Wow. “Angry Mom” has always been remarkable for how dark it’s willing to be, but episode 14 raises the bar yet again. Kang Ja (Kim Hee Sun) spends most of the episode firm in her resolve to run away, convinced that she can only protect the people she cares about by leaving Korea. But after tragedy strikes, Kang Ja—along with all of our main players—has to decide just where she stands, and what she’s prepared to lose, in order to see this fight to the end.
These were my five favorite scenes from “Angry Mom” episode 14:
1. Sang Tae feels betrayed What I love about Sang Tae (come to think of it, I also love this about Bok Dong!) is that he has the ability to be ridiculous and pathetic at the same time. His anger and sadness at Ah Ran (Kim Yoo Jung) leaving Korea are rooted in serious loneliness and fear of abandonment, which is heartbreaking. But the way that he expresses those emotions is just endearingly silly, from his hesitant “Aren’t we… dating?” to his bravado-filled “Fine! Go ahead! Leave me!” (I also really appreciated how bluntly Ah Ran reminded Sang Tae that it was his father’s fault she was leaving in the first place!)
2. “Long-distance dad” Jin Sang is a tough character, because he’s always felt impermanent. From the minute he appeared on screen, I assumed that he and Kang Ja wouldn’t still be together by the time “Angry Mom” finished, because she so clearly didn’t love him. I never once wavered in that conviction. I never hated him (he struck me as weak and foolish, but never malicious), but I was certain that he and his champion whiner of a mother would part ways with Kang Ja and Ah Ran sooner or later.
In light of that, I was surprised by how emotional Jin Sang’s final letter to Kang Ja made me. It’s not sweepingly romantic, but it is tremendously earnest. Move away, he tells his wife, and wait for me. I’ll follow you. It’s a wonderfully simple way of reaffirming his commitment to their marriage, in the same way that his sign-off (“long-distance dad”) is a reaffirmation of his very real kinship with Ah Ran.
3. “I wasn’t even able to say thank you.” Okay, so after Jin Sang’s note and his heroic determination to try to fix the crumbling building from inside, it didn’t take a genius to figure out that he wasn’t long for this world. But his death still hurts. It hurt even more to see him being mourned alongside the students who died—the pure senselessness of the loss just came crashing home. These kids, this man… the idea that they died because a few rich people needed to be that much richer is simply unbearable. (I admit it, I was in tears all through this scene. I found it very difficult to watch.)
4. “He’ll wake up.” HE’D BETTER. If Bok Dong (Ji Soo) doesn’t emerge from this coma in perfect health, I will be very upset.
5. Yi Kyung’s mother joins the fight I didn’t know I needed this to happen until it did. The struggle is coming full-circle, as Yi Kyung’s mother finally decides to take down Do Jung Woo—and immediately captures him saying some pretty incriminating things about the school collapse on camera. Symbolically, it feels important that Yi Kyung’s mother is a part of this final confrontation—and what an added bonus that she’s skilled in the art of collecting evidence! I am so ready for the coming showdown.