Episode 11 of Green Mothers Club starts with Eun-Pyo and her family heading to the counselling centre to get Dong-Seok checked out. Despite being in the top 1% of intelligence among his peers, Dong-Seok’s emotional intelligence is not as high. As a result, his PTSD is manifesting itself into selective mutism.
Eun-Pyo realizes that Dong-Seok’s gift is both a blessing and a curse. He may not be able to find common interests among kids his own age and as a result, suffer the same frustrations adults would. As for Eun-pyo, she’s starting to suffer from bad nightmares as a result, dreaming of her shop burning down with Dong-Seok still inside.
Fire in dreams generally denote anger and rage, although given Dong-Seok was actually inside the fire, it could be a sign of transformation. Specifically, a phoenix rising from the ashes and being reborn. It could be interpreted as Eun-Pyo rising up from her pettiness and actually seeing her son in a more positive light. At least, it would do but for Eun-Pyo’s behaviour for the next 40 minutes. Anyway, I digress…
Eun-Pyo is dead-set on trying to work out the root cause of why Dong-Seok is reacting the way he is. She’s convinced it’s not her and begins questioning the academy and the way they push students to achieve their best. The educator scoffs at her incredulousness and eventually has her kicked out the academy.
Meanwhile, Chun-hui comes under fire again for Yu-bin’s constant lies. The girl is in danger of losing all of her friends. She wants to stop lying but can’t help herself, making herself look better than she is. Some of that can, of course, be attributed to her parents, given how pushy they’ve been with her.
Ju-Seok is convinced she is a pathological liar and heads out that night to begin gambling again. As we know, this is a problem he’s had for a while and it doesn’t look like he’s intending to kick it any time soon.
In his absence, Chun-hui quizzes the group over a good psychologist to help with Yu-bin’s difficulties. Eun-Pyo is the one who actually messages back and offers some advice, telling her not to give up.
That evening, Eun-Pyo notices a light on in the study room. Upon further inspection, she realizes it’s actually Dong-Seok. He’s studying.
When Eun-Pyo sees him, she shouts at the kid and he rushes off. Eun-pyo follows, shouts at him again and demands to know when he finished his math book. Jae-Ung interjects and tell his wife to stop shouting, pointing out that he’s scared enough as it is.
In fact, Eun-Pyo is convinced that the “academy has brainwashed him” into studying hard. When the therapist hears this, she gently encourages her to stop this line of thinking. In fact, she shows off that Dong-Seok is feeling her desperation at a deeper level. He’s scribbled down “Mom’s wish” when asked whether he enjoys studying.
Something we’ve known for the past few episodes now finally manifests itself for Eun-Pyo to see – she’s the reason Dong-Seok is acting this way.
At the clinic, Chun-Hui learns that Yu-Bin’s lies appear to originate from her anxiety. When things get too much for Yu-Bin, she lies as a way of working through her problems. Chun-hui encourages her daughter not to do this, given it could lead to it snowballing and causing more trouble over time.
Back home, Eun-Pyo speaks to Dong-Seok and apologizes for the way she’s been acting. It also appears that another part of Dong-Seok’s sadness stems from Henry, whom he misses. If you’ll remember, the two kids were actually quite close before the situation with Jin-Ha.
Elsewhere, Yun-Ju overhears the women gossiping during football practice about Eun-Pyo and immediately heads over to confront them. After cursing them out, one of the women grabs Yun-Ju’s hair. Unfortunately it ends up with them in a big fight, right in front of all the kids. Su-In helps get her some bandages as she laughs the whole thing off.
Speaking of lying, Chun-Hui rings her contact and tells him that the drugs aren’t coming and from now on, she’s not going to run his drugs. When she hangs up, he’s left frustrated.
Another character we haven’t seen much of is Luis. He’s off doing business but Eun-pyo unexpectedly rings him. She decides they should meet up, where she broaches the subject of Henry playing with Dong-Seok. Given he’s heading off to France soon, Henry isn’t fond of joining him.
Meanwhile, we learn who threw the cup out the window into the park earlier in the season It was Oh Geon-U, Young-Mi’s husband.
Young-Mi is crushed when she finds out and even more so when the kids admit that he abuses them when she’s not around, locking Jul-Pin in the bathroom. Young-Mi completely shrugs off her kids’ concerns and claims it’s just because he’s an artist and feels sensitive.
Eun-Pyo heads over to Henry’s place with the kids. There, Eun-Pyo learns that Jin-Ha’s mother suffered from schizophrenia. Jin-Ha was always worried that she’d take after her mother the whole time she was alive.
This frames Eun-Pyo accusing Jin-Ha of having a mental condition in a completely different light, and actually makes Eun-Pyo look pretty bad.
Eun-pyo seems to realize this too and on the way back home, pulls over by the side of the road to have a good cry. She also stops at the mausoleum to pay her respects too, apologizing for what happened between them and pointing out that she didn’t know. She also promises to be back to pay her respects at a later date.
At the clinic, Eun-pyo finishes her session with the therapist, who echoes that Henry could be another reason why Dong-Seok is acting so withdrawn. On her way out the room, she drops her scarf, which Chun-Hui picks up. The pair face each other, as the episode comes to a close.
Green Mothers Club continues to drift through its episodes, unclear on exactly what sort of show it wants to be.
We had several episodes that really leaned into this murder mystery vibe, then we had a whole bunch of episodes centered on mum politics, and now it’s shifted across to mother and son/daughter relationships and the pressures these kids are under. Through it all ,the tone has jumped from melodrama, makjang, mystery and even romance, and this late in the game, this unsettled feel is never a great sign.
It also doesn’t help that Eun-Pyo isn’t very likable as a character. In fact, barely any of these characters are actually likable. It’s incredibly frustrating seeing half these mums in denial, including Eun-pyo herself who seems to think the academy is responsible for what happened to Dong-Seok, even though she was the one who pushed Dong-Seok into attending.
By the end of the episode, we circle back around to Jin-Ha and that only frames Eun-Pyo’s disdain for her old friend in an even more negative light – it does her character absolutely no favours.
This has been a mixed K-drama over the weeks and this episode exemplifies why. It’s definitely not bad, but it could have been better.