Angry Mom Episode 1: An excellent first episode. Our mom is not a shy flower. She tries to help her bullied daughter. The official channels fail. The system is stacked against the victims. What will Mom do next?
Meet Jo Gang Ja (Kim Hee Seon) who owns a local eatery. She is a bit of a bad ass and not afraid to express herself. She has rules for life (e.g. “the one with the loudest voice usually wins” or “money is power”).
Her Achilles heel is her daughter, Oh A Ran (Kim You Jung). A Ran is smart and beautiful. She’s a good friend to Jin Yi Gyeong (Yoon Ye Joo). The girls are regularly bullied but have managed to keep this under wraps from their parents.
We see A Ran and Yi Gyeong getting hassled by some girls. One boy, Hong Sang Tae (Baro), makes a phone call and is rescued by a tough kid. I’m not sure rescued is the right term, but the mean girls stop bothering them.
Ah, there’s Park No A (Ji Hyun Woo), a sweet naive teacher.
Poor Gang Ja is facing what every mother of a teenage daughter faces – withdraw. A Ran’s life is no longer an open book. She shies from her mother’s touch. She is embarrassed by her mother.
On a rainy night Gang Ja tells her husband (Oh Jin Sang (Lim Hyung Joon)) and unappreciative mother in law (Kim Ji Young) she is going to pick up her daughter from the study session at school. Gang Ja is dressed casually in her daughter’s gym clothes. When A Ran spots her mother waiting across the street, she pulls her aside and tells her to go home.
Hurt at the rejection, she drops her umbrella and heads for some soju. No A sees her drop the umbrella and tries to return it believing she is a student (due to the gym uniform). Gang Ja shrugs him off. He is horrified when she orders soju. He tells the proprietor not to serve a minor. Gang Ja gives him an earful and angrily exits.
When she returns home, she finds her daughter asleep in bed. As she tucks her in, she spots bruises on her daughter’s wrists and scabs on her knees. A Ran wakes and tells her mother she fell in gym class. Gang Ja does not believe her.
Chairman (Park Yeong Gyu) is acquitted and released from jail in the traditional wheelchair. Once he gets home he promptly beats the man that put him there. His assistant, Joo Ae Yeon (Oh Yoon Ah), looks like she might be an undercover cop but that’s a guess at this point.
Gang Ja decides to pursue official channels about her daughter’s bullying. She talks to a teacher at the school. The principal Mr. Do interviews students individually. When Mr. Do speaks to A Ran he recommends she disentangle herself from Yi Gyeong. A Ran refuses saying Yi Gyeong is a friend and “I’ll protect her”.
Gang Ja goes to the police. They cannot do anything unless her daughter provides a statement.
Gang Ja goes to court, to a judge that handles theses cases. She enters the courtroom and sees a bully tearfully confess his sorrow to his young victim. The judge asks the victim if he is willing for forgive the bully. Touched by the bully’s tears the young victim agrees. Gang Ja asks to speak with the judge but he puts her off. He suggests she wait in a nearby cafe and he will come to her soon. She waits, but the judge never shows. As she exits the cafe, she sees the bully from the courtroom hassling his young victim again. Gang Ja heads to the court where she sees a mother screaming at the judge. Her child is dead because she followed the due process as he recommended. She screams the bullies killed her child in the end. Horrified, Gang Ja exits.
Ah Ran walks home and realizes she is being followed. She runs into a dead end. A knife is put to her throat. Thoroughly frightened, she can only nod as the kid tells her she better stay out of the situation. “You do not know anything”, “Don’t blabber”, and “You are a pesky fly that will be squashed”. It is apparent Yi Gyeong is the primary target. Why?
Gang Ja finds Ah Ran bloody and bruised and frightened. As she tends her daughter’s wounds she sees a text come from Yi Gyeong. Determined to get answers she heads to school to find Yi Gyeong and question her. At schools she asks students to point out Yi Gyeong. No A tries to stop her. She physically shoves him against a wall and tells him to get out of her way. She is a bad ass!
She follows students and is unnerved when one of them walks behind her a whispers to her “If you keep pushing this, your daughter may die”. There’s a flashback to her high school days when she was beaten by a boy (the chairman?).
When Gang Ja returns home she finds her daughter hiding under her desk. A Ran pleads for her mother to “save me”.
* Excellent first episode. I’m intrigued. Our mom is not a shy flower. Her love for her daughter drives her to tackle the bullying head on. The official channels failed. The system is stacked against the victims. What will Mom do next?
* Gang Ja (Kim Hee Seon) was bold, brash, and bad ass when she let loose. Her husband seems a bit boring and deferential to his mother who is not a fan of Gang Ja. You felt Gang Ja’s pain and confusion at her daughter’s negative attitude and rejection. Teenage daughters are emotionally changeable giving Mom’s a roller coaster ride. A Ran is challenging Gang Ja. Her love for her daughter pushed her to pursue the proper channels which were a dud. I must note the nightclub scene was a bit ridiculous, but that was minor. What will Gang Ja do to “save” her daughter, the most important person in the world to her?
* Park No A (Ji Hyun Woo) was sweet, naive and willing to engage Gang Ja. He got quite a shock at how bold she was. Hyun Woo is one of the reason’s I decided to give this series a try. His first series after returning from military service, 2014’s Trot Lovers, was just ok as the writers produced a cliche heavy drama that the actors could not elevate. I’m hopeful this series will better showcase Hyun Woo’s acting talents.
* The high school character actors all seem fine. The adult character actors seem fine too. It will take another episode or so to figure out the connections.