Episode 9 brings a softer story of a young man trying to find his biological mother. The chapter serves as an ideal penultimate chapter by giving Geu-r and Sang-gu something to fight for — family.
This recap of the Netflix K-drama series Move to Heaven season 1, episode 9 contains major spoilers.
After a couple of Sang-u centric chapters, Move to Heaven season 1, episode 9 reverts to the initial format, where trauma cleaning becomes central to the plot.
Episode 9 opens on July 16th, 2016, with Kang Seong-min (Matthew Green) discussing his experiences of when he was born in 1988 — he was found alone as a baby and was adopted in New York. When he was younger, he was always sick because he had a heart problem. He expresses how growing up in the states was hard and lonely. Seong-min explains that he has returned to Korea to find his birth mother. Episode 9 then sees Seong-min struggling to get a job in Korea and returns to his motel, looking sick, and needing his medication.
He never found his mother
Geu-ru and Sang-gu have a new “Move to Heaven” assignment, so get straight to it. They head to a motel, and Son U-rim greets them — Matthew Green has died. Son U-rim explains how he was born in the USA but was of Korean origin. He died of his heart problem. Son U-rim is clearly tearful over this case. Matthew never found his mother before he died. Geu-ru and Sang-gu start the process and pray for the deceased before moving to clean and clear out the young man’s things. A yellow box is put together with sentimental items. Geu-ru raises how they cannot find the dog A-ji, but U-rim explains that Matthew’s pet is at the vets now.
A complicated adoption process
Episode 9 delves into how complicated the adoption process can be, and while it can be overwhelmingly positive, it can bring some tragic drawbacks.
Sang-gu asks U-rim how the adoption process works and the mechanisms of a child finding their biological parents. Flashbacks show Matthew Green is devastated that his biological mother will not see him due to an unknown “situation.” Then, U-rim comforted Matthew Green, and he didn’t keep his US citizenship as his adoptive parents dissolved the adoption. In the present day, U-rim tells Geu-ru that he cannot give the yellow box to the biological mother as they are not allowed.
Finding the mother
Geu-ru, Sang-gu, and Na-mu look through Matthew’s sentimental items. Na-mu is tearful; she feels sorry for Matthew. However, Geu-ru is determined to deliver the yellow box, and suddenly, he looks through an old book — he believes he has found Matthew’s mother as a teenager. Kang Eun-jeong is supposedly his mother — she’s a reporter on the news. Na-mu’s mother is a big fan of her.
The group try to visit Kang Eun-jeong at the studios, but security will not let them in. Eventually, they follow her home and ask her about Matthew Green. Sang-gu details her son, but she does not seem comfortable talking about it in the open and asks if they can talk somewhere quiet. They tell her that her son died from a chronic illness and his body was found a week after his death. They show her Matthew’s belongings. Kang Eun-jeong tells them she is not Matthew’s mother and that in 1988, she was 16. Geu-ru shows her a photo, and suddenly she gets emotional.
But Move to Heaven season 1, episode 9 clearly fools the audience as nothing is what it seems.
Flashbacks show that Kang Eun-jeong’s mother ran a foster home. The mother decided that Matthew will be put up for adoption. Because of the photo from the foster home, Matthew believed Kang Eun-jeong was his mother. Geu-ru believes Matthew did meet Kang Eun-jeong as he does have a signed book that was autographed — flashbacks show Matthew meeting Kang Eun-jeong at a book signing. Afterward, he went home and drank loads of alcohol before tearing the book apart. Sang-gu raises how Matthew would have wanted her to remember him. Sang-gu apologizes for their ignorance and misunderstanding. A sobbing Kang Eun-jeong thanks them for their service as trauma cleaners and asks if she can keep Matthew’s things even though she isn’t his mother.
Geu-ru remembers his father
Episode 9 brings a sad but heartwarming admission from Geu-ru.
On the way home, Geu-ru and Sang-gu visit Matthew’s dog with Son U-rim — they give the dog the necklace that Matthew left for him. On the news, Kang Eun-jeong delivers a news report on Korean children adopted overseas and becoming stateless — she dedicates her damning report on Matthew Green. Geu-ru tells Sang-gu that he did not know his real parents, but he loves his father, who raised him.
Something is up with the uncle
And then the story goes full circle again, bringing Sang-gu’s story back to the fold.
Sang-gu wants assurances from Madam that if anything happens at the fight, that no-one steps foot inside Geu-ru’s house. He also wants the documents back before he fights. The next day, Sang-gu makes Geu-ru breakfast — eggs on toast. Geu-ru is worried that sudden change in behavior means his uncle is dying, but Sang-gu reassures him. The egg and toast for breakfast feel intimately similar to the first episode. Before Sang-gu leaves the house, he looks at Geu-ru and smiles. Sang-gu tells Na-mu to look after Geu-ru, which worries her — she tells him this is his home too.
Na-mu raises the alarm to Geu-ru — but Geu-ru is aware something is wrong because his uncle cleaned the house and made breakfast. He overheard his uncle talking to Madam on the phone and imitates the call regarding the documents and the fight.
Sang-gu asks Madam for the documents before the fight as he’s concerned he will end up like Su-cheol. She gives him the documents and tells him that she bet everything on him. He enters the ring, and he’s against a Russian champion. Meanwhile, Na-mu finds documents that suggest Sang-gu has chronic traumatic encephalopathy; punch drunk symptom — Geu-ru tells her that it’s a neurodegenerative disease commonly seen in boxers and other athletes that suffer from impact injuries — in severe cases, they can die. Geu-ru panics — he does not want his uncle to die.
After Geu-ru’s family secret, Move to Heaven season 1, episode 9 brings a softer story of a young man trying to find his biological mother. The chapter serves as an ideal penultimate chapter by giving Geu-r and Sang-gu something to fight for — family.