There is no middle ground in Korean dramas. We either love them or hate them, and it is really impossible to have neutral feelings about that genre of entertainment. So, when there is a show like “Green Mothers’ Club” that is essentially about the politics of the helicopter mom community, how does a young millennial get interested in it? It would have been an impossible feat for anybody else but a K-drama to do that.
‘Green Mothers’ Club’ Episode 1: Recap
The first episode begins with Lee Eun Pyo giving a lecture on aesthetics, where she is talking about the Salieri syndrome when she sees an apparition of a woman who she imagines hitting with a coffee cup.
The next scene depicts four mothers in a building who are getting their children ready for school and are themselves preparing to go to the Green’s club. They have different morning routines for their children, ranging from them listening in on some English lessons as they get ready, to feeding them broccoli or getting them dressed in expensive clothes. They all later meet at the Green’s club, which involves them volunteering for traffic safety duty.
The scene then cuts to Eun Pyo moving into the building where these moms live. She meets up with Park Yun Joo, who is her cousin and one of the mothers we see in the earlier scene. As they discuss their children, Eun Pyo states that she hates those kinds of mothers the most who thrust their dreams onto their children. She declares that her dreams and her children are separate as individuals.
To this, Yun Joo replies by asking her whether she actually believes that mothers are so hyper-attentive towards their children’s education only because of their unfulfilled dreams. She is her children’s mother, and her children’s dreams are hers.
The next day, Eun Pyo runs into Byun Jun Hi at the bakery, where she is having an argument with the owner regarding the quality of their walnuts. The owner asks Eun Pyo to test them out to help them solve the problem. With some hesitation, Eun Pyo agrees and tells the owner that she thinks the walnuts taste fine.
Back in the building, as they are in the lift, Eun Pyo tries to talk to Jun Hi regarding the bakery incident, to which the latter tells her not to worry and that it wasn’t a big deal.
The next day, at a birthday party for one of the kids, which has been organized by Jun Hi and all the mothers of the building have been invited along with Eun Pyo, they sit down to discuss their children and their education. While talking, it is revealed that Eun Pyo is a highly educated individual who went to Gyeongsang University, a place for really gifted individuals, and is on her way to becoming a professor, though she has some regrets and hesitations regarding that.
As the mothers talk more, Eun Pyo commits a faux pas when she says that she is “not that kind of mother.” When asked to explain, she says that she doesn’t believe in stressing out her children, especially when they are just in first grade. This leads to her becoming an immediate outcast, and the situation is just worsened when her son Dong Seok accidentally breaks Jun Hi’s daughter Yu Bin’s violin.
In the next scene, we see Eun Pyo going to purchase a bookshelf from someone’s home, who coincidentally turns out to be an old friend of hers, Jin Ha, who was the woman she had dreamed of hitting with the coffee cup at the beginning of the episode. Jin Ha is excited to see her and can’t wait to catch up, but Eun Pyo seems very reluctant to do so and is quite cold to Jin Ha throughout their interactions.
We know from before that Jin Ha’s husband, Louis, is of Korean descent, though he is a French citizen. Their marriage seems happy on the surface, but there are some undertones of tension that we will probably see explained in the upcoming episodes.
After her meeting with Jin Ha, Eun Pyo realizes that she does not want to give up on her dream of becoming a professor and goes to meet one of her seniors at the university to see if she can get her job back. The trouble is that Eun Pyo had written a secret diary entry about not wanting to work that her son had accidentally uploaded while playing with her phone, and that is the reason Eun Pyo is without a job right now.
“Green Mothers’ Club” Episode 1 ends with her trying to take her children to school while running a fever and Jun Hi and the other moms looking at her to see if she would be alright without coming forward to help.
‘Green Mothers’ Club’ Episode 2: Recap
This episode begins with Louis catching hold of Eun Pyo as she falls unconscious. He was there to drop off his son Henry at school, who is in the same class as Dong Seok. He takes her to a hospital, where they greet each other. We know from Eun Pyo’s flashbacks that she and Louis dated when she was in France, but then Jun Hi came into their lives. It is only implied that Louis started dating Jun Hi after that.
Coming back to the present, the moms in the building see Louis drop off Eun Pyo and speculate on how she could possibly know Jun Hi’s husband. They find the answers at one of the parents’ meetings with the school when Jun Hi talks to Eun Pyo in front of everyone and reveals that they were once best friends. It is at this meeting that we see that Dong Seok is considered a late bloomer, and he might have trouble concentrating in class because he is unable to catch up with the other kids.
When this is suggested by the teacher to Eun Pyo, she gets miffed and vents to her husband that this is an abnormal society that forces kids to overachieve and that they should hold their ground regarding the kind of upbringing they have chosen for their children.
But despite this, she starts to look for after-school lessons for her child and, in this process, commits the same faux-pas that she did before, this time with Kim Young Mi, who insists on the emotional connection one has with their children and claims that it is getting neglected in the hypercompetitive environment.
The next day, when the kids are playing at a park with Eun Pyo and Yun Joo watching them, two pieces of glass fall from the sky, and in an effort to rescue Yu Bin from getting hurt, Eun Pyo injures herself. When Jin Ha sees this, she extends her an olive branch and decides to let bygones be bygones. She also tells Eun Pyo not to worry about reimbursing the cost of the violin Dong Seok broke.
At Yun Joo’s end, we see that her husband is stressed out about how much it costs for his daughter’s education and is struggling to fulfill that responsibility. We also come to know that he works under Louis, in his company.
going to Jun Hi’s house for coffee and snacks. Here, Jun Hi touches upon how Eun Pyo left France before getting her doctorate, even though she was on her way to being the youngest one to do it. As she presses her for a reason, Eun Pyo’s silence prompts Jin Ha to say that maybe she doesn’t want to talk about it and that they should let it go. Eun Pyo excuses herself to go to the washroom. On her way to it, she chances upon Jun Hi’s painting room, which reminds her of a childhood memory of when Jun Hi was talking about how she uses a paint thinner for her art while Eun Pyo was helping her father mix it with his paints just the night before. This hints at an inferiority complex that Eun Pyo has probably carried her whole life against Jun Hi.
This is when Jun Hi catches her in that room, and while talking, she warns her to be careful of Jin Ha as she believes that she has a dark side. This prompts Eun Pyo to ask her what made her say that. She asks Jun Hi if she knows Jin Ha that well, and if she doesn’t, she shouldn’t say such things. This is the first time we have seen Eun Pyo directly talking to Jun Hi. As they make their way to where the children are sitting, Eun Pyo sees Dong Seok sitting in a corner separate from all the kids, looking forlorn and bored. She notices that the kids are watching an English movie without subtitles, and Dong Seok is the only one who is unable to understand it. This shows her that her son has indeed fallen behind his peers.
As she thinks about this back home, she is visited by Jun Hi, who gifts her a scarf and apologizes for her comments about France. She tells her that she wants them to be friends again.
When Jun Hi leaves Eun Pyo’s apartment, she is followed by the latter, who gives her back her gift and asks her why she is doing this to her. She goes on to say that she exploits other people’s sore spots and is about to say more when Jun Hi slaps her. They both go silent for a second, and then Eun Pyo slaps her back, saying that now they are even. This whole scene is witnessed by Jin Ha. It is at this point that “Green Mothers’ Club” Episode 2 ends.
As said before, we are strangely interested in this story, a feat only a k-drama could have managed with its subtly wacky characters and knack for the portrayal of the nuances of the situation. Also, it is a talent only k-dramas have that they say a lot without the story really moving forward, and that is what has happened in these two episodes. We have the setting for the story to come. We know the characters we are going to be seeing and the sub-plots that will be unfolding. And that is exactly what has happened here.
The first two episodes of “Green Mothers’ Club” were the launchpad for how the show unfolds in the future. And that is when we will have more opinions about it. For now, we just look forward to next Wednesday.
‘Green Mothers’ Club’ is a 2022 Drama Romance South Korean Series streaming on Netflix.