I Hear Your Voice: Episode 18 (Final)
Lately I’ve become ending-averse, not that I don’t want shows to end (heaven forbid), but because enough bad endings can make you develop finale-phobia, for fear that one bad hour could undo all the good that came before.
But I’m happy to report that I Hear Your Voice goes out as strong as it came in. It always had a story and a message to tell—though we may have taken two extra episodes to (ahem) pad out said story—the journey feels whole, and earned, and satisfying to the end.
SONG OF THE DAY
Monni – “소년이 어른이 되어” (A Boy Becomes an Adult) [ Download ]
FINAL EPISODE: “Stay by my side as light within the darkness”
We resume with post-kidnapping-and-roof-falling hospital snuggles, and oh okay, I guess I can watch you two hug and kiss again. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. We just had better not do another rewind to three hours ago, is all I’m sayin’.
Sometime later, Su-ha moves his books into Hye-sung’s apartment, and she complains that there isn’t enough space for both their books. She doesn’t see why he wants to live here anyway when his place is way bigger. Su-ha: “Then you come live with me there.” Kyaa.
She reminds him that they lived together in the first place because of Min Joon-gook. Now they have no such justification to continue living together. Su-ha: “There is justification,” and he leans in. Rawr.
He raises his we’re-gonna-have-sexy-fun-times eyebrows and leans closer… and she shoves her foot on his chest to stop him. Wha? Why? But… why?
Hye-sung: “What kind of justification is so naughty?” The fun kind! He pouts and grabs the pillow behind her since she won’t let him grab her, and she tells him that as long as he’s living here, he has to maintain certain lines. Boo.
He hits the books, and she asks how he’s feeling about his police university test tomorrow, and he scowls that his mood is in the crapper. She tries to appease him with snuggles, but he nudges her away with a sigh.
Kwan-woo sees Do-yeon heading up in the courtroom elevator and runs over with a wave, and she hurriedly presses the button to shut the door. Hee. This recurring elevator thing with her is so petty and small, but I never tire of it.
Kwan-woo wedges his hand in the door, and thanks her for holding the elevator for him. He asks if she’s taking on the Min Joon-gook case, and she is. Do-yeon: “You’re not… going to represent him, are you?” I’m a little scared to hear the answer.
He says no, he’d have to be crazy to do that. Oh phew. He reminds her that he’s also a past victim, broken arm and all. She says pointedly that she doesn’t feel the least bit sorry for Min Joon-gook AT ALL, and will get him the death penalty.
That gives Kwan-woo pause, and then we see in flashback that he went to go see Min Joon-gook in jail. Kwan-woo says he came to request that Joon-gook not lie to his new lawyer this time, and tell the whole truth and lay it all down.
Joon-gook seems resigned to his fate, and says that the end result won’t change, so he’ll do that… if Kwan-woo will represent him. Ack. This is going to happen, isn’t it? I don’t trust him, but he does seem genuine about this at least: “When no one else would take my side, you did.”
He says he’s not asking for the verdict to change—he’s just looking for someone to listen to his story. Back in the present, Kwan-woo looks up at the blind scales of justice and the request weighs on him.
Hye-sung visits Mom’s memorial and tells her that Min Joon-gook has been captured. She says that there’s enough evidence this time that he won’t wriggle his way out of this, and she leans her head against the glass, asking how Mom feels and if she can rest now.
Hye-sung: “I wish I could hear it one more time, your voice.” So she replays Mom’s last words to her in her head, about not living her life an eye for an eye. She answers Mom again just like she did on the phone: “Okay. I promise.”
Do-yeon begins her interrogation of Min Joon-gook, and they get to the day in the parking garage a year ago. He admits to calling Su-ha there with the intention of killing him, but he says that Hye-sung came on her own.
Do-yeon: “So you stabbed her anyway?” Joon-gook: “I wasn’t the one who stabbed her. Park Su-ha was.” She calls him a liar, but he doesn’t see how that one fact would change anything for him—he’s telling the truth.
At that very moment, Su-ha takes his first test for admission into the police university. Argh, if this keeps him from getting in, I’ll never forgive you!
Judge Kim sighs that Min Joon-gook requested Kwan-woo again as his public defender, and asks his colleagues hesitantly if that would be shameless to ask of Kwan-woo. They both answer, “Yes.”
Kwan-woo sits down and is already halfway there to taking on the case, and asks what he should do. Judge Kim says he’d be grateful if he did, but he’s not shameless so he won’t ask. Oh like that’s different. BAH.
And of course, Kwan-woo says he’ll take the case. I’m going to stop wondering why there are no other friggin public defenders in this universe besides the three that we know, and just accept that this is happening. But seriously, once was one thing, but twice is WTFery.
Pretty the Paralegal gets up in arms about it (thank goodness someone’s voicing my complaint) and whines that this is all wrong. He adds that the office will be shrouded in darkness all over again, “And I hate the dark!” Hee.
Even Lawyer Shin says this is bad, and says he’ll take on the case instead. He asks Kwan-woo if he’ll ever be able to face Hye-sung again if he does this, and Pretty the Paralegal interrupts to say that he won’t be able to, ever EVER. “You can’t do this to Jjang-byun!”
Suddenly a hand goes up. It’s Hye-sung, who’s been sitting there at her desk this whole time. HAHAHA. Okay, that was funny. Hye-sung: “Why do you keep talking as if I’m not here?” Pretty the Paralegal swears he’s on her side, but she says that she’s on Kwan-woo’s side. Aw, that’s really big of you.
Kwan-woo finds her out in the hallway and she says there’s no need for mushy thanks, but instead he points out that her skirt’s turned around. Lol. She flips it around in her usual manner, and then Kwan-woo explains that he’s taking on Min Joon-gook’s case because he agreed to tell the whole truth and admit to his crimes if he did.
Hye-sung says he should’ve said so from the get-go, and he realizes that she took his side without even knowing all this. She starts to explain the reason, but he just says, “Thanks for understanding me.”
At home, Hye-sung takes off her bandage and worries that the scar on her forehead won’t fade, but Su-ha says it will with time, and swears you can barely see it with her hair down. Her solution cracks me up: “Should I wear a giant pin on the other side to distract the eye?”
That reminds him about the necklace though, and he runs in to get it with such giddy excitement it kills me. She opens it up and gasps, and he tells her that he saw that she wanted it. But instead of being happy, she hurriedly puts it back and tells him to return it.
He hears her thinking that it’s too much and now she’ll have to be more careful about letting him see her wanting things. Su-ha: “I still seem like a kid to you, don’t I? I’m young, and immature, and make you worry.” He doesn’t say it with any anger or even any defensiveness—he knows it’s true.
She asks if he’s mad, but he smiles and says he isn’t. He takes the necklace back and promises to return it. But then every single thing Hye-sung has ever said about their relationship having an end, her needing to learn how to not rely on him, planning for a time in her future without him—start to weigh on his mind.
Do-yeon finds out that Kwan-woo is taking Min Joon-gook’s case after all, and she flat-out calls him crazeballs. She swears to mop the floor with him and refuses to answer his calls, even when her secretary points out that he heard everything she said while on hold. She hangs up anyway. I smell hate-love brewing.
And then of course there’s the other matter—what to do about Park Su-ha. She goes by the letter of the law, and Su-ha gets a summons in the mail from the prosecutor’s office. The charge is attempted murder. Crap.
Kwan-woo runs into the office to tell Hye-sung about it, thinking that there’s been some mistake. But the look of horror on Hye-sung’s face confirms that it really was Su-ha who stabbed her that night. She swears it was an accident and starts to panic, wondering how this could happen after what they’ve been through to get here.
She races home and finds Su-ha staring at the summons, and grabs it out of his hands. She tells him that they can’t prove a thing, so they can lie, and she’ll back him up, and no one will know.
He says they can’t do that, but she argues that they can and will, and she’ll go right over to Do-yeon and insist that Min Joon-gook is lying. Su-ha: “I know. I know that you can, but I also know that you shouldn’t.” Awww.
He takes her hand and says this is different from the last time—he remembers everything and he stabbed her, and he can’t lie about it. She argues that attempted murder means that she can’t drop the charges, and could be called in as a witness to testify against him. And the police academy, his whole future, will tank.
He says he’s prepared for that and will find some other future, but she cries that he isn’t listening to her. She pleads through tears: “You don’t have to do this. After how we got here? You can lie. You can do it once. It’s okay if you do.”
Su-ha: “No, I can’t.” He reaches up to wipe away a tear, but she pulls away and runs to her room.
Kwan-woo totally stalks Do-yeon out to her car to try and get a word with her, and she goes running. He finally yells, “Hey, Seo Do-yeon!” in banmal, and it succeeds in getting her to stop out of anger and disbelief, but then she just drives away and leaves him in the dust.
The next morning Su-ha prepares to go to the prosecutor’s office, and sighs at the post-its that Hye-sung once stuck on his schedule for police academy exams, to encourage him. He stops at her door to tell her that he’s going, and apologizes for not listening to her.
Su-ha: “You asked me what I dreamt once. In my dreams you keep getting hurt that same way… bleeding. It must’ve been a warning, not to forget that day. I didn’t heed that warning and now I’m being punished.”
He says that if he tells the truth, maybe he’ll stop having those dreams. He presses his hand against the door, as Hye-sung’s hand hovers above the doorknob.
Su-ha: “Can I ask one thing before I go? If I end up having to leave your side because of this… will you wait for me?” She leans against the door, unable to say anything. It’s the longest silence in the history of silences.
Kwan-woo waits for Do-yeon again (Please don’t tell me you spent the night here. Though by the looks of your hair, you might’ve.) and she hilariously starts to speed-walk to get away from him.
He chases her down and manages to trap her in the revolving door, and poor Judge Kim gets wedged in as collateral damage. She refuses to talk to him about Min Joon-gook, but Kwan-woo says he’s not here about that—he’s here to talk about Su-ha. She’s surprised, and finally gives him the time of day. The whole time Judge Kim is knocking on the glass, Yoohoo! People!
Hye-sung wanders into Su-ha’s empty room and lingers there for a while, flipping through the books he was studying so diligently. That’s when she discovers her old journal, wedged behind his things. Finally.
As she opens it up and starts to read, Su-ha gets a text from the police university saying that he passed the first round of tests. Augh.
Hye-sung reads the entry Su-ha wrote on the day before Min Joon-gook’s verdict (for her mother’s murder, when he was determined to kill him).
Su-ha: If I disappear… I’d like it if you never knew, and instead thought that I was living well somewhere, studying hard, hanging out with friends, dreaming of becoming a police officer. I’d like you to believe that I was living well that way. If I disappear… I’d like it if you didn’t cry. I’d like you to be happy. And once in a while… just once in a while… I’d like you to remember me.
She breaks down in sobs as she reads the entry, as he does the same, thinking of having to leave her all over again.
Back at the revolving door, Kwan-woo’s still holding both parties hostage as he asks Do-yeon to reconsider Su-ha’s charges. She isn’t keen on it either but she asks how she’s supposed to ignore a crime as a prosecutor.
But Kwan-woo argues that the three of them are the ones who started this mess (ha, I love that Judge Kim gets included in this) for letting Min Joon-gook go free in the first place when they screwed up the last trial. He asks how they’re going to correct that, and what they’re going to do about the things that Su-ha suffered as a consequence of their actions. Dude, I’m so back on Kwan-woo’s side right now.
He asks if that’s what the law is to her, and Do-yeon digs her heels in: “Yes, it is! I believe the law has to be cold.” He finally lets her go, and Judge Kim runs after her to say something.
Su-ha arrives for questioning, and Do-yeon begins the formal inquiry. As she does, Judge Kim’s words come back to her. He says that he agrees with her that the law has to be cold. “But I also think the law has to have heart.”
He says that Do-yeon probably agrees with Kwan-woo a little (despite her insistence that she doesn’t) and says he thought he saw a bit of that heart in Hwang Dal-joong’s case.
As she questions Su-ha, she suddenly cuts him off before he can say Min Joon-gook’s name. He catches her thinking that he can’t say that out loud or else she can’t change the charge. Aww yeah. For once I’m glad there’s only one prosecutor and one judge in this world. She declares that there was no intent to murder and the weapon was too short anyway, so the crime is being changed to a weapons-carrying charge.
Kwan-woo finds Su-ha on his way out, and says that he’ll get Do-yeon to unplug her ears and listen to him. But Su-ha says she changed the charge and he got a stay of prosecution on top of it. Yay, Do-yeon.
Kwan-woo beams, and Su-ha thanks him sincerely for everything. “I know how much you like Jjang-byun. And I know that everything you’re doing for me is because of her. I resent it, but I admit—you’re a good person, so much that I can’t ever measure up.” AW. Look who’s grown up. Bro-hug? Asking for too much?
Su-ha adds that Kwan-woo’s such a good person it actually makes him sorry that Hye-sung chose him, and Kwan-woo stops him from getting too mushy. Su-ha promises to be good to her, enough not to be sorry about her choice. Good on you.
Kwan-woo scowls that it sounds an awful lot like a warning to keep his distance from Hye-sung from now on, and Su-ha smiles that if he interprets it that way he’ll be grateful too. Ha. He bows respectfully before walking away, and Kwan-woo smiles.
At home, Hye-sung’s neck-deep in regret, in tears as she reads all of Su-ha’s journal, while wearing her necklace and holding her Good Job Bear. How adorable.
Su-ha arrives in the street down below, and they lock eyes on the balcony. He goes running up to her thinking something’s wrong because she’s crying, and she goes running down because she’s got so much to say.
They meet in the middle and she just runs into his arms, crying and calling his name. He asks why she’s crying and she just bursts into a confession: “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for pretending like I didn’t, when I depended on you more than anyone. I’m sorry for not saying it, even though I love you more than anyone. I’m sorry for thinking of the end and being anxious about it while looking at you. I’m sorry for all of it!”
He just smiles and hugs her close, and she just keeps going, saying that she’s going to defend the hell out of him in court and get him acquitted, and he won’t ever go to jail. “But if… if you do, don’t worry. I’ll wait for you.” Yaaaay. She said it!
He finally tells her that he won’t be going to jail because Do-yeon dropped the case because Kwan-woo convinced her, and Hye-sung can hardly believe she did such a nice thing. She hugs him in relief, which lasts about two seconds before the embarrassment at her bawling confession of lurve kicks in.
He totally catches her regretting the overzealous speech, and she launches into this hilarious backpedaling, about how she was caught up in the moment, and not that she didn’t mean it, but… but… And finally she’s so mortified she just runs away. Ha.
But he catches up to her on the steps and then notices that she’s wearing the necklace. He prods, “Say it. You said you were sorry you were stingy with your I love you’s.” This is so cute I can’t stand it.
She tries to wriggle out of it by saying she must’ve been out of her mind a minute ago, but realizes she can’t actually get away with lying to him. She rolls her eyes and purses her lips… and then mumbles a barely discernable “I love you.”
Su-ha: “What? I can’t hear you.” I love how much he’s enjoying this. She finally shuts her eyes: “Fine. I love you. I love you. I love you a whole friggin’ LOT, okay?” He sneaks in a kiss before she opens her eyes.
He wraps his arms around her waist, and she finally smiles again, and throws her hands around his neck and they kiss. And then he eskimo-kisses her three times, like he’s trying to kill me, and gives her a kiss on the forehead.
They gaze into each other’s eyes for a long moment, and the air changes between them. He goes in for a real kiss this time. Oh swoon. As they stand on the steps kissing and kissing some more, we hear another journal entry.
Su-ha: I know why you’re anxious, and I know why you’re always preparing for a time without me. But even if that time comes, I won’t worry. Even when ten years had passed, I recognized you. When I lost my memories, when I had erased you, I came to love you again. Even if ten more years pass, if I lose my memories again, if that time you’re worried about comes… I’ll find you… and I’ll love you again.
Could there be anything better?
Kwan-woo goes over his notes with Min Joon-gook, and he says they’ll tell his full story in court. But Kwan-woo says that despite Su-ha’s father doing something he shouldn’t have, that reason disappeared when Joon-gook killed him. He adds that he has to stop insisting that his mother and son died because of Hye-sung and Su-ha.
Min Joon-gook still believes it to his core, that they’re responsible. Finally Kwan-woo slams his hands on the table and says, “Your mother and son did not die because Jang Hye-sung testified against you. Because you killed someone, because you went to jail, because you couldn’t take care of your mother with dementia and your son—that’s why they starved to death.”
Joon-gook tells him not to speak so easily when he doesn’t know what it’s like to be in his shoes. But Kwan-woo says he’s put himself there every day he’s worked on this case, to see the world through his eyes. He says he’s figured out what Joon-gook really thinks.
We cut away to Do-yeon arriving at home to pick up a few things, and running into her father. It’s clearly been a while since they’ve crossed paths, and he asks about the consequences of the Hwang Dal-joong case—she could lose her job. She says she knows.
Back to Joon-gook, who challenges Kwan-woo to read his thoughts. Kwan-woo says Joon-gook has known for some time that he was the one who started all of this. “You realized it at one point, but you couldn’t stop, because the moment you did your life would become nothing. That’s why you persisted, all while killing people, swearing that you were right.”
Joon-gook asks him to stop, and Kwan-woo urges him to admit it in court, and to stop insisting a lie he doesn’t even believe. “Aren’t you suffering?”
We go back to Do-yeon and her father, as she bows goodbye. Kwan-woo’s words were never truer than for Judge Seo, as he tells Joon-gook that he’ll be the only one who suffers by not admitting he was wrong, “and then one day you end up alone with no one on your side.”
Sung-bin meets Su-ha at the bookstore and declares that she’s going to go to the police academy with him, and shows him her newly painted nails with their initials on them. Su-ha remembers what Choong-ki thought once, about how Su-ha lets her dig her own grave, and this time he decides he has to say something.
He asks if Sung-bin was the one who gave Hye-sung the teddy bear, and thanks her for it. “So then… you know how I feel about her? That it hasn’t changed for eleven years? And that it won’t in the future?”
She nods. He says he can say it then, and starts, “I think it’s time you…” She stops him right there, knowing what’s coming next. He can hear her think that she’ll cry if he says another word, so he does, and just lets her ramble her way out with an excuse, and says he’s sorry. And as he’s leaving, he calls Choong-ki.
Choong-ki comes running over, taking care to cover her skirt with his shirt as she sobs into her knees. She cries that Su-ha once said her hands were pretty, and Choong-ki says when guys say that it means your face isn’t. Look who’s digging his grave now.
She shoves him aside and yells at his poor excuse for a cheer-up speech, and then he persists in following her and saying that it’s true that she’s ugly, but guys who just go after pretty girls are superficial, and a guy who likes you for your insides is way better. What? That’s not how you win a girl over! Augh, somebody yank that foot out of his mouth!
She ends up beating him up with her purse and leaving in a huff, and the poor fool doesn’t even know why she didn’t understand what he meant. And then of course he goes chasing after her, saying to himself that she’s pretty. Pfft.
Hye-sung thanks Kwan-woo for helping Su-ha out, and offers up a handshake. She takes his hand and gives it a kiss, just like he did to her once. He asks what that was, and she says it’s a goodbye (not meant in the literal farewell sense).
“Thank you for everything—for liking me, for being good to me, for helping Su-ha.” He smiles and says he’ll accept that gesture. And then Lawyer Shin coughs from behind his desk, “I’ve been here the whole time.” Heh.
Pretty the Paralegal runs in and announces with glee that Do-yeon is being investigated formally and might lose her job. He does a dance of joy, only to be met with long faces all around, and he’s like, Don’t we… hate her?
Hye-sung runs into her at the elevator and Do-yeon confirms that it’s because of the Hwang Dal-joong case. Suddenly Judge Kim comes running up as the doors start to close, and both girls jump to push the hell out of the button to shut the door. Hee. Jinx!
He makes it anyway, and then awkwardly stands between them as they literally talk over his head as if he’s not there. Hye-sung thanks her for Su-ha’s case and she says it was all Kwan-woo and his annoying chatter.
Judge Kim says he helped too, which gets squarely ignored, and Do-yeon even attributes his heart-speech to Kwan-woo. “I said that.” More ignoring. The girls walk out and Judge Kim finally loses it and yells after Hye-sung, asking why he can’t get a thanks too.
She whirls around, pauses, and then thanks him sincerely. It shocks him so much he gapes, “Oh, you said it!” And then he starts digging around in his robes for a camera to document the moment. Ha.
The girls walk in lock step and Do-yeon asks if Hye-sung isn’t going to watch Min Joon-gook’s trial. Hye-sung doesn’t have plans to, and it shocks Do-yeon that she doesn’t want to watch her mother’s killer go down.
She says that even if she gets pulled off Min Joon-gook’s case for disciplinary reasons, her sunbae will see it through to the end and get the death penalty. Hye-sung: “Is that what you think I want?” Do-yeon doesn’t see how she wouldn’t.
Hye-sung doesn’t really know the answer either, and Do-yeon wonders if she’s being a public defender even now, or if she actually feels sorry for Min Joon-gook. Hye-sung: “What am I, Mother Teresa?” Pwahaha. And this is why we love you.
She says no, it’s nothing like that and she does NOT feel sorry for him. But wishing him dead because he killed her mother—well that makes her feel the same as him, and she hates that. She decides that because she doesn’t want to feel like she’s on his level, she doesn’t want him sentenced to death.
Two months later.
Su-ha does dishes while Hye-sung folds laundry, and she asks if he’s going to hear Min Joon-gook’s verdict tomorrow in court. He says no, since he’s got his police university interview, and she asks if he’s hoping for the death penalty.
He thinks about it and says no, and she guesses the reason—that he doesn’t want to be like him in any way—and says maybe his mind-reading ability has rubbed off on her. She gets all excited about the baseball game that’s about to start, and runs to grab something. Su-ha’s expression freezes in horror: “No. I’m not wearing that!”
Cut to: the pair of them in beer hats in front of the TV. Hahahaha.
Hye-sung and Su-ha begin an exchange of voiceovers about their relationship, as she says Su-ha doesn’t like to go to crowded places, so they don’t go to baseball stadiums. He says she becomes a monster when watching baseball. “I’m sometimes, often, afraid.”
As they eat breakfast, she says he cooks well because he’s lived alone since junior high. “He must’ve been very lonely.” He says the reason she eats her all-food-in-one-bowl dog food is because she used her precious time working hard. “She must’ve been very tired.”
Su-ha: “I think Jjang-byun still thinks that we might have an end someday. It doesn’t matter if she thinks so. Even if that end comes, I’ll find her again, and start all over, and be happy again.”
Hye-sung: “When I look at Su-ha I’m always anxious that our relationship might come to an end. But to calm that worry I’m going to treat him better and try harder to understand him. I’ll probably remain endlessly nervous, as I spend a long time being happy with Su-ha.”
It’s time for his interview, and it really feels like we’ve come full circle from Hye-sung’s interview to become a public defender. He can hear the interviewer wondering in his head how truthful Su-ha will be, and he surprises them by being truthful about his past.
He says that he couldn’t have made it here alone, and begins to describe the people who helped him along the way. “There’s someone who turned me into an adult…” Cut to: Kwan-woo. Awww.
Su-ha says that sometimes he trusted people too much and acted like an idiot, but that trust also changed people. He couldn’t help but acknowledge him as an adult, and come to respect him.
As Kwan-woo and Min Joon-gook await the verdict, he says, “We’ll file for an appeal if we need to.” Min Joon-gook stops at the word “we,” realizing it’s been a long time since he’s heard that word, and gives just the tiniest genuine smile.
Su-ha says there’s another person who believed too much in herself, as we see Past Do-yeon in all her haughty glory. But he says that person acknowledged her mistakes and apologized for them, as we see her sit by her father’s side in the hospital and draw another portrait for him in his dying moments. He says he learned from her how impressive it can be to admit when you’re wrong.
And then we get to Min Joon-gook, as Su-ha says there’s even someone who showed him a path he shouldn’t take, who gave up living as a person to become a beast. Min Joon-gook faces his sentence, as Judge Kim sums up the case. (This is a random side note, but it cracks me up that Grass Hair has his hair down ever since Hye-sung’s insult.)
He gets life in prison.
Su-ha says there was a time when he almost made the same choice, and he might have, if it weren’t for “that person.”
Su-ha: There’s this person… She’s almost unbelievably snobby, rude, and doesn’t have an ounce of modesty. But that person began to fight for the truth and began to see people. As I was swimming through darkness, she became my light, and my road. Without that person, I could never have made it here. Because of that person, I learned how precious it is to protect someone. Because of that person, I learned how important it is to listen to other people.
He says that’s why he’d make a good police officer. And then we watch Hye-sung in class as she learns sign language, and applies it for the first time. She greets a client by signing that she’ll listen to everything she has to say from her point of view: “I am your public defender.”
Epilogue: As the credits roll, we see Su-ha salute Hye-sung in uniform. She salutes in return and he scoops her up in his arms.
Happy sigh. Could an ending be any sweeter? I was worried the show blew its wad yesterday when all of the truly tense stuff was resolved by the end of Episode 17. But for a finale that brings everything back to character and takes its time to lay out its very hopeful, idealistic, earnest message about love and trust and the good in people, well, what wouldn’t I give for that? I really love that the episode proper ends on Hye-sung just telling someone who she is and what she does—it’s the same job title that she’s had since the beginning, but doesn’t it feel like it took her all this time to learn what that really meant? In the end she’s the best of Kwan-woo and still herself too, but proud of her job. I felt so proud of her, just like her momma was when she did that fantastic dance in the middle of the street. It was so great to watch an entire series loving a heroine from beginning to end, from the way she was played to the way she was written, with realistic flaws and realistic fears, and no pat answers for anything in life.
The epilogue is of course icing on the cake (such sweet delicious icing too) but they made me believe that that future would come to pass even without the little glimpse of Su-ha in uniform, which is what I loved about the finale as a whole. It gave such assurances about the people and who they had become over the course of the show that the details of where they end up and when and how didn’t matter so much anymore. I’m such a fan of this kind of open-endedness, where it feels like they live on as characters after the drama is over, and I trust that they live full happy lives being the still-flawed but best versions of themselves.
Su-ha’s What I Learned From People narration was a really satisfying way to close out the hour, because more than just giving us the final threads of these characters’ journeys, it ties everyone back to how they helped Su-ha grow up from a boy into a man, and how even the murderer taught him something about life. There’s just something about that attitude (evident in Hye-sung too as she constantly challenges herself to learn new things) that really clicks for me—the humility to always learn from other people. It’s one of the many themes in this show that I love so dearly because it’s just so damn true. Everyone is made better by being open to new ideas and new opinions, and I’m totally having a kumbaya moment right now, but dammit, why can’t the world be more like this?
After Voice and Dream High I’m already looking forward to what this writer will do next. She tells a good story with wit and purpose, crafts the journey well—there was a magic about the breakneck speed at which the first half of the series came at us—and I can feel that she genuinely loves each character as much as we do, but it’s her earnest bleeding heart and hopefulness that always makes me think: this is why stories should be told. Her dramas aren’t mold-breakers, but they’re satisfying and entertaining the whole way through, and full of a youthful idealism that shouldn’t be limited to youth.
There were flaws, of course. The pace suffered in the latter part of the drama, not only because of the extension, but the weight placed on courtroom scenes that went on endlessly, and the stretching of Min Joon-gook’s arc without giving him anything villainous to do but send mail. The romance was gripping until Hye-sung reciprocated, and then tension was exchanged for cuteness (I’m not even complaining about this, because damn, was it cute, but we did lose a bit of that omg-omg-omg factor of the earlier episodes). The fact that there were only two prosecutors, three public defenders, and one head judge in all the land was comically unrealistic, and the lawyering was pretty much a fact-adjacent storytelling device, not a thing resembling the actual practice of law. And though I love all the themes we’ve explored throughout the show, they’d make a greater impact if we didn’t cycle through multiple iterations of the same point So. Many. Times.
But the one thing we came back around to time and again that I’ll never grow tired of is how this couple will always find each other and fall in love and start all over again, because we’ve seen it happen. And the thing that always struck me about them was that Su-ha had the superpowers and the strength and even the brains, but Hye-sung saved him from wasting his life on empty revenge, gave him a home and family when he was all alone in the world, and believed in him completely even though she never had the ability to know if he was telling the truth. And somehow even with an entire drama where they take turns sacrificing themselves to protect the other, they managed to steer clear of being idiots about it for the most part, and instead were just plain noble, and hell even better—practical too.
My favorite thing about the finale was that Hye-sung got to read Su-ha’s thoughts for the first time by reading his journal, which finally felt like it leveled the playing field for them. She got to hear his thoughts and find out just how much he had grown up in all this time, and it forced her to stop pretending to be a grown-up by shutting out her own feelings. That’s what I love so much about this noona romance—sometimes he’s a boy and sometimes he’s a man, but she’s just as much a woman and a girl, and when she just laid her feelings bare and cried on his shoulder, I thought it was beautiful that in being true to her heart she could grow young just as much as he could grow up.
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 17
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 16
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 15
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 14
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 13
- I Hear Your Voice confirms extension, scores star cameos
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 12
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 11
- I Hear Your Voice in talks for extension
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 10
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 9
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 8
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 7
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 6
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 5
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 4
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 3
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 2
- I Hear Your Voice: Episode 1