That Dawn Before The Day Breaks
Episode 3 of Green Mothers’ Club starts with Jin-Ha reeling from the slap she received (and dished out) last episode. Something happened between these two in the past to lead Eun-Pyo to believe she’s being belittled.
During a flashback we see Eun-Pyo given a CD from her friend but she starts crying in her room, pointing out that she’s the only one of her friends that doesn’t have a player. That divide between the two only grows over time, becoming the driving force for Eun-Pyo’s disdain. She clearly has an inferiority complex, and it’s not helped that she overshadows Eun-Pyo in every way.
In fact, a little later on Eun-Pyo splashes white paint all over her own painting, frustrated by how much better Jin-Ha’s is compared to her own. When Jin-Ha drunkenly hugs Eun-Pyo some time later, our protagonist can only scoff in disgust.
Back in the present, Eun-Pyo asks Chun-Hui for help with Dong-Seok’s education but she refuses. She essentially tells her it’s Eun-Pyo’s responsibility to educate her kids. This whole dilemma is not helped by the fact Dong-Seok is so disinterested and frustrated. This also causes problem with tutors in the area, who will only take kids who are ahead of schedule or “gifted”. (Remember this, it’ll be important later on! )
Eun-Pyo remains upbeat and positive with her son though, eventually heading out shopping to gather the ingredients to make bulgogi (with sausage!) back home. While gathering ingredients though, she overhears the mothers talking, badmouthing Eun-Pyo and pointing out that Dong-Seok has been blacklisted in class.
Eun-Pyo eventually confronts the mothers and demands an explanation, pointing out how hurtful this can be to other parents.
That night, Eun-Pyo contemplates whether to move Dong-Seok to a different school. Given how hierarchical and cliquey the one she’s currently in is, this seems to be the only solution. News of what’s happened spreads, partly thanks to Eun-Pyo putting the house up for sale as they prepare to move schools.
Meanwhile, Jin-Ha learns the reason why Eun-Pyo doesn’t want to be friends with her. Her jealousy turned to bitterness in the wake of her complex. But we’re still not seeing everything from the past. After all, how does Luis Bunuel slot into this?
That night, Chun-hui and Eun-Pyo both find themselves outside together. However, Chun-hui receives a message from a mysterious person, asking her if she can “make a delivery now.” Quite what that means remains a mystery.
What’s less of a mystery though is news of Eun-Pyo’s move, which spreads across to the other women. Eun-Pyo is understandably less than happy with the women, given they’re the ones who have forced her out. She even asks Luis to pretend he doesn’t know her – and to stop talking in French as well.
During a soccer game with some of the kids, there’s further drama with a couple of the dads. In particular, Chun-Hui’s father Ju-Seok meets Yoon-Joo’s husband Man-Su and they’re all happy and smiling. At least while they’re together.
Separately, Ju-Seok is angry over how pretentious the man is, and how nonchalantly he’s showing his face outside. It turns out he’s disgraced at his workplace, given he was caught sneaking drugs. As Ju-Seok is a pharmacist himself, Joon-Yoo is more interested in keeping her own popularity and place among the other mums.
Meanwhile, Eun-Pyo comes under fire from her mother-in-law, who’s not happy about her giving up the house after all this time. Eun-Pyo heads out for some air, with Jae-Ung encouraging her to cool off while she composes herself given he’s finished work early.
Interestingly, Eun-Pyo runs into Chun-Hui, who takes a break from the tension in her household with the whole situation involving her husband. The pair share a beer and eventually decide to head out together, drinking wine (I say drinking, they’re basically downing it) at a restaurant. Drunk, Eun-Pyo admits that she was fired from her job.
On the way back, Chun-Hui phones her “guy friend” and manages to get them a lift home. Unfortunately, after dropping off Eun-Pyo, he locks the doors and calls Chun-Hui out for ignoring him. Unfortunately he drives off, prompting Eun-Pyo to throw a drink at the windscreen and cause all of them to head down to the police station together.
When they eventually head home, Chun-Hui and Eun-Pyo drunkenly joke and mess about as they make it to the front door. Unfortunately they do so right in view of Jin-Ha, who’s in her car and starts to feel jealous.
Unfortunately, the night’s events also have a knock-on effect in the morning, as tensions between Jin-Ha and Eun-Pyo are at fever pitch.
Eun-Pyo eventually does apologize to Jin-Ha, pointing out her inferiority complex and how sorry she is of what happened between them. She wishes Jin-Ha luck with her exhibition and the pair almost mend the issues between them. However, Eun-Pyo is called away by a call coming through from someone who wants to look at her apartment.
Within this whole pressure cooker situation with the mothers, Kim Young-Mi receives some rather unpleasant news from Hwang Jung-Seok, the homeroom teacher. With Jul-Pin falling behind, she’s encouraged to study at home. Taking this personally, Young-Mi gathers all the parents and decides they should ditch the gifted students program completely and work together instead.
Chun-Hui disagrees… but then Jin-Ha disagrees with Chun-Hui, perhaps partly because of her own jealousy regarding seeing her with Eun-pyo that night.
Anyway, Eun-Pyo receives an update from her teacher. Dong-Seok’s boredom in class is actually not derived from his inability to do the multiple choice questions – he just finds them boring. In reality, he’s actually incredibly advanced for his age. He falls within the top 0.01% to be precise.
So with Dong-Seok among the most gifted students, it could well swing Eun-Pyo’s decision favourably to stay in the neighbourhood after all.
The Episode Review
A lovely little twist involving Dong-Seok at the end turns this whole dynamic upside down. That motif of looking at things differently is beautifully foreshadowed earlier on when Eun-Pyo shows her son those pictures on her phone, revealing something different with an alternate perspective. It’s a small moment but a welcome one – and something that ripples out to numerous other characters too.
Jae-Jun is not just a slob, he’s also a pretty tentative husband at times; Chun-Hui is also feeling the strain of expectation; Young-Mi is actually further behind than we were first led to believe.
It’s actually intriguing to see how this whole dynamic with the women in the neighbourhood is going to shake up, with the clique starting to unravel. Who would have thought 2 episodes ago that queen bee Chun-Hui would be sharing a beer and wine with Eun-Pyo?
The show has done well so far to really dive into the nitty gritty feel of classroom politics, while at the same time showing the bad blood between parents too. It’s certainly no Sky Castle but it is an intriguing drama nonetheless.
Quite what will happen next is anyone’s guess but this is shaping up to be a decent little slice of life mid-week drama!