Reply 1988: Of Mothers and Husbands

Last week’s eps5/6 are tear jerking one moment and full of surprises the next.


Unlike previous Reply, I find 1988 rather…noisy. Verified by my hubby, who complained once that all he heard was “shouting and screaming” on my iPhone screen. Er, quite true. We are now at ep6, and there is hardly one ep where Papa Sung and Mama Lee are not yelling at each other. Either them or it will be the 2 Sung sisters pulling each other hair out.


It’s not to say I find it un-enjoyable. On the contrary. Cos (ahem) that’s how my family communicate too. (lol) The picture of a nuclear family sitting serenely over a dinner table only happens in 15s commercials. Unless I’m very much mistaken, MOST families are heavily involved in some forms of ragging, nagging, yelling, bitching, and the occasional whacking as their forms of communication. And that’s why I find myself loving Duk-sun and her very-eccentrically-normal family so much. Which can explain why ep5 with its theme of mothers (or parents, since the Dads are affected too) hit me so hard.


That’s a bad thing, really. Cos I usually watch my kdramas in very public places — like in the subway. And crying isn’t a very…sane thing to do publicly. Well, despite all the high volume shouting going on, parents are parents. When their brood are threatened, they go into overdrive. Daddies (who traditionally play the Discipline Master cum Breadwinner role in Asian family) display their worries by meting out punishments. Bo-ra gets grounded for her participation in the riots. Daddy Sung also threatens to shave her bald to seriously ground her.  But we know that his anger stems from having first hand experience at seeing how scary the riot police are with their tear gas and batons and what they do to the kids. The last thing he wants is his precious daughter getting seriously beaten up by strange men, or hauled in for torture.


Mama Lee’s defense of Bo-ra though, nearly had me sniffling. I suppose the voiceover in ep5 belongs to an adult (and more matured) Bo-ra, who contritely admits that she had been a “disobedient girl” and didn’t know what’s good for her then. I believe Mama Lee’s litany of pleas on how Bo-ra is such a great daughter to save her from being hauled away isn’t made up. She is proud of her daughter, despite her flaws. And the 1988 Bo-ra gets it too, in a subconscious way — that still rebellious teen in her hears her mum begging rather embarrassingly, but deep down, she feels guilty for not living up to her mum’s expectations.


Well, I’m quite sure Bo-ra’s streak of arrogance and oftimes, violence, will be tamed by Sun-woo. As seen in ep6, when she stubs out her ciggie to receive a phone call from her husband, and goes all sweet and docile on him. (and i believe that “husband” on the other line is Sun-woo…) I do like the twist in ep6 when Sun-woo reveals himself to be crushing on Bo-ra…and not Duk-sun, as we (and herself) believed. But what is even more interesting is Taec’s gradual stepping up to be the second contender as Duk-sun’s boyfriend.


From the previous eps, I did notice Taec’s little actions towards Duk-sun which hint of possible romantic feelings, like how he wistfully stares after her. And in ep6, when he pulls an unsuspecting Duk-sun into a hug, it confirms that he does like her more than juz a friend. With Duk-sun as the stimulus, Taec finally, finally decides to venture out to Life beyond baduk. That small, brave little first step in asking Duk-sun to a movie means a lot to him — it’s the “thing” he has been fighting for. Kinda like a reward he dangles for himself if he beats the 5 other players in international baduk competition. And we all seen in ep6 how much and how long he fought to earn his “carrot”.


However, imo, Duk-sun’s future hubby is very likely still Jung-hwan at this point in time, from the way future Duk-sun bickers with her hub. It’s similar to how Duk-sun in 1988 exchanges barbs with Jung-hwan. Unless Taec subsequently changes to become more vocal as the narrative progresses. (which i don’t foresee) As for the impending “heartbreak” for Taec (who is so vulnerable, having zero social skills)…well, pain is necessary for growing up.

2 thoughts on “Reply 1988: Of Mothers and Husbands

Add yours

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 )

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: