Mother and Sister

Reviewed by: sukting

September 02, 2003

Rating: three

50 episodes

This is the longest Korean drama that I have seen so far. Unlike other serials, it delves deep into family relationships. What happens if a new member joins a family which is from a totally different background? Will the family accept her/him? How are you going to accept the fact that your mother is someone else?

Introduction on characters/story

1. Zhang Ru Qian - Hwang So Chin
Hwang does well as the long suffering sister. It is said that she learned sign language diligently for this role.

She finds out that her mother faked her fourth pregnancy and agrees not to tell the truth. But she begins to detest the younger brother who was borne by another woman. One day, she ignores his pleas to wait for him while cycling. In the end, she falls over a bridge and her blood vessels in her tongue area become numb. She is unable to talk again.

Her father dotes on her and gives her a deputy manager post in the company. He treats her like a normal person and wants to marry her off to a normal person too, but to no avail. Her mother is angry with his stubbornness, so both often quarrel over her.

At this time, Xiu Zhe brings Shan Ni to join the family, claiming that she is Qing Bin’s twin. This drops a bombshell in the home.

She tries her best to accept her and also gets attracted to Xiu Zhe for being such a kind man. Xiu Zhe later works in the company. They communicate through sms and also sign language. This man wins her heart but on the day he is supposed to meet her family, his ex-girlfriend reveals that he only wants to be rich and not her love. In fact, he cohabited with her. Her whole family opposes to it.

Ru Qian stubbornly chooses to believe that he loves her. Both elope and she becomes pregnant with his child. She refuses to abort and even encourages Xiu Zhe to take care of Xing Zi. However, Xiu Zhe later returns to her when Xing Zi decides to leave him.

2. Zhang Nan Qian – Jin Zhi Ying
What a difference from her evil role in ‘Tomato’! She has portrayed the character convincingly. She is cheerful and helpful. Seeing that Shan Ni has difficulties adapting to the family, she brings her to her workplace to show her how she directs a commercial. Shan Ni gets interested and both sisters get along very well. Being protective towards Ru Qian, she is disappointed when she thinks that Shan Ni has the evil intention to introduce Xiu Zhe to seduce her sister. However, she realizes the truth and apologises to her.

3. Zhang Nan Qian
This is the only sister who doesn’t accept Shan Ni. She also tries to create discord among Qing Bin and Shan Ni so that she will leave. Later, she learns to be more sensitive and sensible when Ru Qian leaves home. She even helps the twins to pack their belongings when both decide to donate their liver to save their ailing biological mother.

4. Zhang Rou Qian/Chen Shan Ni – Kim So Yeon
She is a factory worker. Her mother, Ying Shu, tells her to move into the Zhang family after she elopes with her lover. The two Mrs Zhangs actually wish to drive her away. Worried for her, Ying Shu tells Xiu Zhe the news. She becomes very revengeful. Xiu Zhe then confronts Xue Xiu at the factory. Xue Xiu then realizes the truth and comes to visit his beloved youngest daughter at the small motel, and finds her suffering from malnutrition.

He decides to bring her home and only his two elder daughters agree to it. Qing Bin can’t accept it when Xue Xiu brings him to visit Shan Ni. He later straightens his thinking and tries his best to make her feel at ease. Shan Ni is determined to change her life – she doesn’t wish to continue her studies after high school. She wants to show her mother that she is leading a good life.

She has problems communicating with Ru Qian because the latter is dumb. Later Grandmother Zhang picks on her for having no manners. Mrs Zhang wants to change her name to Rou Qian. Her father dotes on her and even thanks Ying Shu for giving him such a lovely youngest daughter.

She is angry with Qing Bin for not acknowledging his natural mother. She still keeps Ying Shu’s photograph despite hating her for neglecting her. Qing Bin scolds her for being insensitive but she thinks that she has the right as Mrs Zhang has not brought her up at all.

She introduces Can Mei and Xiu Zhe to the family. She lies that Xiu Zhe is a salesman (but he is in fact jobless and is a gangster in debt) and Can Mei is a graduate (she is learning how to be a hairstylist in a private school). Both have to play along with her game.

Seeing that Can Mei has a goal in her life, she also plans to start her university education. At this time, she has learned to respect her grandmother and even buys her her favourite nuts when she returns home.

Later, Ying Shu comes to look for her but she drives her away. She even forbids Ying Shu to open a shop near the Zhang place. She decides to stay with Ying Shu after the family suspects her of being involved in Ru Qian’s elopment.

She begs Qing Bin to help her after knowing her condition. The twins decide to donate their livers to save her life. The serial doesn’t tell the ending but I guess it should be a happy one since Ying Shu sheds happy tears.

5. Shen Xing Zi – Piao Shan Ying
She is a dance hostess and has been cohabiting with Xiu Zhe for a long time. Her love for him is so deep – she can become a housewife to look after his daily needs. But she notices that Xiu Zhe is later torn between her and Ru Qian. She tries hard to break them up. However, she helps him when his debtors try to kill him. She injures her head and that is why Xiu Zhe is so touched that he decides to marry her instead of Ru Qian.

Knowing that he no longer loves her, Xing Zi is content enough to be able to wear the wedding gown. She doesn’t turn up at the church and tells him to return to Ru Qian. This woman can be unreasonable but she later makes a big sacrifice just to make him happy.

6. Han Ying Shu
I despise this woman. After giving birth, she wants to keep Shan Ni with her. The two Mrs Zhangs agree to it on one condition: they don’t wish to see Shan Ni again. But her boyfriend cheats her company funds and both have to be on the run. Ying Shu dumps Shan Ni to be with him. But too bad this man later runs away by himself.

She falls ill when Xiu Zhe finds her. Unable to handle it, he requests Xue Xiu to help him. This is the first time they meet each other.They talk about the twins and Xue Xiu gives her financial help.

7. Mrs Zhang
She tries so hard to get a son but she can’t conceive again after giving birth to 3 daughters. That is why she tries to get Ying Shu to be pregnant through artificial methods. In the meantime, she pretends to be pregnant but one day, Ru Qian sees her removing the pillow from beneath her clothes, so she threatens her.

In the end, the twins are born. She has the intention to keep both at first but when Ying Shu wants Shan Ni, she doesn’t wish to see her again. She keeps the truth from Xue Xiu and he doesn't know the existence of Shan Ni at all.

Her family is almost broken up with Shan Ni’s arrival. However, they learn to accept her. Her relationship with Qing Bin is strained now when he knows that she is not his natural mother. However, both get along better after many setbacks.

You can’t blame her for chasing Shan Ni away when Ru Qian leaves home. She has felt remorseful towards Ru Qian all these years and can’t control her temper. She also opposes to Qing Bin doing the operation as she is also concerned about his life. This poor mother has so many worries that she smokes most of the time.

8. Grandmother Zhang
She is also another traditional woman who believes that sons are better. She helps Mrs Zhang to cover up the truth. She spoils her grandson rotten. Out of the girls, she also favours Ru Qian the most. But Nan Qian is most capable to soothe her anger. She is initially wary of Shan Ni but is later won over by her filial piety. She starts doting on this granddaughter.

9. Kong Can Mei – Bae Dou Na
She is a plain looking girl but she is persistent in pursuing her dream to be a hairdresser. She is hesitant to tell Qing Bin the truth as he is an undergraduate. Actually, Qing Bin finds it more comfortable being with her than with his two previous girlfriends. He has known her real identity all along and doesn’t mind it. She is down-to-earth but Xiu Zhe is a loafer. She also pities Xing Zi and tries to help her every now and then.

10. Zhang Xue Xiu – don’t know his name but he is the SMO of neurosurgery in Sunflower
He is not the traditional man who only prefers daughters. In fact, he regards Ru Qian as his favourite. He is also delighted to know that Shan Ni is his youngest daughter. Shan Ni is baffled when she learns that he has never seen her mother before and is stunned to know that she is a test-tube baby. She accepts his explanation and learns to love this caring father.

Xue Xiu believes in being frank, so he wants Qing Bin to know about his actual parentage. He will always consider his children’s interests before his own.

11. Zhang Qing Bin – Gao Xiu
He has been pampered from young. He is also the target of two women in his university. But his whole life changes when he knows his true parentage. He is unable to accept his both mothers. That is why the pitiful Ying Shu has to make Can Mei invite Qing Bin and Shan Ni to sit near the café’s window so that she can watch the twins together from afar.

His two previous girlfriends were short-tempered and arrogant. That is why he feels more at ease when going out with Can Mei and enjoys going to the movies with her. Later even when he discovers her hairdressing pass almost falling out of her wallet while she is buying pancakes for him. He looks at it and inserts it back into her backpack quietly. It doesn’t matter to him how lowly-educated she is as he admires her positive attitude towards life.

12. Kong Xiu Zhe – Ahn Jae Wook
I don’t really like this character. He is indecisive and a good-for-nothing at first. He has no stable job and relies on Xing Zi for a living. Later, he dreams of holding a high post in Xue Xiu’s company but he is only offered the job of a technician. He grumbles about it.

Later he decides to get close to Ru Qian. He picks up sign language and even tries to learn more about plays to woo her because he wants to get rich. He finds himself really falling for her. At first, he wants to have the best of both worlds but unfortunately, he is still forced to make a choice. He is a very indecisive man and Xing Zi has to help him to make the choice!

Interesting facts
The serial has close to 40% viewership as many love to see how people oppose to Xiu Zhe and Ru Qian’s relationship. The director had to add more scenes for Hwang in the end. She became a popular ‘eldest sister’ in other dramas too. ‘The 4 Sisters’ also has her as the lead too.

The first 20 episodes had very low ratings in Taiwan. Not many were interested to watch how a three-generation family got along. But ratings soared when people became interested in the love triangle.

Many Ahn fans complained to the television station when they found that Ahn was going to play a supporting role in here. Bae Dou Na changed her usual role as a problem youngster into a sensible woman. Ahn got along very well with her. In the midst of filming, he even accepted her as his godsister! The yellow car that he drives became a hot model after the showing.

Gao Xiu received the best newcomer award in 2000 in MBC when this serial was shown. He was also selected at one of the 10 popular actors in the same year.

Kim So Yeon starred in here right after ‘All About Eve’. However, some feel that the stubborn nature that she presented in this serial was no different from her role as Yin Mei in her debut.

Ahn Jae Wook put on 4-5 kg to act in this role and he no longer looked as skinny as in other serials. His sacrifice won him SOOMPI and best acting awards among the 3 television stations in 2000. The judges found him successful in making this lowly-educated but warm-hearted gangster come alive. Ahn confessed that Jiang Min in ‘Wish upon a Star’ made young girls notice him while Xiu Zhe attracted women above 25.

This serial is different from other serials because it tells more on family relationships and less on romance. I don’t like Ru Qian’s attitude, though. He is such a lazy and unreliable man. She is so stubborn to make so many sacrifices for him.

I find the serial losing steam in the end. The title ‘Mother Sister’ is quite appropriate. The word sister referred to Ru Qian. As for the word mother, it refers to both mothers. It is quite appropriate because both love him very much.

The cast’s acting is quite impressive in depicting the family bonding together. However, the pace can be quite slow, so you need to be quite patient when watching it.

Ratings :

On acting : * * * (Scale of 5)

On story : * * * (Scale of 5)

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