Mother: Episodes 13-14 (Open Thread)
There are two ways to watch this show. One is as a fugitive thriller, and the other is as a human melodrama, and I think Mother’s very effective as both, though sometimes one dominates the other. As we close in the fugitives, it’s surprisingly not the thrill of the chase that takes the forefront. The mother-monologues continue to be the highlight of the show, and this week’s episodes provide much more fodder for the heart… or perhaps it’s actually the other way around and your heart becomes the fodder for the show?
EPISODES 13-14 WEECAP
Soo-jin and Yoon-bok narrowly escape detection from the police on the boat by splitting up, and the pair fall in with a father-son couple who are commemorating the mother’s death. They mistakenly believe that Soo-jin is terminally ill and end up bonding. Soo-jin decides accepts their offer to travel back to the mainland together.
Once there, Soo-jin and Yoon-bok find their images plastered across every screen, causing the father-son pair to find out their true identity. They’re almost trapped by police, and at the last minute, the father (who had earlier vowed to turn the pair in if he found them, not knowing his passengers were the pair in question) distracts the officers so that they can get away.
Soo-jin heads straight for the harbor, intending to catch the boat that would take them out of the country. The broker needs more money since smuggling them got harder after Soo-jin’s case blew up, and so unknown to Soo-jin, Hong-hee heads there too with the payment, unaware that Detective Lee is on her tail.
Soo-jin is just feet away from catching the boat when a whole troop of police cars closes in. She’s finally captured, though even the detectives aren’t happy about it. Soo-jin and Yoon-bok are torn apart, each screaming for the other as the chase is finally over.
Madam Cha records an interview with Hyun-jin to refute the smears against Soo-jin. Thanks to Hyun-jin’s impartial reporting, the tide of public opinion is largely on Soo-jin’s side. Ja-young demands an open trial with a jury, confident that Yoon-bok won’t testify against her.
There are plenty of witnesses testifying at Ja-young’s trial—Seol-ak’s ex with the recording, Madam Cha, Teacher Ye-eun from Mooryung. But it falls apart when Ja-young finds out in the courtroom that Hyun-jin is also Madam Cha’s daughter, causing an outcry. Hyun-jin’s work is discredited and she ends up losing her job.
With Soo-jin in custody, Yoon-bok has been placed in an institution. We find out that Soo-jin left her a letter in which she told her how loved she was, and then a lovely instruction on how to make friends with other children—to help the ones who were struggling, to play with the ones who were alone, and so on.
She outwardly appears to be doing fine, but when Detective Lee comes by, the director tells him that it’s an almost flawless front, and that she’s much more damaged than she shows.
He meets her himself and he tells her that Soo-jin’s fate depends on why she did what she did, and only Yoon-bok can say if she was in sufficient danger to justify Soo-jin’s act.
Yoon-bok doesn’t want to talk about what happened to her at Ja-young’s hands, but the director explains that if she doesn’t, then she could be sent back to live with her.
At Ja-young’s next hearing, Yoon-bok finally speaks. She describes the night she was put out in the trash to die, and how Soo-jin rescued her. It’s a damning testimony and the courtroom is stunned. Ja-young is given the maximum sentence of seven years for child abuse and attempted murder.
Soo-jin also awaits trial, but unlike Ja-young, has no intention of defending herself. After the first hearing, Detective Lee gives her a handwritten message from Yoon-bok, while Hong-hee rebukes her for not thinking of Yoon-bok and fighting back.
At the next hearing, she still makes no defense, but Detective Lee testifies strongly in her favor. (And hello there, crafty Prosecutor Kim! Ha!)
She finally breaks her silence when she’s asked for her closing words, and haltingly tells the courtroom about her childhood abuse. She says she never had any intention of becoming a mother, but after discovering Yoon-bok, she couldn’t bear to let go of her, and could only think of how to protect her in the immediate moment.
She brings the whole room to tears, and to everyone’s relief, the judge doesn’t give her a jail sentence, just 18 months’ probation. Released from custody, she goes home after first visiting Madam Cha.
Late at night, Yoon-bok secretly calls her from the institution, and both of them cry for missing each other.
“Mom… please kidnap me one more time,” Yoon-bok begs.
Help me out here, guys—is Soo-jin not allowed to meet Yoon-bok due to her probation, or is she avoiding her for some reason? I was under the impression it should be plain sailing now and she should be able to legally adopt her, so I’m not quite sure what the problem right now.
I can’t help being disturbed every time Yoon-bok shows just how good she is at fabricating and dissembling. It’s definitely a survival skill for her—and a very necessary one—but it feels wrong on such a primal level to see a child capable of that level of complex planning. In every recent situation, Yoon-bok’s the cool head with the right reflexes. Without her quick thinking and street-smarts, Soo-jin would have been found out in a second.
I know it’s convenient that Soo-jin is always helped by the people she meets, and it does sometime seem a little easy, however, I appreciate that we rarely know until the final moment whether those people will throw their lot in with her. It reminds me of Two Weeks where even if she’s been painted as a kidnapper (or a murderer, as in Two Weeks), she’s able to gain the belief of the people who come into contact with her, and they never doubt her sincerity or love for Yoon-bok. So far, her helpers have been either people who’ve had a long-term relationship with her, or have come to form one, such as in the case of Dr. Jung.
With this week’s allies, the grieving father and son, there was something different about that brief night, and the strength of the connection forged over (what he perceived to be) a shared grief. It’s the first time the show has shone the spotlight on fatherhood, and I found it a painful and touching vignette. It was even more moving because while we spent time with the father and son, their story and the father’s words to Soo-jin felt to me like a reminder of the everyday heroism of mothers and motherhood, in the women who go unremarked and unstoried, but deeply loved and treasured by those they touch. That’s the emotion that brings me to tears.
With finale week ahead, I can honestly say that I have no idea where we’re headed or how, but I’m not even bothering with tissues anymore. Make me cry one last time, Mother, I’m ready.
- Mother: Episodes 11-12 (Open Thread)
- Mother: Episode 1
- Premiere Watch: Mother
- Tight embraces and secret flights for tvN’s Mother
- Lee Bo-young asks a child to run away with her in Mother
- Supporting cast lined up to join Lee Bo-young for tvN remake Mother
- Lee Bo-young becomes kidnapping Mother in tvN comeback project
- Lee Bo-young to become Mother for tvN remake
- Lee Bo-young courted for tvN’s remake of Japanese drama Mother