Wew I really learnt a lot from ep 18, especially KJS’s awakening!
I hope HSJ sees the parallel between Yeseo and her dad, herself and her mother-in-law. Both went through the same conditioning to strive for academic success at all costs. Both achieved 100% grades, countless awards (as laid out by Yeseo and when Yeseo’s dad threw his own awards on the floor). Both mothers masterminded their children's rise for their own greed. In the end KJS realises that he has no soul, only the roles known by others, as his mother’s son, HSJ’s husband, father of the family, director of planning…. There is no KSJ himself because he sacrificed everything else for his pursuit towards hospital chairmanship. Like him, Yeseo sacrificed friendships, her childhood and more for grades. And after 50 years of pursuit, it amounted to nothing for KJS. The only thing he wishes for is to be loved by his mother for who he really is, as her son and not for his achievements, a trophy child and as a doctor.
KJS’s mother really thought that she did him a big favour, after all the effort she put in to raise him to where he is today. Yet he was never grateful for her efforts . Instead he berated and blamed her for how he turned out, soul-less without conscience.
Can HSJ see that this is exactly what will happen to her when yeseo finally comes to a realisation?
Cha Min Hyuk- when he comes back to an empty home, what does he have left? Perhaps his position as a law professor. But how about family? How about respect? For all the wealth and position he can attain in the world, there is no family left for him to share with. There is no family left for him to love. I think this is what his wife wanted him to realise by moving out with the kids. Yet to my disappointment, CMH is fundamentally a broken man who never learns. Honestly he shocks me every time the situation turns extreme and I would expect some reflection from him... hahaha Sigh, after so much, really can't see what can stop him from his obsession with his children’s grades.
Ultimately, the pursuit for success is mired by the words ‘at what cost?’
I will really liked how the drama progressed from where Hyena was killed. Some were sad that she was just killed off like this but I thought writernim used this plot device well. TBH I couldn’t see where the drama was going if hyena was to continue with revenge. The focus of the story would then shift to becoming a revenge drama and lose its purpose as a social commentary about the academic culture in Korea and the pursuit of success at all cost. The writer really used hyena’s death to bring out KJY as the devil and forced parents to come to realisation about their mindset.
Also I find that using KJS to signify repentance is very convincing as he is the ultimate product of this academic culture and parents’s toxic mindsets. He symbolises both sides, the child in the system and the parent enforcing the system. By choosing to change and put a stop to Yeseo’s situation himself, it will really shows that this culture will only evolve if parents themselves make the change in their mindsets. No use changing how exams are administered as because no matter how much and what is being changed, if parents do not change their mindsets, this culture will continue to perpetuate. From the country I came from, the government has decided not to publish names of top scorers and their scores for national exams. Grading and ranking systems are also modified and people are calling for the abolition of the stressful primary school leaving examinations. However, because parents do not change their mindsets, there is a high demand such that tuition industries come in to conduct mock examinations for parents to know their children’s standing in absence of official rankings.
Thank you writernim for such an awesome drama! Doesn't just touch on these issues superficially as it can easily plod that road but the steps to realisation and emotional parts are really well written. I hope we all, especially the parents in asian contexts do takeaway something from this drama :')