Angry Mom Episode 2: An intriguing mix of determined love for a daughter, violence, and campy humor lace this series. Mom goes back to high school as a student believing this is the only way to find out the truth behind her daughter’s bullying. Mom’s own past is a driver too.
Jo Gang Ja (Kim Hee Seon) busts some heads in the nightclub telling the men workers that she must see the boss. Turns out the boss is Han Gong Joo (Ko Su Hee) her old buddy from high school. They were bad asses back in the day.
We learn a bit about Mom’s past. Gang Ja’s nickname in high school was Bang Wool. Remember that name, she’ll use it when she goes undercover in her daughter’s high school. Gang Ja’s mother worked hard 365 days a real in an eatery. Gang Ja could not tolerate injustice and would meter our her own justice how every she wanted. For example, she broke windows of a terrible teacher. So Gang Ja is no saint. She does not sit on the sideline and watch.
Gang Ja tells Gong Joo they need to go back to school. It takes a minute for Gong Joo to realize what Gang Ja is telling her. She agrees. Now that’s a good friend!
Gang Ja tells Gong Joo the only way she can get the truth about the bullying is to go undercover as a high school student, gather the evidence herself, then press charges and stop the bullies.
Flashback to grim moment in Gang Ja’s past. It looks like she is being raped and Gong Joo watches unseen as the man beats Gang Ja too. Is the man the chairman?
Gang Ja is fearless and reassures her shell shocked daughter everything will be ok.
The judge Gang Ja sought out for help, but he did not hear her story, leaves her a voice mail. He tells her that she cannot solve problems by force. Park No A (Ji Hyun Woo), the sweet naive after school teacher, is the judge’s son. No A is fired via phone. This is the 7th time he’s been fired! The judge is supportive of his son.
Gang Ja told Gong Joo the only person at her daughter’s high school that could identify her is A Ran’s homeroom teacher. Recall Gang Ja made the bullying complaint to this teacher. Gong Joo and her henchmen get him to confess to his various bad behaviors by putting him an ice cream freezer. Yes, you read that right. It is a campy scene that works. The teacher keeps admitting he bad behaviors until Gong Joo has a sufficient confession to force him to resign. In a cute twist, he resigns via a messenger.
Down one homeroom teacher, the vice principal blindly picks No A from a pile of applicants.
Chairman (Park Yeong Gyu) meet with the director of education but the meeting does not go well.
Gang Ja listens then deletes the judge’s voice mail.
Gang Ja and Gong Joo head to the beauty shop. Gang Ja’s permed hair is straightened. Gong Joo will portray Gang Ja’s mother. Gang Ja’s story is that she is 19 and missed a year of school due to a weak heart. Gong Joo is funny and wise. She tells Gang Ja that beating a bully is easy but changing their behavior is not easy. Let me see if I can portray a campy sweet moment. Gang Ja and Gong Joo are in the back of the car with Gong Joo’s henchman the driver. Gong Jo sweetly tells Gang Ja that no matter what, when she needs a mother during this undercover time, she’ll be there. The camp is the driver weeping copious tears at the lovely interchange. The camp reduces the sweet but does not hide it, the balance is perfect.
Gang Ja explains to her husband and mother-in-law that she will be working longer hours with A Ran in the hospital.
Gang Ja reviews her daughter’s journal but most of the pages have been torn out. She does read her daughter’s rant that her mother does not have a right to be her mother. She complains her mother does not formally acknowledge her, instead publicly proclaiming A Ran is her dead sister’s daughter. Gang Ja is hurt but understands her daughter’s pain. She declares her choices were the only way she could protect her daughter.
After the meeting the chairman asks his assistant Ae Yeon if the Principal will do a good job laundering the money. She makes a noncommittal response. To my surprise, the chairman kicks her in the face. He proceeds to beat her off screen yelling he hates all women.
The chairman’s son, Hong Sang Tae (Baro), comes home from high school and realizes his father is beating the assistant. He goes to a room, and starts a motorcycle to drown out the sounds of the beating. That was a surprisingly effective scene. What a messed up home life Sang Tae has. Interesting the family photo had his father ripped out of the picture leaving only a young Sang Tae and his mother.
Gang Ja tells herself she protected her daughter 17 years ago with her actions, and she’ll act in her daughter’s best interest again.
No A excitedly tells his father the judge he got a job as a homeroom teacher in the high school. His father tells him “not to be like him.” He tells his sweet son that he sees things differently from everyone else.
No A leaves for his day of school!
Gang Ja leaves for her first day of school!
The chairman’s son, Hong Sang Tae (Baro), is dropped off at school and rudely brushes by No A.
No A is sweetly earnest when the vice principal introduces him to the other teachers. As No A greets his fellow teachers with enthusiasm, they recall when they once had that kind of passion for their teaching positions.
No A and Gang Ja are assigned to the same home room. Principal Do introduces No A first then Bang Wool (Gang Ja). He assigns Gang Ja her daughter’s empty desk. Yi Gyeong protests saying A Ran will be back soon. The vice principal ignores her outburst.
Principal Do and No A leave the classroom.
Gang Ja is horrified to see the hateful graffiti on her daughter’s desk. The mean girls start taunting her right away. The meanest mean girl Wang Jung Hee (Lizzy) makes fun of her name. When she notices Gang Ja crying she steps up the taunts. Gang Ja asks if Jung Hee wrote these horrible things. She states the former student deserved it.
Gang Ja cannot take Jung Hee’s statement that her daughter deserved the spew of hate on her desk. She takes Jung Hee’s head and bangs it into the desk. Then she take the second girl mean girl and hits her. She tells the third mean girl to lock the door.
No A returns to the classroom to confront Gang Ja and sees the door is locked. He peers in the class room and sees Gang Ja with a broom stick ready to meter out punishment to three girls. Bok Dong walks up behind Gang Ja and tells her to drop the broom stick. With a chill, Gang Ja recognizes Bok Dong’s voice as the one that threatened her daughter if she didn’t stop interfering. She is about to hit Bok Dong when No A stops her by grabbing her wrist. She puts a move on No A and puts him in a headlock easily.
Perky music plays as the episode ends.
* Another intriguing mix of determined love for a daughter, violence, and campy humor. The balance between all three work. It makes the show darker and interesting. Mom’s past must be connected to the present day bullying but she and we do not know how. The violent attack that Gang Ja suffered was shocking. I wonder if that was the chairman and if A Ran is the result of rape. Mom’s past relationship seemed similar to her own relationship with her daughter. Mom’s bad ass ways in high school were impressive though the scenes had an element of camp too. The mix of camp seems to lessen the emotional intensity of the violence, tenderness, etc that is portrayed in scenes. I like this element of the show.
* Gang Ja (Kim Hee Seon) is a fierce woman that has been living a quieter life than her youth would indicate. Her renewed friendship with Gong Joo was a delight. Loved the way, she put the smack down on the mean girls and was unfazed when Bok Dong told her to back off. She is an equally opportunity vigilante – male, female, or authority figure, they are all fair game.
* Park No A (Ji Hyun Woo) was still sweet and naive. Nice tie in that he is the judges’s son. The judge seemed to indicate he was not as nice as his son. I look forward to more interactions between No A and Gang Ja now that he has remembered who she is. Will she bring him in on her plan to find the bullies and the reason why her daughter was bullied?
* The first song of the OST was released 2015-Mar-25. “I Love You, I’m Sorry” by ALi. It is clever that the OST is called “Period 1” versus “Part 1” to tie in the school reference. Listen to the song via the link or the embedded video below.