“Angry Mom” Episode 16–Is True Justice Possible?

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In the first episode of “Angry Mom,” Kang Ja (Kim Hee Sun) came face-to-face with a legal system that didn’t care about how much her daughter Ah Ran (Kim Yoo Jung) was suffering. In the finale of “Angry Mom,” that legal system finally turns its gaze on the adults who made Ah Ran’s life so miserable, and the result is a realistic, satisfying conclusion to Kang Ja’s story.

These were my five favorite scenes of “Angry Mom” episode 16:

1. Sang Tae reunites with his mother

It broke my heart to see Sang Tae and his mother apologizing for not being able to protect each other. Both of them have been victims of Hong Sang Bok, but they feel guilty for not being able to fight back. Neither of them deserves to feel like that, but it’s totally understandable that they would.

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2. A mother’s duty

This short scene felt like an encapsulation of one of the main themes of “Angry Mom.” Han Mi Joo, Sang Tae’s mother, feels uncertain about testifying against Chairman Hong, fearing for her son’s safety. It’s an understandable reaction—Chairman Hong is an expert intimidator, and he threatened Sang Tae with the goal of keeping Mi Joo silent. But Yi Kyung’s mother, who kept silent after Yi Kyung’s death in the hope of protecting her son, is on hand to explain to Mi Joo why silence can’t be an option. If Mi Joo doesn’t say anything, then she’ll be allowing men who caused the deaths of children to roam free. She might save her own son temporarily, but who’s to say for the next time? And even if Sang Tae were safe, how could Mi Joo allow other children to be in danger? The best way to be a mother is to be bold—speak up for what’s right, and protect your child and all children that way. It’s a really lovely message.

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3. It’s a betrayal festival!

I guess there really is no honor amongst thieves. At this point, Ahn Dong Chil has betrayed Chairman Hong and Ae Yeon, while Chairman Hong betrayed Do Jung Woo, who betrayed Ae Yeon and Kang Soo Chan, and now Ae Yeon is betraying Kang Soo Chan after already betraying Chairman Hong… Wow. That is a lot of betrayal, but it’s undeniably fun to watch.

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4. Ahn Dong Chil starts to atone for the past

At this point, Ahn Dong Chil has done so many terrible things that the rest of his life wouldn’t be enough time to make up for all of them. But I really appreciate that he’s trying. He finally clarifies to Ah Ran that she is his niece, not his daughter, and then he helps Kang Ja avoid Chairman Hong’s violent revenge. He even apologizes for blaming her for his brother’s death! None of this erases the bad he’s done, but it’s never to late to start being good, in my book.

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5. Nine months later, and Bok Dong is still staring dreamily at Kang Ja’s back

I don’t know why it’s so important to me that Bok Dong’s crush survives, but it is! I love that even though a lot of time has passed, he still carries a torch for the classmate/ajumma who taught him that he deserved so much better than what he had.

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Final thoughts and feelings

Overall, I thought this was a really strong ending for “Angry Mom.” It was hopeful, but without losing sight of reality. Yes, the main perpetrators go to jail, but not for as long as they should. The secret ledger remains secret, protecting who knows how many corrupt politicians. Chairman Hong and Kang Soo Chan don’t realize the error of their ways, even after a guilty verdict. The “rotten society” that Prosecutor Jung refers to can’t be magically fixed just because enough people got angry. The work of fixing it will take a lot longer than anyone wants to acknowledge (am I the only viewer who really hopes that, ten years from now, there’s a sequel series about Prosecutor Hong Sang Tae searching for his father’s ledger? I would seriously watch that!).

This is an appropriately clear-eyed, realistic ending for a drama that has always felt grounded in the faults and flaws and vices that govern human behavior. That’s what I’ll remember “Angry Mom” most for—its deep understanding of human nature. None of the good guys are purely good, and though some of the bad guys are basically purely bad, they nonetheless possess a kernel of humanity. Take Do Jung Woo, one of the more repulsive drama characters I’ve ever come across. He had a sexual relationship with a student, impregnated her, and killed her. He is just about the worst that humanity has to offer. And yet I felt for him in this episode. What he did isn’t excusable—he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison and that’s what he deserves. But it’s easy to see how the anger, loneliness, and pain of being unwanted and unloved by his father helped shape him into the cruel, selfish man he became. He’s a terrible person, but he is a person, and it’s a tribute to the writing and Kim Tae Hoon’s performance that his humanity always came across.

That goes for just about the entire cast, though. “Angry Mom” had a wealth of onscreen talent, from Kim Hee Sun, Ji Hyun Woo, and Kim Yoo Jung on down the line. The obvious breakout is the phenomenal Ji Soo, but I was also really impressed by resident idols Baro and Lizzy, and by Go Soo Hee as Gong Joo, the best friend imaginable. The world of “Angry Mom” felt like a real world, populated by real people, and that’s just about the highest praise I can offer.

Were you satisfied by last night’s finale? What are your overall opinions of “Angry Mom”? Let us know in the comments below!

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Watch episode 16 of “Angry Mom” here: