Mother: Eps 4-6
It’s been about a month since I watched episodes 1-3 of Mother. I feel like Mother is the kind of drama that I have to get into just the right mood for in order to watch it. It’s hard to explain but yesterday I just got this feeling “time to start watching Mother again. The time is right.” It’s the kind of drama I can take a long break from watching (as you can see, there was a gap of a month between my watching of ep3 and ep4!) but once I get back into it, I can watch a few episodes all in one sitting.
Anyways if you recall, back when I first tried out Mother I was still suffering from a void left by the summer jdrama Woman. It was hard for me to refrain from comparing the two dramas. Now though I’m happy to say that I am no longer comparing Mother & Woman, but instead I am fully invested in the gripping story of Mother!
Some of my commenters mentioned this to me, that Mother is not just a drama about Nao becoming a mother to Tsugumi, but it is actually about a whole range of different relationships between mother and child, siblings, etc. Already episodes 1-3 laid the groundwork for a whole network of different connections between all of the characters so that in episodes 4-6 it kinda blew my mind when I realized how all of these little intertwined details came together so perfectly. Already we have the following relationships which are being substantially developed:
- Nao & Tsugumi
- Nao & her biological mom Hana
- Nao & her adopted mom Toko
- Nao’s adopted mom’s relationship with her younger sisters Kaho & Mei
- Tsugumi & her biological mom Hitomi
- Nao & her foster care mom
- Nao’s little sister Mei, who is pregnant and must decide whether or not to keep the baby
Well of course one of the major relationships so far is that between Nao and Hana, and Nao and her adopted mother, Toko. I was shocked when the drama actually dared to let Nao connect the dots and realize that Hana is her biological mom. There is this one scene when Tsugumi & Hana send a paper airplane flying down to Nao and the airplane successfully flies all the way across the schoolyard. In that moment we see that Nao remembers her biological mom used to fold paper airplanes and that this airplane is exactly like it.
And there’s another really short but powerful confrontation scene between Nao/Hana/Toko. What I really like about this scene is that Hana does not give a long speech in an attempt to justify her actions, and Nao is not expecting a valid answer either. Also the line that really got me is when Toko enters the room and then screams at Hana not to destroy the bond of 30-years that she built with Nao. Omg. 🙁 I’m not quite sure what I thought of Toko in the beginning of the drama but here I see that she worked hard to gain Nao’s trust and is actually scared that Hana will take Nao away from her.
Mother is not a fast-paced thriller or anything but somehow it has dropped bombshell after bombshell all throughout these few episodes. It seems like a slow-going drama but in fact it is going at a great pace with plenty of big reveals & twists and turns. Let’s just say that I was not expecting even half of the things that already happened to happen this quickly!
First big ‘OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING’ is in episode 4, when the shady reporter Shunsuke tries to blackmail Nao!!!!! OMG WHAT? I knew he was shady and probably was up to no good but I assumed that he would write some tabloid article about Nao, not blackmail her for $10 million!!!!!!!!!!!!! Up until that point I hadn’t really thought about how Nao’s actions could possibly implicate her family (her mom & sisters) but that is when I went ‘oh crap what is Nao gonna do now?’ Well the blackmailing is eventually resolved, I think they kinda took the easy way out with the reporter turning out to be kinda a good guy and on Nao’s side. =_= On the other hand though, I also think that Shunsuke might play a key role later on in the drama if Nao gets accused of kidnapping. He can help to prove that Nao had good intentions in saving Tsugumi from her abusive mother.
Also as I said before there are a lot of little details that eventually come together to blow my mind–one instance is when Hitomi looks through Rena’s ‘favorite things’ notebook and finds the words ‘migrant birds’ in it. She connects the dots between Nao and the migrant birds and the fact that Rena’s body was never found. Then she calls Nao’s household and WHAT DO YOU KNOW, RENA ANSWERS THE PHONE. OMGAWD. At the end of ep6 we see that Hitomi has made her way to Nao’s house to check up on her!!!!!! OMGAWD. TALK ABOUT A CLIFFHANGER!!! I just love how Rena’s favorite-things-notebook ties back into Hitomi realizing that Rena might still be alive!!! AHH!!
2nd big OMG is that a lot of people find out about Nao’s kidnapping Tsugumi. (I’m not counting the reporter guy, I think maybe he is officially the first to realize it but..) This includes Toko, Nao’s sisters, Hana, and Hitomi. All in 3 episodes. Yep. I’ve been really enjoying the mother-daughter relationship between Toko and Nao so I was saddened and also surprised when their ties came to a sudden end in ep6. We already know that Toko loves Nao incredibly, but she ultimately has to make the choice between protecting her other daughters’ futures or protecting Nao. She decides that she must protect her other daughters and convince Nao to give up on Tsugumi. She eventually agrees to remove Nao from their family registry so that their family will not be implicated should Nao’s crime ever come to light. I felt bad for Toko in this scene because I could just see it on her face that she didn’t really want Nao to dissolve their family ties, she was hoping in her heart that Nao would decide not to sign the papers that would withdraw their adopted status. But of course, Nao signs them with no hesitation. 🙁
The thing is that Nao’s actions can be seen as almost selfish in a way in that she will coldheartedly absolve all her family ties with her mother and sisters. On the other hand though, she is actually sacrificing a lot by bearing all the blame for the kidnapping and she is doing her best not to burden her family. I think Nao is ready to give up everything for Tsugumi and her family’s sake which is why she can go to such extreme lengths to protect the people she loves.
Another interesting implication from this twist is that now that Nao cannot depend on the adopted mother anymore, she will probably have to seek help from the person she resents most–Hana. I think Nao’s pride will only go so far in that she may hate Hana but she will eventually have to accept Hana’s help as a last resort. Nao doesn’t want to understand Hana more, but chances are she will inevitably begin to see Hana more and more for who she is today and not the person who abandoned her 30 years ago.
Lastly the other big event of episode 6 is that Tsugumi decides to run away and go back to Hitomi. Mmm don’t have much to say about this short story arc except that my favorite moment is when Nao finds Tsugumi and Tsugumi just stands there, deciding whether or not to call Nao “mom” again. I also like this one part when Nao tells Tsugumi that it doesn’t matter who they are staying with/wherever they go, they will still be mother and daughter. Aww. :'(
Another theme running throughout these few episodes is what makes someone a mother. Does one ‘deserve’ motherhood, is it something earned? Can the child reject the mother if the mother ‘isn’t good enough’? Is there such a thing as not being good enough to be a mother? This theme is mainly shown through one of the side characters–Nao’s little sister Mei, who is pregnant and backs out of an abortion. At first Mei wants to get the abortion because there is a possibility that the baby may not live past 1 month. But then she second guesses herself and wonders why she is so uneasy about the abortion–and then her mom tells her that it’s because she has already become a mother who is bearing a child. Omg, I love that one moment. Then Mei breaks down and asks if she is even worthy of the child, if she is good enough to be a mother. *sniff*
As you can see, a lot happened in these episodes so it was kinda hard to condense it all into one post..so I am just kinda meandering around trying to fit everything in. O___O”” I can’t wait to see how Nao will deal with Hitomi if Hitomi ever confronts Nao for kidnapping Tsugumi. I’m also interested to see how Tsugumi will bridge the divide between Nao and Hana. Oh, and I’m still not quite sure whether the reporter guy can be trusted or not!