answered, “Just… because she’s my mom.” Soo-jin mused that just as children are born, she thinks moms are born, too.

A month later, Soo-jin and Yoon-bok visit the sea, and Yoon-bok can’t believe that Soo-jin is really her mom now. Sitting among the dunes, they reminisce over the past, and sigh in deep happiness at the present.

 
COMMENTS

There really is no writing to do Episode 15 justice, you have to just watch it. It felt to me like a lingering love letter to life from Madam Cha—not in a broad, abstract kind of way, but a very specific one in having been able to live this life of her choosing, and in being able to become a mother not once, but three times, despite the absence of all ordinary conditions. It’s such a powerful testament to her will, isn’t it?

In another show, all these birth “secrets” could feel cheap or convenient, but this all fits so perfectly with who Madam Cha was. I’m sorry that I thought at first that she perhaps adopted Soo-jin to feed her own vanity in some way, or fulfil some sense of her own self-worth.

Of all the things that moved me, that moved me most—that she brought these girls into her life not to serve herself, but to be a mother to them and so serve them, in the purest form possible. That’s not to say there isn’t refuge or reward in it for her, but it’s not the desire for some gain that drives her. As much as she had a hungry heart, I’ve loved the slow unfolding of the fact that she’s a wellspring of undemanding love.

I don’t think the show ever really adequately explained the estrangement between Madam Cha and Soo-jin. Ten years is a long time to disappear, and then to come back only to ask for money. It seemed like something really ugly must have happened… except it didn’t. That’s one quibble I have with the story.

I was worried about spoilers before, but I’m curious now to hear how the Korean version differs from the original. From some of your comments last week, it seemed like its ending was much more bittersweet, so to anyone who’s watched both, what were your thoughts? I’m also curious to know who your favorite characters were, and whether you guys related to one specifically more than the others.

I’ve said this before, but I really think it can’t be said enough times just how fantastic it is to have a show so totally driven by and centered on women. These characters were so engrossing and real that I’ll remember them for a long time. It didn’t tell a story of “mere” motherhood, it told a dozen variations of it, from vicious to heart-wrenching, and every one different. And then it went further and took us into daughterhood, sisterhood, and even fatherhood. I can’t even tell you how much I loved Yi-jin’s son saying that he wanted to be a dad when he grew up. Yes, go you!

Our daughterhood story started with Yoon-bok but ended with Soo-jin, and I love that everything came full circle for the two of them, and in some ways, their relationship developed in reverse. Soo-jin finally understood how to be a daughter once she was “born” as a mother, and under that fierce protection, Yoon-bok was finally able to become a child. It’s amazing how much expression and range young actress Heo Yool showed in this role—she’s definitely one to watch for the future.

As for sisterhood, I feel like that was the real parting gift Madam Cha left her daughters with, and how wonderful to see the three of them together in such an easy, uncomplicated way. They all came out of her loss with different things, and all of those things—peace of mind, courage, conviction, gratitude—are what have helped them refashion their lives into something that gives them contentment. They live slowly now, savoring their moments. This is the feeling that sticks with me most: that we would treat people more preciously if we thought we might lose them. So maybe we should all go and hug someone we love right now.

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Goodness!
I never thought I'd say this, but thank you for making me cry so much, show.
This was a MASTERPIECE. Perfection through and through.
I expected excellence and excellence I got.
I'm so overwhelmed by the beauty of this, that I don't even know what to say.

Goodbye, Mother.
I loved you as much as the distance between the heavens and the earth

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Oh and THANK YOU so much @saya
On every weecap, it felt like you stole all the words from my mouth; but said it even better and more eloquently.
Your recaps are always wonderful.💖

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hank you Saya for the recap. I just want to say that I really appreciated all your efforts. Aww Mother you ripped my heart to shreds then put it back together again in the last 2 episodes. I just want to give a shout to actress Lee Hye Young for her wonderful performance as Madam Cha. Omg I was crying buckets and finishing two boxes of tissues.

This show redefines the meaning of motherhood. It is more than just giving birth but rather putting emphasis on the amount of love and sacrifice that one person can give into a child. And how that motherly love can shape the child's life and give courage to face the harsh reality of the world as an adult. Madam Cha as an actress played so many roles in her long career but I think we all can agree that motherhood is her favorite lifetime role. She was a broken woman when she met Soo Jin in that orphanage. However, she found her true calling of becoming a mother because of Soo Jin. And against all odds, Madam Cha fought for her and never wavered in her determination to love that child. As a character, she was not perfect with her controlling and possessive ways towards her daughters which I think is the main cause of animosity between her and Soo Jin. It was not until in the finale episodes that Soo Jin realized that she was destined to be a part of her adoptive family and that strong motherly love given by Madam Cha became her source of strength and courage to throw everything away and take Yoon Bok from that horrific situation. It is such a poignant take away lesson from this show.

Thank you to the Mother crew for giving us such an amazing show. I have no regrets watching the show despite all my ugly crying. To Lee Bo Young, girl saranghae! you are forever my girl crush. Thank you DB for the updates.

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Unrelated topic, Saya I hope you will also do recaps on the next TVN show My Ajusshi. I just saw the previews of that show, and seems it is another tear jerker from hell:( I don't think my heart can take it anymore but for the amazing Kim Won Suk I decided to brave it out. I wish DB will be kind enough to give us an open thread at least.

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I agree that My Ajusshi's trailers look to be preparing our hearts to be broken and hopefully mended again later. Would so love to have a proper recap or at least weekly weecap. Thank you so much in advance.

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This drama was so satisfying to watch even if it does rip your heart to bits at times. I love everything about the acting, directing, cinematography that this show did and really hope it does well at Cannes. This show was enjoyable to watch not because of a makjang plot or hot, young cast but it was very truthful, honest, and reflective. It's treatment of human relationships was done so delicately yet passionately and I really appreciated that. I know it's not the original, but props to the original drama for creating such a wonderful story.

Thank you for the weecap! I'm grateful this show got picked up for open thread along the way, because I had a really great time and enjoyed hearing everyone else's opinions about this show.

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+1000

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Thanks for the write-up!

Before even started watching this show, I knew I am gonna cry buckets, not especially bcs of other's warnings but bcs of the title itself. I made sure I can solely concentrate and started watching.

And, am sure many did(if not already, pleas do so now!), even though I had a small fight with my mom, I wanted to soooo mannyyy times to call her, hug her and say to her how much I love her. And I did..

It touched on a matter something that's relevant so much on today's world. Child abuse - sexual or otherwise, there are that many kids around the world who don't have a teacher who could rescue them, a mom who could shelter them as their own...a mom who couldn't find that strength or couldn't fight to protect her kid.... I pray that they do, for at least the sake of our future, for you kids_/\_ I pray that their smiles are saved...#STS

One of the moments that touched me was when Yi-jin's son said he would like to be a dad. That moment made me fall in love with this show again...

To Mother - in every sense possible, I love you as much as the distance between the heaven and Earth...:-))

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Thanks for the recap, Saya. Been waiting for this since i first saw it on the "next recap to post". Agreed with you that the show "didn’t tell a story of “mere” motherhood, it told a dozen variations of it" and weave it into an awesome drama. Glad that the hard work of the production team is rewarded with the nomination at Cannes. My heart skipped a beat when yoon-bok is about to be adopted by another couple, what a relief when both are now reunited. Anyway, the show really show us about the myriad shades of a mother very well.

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To be moved in such a manner and form, which is what this drama did at every episode was something special. You experienced the highs and lows, the beauty and the warts and all. They never used the ‘standard’ tricks to get you invested in it. There were no quick fixes and resolutions, it moved at a very natural and sometimes frustrating pace, as life does.

I have enjoyed this one so much, my only very tiny ah sucks thought is that we did not get to explore more of Yoon Bok’s travels in the time in between. Perhaps we did not need to, as we saw enough to know she was sliding off and almost fading away. Soo Jin and the doctor would have been nice, but was not a central part of the over all aspect, and I think would have been a distraction to the whole.

The characters and actors portrayals were spot on. It starts a little detached, but once it has you, you never want to leave. This I am sure, will remain one of my most enjoyed and liked kdramas, as it was so supremely done. Thank you for any and all recaps as they help me to understand the presentation so much better.

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"I can’t even tell you how much I loved Yi-jin’s son saying that he wanted to be a dad when he grew up. Yes, go you!"
Admirable. I remember in the final ep of Dae Jang-geum, Jang-geum asked her SUPER cutie of a daughter what she wanted to be in the future. And with a bright smile,she replied;"A Mom!"
Jang-geum was taken aback with amusement, and the girl explained that Dad advised her to be as smart and kind as mom, not only with cooking wonder foods but with helping people all around with a heart full of compassion,and simply being AWESOME.
And no,it wasn't at all about predetermined gender roles or anything. It was about parents being just awesome to the level that the child sees it and being a responsible person as the highest thing reachable in life.
Though I only followed you through recaps (because I'm wimpy) thank you MOTHER, and congratulations on Cannes.
I'm going to at least watch the final episode!

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Watch it all!! You will become someone else... simply someone better after the 16 hours.

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Thank you @saya ! A beautiful recap and commentary befitting of a beautiful beautiful drama.

I am at loss for words to describe this precious gem or perhaps I am afraid mere words will not do it justice. This is a rare show which is not only intelligent, well-crafted and artistically put together, it also very perceptive on what makes a woman 'mother' and the love and bond between mother and child. The way it dealt with child abuse and the impact on abandoned and abused children is one of the best I've seen.

I came across a comment elsewhere that ep 15 is fillerish. I couldn't believe my eyes. I suppose that viewer wanted to see more 'action' like Yoon Bok's escapades or Soo Jin fighting to get her back and found Mdm Cha's death a disruption. It was the opposite for me. I never knew an episode to send a character farewell would be so beautifully and meaningfully done. I also bawled like a baby. Isn't it amazing that the last word Mdm Cha said was "Mother"?

When Seok Ak died four eps ago, I was pleasantly surprised. An ordinary drama would have kept the suspense probably till the finale week and devote the last episode to address Yoon Bok and Soo Jin's fate. I am so glad that this drama made good use of these precious last few episodes to address the real issues at hand.

Although the ratings were good for this genre, I wish more people will watch this. Well, at least it got the Cannes nomination.

I love Mdm Cha's farewell ode or rather her theater lines so much that I wrote my own farewell to this drama on the fanwall :
Goodbye Mother. Goodbye. Goodbye, our drama. Yoon Bok. Hye Na. Goodbye. Goodbye to Halmeoni, Finger Halmeoni. And Soo Jin Eomma. Oh, Drama, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Goodbye.

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Not only was Mdm Cha's last word was "Mother" but it seems like many of the episodes end with the word: Mother?

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Thank you for your beautiful good byes. I also don't think episode 15 was a filler, not in the least. Actually, it was the most beautiful from all the 16, but of course, episode 16 was the most rewarding, because we got out happy/melancholic end; which was also the beginning of their lives together as mother and daughter. How amazing is that??
Soo jin is the ideal mom for Yoon bok, she is courageous, sensitive, tender and smart, but I also loved she was never a super woman. She had to kneel down in order to receive the approval of this woman and become suitable to request the adoption. She had to receive the help of so many people throughout her journey, and she even broke down and gave up a little bit a couple of times. So human, simple and fragile sometimes. I cannot love her enough. I wish I were a man to fall in love with her. But wait... Lee Bo young is married. Also, forget it, I won't become a man. LOL 😂
But I hope you get the point. I am absolutely in love with this drama.

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Episode 15 was my favorite. Maybe it was someone who had seen the original which was only 11 episodes.

I was really nervous with 16 eps. I was hoping they would do it in 12 because I was afraid that she might go down paths that she wouldn't have time to explore.

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Yes, Kiara. I realize the original is only 11 episodes, and I was like: ok, now I have to watch the original, in order to find the differences. But I don't have the strength to watch the original right now. Also, I have the feeling I will always love this one better, because it is the first one I watched

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It's hard to compare because I love them both and I do have a lot of respect to Yuji Sakamoto the original writer.
"Mother" is among the best of his dramas.
Jeong Seo-kyeong deserves a standing ovation for this remake. The best I've seen.

"Mother" has a couple of remakes in different countries speaks volume to Sakamoto's writing.
I haven't seen the Turkish version yet but I'm willing to try it.
I think it's called "Anne."

I do understand the first love thing. I do feel a special connection to the original because I watch it first.

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I bet. Thank you for your insights without spoilers!!! 😅😍

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Found the Turkish version but no subs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7gX0wvQhg0&t=9s

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thanks for the weecap!!

mid ep 16 when soojin continually wondered how else she could legally adopt yoonbok, i found myself internally yelling for Dr Jung to adopt yoonbok, and soojin to marry Dr Jung (that would work right?) but maybe that was just my poor shipper heart :/ that aside, i honestly felt it would’ve been nice for yoonbok to have an actual fatherly figure. her birth mom was replaced by soojin as a mother, but yoonbok never got to experience any sort of a fatherly figure other than seolak, who was very much not a father. I think i read somewhere that children growing up without fathers causes them to have less confidence? maybe in the case of soojin & yijin & hyunjin jaebeom ahjussi basically played that fatherly role and helped them grow up well, but i guess since this is mother, the emphasis wouldn’t be on fathers...

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unfortunately I knew the romance angle was hopeless cause they wanted to stay faithful to the motherly theme of the original show ... but still i feel sorry for the ship dr jung was perfect for SJ ... when he said she was like a rare bird he knew he cant touch >>>but maybe since they are staying in korea he will keep getting his hair cut and trying

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In the final episode I kept on looking at how many minutes were left to see if there would be more Dr. Jung and Soojin although my brain told me no, I didn't want to believe so I kept on checking. 💔💔💔

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It is true. Children who grow without father, unless their mothers are like wolves, fierce and super women, lack self confidence. I know because that happened to me too. My dad is alive and a good person, but he was not a good father and he was not there. The result: my life is a mess. I don't harbor resentment. But am sure it could have been better with him in my life. I loved him like crazy... But what I can do? He didn't love me back the same. That is just the way it is. Some people love their children, some don't.

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I know what you mean. I'm a man who grew up without a father from age 6. My mom was great - a real version of the one in this drama - but a good father as well would have helped so much. Men out there - you're needed by your children - don't abandon them.

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Thank you for your words. I hope you are a good one. Me, due to abuse and bad things in my family. Too many bad examples, to many of my cousins being pregnant by themselves, and even my uncles leaving some of their children behind because the relationship with the woman failed and they got themselves another woman... even until today, I cannot trust men. I can't. I think most of them will do the same

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Suddenly having hopes for season 2 to be on Father where yoon bok gets a precious father (hopefully Dr. Jung) and where Yi Jin's son becomes a great father.

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Oh, right! and Jaebom ahjussi too!

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shjskdkskdjs now i want that too

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I feel like the field was wide open for something to happen eventually with the doctor. Instead of going to Iceland, she stayed home in Korea for Yoon Bok. This particular drama storyline was all about Soo Jin and Yoon Bok. But you know, without being able to resolve those issues, there's no way she'd be able to reach out and deal with a romance, too. I think the doctor is a patient guy. And I think that eventually, something with him will happen. Just not within the bounds of this 16-episode storyline.

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What a beautiful show! And I can't emphasize enough how much I loved the soundtrack, which was primarily instrumental. Many Beanies here may know this already, but I am very critical when it comes to drama sound tracks. This drama hit all the right notes for me. :)
Congrats to everyone involved. And thanks, @saya, for your weecaps and commentary.

Regarding Madam Cha and Soo-jin's estrangement:

Yes, this is one thing that the show did not address directly. I see it the following way: Soo-jin had so many unresolved issues regarding her life pre-adoption; in combination with feelings of abandonment, she could not fully give herself to Madam Cha. We know that she tried to escape as a teenager, when she ran to the monastery. In fact, she wanted to sever ties with both her adoptive and biological mothers. I think that there was so much baggage and pain. And Soo-jin could not remember much of her early childhood, due to the trauma she experienced. I think that this left a hole in her spirit, so to speak, one that might never have been filled without the closure she received while on the run with Yoon-bok. Perhaps Soo-jin couldn't fully accept her adoptive mother's love. And perhaps she felt that added weight of becoming the daughter of a beloved and renowned actress.

What does everyone else think?

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When her biological mother tied her to the tree, it sounded like she was going to come back for her. I felt that although she'd forgotten but inwardly she was still waiting for her biological mom to get her which was why she couldn't fully accept Madam Cha. It is kind of like Yoon Bok waiting for Soo Jin and not wanting to accept any other person as her mother.

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That's what I thought too @mel. Madam Cha was to Soo Jin the couple in the car were to Yoon Bok. They would have made perfectly fine parents, only Yoon Bok was waiting for her mother like Soo Jin was waiting for hers. I think that we saw it in a flashback that Soo Jin didn't want to be adopted at all.

Only after Soo Jin made the connection with her biological mother and became a mother for Yoon Bok, did she appreciate what Madam Cha had done for her and could love her without guilt.

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I love that you made this connection between Madam Cha and Yoon Bok's adopting parents. I didn't realize it until you said it. I did see that Soo Jin was treating Yoon Bok the way Madam Cha did for her when Madam Cha told her that she can keep trying to run away. Madam Cha will always go looking for her. The translation seems stalkerish since it's Soo Jin who is choosing to run away but Soo Jin also told Yoon Bok that she would look for her wherever she goes so that Yoon Bok wouldn't feel alone. In Yoon Bok's case, it was to comfort her since she was being taken away. I think Soo Jin understands what Madam Cha meant in context of Yoon Bok's fear. "I'll always be there for you" is what I hear.

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Yes! That is a very good point. It's like Soo-jin's life was put on halt. She was waiting for someone who did not return (until much later, that is, and not deliberately. After all, her birth mother was resigned to staying away from Soo-jin).

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Abandoned children often think that "if my own parents didn't love me, no one will"... It doesn't matter how much other people try, it is a very strong feeling of not deserving, not expecting and worse of all, not believing it could happen. I tell you from my own experience, for I have suffered similar things like Yoon bok.
So most likely Soo jin could not believe it, as much as she received that love anyways, but could not believe madam Cha could really became her mother and loved her like her own mother didn't.
These broken pieces of a heart crushed by own parents are very very hard to heal.
I loved the fact that Yoon bok said Hye na was dead. She had to die, psychologically, (she changed her name) in order to become someone else's daughter. She assumed a totally new identity, and kept it until the end, as a healing process. Soo jin never did that. She ran away.
That is also why it was necessary for her to go through everything she went through becoming a mother, so that she could become a daughter finally. She said it herself. So beautiful how they benefited one another, soo jin and yoon bok... 😍😍😍
And their relationship killed me and healed me as well, a little bit. Because I always wanted to have a new mother, and I am still crying for the lack of... in my life, in the past and also in the present. And I am over 35 years old, and my biological mother has already passed away.

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What a beautiful analysis!!

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Thank you for your insights and thank you for sharing this bit about your life.

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this is THE most beautifully done drama i have ever seen and i've seen a lot of them. the writing, the actors,the music, the directing everything was done to perfection. so happy to see it will be at Cannes!

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OMG. I know I will write the same as many have said already. I know I am not original. But how much I love this drama??? How thankful and grateful I feel that it made me fear and cry and suffer?? Does it make sense that me, being also a victim of different types of child abuse would feel like this and actually want to watch this show over again???
Somehow very inside of me, yes... It is kind of therapy for me.
It is amazing that I can feel so touched, because it is like: out there someone understands what I have gone through.

So thank you, thank you, show for the simply fact of being made. Thanks to Lee Bo young, thank you, Yool... thank you sooo much, Lee Hye-young... For making me feel so great pain, sorrow and relieve.
I will miss this show. It was the most beautiful of 2018. I can predict that, 100%. Flawless... amazingly beautiful from beginning to end.
Wow, it is like... wow... when can I go to Korea to personally meet these girls?

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Thanks for the weecap @saya. This was a wonderful drama.

I was surprised that the other girls thought they were Madam Cha's biological daughters because I'd thought from the beginning that all three of them had been adopted. I thought that maybe the married sister was going to have to be the one adopting Yoon Bok (I would have been okay with that as an ending too) and I loved that the sisters and the kids were really one big family. So lovely.

And it looked stunning too. I loved the colours that they used: a colourscheme that always reminded me of the sea, the beach and migratory birds.

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So far my favourite drama of year... I hope it's not stay that way at the end of the year. Because we hope more of good drama to come right? But so far thank you for make me shed alot of tears.

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Same. This was best of this genre. Now I want a really good romance drama or a sageuk.

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Waiting for noona who buys me food... 30 march seems so far away

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Thanks for the recaps Saya. I love this show and i’m so glad its nominated at Cannes😁..

I don’t know about you all, but I needed tissue watching each episode.. This is truly a show that tells story of all kind of mothers and i’m so glad i watched it.

I didn’t quite understand why Soo-Jin keeps running away as well, since madam Cha was quite a loving mother, but I take it as her not wanting to follow her mother’s way of life..

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It's a perfect drama. But I still kinda mad that Subway still manage make it's way to this drama. I wish the few PPL in the last two episodes weren't there.

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Yah but I'm glad there was so little PPL except for Subway. I mean show gotta make some money but at least it was so subtle not like Goblin! I hate it when shows insult my intelligence with blatant PPL.

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Thank you @lollypip for the first recap. I decided to watch it live because of that.
Thank you @saya for the wonderful wee caps and @mary for listening to our pleas.
Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts and love for "Mother." Hope we'll meet again in another drama.

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Thank you! I'm crying reading your open thread recap.

Nah, I need to marathon "Mother" this weekend. :)

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If you do it, pay attention to what @hobakky have said under😉.

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:))))))) Noted, @javinne. I actually had planned last weekend. But then I was stuck with "Master in the House" and the premier episode of "Live."

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Still, I wouldn't binge it all the way over a weekend, but try to space the time I watch... For it is very very very strong and I don't know how much you could cry in every episode...
You will find your way. For each of us it is a different experience.

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yes, thanks! I actually watched episode 1 and 2 long ago, but I had to give it a pause and thought I need to wait till the final episode because as you said, it's a "tough" drama. I'm sure I'll cry a lot. :)

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Oh my goodness @saya

Your write up made me tear up! I think that’s the first time. These last two episodes had me bawling like a baby! I am so taken aback by how beautiful and moving this drama is! Thank you so much for picking this up! This drama needs to be discussed! There is just so much here! Thank you!

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Note to Self (and other beanies): Do not watch binge watch tear-jerking dramas while sick.

Between the constant runny nose from my cold and crying multiple times a day while marathoning this show over the course of 48 hours, my poor nose couldn't handle it and ended up gushing out blood halfway through the last episode lol Perhaps the show needs to come with a warning: "Excessive crying may cause horror-film like nosebleeds. Watch in moderation."

It was totally worth it though :) Even if my room looks like a murder scene now...

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Now THAT is a kdrama-worthy reaction! (Nosebleeds being common and all in dramas...)

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I'm late to the discussion but so thankful for the weecaps and this open thread! I'm so glad it didn't end the way the Japanese original did which basically was the scene where Sujin brought Yoonbok back to the orphanage after Mdm Cha's death (but why did Yoonbok look so happy to be back and smiling while leaving Sujin? That didnt' make sense to me).

Ep 15 was so emotional and at first I wondered if the drama trope of birth secrets were really necessary but then it felt like Sujin and Mdm Cha were closer to each other from the start because they both shared the secret about Yijin and Hyunjin all those years. Sujin seemed like a mini mum to her sisters, like Hyunjin said. I think Sujin's sisters and the viewers like us may have thought Sujin ran away because she was the only non-bio daughter and felt bad about that. What a twist!
I think Sujin was estranged from Mdm Cha because she just did not know how to handle her mother's strong love. Perhaps she felt unworthy and it is a commentary on the long shadow inflicted by child abuse. Like Mdm Cha said, Sujin's nature was cold. It was only when she learnt to accept Yoonbok's love that she learnt to accept Mdm Cha's love as well. And much as I hoped and wished she would marry Dr Jung and then adopt Yoonbok, I think it may be more realistic this way. A woman who was beaten and strangled as child by her mother's boyfriend may need a lot more time to accept a man, no matter how perfect he is. Kudos to the drama for not forcing a romantic ending!
I'm also glad the drama gave some depth to Yijin, she wasn't the greedy jealous sister we saw in earlier episodes, she was frail but caring and brave. And I loved Jaebom ahjussi, who would do anything and everything to help Mdm Cha and her girls (remember how he had to drink with the gangster to get Yoonbok's passport). Goodbye show, you were worth the tears!

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"A woman who was beaten and strangled as child by her mother's boyfriend may need a lot more time to accept a man, no matter how perfect he is"... girl, you cannot be more right. These kind of mistreatment and mostly sexual abuse can cause a woman to hate or despise all men, because her inner core of trust is broken from an early age, where she would have learned the other way around. I am not sure something like that can be repaired. Maybe years of therapy.

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At least growing up, Sujin had Jaebom ahjussi, a stable reliable male presence. That may have helped...

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Is it possible that the show did not explicitly show why Soo Jin was estranged from Madam Cha? At first, it seemed she may not have liked being parade on TV with her famous mom which made Madam Cha seem selfish and superficial. Then at the end when Yi Jin made a huge fuss about being adopted and being proud to be Madam Cha's bio mom, I kept asking if it's a huge stigma in Korea to be adopted? I couldn't understand it since it's not really a big deal here but it sure seems so. That may explain the assumed discomfort that Soo Jin had as Madam Cha's adopted child, especially when it's made publicly known on tv for all to see. For Korean audiences, this was probably a given so the show didn't need to be in our face about it for Soo Jin. Based on watching historical Kdrama's where blood relation is often emphasized, I'm willing to lean toward YES, it is a stigma in Korea and that is sad. For me, it explains Soo Jin's behavior toward Madam Cha.

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Oops, I meant to say: Is it possible that the show did not explicitly show why Soo Jin was estranged from Madam Cha because being adopted is still taboo in Korea?

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I do understand why people would think that something really ugly and big must've happened to cause 10 years of silence on the part of Soo-jin. However, I must admit this is something I suppose comes from people who have at least somewhat normal relationships with their mothers and who love their mothers. To cause such a relationship grow cold for such a long time something big must happen, I can believe that.

However, on my part, I can understand it very well. This is deeply personal but here goes nothing. I have a mother who loves me - and yet I do not love her. Nothing really ugly or big ever happened, quite the opposite, in fact. I'm not gonna go into details, it would be a long story, but it's about countless of tiny things that have caused this rift. Personally, I would be fine seeing my mother maybe once a year and talking on the phone occasionally.

Soo-jin's situation is not the same as mine because she obviously does love her mother - both mothers, in fact. However, I think it showcases how it is not necessary to have something major to happen to cause a rift between two people and how if a person is a well of never ending love, that might not be enough. It debends also how you raise your child and loving parents make mistakes, too.

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Am I the only one who already thought that Yi Jin and Hyun Jin are also adopted child? I forgot the episode, but it's the scene where Madam Cha, on her bed, told them that they are all her children even when their father is different. I automatically assumed that they are all adopted and they already knew it. So when the secret box was opened, it didn't surprise me and I scratched my head because it's different from my previous assumption 😅

Anyway, it's my favorite of the year drama, and I don't think there will be such a perfection in the near time which can rival it 😉 Fighting in Cannes Mother !

( And thanks for the open thread @saya 😊 )

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I remember that scene but I also remember that Mdm Cha had been married a couple of times so I put it down to that. There was a scene with her and Jaebom ajusshi where she was talking about one of her good for nothing husbands and his affair..

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Ooh.. I forgot about Madam Cha's ex-husband (s) (?). I thought she only got married once before she found out the affair and met young Soo Jin at the orphanage.. 😮

Aah.. I think I should rewatch that part 😁

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I think if I remember its the scene where Mdm Cha was discussing how to divide her assets that she mentioned an ex husband. But I think I just assumed she'd been married a few times because when she mentioned to the girls that they all had different fathers, none of them reacted and they would've freaked out at that point like they did later if that meant they were adopted. If she had them without a husband around, the girls would have grown up subject to all kinds of gossip which they didn't seem to have been unlike Sujin?

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I watched J-version a while back and remember I enjoyed very much except the ending (They met again only when the girl became 20 years old). PD said J-version was dry (I agree) so he tried to add K-drama flair. (I agree- it was a lot. One time I even thought isn't this Makjang?)

I checked the comments in DCINSIDE drama gallery in Korea- which included "Ep 15 was epic", as well as some sarcastic comment like "Conclusion - if you want a child, just kidnap an abused pathetic child."
As for me, I am grateful they gave us happy ending. I heard the writer did lots of research and interview for this show, so I think such ending could be possible even though it feels unrealistic.

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Ooh.. It had different ending? I had wanted to watch the original version too, especially when I found out that original Yoon Bok was being played by Ashida Mana and she looked soooo cute 😆

The first time I saw her was in 2012 J-dorama Beautiful Rain and she's really good in that tear-inducing drama

Thanks for your sharing, I'll try to check Mother's original version when I have time from the current airing dramas ☺

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The original was grounded more on reality. Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Kidnapping Reina (Hye-na) was a pretty daring thing to do.
Considering the culture and the law it ended in the most realistic way.

Ashida Mana seems to have a successful career so far and she is only 13.
I had no idea that her Hollywood debut was in "Pacific Rim" until a friend pointed it out.

I think Heo Yool has a bright future and I can't wait to see her next drama or film.

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I never once thought while watching this show “Isn’t this makjang?”, and I think that’s a testament to the directing. This director has skill in being able to make moments seem dramatic and cinematic without going overboard. Nothing ever felt cheap or contrived. With a less competent director, or one who had a flair for the needlessly dramatic or shrill, a show like this could easily descend into makjang territory. Instead, this clearly felt like a “human drama”. I wouldn’t call it low-key, but it definitely wasn’t bombastic. It was thrilling and dramatic while staying rooted in the emotional core of the story. “Sensitive” is a good word to describe this show, I think.

And of course the writing had a lot to do with that as well. I know the source material is wonderful (although I’ve never seen it), but it takes a talented, skilled writer to adapt a show like this and make the changes that she made while staying true to the original and keeping its quality.

Funnily enough, I also never even thought to use the term “birth secret” when the fact of the girls’ adoptions was revealed. That’s such a makjang term, and as I said, this drama is not makjang. The revelation fit with the show’s themes and didn’t seem at all out of place.

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I don't get the makjang feel at all when watching Mother and I measure that through my annoyance meter. This show has heart in every turn of events and I think that makes it not makjang. I love how you explained it.

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I like this ending best. In the original version it seemed they hinted that Soo Jin might have killed the man and her mother took the blame for her. I was never really sure. And I could not get over Soo Jin not being allowed to see Yoon Buk for 20 years at the end of the drama. In the original story the writer was much more forgiving of the birth mother; you kind of understood her in a way and she definitely repented her treatment of her daughter. In this story I liked how they wove in single parenthood throughout the story. It's tough being a parent, especially if you are alone or do not have a committed partner. In either story I did not understand the estrangement between Soo Jin and the adoptive mother. Still this was an awesome drama. It did justice to the original story and I think improved the ending.

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I pondered over the question of what led to such a serious estrangement between Mdm Cha and Soo Jin that the latter disappeared for 10 years without contact.

I was drawn to @Arawn's explanation that it wasn't necessary for something big to have happened.

If I didn't recall wrongly, Soo Jin told Yoon Bok that she tried to run away several times. I guess this was a sign that despite Mdm Cha's love and the presence of family, something was never quite right between mother and daughter.

Mdm Cha may not be an easy person to live with. She had a forceful personality and certain expectations of her daughters. She even went as far as dictate Soo Jin's styling. So, was this the issue? That Soo Jin wanted to escape the grasp of a domineering mother? I think not because Soo Jin is just as hard headed. It might be an issue when she was growing up but as an adult, she can obviously live as she pleases.

Did Soo Jin not love Mdm Cha? I don't think so. I think the issue is that Soo Jin could not love herself. She must have thought her abandonment was because her biological mother didn't love her. Unlike Yoon Bok, Soo Jin could not accept that she can be loved. In turn, it affected her ability to love others and form deeper relationships until Hye Na came along. It was also being a mother to Hye Na that she understood the love Mdm Cha and her biological mom had for her.

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what i recall is that Soo Jin was unhappy/resentful receiving so much PITY after doing the tv show with her mother, as such she explained to Yi Jin why she didn't want her to know about her adoption...

i disliked Soo Jin for always stressing her biological tie, etc. she was so insecure that she had to keep fighting to be the "favorite/perfect" daughter...

in the end, i loved the reconciliation between the sisters and ahjussi, too.

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I don't know about you guys. But as a dude, who just lost his father, and who's been having some recent problems with my own mother.

This show has really made me reflect on the important matters, and yes, I cried a lot... I think all the emotions that have been pent up from the last few months, just came rushing out when soojin and yoon bok was separated , and reunited.

One thing that I really liked the show for doing was each character was so fully fleshed out, I wish I had such a great relationship with all my siblings like this.

Too bad, real life is a bit different and more complicated.

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What a powerful and heart-wrenching/warming drama. I was looking forward to watching it when I saw that Lee Bo Young was the lead. But, the drama and Bo Young far exceeded my expectations. Hye Na/Yoon Bok and actress Heo Yool are both precious children. The evolving relationship between mother and child for Soo Jin/Yoon Bok, Madame Cha/Soo Jin, and Hong Hee/Soo Jin were all heart-wrenching/warming.

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you say you dont understand estrangement between SJ and actress mom
I do AND MAYBE lby DOES AS WELL
DOMINEERING mother and tiger over protective mothers are very destructive
I have been living with mom all my life yet we have a horrible relationship cause she cant understand that I am a person and not something she wants to put in a cage ... we keep fighting all the time I know her love is terrible but I also know she almost

wrecked my life and I keep trying to fix it>>>she kept me from developing naturally cause she keeps seeing me as a child and that is very serious problem that prevents me from living away from home

funny enough LBY might also relate... in her interviews she stressed that her very domineering mother prevented her from having fun ...she kept dreaming about getting married or running away from home
as an ex LBY till her she thirty something had a curfew I think it was at 10
LBY says she understands her mother did it for love
and I also understand however the damage is not to be taken lightly

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I loved the sisterhood at the end, too. And the little boy wanting to be a dad when he grew up.

I admit that I related a lot more to Finger Halmoni than to Actress Halmoni, but when it was her time to go, man, Actress Halmoni was majestic, and I totally cried.

Also, I will never be able to read The Runaway Bunny without crying.

Also, that was one of the best dramas ever made. That little girl, Heo Yool--HOW is a possible for a child that age to have that kind of acting ability?! And that was a life performance for Lee Bo Young. And the writing. And the cinematography. And the music. And oh, my, just the life affirming, mother affirming, love affirming message of the entire thing. This was a beautiful, beautiful drama. <3

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Madam Cha, why couldn't you have lived at least another month after Soo Jin was able to adopt Yoon Bok? Why?! With Soo Jin's renewed love for her Madam Cha and her abandonment scar healed, I was hoping to see how Madam Cha would interact with both Soo Jin and Yoon Bok in happier times. I get the sense that Madam Cha would sprinkle a bit of magic for each of them in a way that's tailored to each of their personalities in the same way she has with Soo Jin and her two adopted sisters. I love how they made her departure from this world so beautiful and meaningful. She said goodbye to major things and little things. I think this is why I really appreciate Madam Cha's character. Her only regret was what she said to Yoon Bok so I was hoping to actually SEE her rectify that when Yoon Bok showed up. I'm still waiting because she tied up her loose ends really well except for this one thing. The gift of Soo Jin's baby clothes and pictures took me by surprise...Madam Cha actress was WOW!

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I know everyone, including myself, keeps saying Mother is so heartbreaking and possibly scare other viewers away from the show. I want to clarify that the heartbreak is because this show beautifully showcases many roles that a woman plays in life...birth mother, single mother, adopted mother, abused mother, abusive mother, lonely mother, selfish mother, sacrificing mother, never-gonna-be-a-mother, group home mother, homeless mother, deceased mother, daughter, sibling, caretaker in the form of teachers, school administrators...and so many more(??). That's what makes this show so fascinating. The different facets that are all presented in ONE show and each role manages to hit you in the heart from in ways that repels you and warms up your heart in just one scene. I don't leave watching this show with anger or disgust. It's quite uplifting when you see Mother able to showcase things that are very meaningful to me as a female viewer. I bet male viewers would enjoy this too.

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Not to nitpick but the timeline regarding the funeral didnt make sense. Its like she died, had the funeral, cremated and ashes collected all within 24 hours.
Also, Yi Jin's husband was practically non existent throughout all the important family events including the big family dinner and the funeral. We only saw a glimpse of him during an unimportant scene. Were they divorced already? It didnt seem like it.

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This, for me, is a drama-of-the-year-level-drama. I enjoyed it thoroughly, even though at first I was sceptic. I prefer romance dramas, but it's lovely to see something that is so interesting that you don't care about whether there is romance or not. I felt every emotion, not only from the characters (actors), but also from the film itself: I felt the emotions through the cinematography, the writing & directing.

Well done to the whole crew, it will be a great year for dramas if we get more productions like this.

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I absolutely loved the Japanese Version of Mother and I was elated to see it being retold as a Korean Drama especially with Lee Bo Young being the lead but I didn't want to watch it because of the original ending. I don't think that my heart would be able to take experiencing that ending again. So I chose not to watch it but being that LBY is the actress, I have been going back and forth with my decision. I am glad that DB recapped this drama, I decided to come and catch the finale recap to see how it ended. Thank goodness. Now I can watch the entire series without having anxiety. This is one of the very few dramas, Korean or Japanese, that had and still affects me emotionally. Thank you!

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I created this account to put my thoughts on this drama. I may be late in the game, but Mother has been a splendid piece of work by tvN.
I hardly ever tear up when watching dramas, but Mother has proven me wrong on many occasions otherwise.

I am very impressed by the child actor Heo Yool. She managed to fit into her role with extraordinary skills when it comes to her emotions given her age. Yoon Bok has captured the complexity and essence of her role with such accuracy that makes it really hard to feel that it was actually a child acting it out. I agree with what Saya mentioned, that she is definitely one to look out for in the future.

I like how the story closes in the end. The 3 sisters become even more more bonded after the passing of Mdm Cha, Hyun Jin accepted Jae Beom, and Yoon Bok is happy with her mom. The beauty of this drama is that it deals a simple concept of motherhood in such a way that allows us to be more appreciative of what we have currently.

I would highly recommend this touching and beautiful drama over most overrated romance dramas. This drama is indeed one that will make you cry and feel so thankful at the same time.

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