An Underdog Comeback: ‘The Good Bad Mother’ ep 2 review

Okay, this is what I’m talking about. I’m so stoked right now because if you’ve read my review of episode 1, you’ll know that I had numerous criticisms about the premiere of The Good Bad Mother which I feared would toss it right into the dreaded “Dropped” pile — but episode 2 comes out swinging hard and truly hits the ball out of the park. The jokes land, the mystery and intrigue pull viewers deeper into their mire, and the raw family drama tugs mercilessly on one’s heartstrings; in short, The Good Bad Mother found its footing and has, against my expectations, completely captured my attention. It cleans up its own mess in an ultimate underdog comeback scenario — and I couldn’t be a happier viewer.

So, before I even continue writing: if you weren’t convinced with episode 1 (like me), give episode 2 a shot before making up your mind. It might possibly make all the difference.

This might sound melodramatic, but I swear I don’t have a single significant criticism about episode 2. Again, if you read my review of the first episode, you’re probably just as surprised as I am at this; in fact, I initially wondered if perhaps I subconsciously adjusted my expectations in accordance with the first episode’s flow (or rather, lack thereof). But no; I truly think episode 2 is simply that much better of an episode.

And since I don’t have anything negative to say, we get to have a wholly positive post today! So, without further ado, let’s take a look at elements of the second episode of The Good Bad Mother that I enjoyed and think warrant mentioning.

This post contains spoilers for episodes 1 and 2 of The Good Bad Mother.


One of my largest complaints last episode was how drastic and quick the tonal shifts were. I felt that slapstick comedy was mixed inharmoniously with dramatic moments which resulted in a disjointed viewing experience.

This second episode proves a far more coherent, balanced watch: transitions between scenes and across times are much smoother and run at a steadier pace, funny moments are welcome respite from heavy ones which are, in turn, given room to breathe before moving on to any silliness. All in all, things seem less rushed or forced.


Simply put, I find this episode much funnier than last. The jokes have purpose; they’re comic relief in the truest sense of the word “relief” because they provide us with a breath when we need to come up for air in betwteen heavier content. There are a lot of funny actors in this cast so it’s wonderful to get to see them shine.

One of my favorite comedic moments is early on when Mi Joo’s mom, Jung Gum Ja (Kang Mal Geum), receives a call from her daughter who she’s pretending is in the U.S. (but actually isn’t) and throws around English phrases here and there to impress her friends. It’s so cute and delivered so sincerely that I couldn’t help but chuckle.

Mom faces consequences

Speaking of moms, I love with a capital L that Young Soon (Ra Mi Ran) is facing some ever-loving consequences for her actions. Kang Ho (Lee Do Hyun) is grown now, but lives far away and has nothing to do with his mom because of how she treated him. And who can blame him? However, we see in this episode that Young Soon is not only hurt by this wedge between them, but I think also feels regret; we see that she does indeed love him and tries to make things right the best way she knows how.

After episode 1, I was nervous we wouldn’t see Young Soon facing consequences for what she’s done. She truly damaged Kang Ho in my opinion, and I was worried her treatment of him would be brushed off or that he would easily forgive her to move the story along, or something like that. I don’t know that I would have been able to stomach that. But episode 2 put those fears to rest.

Seeing this — that she’s also suffering for what she’s done — allows viewers to empathize with Young Soon. She still did wrong, absolutely. She drove her son away; she brought this upon herself. But we see that she’s paying for it by losing the one part of her life she likely never expected, and certainly never intended: her own child.

Kang Ho calls his mom’s bluff

Wow. This scene. What to even say.

A large draw to this drama for me was watching Lee Do Hyun and Ra Mi Ran play a complicated mother-son dynamic. And they are delivering beyond expectations.

This scene is my favorite of both episodes so far; as I watched, I found myself nearly breathless with anticipation.

Kang Ho, who hasn’t seen his mom since he left home years ago, is climbing the social ladder in the brutal, calculating way he was taught to. (If you disagree that she taught him to be this way, take a look at the main value Mommy dearest instilled in him in episode 1: human connection, relationships, and friendships are all secondary to the goal of becoming prosecutor, i.e. gaining power. Nothing is more vital.)

Kang Ho decides that his best next move will be to be legally adopted by the influential Mr. Song (Choi Moo Sung).

So in a devastating sequence of scenes, Kang Ho returns home and sits down with his mom for the first time in a long time, handing her a paper and asking her to sign him away legally.

What Kang Ho is doing is calling her bluff, something we see clearly when he hollowly points out that this is what she has always wanted, something she can’t (and doesn’t) deny. Because technically — in the terms of social hierarchy — yes, this is what she’s wanted for him his entire life.

Lee Do Hyun perfectly embodies the warring emotions of wanting to be done with this person who has hurt him so much, yet silently willing her to be his mother: to fight for her child and not sign away her legal relationship with him. When she stamps it, you see the hurt and defeat as he snatches up the paper and stalks out — likely expecting this outcome, yet hurting all the same at the rejection of his own mother.

Ra Mi Ran is truly magnetic in this scene as we see Young Soon mentally and physically fight with herself, debating whether or not to stamp the seal. A choice the veteran actress makes that rings so poignant is when she pushes her second hand down onto the hand holding the stamp, as if literally forcing herself to do something she doesn’t want to.

This scene combines understated performances with beautifully-written and -directed scenes to create a breathtaking piece of cinema that I won’t soon forget.

Before wrapping up, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention two characters I’m very excited to see more of: Sam Sik (Yoo In Soo) and Mi Joo (Ahn Eun Jin).

Both characters were some of my favorite parts about the first episode, and from what we learn about them here, I’m only more interested in learning about them as we see them interact with each other and with Kang Ho when he returns home.

In particular, I was surprised where we find both characters this episode. Sam Sik is in prison, but is getting out very soon. We see him in the preview for the next episode, so that’s definitely something to look forward to if you like this character.

And Mi Joo is a mom with two children who are being raised by their grandmother (Mi Joo’s mother) while she herself works in the city. I appreciate that she is not portrayed as some irresponsible hussy because she is young and had her children out of wedlock. I love that we see her working hard for her kiddos, excitedly imagining the day when she can provide for them the way she longs to be able to.

This episode was a delightful sucker-punch. I can’t recall any other drama where I’ve simultaneously disliked the first episode and loved the second episode to this extent. Though, I suppose that’s preferable to it being the other way around.

Anyways, I’m in for the long haul. What about you?

Thanks for stopping by!

And as always, happy drama-watching.

Follow my blog to stay updated or check out my other posts listed below.

All-time favorite drama: Sakura no Oyakodon: Season 3, Weak Hero Class 1

Currently watching: The Good Bad Mother, Reflection of You


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: