Well, that was a lot darker than I anticipated.
When I heard the premise of the drama I was really interested: Mom pretends to be a high schooler to find out who is bullying her daughter. I assumed that the drama could be serious at some points, because bullying is serious, but I think in my mind I was thinking more Boys Over Flowers over the top story telling. You can't really blame me though. This is about a mom pretending to be a high schooler! How serious could it be?
How wrong I was.
In the first two episodes there has been some serious bullying which was expected. But then, there have been death threats, some serious beatings, a rape (in a flashback), school system corruption, an off screen (but important) suicide, and skeezy teachers. If this is what happens in the first two episodes I can only imagine what the rest this iceberg of a show is hidden under the water.
Even through all this darkness and horrible things that are happening, when the drama wants to be ridiculous, it can get quite ridiculous. The lightness is definitely welcomed and it also doesn't feel out of place. It reminds me a little of Kill Me Heal Me (since that is what I just watched) in the sense that it is able to weave things together in a way that on paper seems like it shouldn't work, but it totally does.
A secondary aspect to my watching the drama was the presence in Kim Yoo Jung in the drama. I've seen quite a few dramas that she has been in and I think that this has the potential to be one of the best things that she has done. All of her characters have been fine, but that's it. All of her characters have been good but a lot of depth or anything. Her character of Ah Ran is a strong and brave, but under all that bravado is a scared little girl who wants to do the right thing but finds out that she can't do anything and could actually make the situation worse.
Ah Ran is not the only interesting young character, there are also two boys Bok Dong (Jisoo) and Sang Tae (Baro) and a girl named Yi Kyung (Yoon Ye Joo). Yi Kyung is the main source of bullying in this drama but the reason why is a mystery. She doesn't want to let her mom know she is being bullied because then her mother will find out what she did. Questions 1: What did she do?
Then there are our boys. One of the first things in this drama we see is Yi Kyung being bullied and Ah Ran is trying to protect her. Sang Tae sees what is happening and he calls Bok Dong to save the day. Maybe. Bok Dong scares the bullies away. He then goes to Yi Kyung and tells her that they have seen a lot of each other and is tired of meeting. But wait, there's more! He later threatens Ah Ran with a knife and tells her to forget everything and that everyone "who knows about that" could end up dead. Questions 2: What did she DO?
Then, of course, our main character Jo Kang Ja played by Kim Hee Seon. I have never seen her in anything before but I have enjoyed her portrayal as this character so far. She is the type of person who kicks butt and takes names without doing it in a way that is annoying. I am not one to swear, but Kang Ja is a badass without flaunting her badassness. She has a goal, find her daughter's bully and turn them in, and that is all that matters. If someone gets in her way, heaven help that person. It's awesome.
Episodes 3 and 4 came out this week and I have yet to watch them (darn subs!) but I am excited to learn more about these people. There are so many layers and secrets happening and I am so excited to find out where are these trails lead and how the bad guys (or not so bad guys) are brought to justice and whether or not they learn (or not) from their actions.