Let me preface this post by saying that this episode is RIDICULOUS, and I mean it in both good and bad ways.
1) The Bad Way: the writing is starting to stretch believability in some parts already. I want to be convinced. Not say: “Yeah, right!”
2) The Good Way: Many more developments in characters, and the chemistry between Hye Ri and In Woo are helping to carry this episode through all the unbelievable parts.
Song of the Day
Prosecutor Princess OST – “Lost” by AB Avenue
There are a bunch of other songs in their OST, but I don’t hear it that often in the episodes. Such a shame…
“Hye Ri = fat?! NO WAY!” That’s the thought running through everyone’s minds in the office as Min Suk spams everyone’s mailboxes with the image. Hye Ri naturally runs to the bathroom for a bit of moping and crying, and she overhears two gossip girls talking about how she has no right to look down on them now. She thinks back to a similar situation years ago, when she was in high school. But Hye Ri didn’t mind the comments then – if she studied hard, her mother would put her on a diet to skinny down, and her father would buy the entire department store for her as long as she got into law school.
Hye Ri has half a mind to burst out of the stall and tell those gossipy coworkers off, but she doesn’t. Instead, she calls In Woo – who’s moping about the unfortunate encounter the night before – for an eating session. He thinks it’s because her little romance isn’t going so well, but she just wants to eat – even though she knows she’ll vomit later. Anorexic much?
When Hye Ri returns home, her mother smells the oil from Chinese cooking in her hair and clothes. (Uh – I don’t think Chinese oil smells THAT bad… unless I’ve become immune to it… *sniff*) Her mother naturally freaks and pulls out a photo of the fatter Hye Ri. Hye Ri shies away from it as if it were a garland of garlic. She weighs herself, and finds herself a shocking 48.2 kg (equivalent to about 106 lbs). She takes off all her jewelry and accessories until she reaches a satisfactory 48.0 kg (105 lbs).
At the office the next day, the other prosecutors note Hye Ri’s subdued attitude, and Se Joon remembers back to what she said to him that night: that she finds her confidence in her body and finds it precious. As she passes by all her coworkers whispering about her, she rushes into an elevator to hide in a corner behind all her sunbaes. Min Suk feels guilty enough and apologizes for the email. He asserts that he didn’t mean to send it to everyone (yeah, right!) but Hye Ri accepts it in stride.
Suddenly she receives an unexpected visitor – it’s In Woo, and he’s brought the witness for the Shin Dong Han case. It’s all nice and wonderful, but Hye Ri says he should have warned her ahead of time that he was going to find her. In Woo says he has no reason to do so – he’s merely doing what is required as a defense attorney, and he is not going to keep this evidence quiet. Hye Ri is saddened by his brusque manner, which simply adds to her problems (although In Woo doesn’t know it).
The Chief tells Hye Ri that she could have consulted him about the time extension that In Woo requested, but what’s past is past – and no one really thought he could find the victim or any evidence anyways. The victim doesn’t want to press charges either on the alleged rapist, and so there is no real case, but Hye Ri needs to do something that addresses this new piece of evidence.
After the meeting, Hye Ri gets a call from Ji Min. She’s invited over to their home, and Ji Min’s mother presents a large bowl of Ji Min’s favorite ddukbokki (and my stomach goes *GROWL*). The purpose of Ji Min’s call is so she can properly thank Hye Ri for doing so well with her case. Even without a verdict, they feel like they’ve won. Ji Min hands Hye Ri a gift – they’re handmade coupons, one for running an errand, one for a play date, and one for a violin performance – any of which are redeemable any time with her.
Hye Ri is truly touched by the gesture. Ji Min’s mother expresses her worry that her daughter might become psychologically scarred, but since Hye Ri had essentially won the case, Ji Min might be able to live the rest of her life not feeling as if she were wronged. Hye Ri enthusiastically agrees that Ji Min will one day forget about it and starts blubbering about a proverb where Ji Min will forget her scars when she falls in love. It’s earnest and cute, and the mother appreciates this reassurance.
Heading back to the office, Hye Ri realizes the magnitude of her power. Shin Dong Han, the “attacking ajumma” and Ji Min were all wronged – and Hye Ri has the power to restore their innocence. Se Joon’s rebuke earlier in the series comes back to haunt her… and we all see another small change in Hye Ri’s attitude towards her work. First off – she tells the Chief that Shin Dong Han’s case will be written as a self-defense case and the lawsuit will be dropped. The Chief smiles to himself for “always” having known Hye Ri was a smart little cookie.
Outside of prison, In Woo and Mr. Shin the florist wait for Shin Dong Han to come out. A touching reunion – and In Woo looks as if he wished he had moments like that with his father. Mr. Shin thanks In Woo and Jenny, saying that he may not have been able to continue living if his son really were sent to jail. He asks how he can repay In Woo for this.
In Woo: There may be a time when I will need your help.
Mr. Shin: A person like Mr. Lawyer – why would you need my help?
In Woo: If there is… would you be willing to help?
Mr. Shin: I promise you, in front of my son. Please ask for anything.
And In Woo has snagged his first unwitting witness for his mysterious case. Jenny gives In Woo a backhanded compliment about his judgment of Hye Ri. In Woo confidently states that he knew Hye Ri would drop the case no matter what. “If I had known this, I should have said something,” she replies. “There was one thing that happened to Hye Ri, but because you seemed kind of busy…”
In Woo goes spastic and demands his Daily Stalker update from Jenny.
It’s lunch time, and everyone goes out to eat, leaving Hye Ri alone with her melons (an upgrade? downgrade? from the tomatoes because she’s still somewhat scarred by the tomato-bucket incident). The Chief tells the prosecutors to go get her.
Se Joon comes into her office and sees her about to submit to temptation and put a cookie biscuit in her mouth. He grabs her along and she leaves her cell phone and lunch behind.
The entire department go to a tofu restaurant for lunch – it’s all low in calories and perfect for Hye Ri. She’s embarrassed that they’d go to such lengths for her and that everyone is being hyper aware of her past. Prosecutor Chae grabs her bowl of rice and says he’ll help her eat half of it, and Min Suk takes some of her soup too. Nice, Pigs.
They tell her that they were going to go to a seafood restaurant but went to the tofu house for her sake. Hye Ri says they should have gone instead – she’s allergic to soft tofu. She quickly runs out of the restaurant, and no one really believes her (except maybe Prosecutor Chae).
In Woo arrives at Hye Ri’s office with a bag of food, only to see that her door is locked and she’s not answering her phone. He dejectedly walks out of the building, and realizes that the reason Hye Ri asked him out to eat was because she was depressed over the pictures. Being the Master of Muttering to Self, he says, “I still haven’t become your friend yet.”
Sitting outside in a park, Hye Ri mopes over how the rest of the prosecutors were being indirectly mean to her. And who should find her first but… Se Joon! He hands her a wrap and says that the food is low calorie and won’t help her gain weight. She thinks he’s making fun of her too, but he tells her that he doesn’t think it’s funny. In fact, no one thinks it is and no one cares! It’s just because she thinks everything is about her that she begins to mope and become more introverted. Is she embarrassed for being fat then? Or is she embarrassed for being caught about being fat?
Hye Ri says she’s embarrassed for both reasons… aaaaaand cue flashback!
In her university days at a law school, Hye Ri still hasn’t gone on the diet her mother spoke about. At the library she encounters a cute senior who helps her with a book. He even knows her name, and immediately she thinks that he’s interested in her.
While studying, Hye Ri catches the senior – Jin Dong Wook – watching her from across the floor. She pokes her friend and they giggle together. Outside, Dong Wook takes a picture of Hye Ri and her friend. Hye Ri wants Dong Wook in the picture too, and the three of them pose together. However, Dong Wook puts his arm around the friend’s waist, and we all groan because we know where this is going….
On Dong Wook’s birthday, Hye Ri gives him a cake and a watch as a gift. Dong Wook is clearly uncomfortable with the gifts, and luckily the friend shows. She tells Dong Wook to leave (thus saving this jackass’ skin) and informs Hye Ri that they were dating this whole time. Hye Ri asks why they never told her, and her friend said she had hoped Hye Ri would just be able to figure it out herself. Besides, did Hye Ri really believe that a guy as hot as Dong Wook would fall for a girl like her? (It’s ok dear, In Woo is hotter anyways…)
CUE THUNDERSTORM! (*rolls eyes*)
Hye Ri returns home and cheers herself up with a plate full of muffins, cakes, and cookies. She eats until she falls asleep, and her mother catches her in this state. It’s time to take drastic action.
When Hye Ri awakes, she finds herself in a spartan cell surrounded by “Get Fit Now!” posters and exercising equipment. If she loses 40 kg, her mother will buy her anything she wants and she can give up law school. Hye Ri can’t believe what’s happening at first, but when she sees her mother at the other side of the door, shutting her in permanently, it all sinks in. Three personal trainers come in and start putting Hye Ri back in shape. Treadmill, weights, leg exercises – and only salad for dinner.
Hye Ri starts crying for her mom and for some REAL food, but her mother doesn’t give in.
Hye Ri’s mother: In the world, there’s only two types of girls. A skinny girl and a fat girl. A woman who has skills and a woman without skills. A girl who receives love from her husband, and a girl who is looked down upon. Which one do you want to be? You can be someone with all three if you slim down. Don’t live like your mom and be reborn, Hye Ri.
Hearing the despair from her mother, Hye Ri vows to take control of her life and begins to diligently work out. Soon she goes from walking to running on the treadmill. (Cue 200 Pounds Beauty) Finally, she sheds the weight and puts on a small dress for the first time. Still using her long hair to hide her dorky glasses, Hye Ri ventures out into civilization. No one is staring at her or looking down at her – in fact, the guys are simply staring at one smokin’ hot woman. Bolstered with confidence, Hye Ri decides then and there that she will never be looked down upon for her body.
Se Joon, listening the whole time, admires her diligence. He tells her that she should take her own advice and not listen to what others say. “When you let go of the past, that’s when your future begins,” and with those parting words, Se Joon leaves.
But she is not alone in the park – the entire time, In Woo has been lurking on the side, listening and watching! He sees Hye Ri open up the wrap that Se Joon gave her, and he starts running in – “STOP STOP STOP!”
In Woo: Ah…really! I could’ve been late! Put that down and let’s eat this. Sushi.
Hye Ri: *dumbfounded look*
In Woo: You quit that food. (Grabs for her wrap)
Hye Ri: Ah! No way! No! What are you doing now, Lawyer Seo?
In Woo: I knew this would happen. I just knew that you would still be pissed. That’s because of work. Haven’t I brought food for you to eat?
Hye Ri: Bring me food? Don’t bother. From now on I will just treat you as Lawyer Seo. Please take this and leave.
In Woo: Hey… how can you disregard a person who packed food all the way here?
Hye Ri: You bought it! You didn’t pack it!
In Woo: (pointing at the wrap) That’s also bought. Who bought it for you?
Hye Ri: *instead of answering, brings the wrap up to her lips*
In Woo: (grabbing for her hand) NOOO! (showing her the sushi) Eat THIS! Didn’t I win the bet? If I won, shouldn’t you listen to my wish?
In Woo’s 5-year old tantrum is in vain, because Hye Ri still eats the wrap that Se Joon gave her. He tries to tempt her but she won’t take it. She calls him a weird person instead and the way he treats her is kind of burdensome. In Woo tells her not to worry – he will be a more comfortable person for her instead, a friend that she can talk to instead of anything more.
As she leaves, In Woo mutters to himself, “Being one step late really sucks.” TRUE DAT MY FRIEND!
Back at the office, Se Joon is still mulling over the Kim Dong Suk case. He tries to figure out a way to contact his female accomplice, Lee Mun Ae, when Hye Ri comes in to ask him a question. He brushes her off to Jung Sun, but she notices the photo and immediately recognizes her as the lady she borrowed the cellphone from during the ski resort auction. If they go through Hye Ri’s home phone records, they can trace it back to Lee’s number. Hye Ri knows she was brilliant and helped him break the case, and so she wants to get involved on the case too.
Se Joon won’t let her, but asks to use Investigator Cha to help him with the case. She agrees – but under one condition. He has to agree to a Superman coupon – he will come to her once, wherever, whenever. It’s cute – and Se Joon can’t believe he’s got to put his fingerprint on it.
Happy that she’s getting closer to him, Hye Ri begins to assist them in random ways by getting coffee for the group and such – but Jung Sun has already beat them to it. She tries to socialize with Se Joon, but he’s always with Jung Sun and eating something so greasily good that Hye Ri can’t participate. She even starts working overtime to leave the same time as Se Joon so that he can give her a ride… but Jung Sun is always there by his side.
Stuck with going home alone exhausted, Hye Ri suddenly comes upon the solution for her “romance problem.” She wants to move out. Her parents refuse – how can a single girl live alone so far away from her family? But Hye Ri argues that she always drives home tired and has developed panda eyes (not good for blind dates, you see); she could get into an accident any day now.
Unable to convince her parents, she calls up her secret weapon: In Woo. Since it’s the weekend, her call makes it sound like she wants a date, and so In Woo is eager to meet. But instead Hye Ri asks for his help to achieve her dream of living independently. He thinks she wants money, but she just wants him to come up with a way to convince her father.
Hye Ri reveals that she wants to move into Se Joon and Jung Sun’s neighborhood so that she can join their car pool every day. In Woo, becoming increasingly jealous, asks what she sees in Se Joon. Is it because he’s cool?
Nope – it’s merely because he’s like a big, protective, shady tree. (I haven’t heard a tree metaphor since…Autumn In My Heart…)
So on to Operation Bumper Cars. In Woo, sitting in his huge SUV, guides Hye Ri’s actions so that she can do a fender bender against his car. My goodness – a guy is already risking the condition of his beloved car for you – just date him already!! Hye Ri freaks out at the last minute, and In Woo tells her to get out of the car. He fastens the seat belt…revs up the car… and he crashes Hye Ri’s car into his. My GOODNESS – the guy is risking his life for you! – just marry him already!!!
Hye Ri calls up her father and explains that she got into an accident; the person she hit is in the hospital. Her father buys the story and realizes that Hye Ri really should find an apartment closer to the office. The mom suggests that they move out and live in an apartment with her, but he refuses. They worked hard to get their property and it has great feng shui and all that.
She relays her success to In Woo, and he offers to go apartment hunting with her. She quickly rejects him – what if Se Joon sees them together looking for homes? He would totally misunderstand!
She finds a beautiful apartment building and moves in right away. Basking out on the terrace, she begins to dream of Se Joon and her standing together with a wine glass each in their hands… looking out over the city…
Of course – rude awakening comes in the form of a phone call – from In Woo no less. He asks if she’s met Prosecutor Yoon yet, and she tells him to stop making fun of her. But it’s weird – his voice sounds like he’s really close by too…
In Woo says he’s just out on a terrace by himself, and Hye Ri spins around and catches sight of him – standing on the terrace just a floor above her! She is so flabbergasted that she doesn’t reply until he finally looks down…
She asks what he’s doing up there, and he says that it’s his home. In Woo smiles… and how can you resist that cheeky little devil?
Ok – so hands up: Who thinks/thought In Woo moved in to the apartment above hers to continue stalking her?
(AND NO CHEATING – YOU HAVE TO JUDGE PRETENDING YOU DIDN’T WATCH EPISODE 7 YET!)
I vote that it’s mere coincidence. I mean – you can’t fake surprise like that. (Well, technically you could – because who knows how many times Park Shi Hoo had to do that shot… but anyways – that’s besides the point). I’m going to say that this was the most surprising moment for me for this episode and made me squeal this high fangirly squeal. Also – if this is not a coincidence, (to borrow the words of girlfriday) “you and I will have words, Show.” Serious. words.
I completely skipped over Jung Sun’s little side story because it just involved her mother hassling her to get married. If Jung Sun doesn’t move fast enough, Hye Ri will get Se Joon. Jung Sun laughed it off as a silly one-sided love, but her mother reminds her that Hye Ri is not the only one with one-sided love. Jung Sun’s story is still kind of blah for me. Her family scenes were da bomb in episode 2, but it’s as though she’s not really being given any material just yet to work with. Mostly it’s just her looking awestruck with Hye Ri or her having a “work face.”
On a very technical note – I really noticed the framing in these episodes. It was really nice to see the levels of depth that tell so much about her relationship to others and herself. For example, the scene when Hye Ri’s friend breaks the news about her dating Dong Wook. They’re separated by the bench swings’ posts; they have barriers between them that indicates they can never be close friends. Then we have the framing of the father and the mother discussing about the house: it’s bordered by two black bars/columns that makes the scene that much more mysterious (and perhaps emphasizing its later importance?!). Then we have the shot where Hye Ri looks up at In Woo’s terrace and we see the levels between who has the power and who doesn’t in their relationship. And finally we also have the shot from within her closet as we watch her eat all that junk food after being dumped, and her red dress is off to the side; this shot is just immensely sad, but we see her goal is simply within reach if she tries to go for it.
This might have been a comparatively slow episode as we got Hye Ri’s backstory, but it was needed. I especially felt bad over her mother’s monologue – it’s so clear that she’s transferring her personal worries to her daughter. Hye Ri must be painfully aware that her mother does not have the ideal marriage, and that’s why she was more motivated to lose weight. It’s not just that she’s vain, but her mother is a living example of being on the losing end of the spectrum.
Now the nuggets are set in place for more ridiculous scenarios between Se Joon, In Woo, and Hye Ri. aberdeen_angus, it’s all you!! 😀