The first episode of The Good Bad Mother introduces Young-soon, who fails to become a good mother to her son after losing her husband at a very young age. The first episode is now streaming on Netflix.
In 1986, Hae-sik proposes to Young-soon, and they get married. Hae-sik owns a pigsty and adores his wife. Soon after, Young-soon gets pregnant. This is also the time when South Korea is preparing for the Seoul Olympics.
A powerful man, Director Song, the heir to Yongra Construction, approaches Hae-sik to convince him to let them demolish his pigsty, as the Olympic torch relay and the marathon will pass by the nearby area.
When Hae-sik refuses, Director Song sets fire to the pigsty at night, and the prosecutor fails to prove that it was an act of arson, as Director Song buys all the witnesses. Hae-sik then takes matters into his own hands.
He collects incriminating evidence against Director Song, who has been involved in other similar suspicious incidents, and gives it to Prosecutor Oh to file an appeal and fight those who destroyed his pigsty.
He even gives him the money that he had been saving for a new house for the case. However, Prosecutor Oh betrays him for money and tells Director Song about the evidence that Hae-sik has collected. Due to this, Director Song kills Hae-sik and makes it look like he killed himself.
A pregnant Young-soon does not believe this, but Prosecutor Oh also tells her the same thing. He gives her the money that Hae-sik gave him with a few additions to the story to make it sound believable.
Young-soon decides that she will not let her child live like this and moves to Jou-ri Doldam Village to set up a pigsty there.
Initially, the villagers are against the idea of her setting up a pigsty in the village, but Young-soon’s friendly nature as well as her ability to stand up to the villagers and even physically fight them puts an end to their protests.
In fact, the villagers end up coming together then and there to help Young-soon give birth to her son, who is named Choi Kang-ho. Right after Kang-ho’s birth, another woman gives birth to her daughter, who is named Lee Mi-joo, under the same roof.
While growing up, Kang-ho is bullied in school for not having a father and living in a pigsty. At home, he is punished by his strict mother for fighting back against his bully, Sam-sik, who was also present during Kang-ho and Mi-joo’s birth.
On the other hand, Mi-joo grows up to be a fearless girl; she not only fights for Kang-ho in school but also stands up to her father, who abuses her mother and cheats on her. Mi-joo cares a lot about Kang-ho and her mother.
In high school, Mi-joo follows Kang-ho around because she likes him. He likes her back, but he never admits it because his mother does not give him the freedom to do anything that the other kids his age do; she forces him to focus only on his education.
Even though he is the best in his class and a good child, Young-soon is unnecessarily harsh to him and keeps putting pressure on him to study because she wants him to become a prosecutor.
Sam-sik is still the troublemaker. He likes Mi-joo but accidentally locks her in a storage room with Kang-ho. At the end of the day, Kang-ho and Mi-joo are caught in a compromising position by their parents, and Kang-ho does not get to celebrate his birthday.
A few years later, Mi-joo comes to support Kang-ho before an important exam. The two seem to be dating secretly. She cheers him up and plans to take him to the movies and karaoke, where his mother has never let him go before.
However, Mi-joo gets into an accident, and Kang-ho never appears for the exam, as he takes her to the hospital. He kisses her and reassures her that he can take the exam next year, but his mother is not happy that he missed his exam for her.
Kang-ho finally confronts Young-soon about the way she has been suffocating him and how she has made his life her own. In response, Young-soon slaps him and tells him to become a prosecutor if he wants to get away from her and this pigsty.
Kang-ho realizes that she is tired of being weak and that she wants to get power through him. He tells her that she is raising him to be like the selfish people who killed his father, and he decides to become exactly that.
Years later, Kang-ho is a prosecutor. A woman approaches him with her baby and gives him the evidence to save her innocent husband from a powerful company that is forcing him to take the fall for them.
Kang-ho takes the evidence and does exactly what Prosecutor Oh did to his father years ago. He then meets the man who killed his father, Director Song, who is now Chairman Song, and bows down to him.
- The Good Bad Mother is a show that will get the audience completely invested right from the beginning. The first episode itself has a little comedy, romance, a lot of drama, and an intense argument; balancing all that in one episode is not an easy feat, yet the show does it so well.
- The episode also comments on the impact of hosting events like the Olympics on the common man. It is considered an honor for a country, but the common citizens are forced to give up on their homes and businesses to make their country look good, even if it is for less than 30 seconds.
- The episode also comments on the patriotism of those who preach it the most for their selfish motives as well as the unfair nature of the fight between the powerful and the weak in a democratic system where the law is considered to be fair.
- The story keeps shifting between light-hearted scenes and dark ones throughout the episode, and it is done so skillfully that the audience will feel the shift while watching it. Kang-ho and Mi-joo’s scenes feel like a breath of fresh air in Kang-ho’s suffocating life.
- As the audience watches Kang-ho’s birth and upbringing, he becomes a familiar figure. However, at the end of the episode, Kang-ho’s story becomes very unpredictable and intriguing. It makes the audience curious about what comes next.
The Good Bad Mother season 1 episode 1
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