Filling In The Gaps
Episode 9 of The Good Bad Mother begins with the locals being busy cooking when the twins Google and show them that Ha-young is getting married. They feel sad for Kang-ho and try to keep it a secret but Young-soon already knows. She doesn’t mind as she is more focused on unlocking the secret flash drive. Kang-ho sees that he had written the wrong birth date in his letter to her and they realise that’s the password. They open it and see that it’s a journal of his.
It begins in late 2000s when he enters law school. He assaults a student who doesn’t study but is the topper only because his mother is a judge. Kang-ho is to be arrested and Young-soon begs the student to forgive him. The student insults her and Kang-ho is furious but she slaps him instead. He understands that since he is inferior he needs to beg not to get arrested. He remembers Young-soon telling him that only when he becomes a prosecutor he won’t be bullied. As he continues to study, he tries to look into his father’s case.
While stalking Tae-soo, he graduates, moves to Seoul and starts dating Mi-joo. Everyone, including her friend Sun-young, thinks that the two might get married. As they live a happy life, Kang-ho continues to dig into the case and even meets Kwak who had claimed that faulty wiring caused the fire at Hae-sik and Young-soon’s farm.
He apologizes to Kang-ho and reveals he lied because Director Song threatened him and his mother. He also feels sad that Kang-ho is going to be a prosecutor, as Young-soon had wanted to be a painter before her family died and so wanted her son to inherit her artistic genes. But as he grows up, everytime she catches him drawing, she throws it all. On the day of his appointment as a prosecutor, he doesn’t tell Young-soon and also tells Mi-joo not to come. As soon as his position is confirmed, he demands the records of Hae-sik’s suicide.
Just like Young-soon, he suspects that the scene was staged and questions the officer who wrote it off as suicide. As he makes no headway, he is frustrated and sees that all of the documents involving the arson trial and his father’s suicide is signed off by Oh Tae-soo. Kang-ho believes his target is not Song but Tae-soo and so breaks up with Mi-joo to get close to Ha-young. He regrets it and hopes she can forget him one day.
In the following days, he stalks Ha-young, finds she takes pills and uses it as an excuse to arrest her. Later, he finds out that Jae-min, Song’s grandson committed murder, there is a dashcam footage of it but the witness, Mr. Jung is arrested in his place. Kang-ho takes on the case and has the innocent man convicted. This gets him an in with Song but he is upset and he takes the dashcam footage as collateral. After the disastrous dinner with Tae-soo despite his connection with Song, Kang-ho learns that the former prosecutor is cleaning up his act as Director Song knows all his dirty secrets.
Kang-ho meets up with Secretary Hwang who had the affair with Tae-soo and promises her protection in exchange for confidential files on Song. He knows Song won’t let Tae-soo betray him easily and he can control both men through the director. On the same night Young-soon tries to visit him in Seoul, Hwang warns him that once Tae-soo learns of the blackmail, his mother will be in danger. This is why he decides to cut ties with her to keep her safe.
As for Hwang’s supposed murder, he smuggles her out of the country with the help of the seafood restaurant owner where he used to work and pushes an empty car into the sea. The next day, when he and Ha-young are to meet Young-soon, he reiterates that he has cut all ties with his mother to make sure Tae-soo doesn’t target her. Finally, we see that when he and Young-soon are alone in Jouri, he asks her to bring him a drink and in that moment, he hides the flash drive in the photo frame.
It cuts back to the present with Young-soon tearing up on learning of his plan. His last diary entry is that since the statute of limitations of Hae-sik’s case had expired, he needs to find a different way to take down Song and Tae-soo. He adds that since he didn’t know Hae-sik, he doesn’t care much but he wants revenge for her as they ruined her life. He knows that the only food she ate was the leftover from his meals. And in the attic, he used to find his drawings that she had only pretended to throw away. He says that he understands why she was a bad mother to him and he asks for her forgiveness as he will have to be a bad son to her now and hopes one day they can reunite.
Young-soon asks the now amnesiac Kang-ho to stop and when he looks confused, she runs to the shed where she kept his files. She tries to throw them away and as she gasps in pain, he looks worried. She is sad that he was cold to her because he wanted to take the risks of the revenge all alone. She takes all of his things to burn them and he tries to stop her. He quickly pockets his ID badge but she burns the rest. She says revenge is not destroying oneself in the process. Revenge is forgetting the reason and living a good life.
Elsewhere, Sam-sik is randomly going through his parents’ things and he spots a luxury bag Young-soon gave his mother which he rushes to sell and get money for the owner of the gambling den. As for Hwang, it is revealed she never made it out of the country. She is sitting in a car while her belongings are floating on the sea.
The Episode Review
Looks like viewers need to be careful what they wish for. We hoped for the mystery and revenge plan to finally pick up and Episode 9 does exactly that. But it also brings with it all the horrible things Kang-ho has had to do for his revenge. It makes it worse because he actually regrets every step from breaking up with Mi-joo to cutting ties with Young-soon.
It does feel odd though as to why for a moment, he thinks Director Song is not equally responsible as Tae-soo for his family’s ruin. Sure, his revenge involves the both of them but hope he knows that Song is equally guilty if not more as he is the one who actually killed his father.