With so many new K-dramas dropping this month, you can add this tantalizing housewife thriller to your list.
Secret Mother is about Kim Yoon Jin (Song Yoon Ah) an upper middle class housewife and former Psychiatrist who decides to hire a private tutor for her son. She hires Kim Eun Young (Kim So Yeon) who poses as Lisa Kim, a professional academic tutor in order to get close to Yoon Jin and her family. Eun Young has ulterior motives, wanting to discover the truth behind her sister’s disappearance after she received treatment from Yoon Jin in the past, at her Psychiatric clinic. Child kidnapping, adultery, and murder, as well as surrogate motherhood are aspects tied into this mystery and forms complicated female bonds.
I’m so glad that the K-drama world hasn’t finished exploring motherhood as a theme for thrillers and mysteries. It’s evident that the mothers and women in this drama have hidden secrets that create anxieties and provide layers of mysteries, from a mother acting over-protectively to a woman posing as a threat in order to uncover the truth, they all have their own reasons for acting the way they do.
Even our secondary characters who are friends (or enemies) within the same housewife circle or association, have secrets of their own that they wish to conceal. And although it might be too early to speculate, I’m going to go ahead and say that Eun Young will be a formidable foe, who will bring these secrets to light.
I’m also quite surprised that the drama’s end or rather middle, was the beginning. We start off with Eun Young’s death or what seems like attempted murder, the story’s beginning told in an interrogation room to reveal what occurred 3 months back. There have been plenty of dramas to have a climatic end as an opening, but I wasn’t expecting the middle portion of the story to be the starting point, which I have to say is unexpectedly brilliant. And who knows, what I think to be the middle or uncompleted portion of the story might actually be the end, so this is one drama that wins at piquing my interest.
What’s even more eyebrow raising, is how these housewives achieve a sense of accomplishment when they see their children excel in school and academics. They push their expectations onto their children in order to flaunt their competency as housewives and attain a sense of superiority, a child’s grades used as a means to project pity and pride.
I find this extremely problematic because the kids are merely in elementary school where their only concern should be finger painting and reading picture books for goodness sakes! The children make up an integral part of the story, so it’s frightfully fascinating to see them subjected to constant studying and etiquette training in conjunction to their mothers essentially having a competition based on the children’s grades, their self-worth supposedly determined by this.
In terms of the drama’s style, it’s like most melodramas with an awful and cringe worthy car chase and hints at plot holes that might not be repairable so in that regard – brace yourself. Its tones are muted rather than dark to give off an edgy and abstruse feeling.
The drama omits violence, blood, and gore found in most intense thrillers and crime series, so we’re seeing a ‘softer’ mystery thriller of sorts where the crime lies in unspoken truths and concealment instead of brute acts or grand scale murders with a vicious killer on the loose. The pace is steady and doesn’t lag, giving us bits and pieces of our characters’ secrets at intervals that contribute overall to the first episode being a success, and defines the show as a housewife thriller.
The main idea here is to keep in mind that someone is always watching. If the main poster is anything to go by, then the entire plot will create and form this massive domino effect with every single person in the drama involved, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. However, because this does lean more towards being a classic melodrama, it may not deliver completely despite all its potential.
Personal affairs and dramatic character interactions or muddled pasts might take away from the central mystery, creating the plot holes I mentioned earlier and that’s something I could do without, making me question whether I should continue this or not; I like it so far, but will I love it three or four weeks from now? Shady spouses, meddling middle aged women, and a beautiful stranger to shake things up definitely seems like an entertaining rollercoaster of a ride. If it’s queasy or truly thrilling can only be determined in the future so I’m onboard for now.
Release Date: May 12, 2018