We were all excited for Lee Bo Young’s long-awaited return to television, and the heart wrenching and thrilling “Mother” has certainly delivered. It’s emotional, frustrating, and sometimes difficult to watch as the adorable Hye Na (played by Heo Yool) suffers in an abusive family, but the other side of this drama is beautiful, filled with amazing performances, quality writing, and nail biting suspense that has us turning to the next episode with bated breath.
Just four episodes in and I’m completely hooked! There’s so much to love and so much to love to hate, but since we can’t review every scene: here’s a look at 6 things we loved and 3 things we really hated about “Mother” episodes 1 through 4.
1. Loved: The cinematography
Soo Jin (Lee Bo Young) loves birds; it’s a big character trait that inspires a lot of her early interactions with Hye Na and drives the plot in a way, as both female leads choose to migrate, following the birds to a better life. This leads to a lot of beautiful shots of migrating birds and stunning scenery but we do wish they’d stop going on about birds all the time.
2. Hated: The couple from hell
Most-hated couple on television ever? When they’re not lying about beating their child, they’re neglecting her, calling her disgusting, or literally putting her in the trash! When Seol Ak (Son Suk Goo) described killing Hye Na’s hamster, he really solidified his place as the worst human being ever and that was before we heard about him throwing a five-year-old off a balcony.
Ja Young (Go Sung Hee) is a complex character; she’s so easy to hate, and it would have been easy to write her as a one-dimensional villain, but there are moments in the later episodes when she seems pitiful and desperate. Her actions up to that point are unforgivable and her character is one of the worst in dramaland, but the performance by Go Sung Hee is incredibly engaging and the writing is commendable.
3. But Loved: Song Ye Eun picking up on their creepiness immediately
What a star! Ye Eun (Song Yoo Hyun) doesn’t come across as the easiest person to be around; she’s pushy and stubborn and just a little bit shrill, but who else would you want in your corner if your parents sucked and no one seemed to pay you any attention? Ye Eun is literally getting in everyone’s face about Hye Na’s obvious injuries and could tell who was to blame as soon as she set eyes on the creepy parents. Then she’s totally in Soo Jin’s corner when she rescues Hye Na and asks for her help. Go Song Ye Eun!
4. Hated: Kids bullying Hye Na at school
This was basically one scene, but it was a hard-hitting and very well executed moment that got the ball rolling on Soo Jin and Hye Na’s relationship. Like Soo Jin tells Hye Na when she’s cutting her nails, dirty children who are clearly not cared for become targets for bullies and bad people, and poor Hye Na has clearly fallen victim to this. The girl sitting next to her in class says she doesn’t want to eat near her because her nails are dirty, and everyone passes their trash from lunch back to her table.
5. Loved: Hye Na’s book of things she likes
Hye Na is so positive, innocent, and sweet, finding joy in little things like Soo Jin smiling or a cup of cafe latte.
6. But Hated: Hye Na’s book of things she likes
As innocent as her entries are, they actually ring true of a girl who’s seen things she shouldn’t have and is trying to cope with her trauma by holding on to what small joy she finds in life. When she tells Soo Jin she wrote the name of the little boy her step father killed, because everyone else had forgotten him and she never would, it is just heartbreaking and far too mature for her few years.
7. Loved: Soo Jin willing to risk it all
Just kidnap a kid, why not? It actually comes as a bit of a shock considering the actions of her character up to that point. She’s reserved, composed, and mindful of her actions and her interactions with other people. She doesn’t seem to want to get close to the children she teaches and pushes Hye Na away a few times before warming to her. Then suddenly she’s all, put this hat on and call me Mom. I guess finding a young girl in a trash bag will do that to a person.
8. Loved: Clara raising everybody’s kids like a boss
Originally introduced in flashbacks, Clara is the one person Soo Jin thinks of when she needs help and someone she feels completely safe with. She’s a larger woman with a big flowing skirt the children in the orphanage would hide under during games of hide and seek, she’s calm, knows how to approach frightened children, and likes children who eat well.
Even years down the line when she’s going senile and doesn’t remember much, she has lucid moments in which she’s a caregiver again, offering sound advice and generally being awesome.
9. Loved: That geeky bird conversation
What a couple of nerds! I’m not sure there’s room for romance in this drama, and it’s not definite this will go beyond a bit of flirting over a mockingbird mating call, but nevertheless, this moment was very sweet and a welcome escape from all the drama!
At least we know they’ve got more than just the birds in common, since Jin Hong (Lee Jae Yoon) seemed willing to risk it all for Soo Jin after just one awkward date. He found out Hye Na’s real name isn’t Yoon Bok as Soo Jin led him to believe, but still offered to let them live with him and to give her medication unofficially!
What did you think of the first episodes of “Mother”? Let us know in the comments, and if you haven’t already, start watching the drama below!
MizWest is an English Teaching Assistant with way too much time on her hands. When she’s not watching dramas or shaking it to K-pop, she’s studying everything Korean culture with a view to move out there some day soon!