THE SHORT VERDICT:
Well-written and executed with an assured hand, Angry Mom is a dark horse in dramaland that manages to be engaging, thought-provoking and consistent, in spite of its varying tones and sometimes difficult subject matter.
Kim Hee Sun does an outstanding job as our titular Angry Mom, and the rest of the ensemble cast is pretty excellent as well.
Almost everyone manages to deliver heartfelt, layered characters who feel like real people, and together, they amplify their drama world by making it feel all the more real, by extension.
Hard to watch at times, but so worth the journey.
THE LONG VERDICT:
On paper, Angry Mom’s premise sounds fun, yet quite ludicrous. I mean, Badass Mom dons a uniform to go back to high school, to solve her teenage daughter’s bullying-related problems?
My first thought was, this sounds potentially amusing, but how is that even borderline believable, that a 30-something mom would be able to pass off as her daughter’s classmate, right?
As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Not only does Kim Hee Sun pull off a high school uniform with ease, she looks pretty darn fantastic, thankyouverymuch.
Also, while Show milks the funny from the situation as I’d expected it to, it actually does one better.
It also manages to be meaty, thought-provoking and, well, quite different from the average show in dramaland, which is quite an accomplishment any way you slice it. Big props and serious respect for writer-nim, PD-nim, and the entire production team.
OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Here’s the OST album in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.
WRITING & EXECUTION
Focus & Tone
Despite its light-sounding premise, Show is actually a lot darker than one might first expect.
With its unrelenting focus on bullying, violence and other predatory behavior, Show was undeniably hard to watch at times, it was just all so bloody and violent and sad.
Let’s just say that at those points, it made other high school shows – including my beloved School 2013, with its fairly hefty serving of angst – look like fairy tales in comparison.
Considering that this is a drama on a Big Three network rather than on cable, that’s a Pretty Big Deal, I think.
At the same time, Show does an excellent job setting up our story so that in just the first 60 minutes, it becomes not only plausible, but even inevitable, that Mom Jo Kang Ja (Kim Hee Sun) take things into her own hands, because no one and nothing can be trusted to protect her daughter otherwise.
Both the writing and directing are excellent, thoughtful and assured. Frame by careful frame, PD-nim creates a dark, foreboding, troubling world where our characters don’t know who to trust.
At the same time, writer-nim does a great job fleshing out characters in a three-dimensional way, and we are consistently given a firm sense of our characters’ emotional journeys.
[TRAUMA TRIGGER | SPOILER ALERT] For viewers with trauma concerns, please be aware that there is a narrative arc that involves (highlight to read) predatory behavior including rape of a minor. If this is a trigger for you, this might not be the show for you. [END ALERT]
Throughout its run, I was really, really impressed with Show’s pacing.
At the end of almost every episode, I found myself impressed with just how quickly Show chose to reveal various bits of information &/or back Kang Ja into a corner. And mind you, Show did this consistently.
Just when I feel like Kang Ja’s backed fully into a corner, Show ups the ante in the next episode, and backs her into an even tighter corner than the previous episode.
It always feels like Kang Ja has no wiggle room left, and that Show might run out of places to take the story, but without fail, writer-nim finds a way to expand the story in a way that continues to make sense. That’s serious skillz, yo.
This kind of boldness in the writing felt very fresh, coz most dramas hold onto their cards for as long as possible, to stretch out their story.
Not so Angry Mom. I felt like writer-nim dared to push the envelope as far as it needed pushing, and the reveals, tight corners and very effective cliffhangers were staples in this show before it even reached its halfway point.
This was a show where, from the get-go, I was interested to watch the next episode, and soon. Impressive indeed.
What I find quite fascinating about this show is that it doesn’t really feel like a typical kdrama. Instead, it’s got a unique flavor all its own.
On the one hand, it faces some hard topics with unflinching, gritty determination, and is far from being romance-centric. Which kinda makes this show as badass as its angry mom, coz they’ve both got bigger and more important things to focus on than romance.
On the other hand, Show allows for some recognizable kdrama conventions, and gives everything an overall treatment that is warm and hopeful.
That warmth and hope is, essentially, one of the big draws of kdramas in general, and is instrumental in making this show the ultimately heartwarming, uplifting watch that it turns out to be.
Yes, there are times when believability is a stretch, but the storytelling is so very assured, and the emotional throughlines so clear, that I always feel like I can absolutely trust Show to take me where it’s going.
MY FAVORITE CHARACTERS
Kim Hee Sun as Jo Kang Ja
Kim Hee Sun is simply outstanding as Kang Ja, seriously.
Not only does she totally look the part (how youthful does she look, right?), she delivers the role with so much nuance that she completely and thoroughly brings Kang Ja to life.
Whether she’s being an ahjumma, a concerned mother, the new girl in class, or the most fearless fighter in school, she consistently rocks it all, and is a genuine pleasure to watch.
Kim Hee Sun imbues Kang Ja with a simplicity, earnestness and determination that is equal parts admirable and endearing.
In a drama world where rules don’t do a thing and authority figures are more to be feared than trusted, Kang Ja’s courage in wielding her own brand of justice is impressive in all of its rogue glory, and I rooted for her, so much.
There are so many things that I love about Kang Ja. Here are just a few of ’em.
1. She’s So Badass
I love, love, love Kang Ja’s brand of badassery, which is made up of single-minded fists and fury, a nothing-can-stop-me fierce protective instinct, and a distinct I-don’t-care-what-you-think swag.
There were So. Many. Times. in the show that I was in awe of Kang Ja’s badassery.
Like when she first goes to school, and within minutes of actually joining the class, proceeds to beat the best fighter in school Bok Dong (Ji Soo), while fending off earnest Teacher No Ah’s (Ji Hyun Woo) attempts to break it up, no less (above).
How great is it, that the school jjangs end up respecting and even liking Kang Ja so quickly, that even the true power wielder, Chairman’s son Sang Tae (Baro), makes a move to prevent her expulsion?
In particular, I was awed by Kang Ja in episode 9, when she simply walks into Dong Chil’s (Kim Hee Won) trap without batting an eyelash, and faces him head-on without a hint of hesitation.
She gave me chills with her fearless determination in the face of the very real danger posed by Dong Chil.
Kang Ja wears her badassery with poise throughout the show, facing all manner of threats and traps even when she herself is afraid or worried. Not only for the sake of protecting not only her daughter Ah Ran (Kim Yoo Jung), but also the entire student body at large.
She’s just So. Freaking. Awesome.
2. She’s All Heart
Another thing that I love about Kang Ja is that beneath the badassery, she is all heart.
The fact that Kang Ja started this entire journey out of a specific desire to protect her daughter, but then so naturally and instinctively expanded her protective instincts towards a bigger group and a greater cause, says so much about her.
When we meet Kang Ja, we see that she’s a typical mother; a bit of an ahjumma, whose cares and concerns revolve around her daughter, her family, and her livelihood. She has no interest in politics, nor does she see herself as a vigilante.
But when she realizes how much the students are suffering because of the corruption in school, she takes on their cause as her own, simply because it’s the right thing to do. Notably, Kang Ja never doubts that for a moment.
On top of this, throughout the show, we see Kang Ja showing empathy and kindness to the people who cross her path.
I love how she shows care and concern for Bok Dong, even when everyone else simply sees him as a bully. And how she encourages and supports No Ah, even when she’s undercover as his student.
Perhaps most telling of all, is how Kang Ja consistently gives Ae Yeon (Oh Yoon Ah) the benefit of the doubt, even though Ae Yeon has betrayed her in the past.
Kang Ja’s warmth and compassion is a bedrock of the show, on which other characters learn to lean, and even subsequently grow their own hearts, and I love her for it.
3. She’s a Survivor
Perhaps the biggest thing I love about Kang Ja, is that her badassery and heart is all there, in spite of a great deal of brokenness in her own life. She’s not compassionate and awesome because she has no wounds of her own.
She’s compassionate and awesome in spite of her own multiple wounds. There’s something so very moving about that.
When we see Kang Ja in flashback, during her high school days as the school jjang, there is a distcint vulnerability and sadness beneath the kickass veneer.
Deep down, she’s just a normal girl who craves her mother’s care and attention. We also see how badly Dong Chil beats her up, for dating his brother Beom, and how she’d (wrongfully) been put in prison for Beom’s death.
Despite all of this, Kang Ja survives to become the compassionate, caring person that she is, and it totally moves me, when we see glimmers of past wounds rise to the surface. Like the time in episode 5, when Kang Ja responds to No Ah’s care with a raw depth in her gaze.
In the moment, it felt like he’d touched on old wounds that, unknown to her, were still untended and painful.
Kang Ja is a wounded fighter, and I find that moving and very inspiring indeed.
We see this again in episode 14, when Kang Ja’s husband Jin Sang (Im Hyung Joon) has suddenly and unexpectedly died in the building collapse. Given the extremely tight corner that Show has backed Kang Ja into by this point, her husband’s death hits her extra hard.
Despite this, when new evidence comes through, Kang Ja gathers herself together to fight all over again, in the midst of tears. That’s just powerful stuff.
It’s one thing to fight. It’s a whole other thing to choose all over again to fight, when you’ve had almost everything ripped to shreds around you, and you’ve just lost someone dear to you.
That determination rising out of the brokenness is extra profound, and I just can’t help but admire Kang Ja for it.
Ji Soo as Kang Bok Dong
Ji Soo is undoubtedly the breakout star of this show, and for good reason too.
Not only does he fulfill the quotient for badassery well by playing Bok Dong with swag as a bad boy gangster type, in the relatively limited screentime available, he also manages to give Bok Dong dimension, imbuing him with what feels like an effortless amount of nuance, depth and vulnerability.
So effortless, in fact, that it’s hard to imagine him not as Bok Dong.
In Ji Soo’s hands, Bok Dong is an interesting, layered character. Even without him actually saying the words, we can tell that Bok Dong doesn’t actually enjoy doing all the the gangstery-bullying stuff.
At times, we see him allowing tears to rise and leak out, through the cracks of his tough guy veneer.
It all comes together to make him an empathetic character who feels very, very real. Ji Soo comes across as so naturally, effortlessly, organically Bok Dong, that I really feel like Bok Dong is a real live person who’s wrestling with his conscience, his reality and his feelings.
Ji Soo in Angry Mom reminds me a little bit, of Kim Woo Bin in School 2013; all tough and scary on the outside, yet tender and hurting on the inside.
And seeing as how Kim Woo Bin stole my heart in School 2013, it’s no surprise that Ji Soo managed to steal a little bit of my heart in this show too.
Throughout the course of the show, Ji Soo shows us many facets to Bok Dong. Here are my favorite peeks into Bok Dong.
1. The Fierce Badass
This is the first version of Bok Dong that we meet, and as I’ve mentioned earlier, he is suitably fierce and wears the ‘tude and the swag very well.
From the languid drawl of his voice, to the sardonic curl of his lip, to the easy swag of his entire body, Bok Dong embodies what I would expect of any high school jjang worth his salt. It’s no wonder the other kids were intimidated by him.
2. The Little Lost Boy
Beyond the badass veneer, we see Bok Dong’s uncertainty and internal struggle rise to the surface. Ji Soo kills every scene, and shows us in detail – often without any dialogue at all – how uncertain and stuck and scared Bok Dong really is.
It’s in his eyes, really.
Ji Soo imbues Bok Dong’s gaze with all that we need to know; the lostness, the helplessness, the desperation, all shining through in his eyes.
Particularly when Bok Dong is faced with pressure from above to do things that weigh on his conscience, Ji Soo plays him with a mix of deadness and fear in his eyes.
It sounds incongruous, but that’s exactly what I see when I look at Bok Dong’s eyes at those times, and it’s quite arresting.
3. The Smitten Puppy
This is definitely one of my favorite versions of Bok Dong. He is simply adorable as the smitten puppy crushing hard on his noona and trying hard not to show it.
I really appreciate that Ji Soo treats Bok Dong’s hyperawareness of Kang Ja with clarity yet subtlety. Like the way he steals looks at her when she isn’t looking, or when he needs a moment to recover after she ties his shoelaces.
It’s not belabored, but it’s clearly, subtly, naturally there, and I dig that very much. It just consistently feels like Bok Dong is genuinely wrestling with his feelings and trying not to show it, but yet just can’t help but implode a little, when Kang Ja is nearby.
I love that his noona crush very naturally gives rise to a fierce protective instinct that is at once super earnest and so, so hilarious.
I found his efforts to protect Kang Ja from herself and the people around her, completely adorable, laugh-out-loud hysterical, and yet ow-my-heart heartbreaking all at the same time.
I loved it when he stormed Gong Joo’s (Go Soo Hee) club out of worry for Kang Ja; his lecture to Gong Joo was so heartfelt and so hilarious. I loved his almost-confession to Kang Ja, which was so full of uncertainty and angst and burgeoning feelings.
I loved it when he punched Kang Ja’s husband, thinking that she was prostituting herself to an ahjusshi. And my heart broke for him when he willingly got beat up – and so, so badly too – in order to save Kang Ja from Dong Chil, if only for a while. Poor baby.
That’s the kind of fierce loyalty that epitomizes Bok Dong’s affection, and I love that about him.
Go Soo Hee as Han Gong Joo
Although she’s technically a supporting character, I couldn’t help but love Gong Joo.
Her princess fixation is cute, hilarious and quite surreal. Her ballsy approach to everything is satisfying to watch. And her fierce love for and loyalty to Kang Ja is the stuff of legends.
Particularly when things got difficult for Kang Ja, I was always so comforted to know that Gong Joo would fight tooth and nail to help her bestie. We all need a bestie like Gong Joo, I think.
Ji Hyun Woo as Park No Ah
Ji Hyun Woo in Angry Moms is literally the nerdiest I’ve ever seen him, and he rocks the geeky-innocent-dork vibe so, so well.
As the most idealistic teacher at school, No Ah often comes across as more childlike and innocent than his students. Which just makes his growth arc over the course of the show that much more satisfying.
As No Ah experiences the full gamut of emotions necessary for him to chart that growth, Ji Hyun Woo delivers excellent performances detailing No Ah’s happy idealism, eventual lostness, anguish, determination and ultimate fire, with equal aplomb.
It says a lot that I started out the show feeling like No Ah was a pretty helpless character, and ended the show feeling so gratified by his growth.
There are a number of times in the show when Ji Hyun Woo impressed me with his interpretation of difficult scenes.
In episode 4, we see No Ah’s grief and self-blame at Yi Kyung’s death. The lost-ness is clear in his eyes, and we can practically see him collapsing under the weight of all the questions and possibilities and anguish in his mind.
In episode 11, No Ah’s righteous rage at hearing the truth about Jung Woo (Kim Tae Hoon) is also very well-played.
No Ah’s impassioned words in front of the mothers and the school bigwigs comes across as completely genuine. He’s literally putting his neck on the line to stand up for this, and he’s doing it without hesitation.
The most pivotal, difficult scene in my mind, though, is the one in episode 9, when No Ah reacts to the knowledge that his father (Jun Gook Hwan) bribed the school for his position.
Ji Hyun Woo plays the private moment with a lot of inner conflict, and I can practically see the dilemma written on No Ah’s face.
He’s shocked, overwhelmed and horrified by his father’s actions, and he’s questioning everything that he’s ever believed about his father, but there’s also self-blame and self-hatred in the mix.
I feel like he’s blaming himself too, that if he’d just been better, then Dad wouldn’t have had to resort to bribing the school.
Ji Hyun Woo conveys all of that, without actually uttering a word of dialogue. Kudos indeed.
Special Mention: Kim Yoo Jung as Oh Ah Ran
Considering that Ah Ran is one of the main characters, I actually felt like Kim Yoo Jung didn’t get as much of the spotlight as one might have expected.
Perhaps because the focus of the show is on Ah Ran’s angry mom, Ah Ran became more of a foil for her mom than a fully-developed character in her own right.
Even though I felt the development on Ah Ran’s character was a little muted, Kim Yoo Jung did a very solid job.
In many scenes, Ah Ran’s responses to her surroundings, as well as the situations she finds herself in, are practically wordless, and yet Kim Yoo Jung shows us, in a clear and effective manner, Ah Ran’s fear and paralysis.
One of the things I really liked about how Show treated Ah Ran’s character, is how she shows clear glimpses of her mother’s character in herself at various points, even though she starts the show not being on close terms with Kang Ja.
I liked the moment in episode 5, when Ah Ran’s quick on her feet like her mom.
From not outing Kang Ja when she first sees her mom in a school uniform – while she’s in the midst of hysterics over Yi Kyung’s (Yoon Ye Joo) death, no less – to turning her hysterics into a cover in itself, by accusing everyone of killing Yi Kyung. Watching her, I felt like I totally knew where she gets those quick wits from, and I found it very cool to see.
Besides Kang Ja’s quick wits, I really liked that Ah Ran also inherited Mom’s big heart.
I really liked the beat in episode 12, when Ah Ran reached out to comfort Sang Tae, even though she didn’t like him. That’s totally something that Kang Ja would do too, and I found it so gratifying to see the same trait in her daughter.
In terms of an outstanding scene, there’s a great scene in episode 6 where Bok Dong confronts Ah Ran and tries to get her to just leave everything alone and stop digging around about Yi Kyung’s death.
I thought both Kim Yoo Jung and Ji Soo delivered this scene with very strong, believable emotion.
Bok Dong’s desperation to make the complications go away is clear in his eyes, as is his self-hatred, almost, while Ah Ran’s determination and fear and desperation is also clear in her eyes, as she struggles to make headway in a system in which she has no power.
An intense and powerful scene, compellingly delivered. Well done indeed.
OTHER CHARACTERS: GENERAL TREATMENT & SPECIAL SHOUT-OUTS
In general, I liked that many of the characters in this show are thoughtfully drawn, in that everyone seems to have a proper backstory. Here, I’d just like to quickly highlight two of the supporting characters that actually surprised me with their growth trajectories.
Baro as Hong Sang Tae
Sang Tae’s growth as a character was one of my biggest surprises in this drama.
Given Sang Tae’s jerkwad tendencies in the beginning of the show, and Baro’s decidedly stiff delivery, Sang Tae was not a likable character by any means, even though I did feel kinda sorry for him.
However, even though Show didn’t spend a whole lot of time expanding on Sang Tae’s character arc, I found his eventual growth and turnaround surprisingly believable.
Credit to the writers – and to Baro as well – that Sang Tae 2.0 was convincingly empathetic and endearing, even.
Kim Hee Won as Ahn Dong Chil
Kim Hee Won has seriously carved a niche for himself playing absolutely repulsive characters. He made Dong Chil easy to dislike – or hate, even – for much of the show.
Like Sang Tae’s character, Show doesn’t spend a whole lot of time teasing out the humanity in Dong Chil and showing glimmers of change.
Yet, by the time we see an actual turnaround in Dong Chil’s character, Show had dropped enough hints of his inner journey, for it to actually be believable.
Kudos to Kim Hee Won, really, coz I found Dong Chil’s more broken scenes quite arresting.
Kang Ja and Bok Dong
Hands-down, this is my favorite relationship in the show.
Beyond the squee-worthiness of Bok Dong’s noona crush (which is already so adorable, seriously), I really, really loved the sense of connection between Bok Dong and Kang Ja. Theirs was a bonding of wounded souls.
Kang Ja sees through his tough-guy facade to the truth and the hurts underneath, because she’s been through similar hard situations. I love that they empathize and identify with each other, and that their loyalty to each other far transcends things like age, gender and romance.
One of my favorite moments between Bok Dong and Kang Ja, is in episode 13, when Bok Dong offers Kang Ja tofu for leaving the police station, and she offers it right back to him, for not going back to Dong Chil.
They then grin at each other and toast each other with their tofu. It’s just super cute, and so, so heartwarming.
And just coz I can, here’s a little more Bok Dong-Kang Ja adorable:
So! Much! Cute! Squee!
Kang Ja and Gong Joo
Coming in a close second in my books, is the relationship between Gong Joo and Kang Ja.
I love how open and trusting their friendship is, and I love how Gong Joo’s always got Kang Ja’s back. Most of all, I love that Gong Joo spends much of the show posing as Kang Ja’s mom. So. Awesome.
It’s not only the cutest thing ever, it’s also genuinely touching because Gong Joo actually takes the role seriously and gives Kang Ja all the motherly love and support that Kang Ja never got when she was in school.
It’s just all kinds of touching and awesome, without ever being treacly. I love it.
Kang Ja and Ah Ran
Kang Ja’s relationship with Ah Ran provided one of the big ironies in this show, in that while Kang Ja had the fear and respect of practically everyone at school, it was Ah Ran, the most bullied person in school, who kept refusing to listen to her – at least for the early stretch of the show.
Their shared scenes while Kang Ja was undercover were really amusing.
Like when facing No Ah together, or when they walked to school together and muttered to each other under their breaths. Show did a great job mining the situation for comedy, yet at the same time, also remembered to imbue their relationship with heart.
It was gratifying to watch Kang Ja’s and Ah Ran’s relationship settle and blossom over the course of the show, and as I mentioned earlier in this review, it was also plenty satisfying to see Ah Ran take after Kang Ja, in more ways than one.
Kang Ja and No Ah
Another relationship that warmed my heart, was the one between No Ah and Kang Ja.
From being utterly bemused at each other in the beginning of the show, it was great to see these two very different individuals come to care for and comfort each other, while becoming allies fighting for a common cause.
I realize that both No Ah and Kang Ja don’t quite grasp the effect that they have on each other, but keep affecting each other in good ways, anyway.
Like the way that No Ah unearths – yet soothes – Kang Ja’s old wounds in episode 5, when he expresses his desire to protect her, as her teacher.
And the way Kang Ja is an inadvertent consolation to No Ah in episode 9, when he’s trying to come to terms with his father’s bribery, and she offers to prick his fingers for indigestion. The tears that he cries as a result, are so sad, yet so needed and so cathartic.
These two work really well together, on so many levels, and it’s great to watch.
No Ah and his boys
Last but not least, I luff Bok Dong’s caring, fatherly relationship with his boys.
We see it more with Bok Dong, but that care eventually gets to Sang Tae as well, and it’s so great to watch the boys grow to trust No Ah as they would a real parent.
I loved the moment in episode 11, when Bok Dong leaves Dong Chil’s house, and No Ah immediately wants to apply to be Bok Dong’s foster parent.
I loved No Ah so much, in that moment, for loving Bok Dong so instantly and unconditionally, that he genuinely wanted to be Bok Dong’s foster parent, and raise him as his own son.
It’s so great that Bok Dong knows it, too. I love that subsequent demonstration of trust, when Bok Dong told No Ah the truth about Yi Kyung’s death. That took a whole lot of guts and trust, and Bok Dong clearly trusts No Ah.
And man, I wanted to hug No Ah, he’s earned that trust so well.
I just love that nerdy wimpy No Ah turns out to be the one protecting strong, streetwise Bok Dong.
One of the most profound moments of vulnerability and trust between these two, is in episode 11, after Bok Dong comes out of the prison visiting room after speaking with his hyung.
Poor, dear Bok Dong, whose tears were all bottled up but leaking out while in the visiting room, finally allowing the floodgates to open, in No Ah’s arms, as No Ah hugs him and tells him it’s ok to cry.
I feel like this is such a pivotal moment for Bok Dong, because it’s likely the first time an adult has ever held him in a protective manner and allowed him to be himself, allowed him to be the kid that he is, and cry.
This moment was so profound that I cried along with Bok Dong.
And now, to balance it all out, here’s the super cute scene of No Ah insistently hugging Bok Dong to bed.
I just love the happy gleeful look on No Ah’s face, even as Bok Dong protests at the indignity of it all. It’s just so great that No Ah is so genuinely happy to be with Bok Dong.
Sweetness. And so, so cute!
[SPOILERS THROUGH THE END OF THE REVIEW]
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING
Ultimately, Show delivers a solid ending that feels satisfying, yet manages to remain open-ended and hopeful.
All the bad guys in our stories got their just desserts without anything getting too pat, so that it still feels realistic. And all our good guys – and some not-so-good guys, even – achieve milestones of growth and maturity that feel satisfying.
At the same time, there is a sense of open-endedness, so that we feel like these characters will continue to live their lives and keep on growing, long after the cameras have stopped rolling.
I found it quite poetic, that Sang Tae made a decision to become a prosecutor, so that he could continue working to uncover the kind of corruption his dad was in.
I also loved seeing Bok Dong reunited with his brother, and finally looking completely happy and carefree. That was just gold, for me.
Perhaps most of all, I loved No Ah’s hero moment when he burst into Sang Tae’s room to save him. Sang Tae’s look of wonder at No Ah’s earnest concern is fantastic.
And it feels so well-earned, that No Ah becomes the most respected teacher at school, without needing to compromise on his idealism.
I just love that No Ah didn’t have to bend to the system that had pressured him all series’ long, to abandon his principles, and that he came out on top, with all of his principles and ideals intact. Now that’s boss.
This show was often hard to watch, yet at the same time, it was so great to see love triumph over all.
I loved seeing everyone on Kang Ja’s team fully invested and on board, and all willing to take risks for the greater good and for one another.
And I loved seeing people rise above themselves, to learn to love, even in the absence of actual blood ties. Like Ah Ran’s dad, who died trying to do the right thing. Like Gong Joo, who was a great mom to Kang Ja. Like No Ah, to Bok Dong and Sang Tae.
All of that awesomeness unlocked, because of the gutsiness of one angry mom.
So. Badass. And So. SO. Satisfying.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Dark and even a little bit gritty, but ultimately so warm, hopeful and full of love.
FINAL GRADE: A