K-drama First Impressions: The Good Bad Mother

Lee Do- hyun is one busy actor this year. Just a month after his very successful drama ‘The Glory’, with 2023 Baeksang Awards Best Actress for TV Song Hye-Kyo, he stars in Netflix’s The Good Bad Mother that captures the journey of a mother and her ambitious prosecutor son along life’s tragedies, strained relationship, and healing.

The new Korean drama is off to a good start as it seats on #7 (at the time of writing) of Netflix’s top TV shows in the Philippines. It has also seen an increase in viewership ratings in nationwide South Korea for its second episode with 4.310% from the 3.588% pilot episode.

With just two episodes, I could say that The Good Bad Mother has a very promising storyline and I could already see that I would cry buckets because I was already bawling with the first two episodes.

Plot Synopsis of Netflix’s ‘The Good Bad Mother’

Young-Soon, portrayed by Ra Mi-Ran, is a mother who is raising her son Kang-Ho while managing a pig farm after her husband’s tragic death at the hands of Song Woo-Byeok.

Her struggles as a single parent forced her to become a very strict mother to Kang-Ho (Lee Do-hyun’s character) forcing him to become a prosecutor. 

Kang-Ho matures and becomes this ambitious and cold prosecutor in Seoul and turns away from his mother.

He works with the very people who murdered his father and brought the tragedy in their family. But as fate would have it, he encounters an accident that made him think like a child. This accident would force him to reconnect with his mother and start their journey towards healing.

The Good Bad Mother Kdrama Character Introduction: Major Key Players

Ra Mi-ran as Jin Young-soon, Kang-Ho’s mother in The Good Bad Mother Kdrama

Ra Mi-ran as Jin Young-soon, Kang-Ho’s mother

She runs a pig farm and raises Kang-Ho singlehandedly. She is very strict towards Kang-Ho which puts a heavy strain on their relationship.

Lee Do-hyun as Choi Kang-Ho in the Korean Drama the Good Bad Mother

Lee Do-hyun as Choi Kang-Ho

He is the ambitious prosecutor and cold son of Jin Young-soon. His mother’s upbringing made him hate her, thus, turning away from her and living alone in Seoul.

Ahn Eun-Jin as Lee Mi-Joo in the new Netflix Kdrama The Good Bad Mother starring Lee Do Hyun and Ra Miran

Ahn Eun-Jin as Lee Mi-Joo

She is the childhood friend of Choi Kang-Ho who has the same birthday as him. Her accident during Kang-Ho’s prosecutor exam became the triggering point of the mother and son’s strained relationship.

Yoo In-soo as Bang Sam-sik in the k-drama The Good Bad Mother

Yoo In-soo as Bang Sam-sik

He is also Kang-Ho’s childhood friend back in Jouri. He is always jealous of Kang-Ho.

Choi Moo-Sung as Song Woo-Byeok

He is the man who murdered Kang-Ho’s father and ironically the man Kang-Ho works for. 

Jung Woong-in as Oh Tae-soo

He was the puppet and corrupt lawyer of Kang-Ho’s father. At present, he is the father of Kang-Ho’s fiance.

Hong Bi-ra as Oh Ha-young

She is the daughter of Oh Tae-soo and Kang-Ho’s fiance.

The Good Bad Mother Kdrama: My First Impressions

The Oxymoron of the Kdrama title

The Good Bad Mother uses an oxymoron to its fullest advantage.

For one, it functions as a hook for the narrative because it is interesting and creates a sense of curiosity for the viewers. This was what happened to me when I saw it on Netflix. It made me curious and made me watch it.

It also captures the character of Jin Young-soon as a good and a bad mother. As good as she is for raising Kang-Ho alone, her condition as a single mother forced her to raise him with a will of steal. This made her bad from Kang-Ho’s perspective.

Her characterization captures what it is to be a mother and a human being.

By being good and bad at the same time, basically is a multidimensional depiction of human beings. By showing her strengths and her frailties, she becomes a picture of what it is to be a mother- a mother who would do everything for her son, regardless of the nature of their relationship.

This is simply a good ingredient for television and with the two episodes, The Good Bad Mother pulled it off.

The Mother and Son relationship arc

Overbearing, suffocating, and controlling, these three best exemplifies the narrative of the mother-son relationship arc of The Good Bad Mother.

For someone who has lost his mother at an early age, this arc grabbed my attention. The strain in their relationship provides a very good vehicle as the story moves forward. It also made me wonder the what could have been and what ifs if my mother is still alive.

The drama was able to show facets of such relationships; from love and connection to indifference, anger, and hate.

With just two episodes, The Good Bad Mother captured these emotions very well.

The characterization of Jin Young-soon as the mother and Kang-Ho as the son is realistic enough for me.

Smooth Transitions in the Kdrama The Good Bad Mother

One thing I also appreciate in the story is the smoothness of the transitions.

From the opening to Kang-Ho’s childhood, high school, and adulthood, the time transition of the drama is very well executed. I was not confused one bit.

The time spent in each part of his life was given just enough screen time to establish his character and that of his mother allowing the story to move forward. 

The Good Bad Mother is a Korean drama that has a very promising storyline that will surely be worth your streaming time.

If you follow Lee Do-hyun’s body of work, this should definitely be on your list. I could see that this Kdrama would bring forth emotions that we have had and presently have with our mothers. I could feel that this might be a very nice medium to heal our own parental relationships. 

May you begin to enjoy this Kdrama as much as I did too. Happy binging! 

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HanaDulSes is a blog created by cousins Von and Mara who share the same enthusiasm to the Korean Popular Culture. This blog centers in three things: Korean Skincare, Korean Popular Music and Korean Drama. Thus, the name: hana, dul, ses! With the Korean wave being at the peak of cultural blending, we aim to provide a rookie guide to people who love similar Korean contents as we do.

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