Whisper: Episode 8
Soo-yeon’s feeble attempts at manipulation seem like child’s play compared to Young-joo’s master class. But even subtle and skilled psychological undermining can’t compete with cold, hard facts. Yes, as unbelievable as it may seem, the show has reached the point where the honest truth is now Taebaek’s most powerful weapon — a weapon that may turn out to be a double-edged sword.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Over a bottle (or two) of wine, Jung-il and Attorney Jo discuss Chang-ho’s case. Since the best lawyers are looking into it, Attorney Jo worries that they’ll soon find the real culprit. Jung-il reassures him that because Chang-ho only has six months to live, there’s no way the trial will continue — he’ll make sure of that.
Attorney Jo tipsily admits that he trusts Jung-il, he just doesn’t trust the person Jung-il trusts: Soo-yeon. Much to Jung-il’s shock, Attorney Jo suggests that they pin the blame of Sung-shik’s death on Soo-yeon. Yes, he knows Jung-il loves Soo-yeon, but they should focus on protecting their own lives first.
Jung-il returns to the office, which is empty at that time of night. But he can’t shake the image of seeing Soo-yeon kissing Dong-joon. After thinking it over, he calls Sang-gu, requesting that they meet.
Over breakfast, Soo-yeon tells Dong-joon about all the media interviews she’s set up. But Dong-joon (with support from Lawyer Choi) has already made sure that the interview (and kiss!) from yesterday won’t be published. In return for the interviewer’s silence, he’s promised an exclusive story for when he and Soo-yeon divorce.
That’s news to Soo-yeon (and her mother), but Dong-joon calmly informs them that they will soon break up, then reminds Soo-yeon about her appointment in court that afternoon. Soo-yeon is affronted, but her father says he’s already given Taebaek’s legal team permission to treat her as a key witness and not as his daughter.
Soo-yeon stubbornly schedules a doctor’s appointment at the same time of the trial — her way of protesting that she won’t take part in the trial since there’s no connection between her and Sung-shik. But Dong-joon simply reminds her about Sang-gu.
She tries to persuade him to stop the trial, because that way Jung-il will be safe and Dong-joon can remain as Taebaek’s son-in-law. It’s the guaranteed way to make the everyone happy. By “everyone” she must mean just her and Jung-il, because I’m thinking Chang-ho and Young-joo wouldn’t be too thrilled.
Dong-joon coldly tells Soo-yeon that she’d better be in court this afternoon or next time she’ll be forcibly summoned. Later, at the office, Young-joo informs him that she’s heard from the legal team that Soo-yeon did indeed show up to be questioned as a witness. However, she knows that Soo-yeon and Jung-il have been dating for at least four years, so Young-joo isn’t confident that Soo-yeon will so easily testify about what happened at the fishing spot that night.
But Dong-joon vaguely says the courtroom is also where couples who have been married for over thirty years pin-point each other’s weaknesses as they squabble over their assets. A nice sentiment, but it doesn’t address the fact that Soo-yeon is still unlikely to testify against Jung-il.
Young-joo hesitantly tells Dong-joon that her father’s condition is getting worse, and she thinks he’s more afraid of dying while being thought of as a murderer than actually dying. Dong-joon gently reassures her that this time the most desperate ones shall win.
As Soo-yeon is questioned by Taebaek’s legal team, Dong-joon meets with Jung-il, who apologizes for underestimating him. Dong-joon wishes he could say something nice about Jung-il in return, but unfortunately he can’t think of anything. Hee!
Jung-il points out that the law isn’t there to judge the sinners, but instead to be used for compromise. He offers to give Dong-joon what Chang-ho wants most: time. In order for Chang-ho to spend the few months he has left with his family instead of fighting a court battle, he offers one of Sang-gu’s goons as Sung-shik’s murderer.
Dong-joon is skeptical of this offer, but Jung-il reiterates that Chang-ho will be released and Jung-il wil be safe — everyone will be happy. But Dong-joon wonders why Jung-il should be allowed to be happy, when he buried the truth of Sung-shik’s murder with his money.
Jung-il reminds Dong-joon that he won’t be able to win Jung-il against in the court of law, but he looks momentarily shaken when Dong-joon asks him what he thinks Soo-yeon will testify about Sang-gu. Still, he insists that there’s no way to prove a connection between Soo-yeon and Sang-gu, or Jung-il and Sang-gu for that matter.
Ah, but there is a record of a loan that Sang-gu received from Taebaek to help him start up a new construction company. It’s the money Jung-il promised in order to buy his silence after the attack down at the docks, and Dong-joon points out that it seems awfully suspicious that Tae-baek would give such a hefty amount of money to Sang-gu — it certainly looks like someone was trying to buy him off, and it could be reasonably proven to be related to Sung-shik’s murder.
It’s paperwork from the loan that the lawyers use during Soo-yeons testimony to reveal that she is somehow connected to Sang-gu after all. She’s surprised by the documents, since she wasn’t aware of Jung-il’s original agreement. In the meantime, Dong-joon warns Jung-il that he’ll soon be summoned as a witness, too.
Jung-il goes to his father, begging him to stop the investigation into Taebaek’s loan to Sang-gu. Chairman Kang doesn’t seem to be in any rush to save his son, however, pointing out that the law is Taebaek’s expertise and he’d waste what little legal power he has going against them. Even when Jung-il expressly tells him that he’s in danger, Chairman Kang reminds him that Jung-il didn’t want to work for him or become corrupt like him, the arms dealer. Yet now he wants to use his father’s strength to save him?
He tells Jung-il that the loan will eventually be discovered, and just chuckles when Jung-il worriedly says that then they’ll arrest him for Sung-shik’s murder. No, they won’t — because they can’t blame him for wanting to save the woman he loves. He tells Jung-il to pin the blame on Soo-yeon, saying that she was the one who requested the loan. It’ll solve all his problems.
After Soo-yeon’s testimony, her assistant reassures her that they’ll set up an alibi that she was at her grandfather’s church the night Sung-shik was killed. But Young-joo approaches her, warning her that while she might not be able to escape perjury, she might be able to get away with murder.
Young-joo idly wonders what Jung-il and Sang-gu would have talked about to warrant such a large exchange of money at the very moment Taebaek’s top lawyers were brought in to defend Chang-ho. Soo-yeon insists he isn’t the kind of person to sell her out like that, but Young-joo points out that he is the kind of person who would kill for the person he loves.
Such a man, when pressed into a corner where he might go to jail for murder, might make some very surprising decisions. She warns Soo-yeon to be careful, since Jung-il is the kind of person who would do anything to save himself. That’s enough to unnerve Soo-yeon, and she calls Sang-gu, requesting that they meet.
Over lunch (Subway, of course), Young-joo updates Dong-joon about the case. Dong-joon assumes that Soo-yeon must be meeting with Sang-gu — but he also believes that she and Jung-il still trust each other. Young-joo assures him that trust can be shaken, just like it was between her and Dong-joon. But she’s confident that those who once tested them by forcing them to choose whether to save themselves (or their family) will soon be tested themselves. She smiles to herself as she imagines the fear they’ll experience as they watch what they once believed in shatter into pieces around them.
Attorney Jo is freaking out about the trial, knowing that Jung-il’s a hair’s breadth away from being dragged into it due to Sang-gu. Just then Jung-il’s father sends him some photos of Soo-yeon meeting with Sang-gu — Chairman Kang hired someone to tail her. He tells his son that Soo-yeon is making her move, so it’s time for Jung-il to make his.
Dazed, Jung-il tries to figure out what it all means, but he still can’t stop thinking about that kiss with Dong-joon. He calls Soo-yeon, who lies that she’s at the dermatologist (and therefore not with Sang-gu). That seems to be enough to spur him into action, and he orders Attorney Jo to start gathering information to implicate Soo-yeon.
Dong-joon is with the legal team, planning how to get Jung-il to testify at the trial. He’s ready to drag in a warrant for arrest since he assumes Jung-il will ignore a subpoena, but Young-joon barges in, revealing that Jung-il has willingly agreed to testify.
That’s unexpected, especially if Sang-gu also testifies, since right now everything points to Jung-il as the murderer. Why would he so easily agree to testify against himself? But Young-joo quickly determines that Jung-il must be angling to prove that he was only responsible for the loan as a way to cover up the murder committed by Soo-yeon. Smart cookie!
Dong-joon orders her to find a way to postpone the trial so they can gather more information, but she protests — they don’t have time to delay the trial, because her father literally doesn’t have time to spare.
Soo-yeon realizes that there’s records of her using a company car on the night of Sung-shik’s death, and orders her assistant to delete the CCTV video from the parking garage. Which is something you’d think she would have remembered earlier than now, but better late than never.
As her assistant hurries to the security office, Young-joo continues to needle Soo-yeon about Jung-il declaring her the culprit. Soo-yeon is convinced that there’s no way Jung-il will abandon her — after all, they’ve been together for four years now. But Young-joo points out that Dong-joon was a principled judge for ten years, but even he gave it all up to save himself. Is Jung-il’s four-year loyalty stronger than Dong-joon’s ten years?
Doubt flickers across Soo-yeon’s face, but the final blow comes when her assistant lets her know that someone already requested a copy of the CCTV — Attorney Jo, under orders from Jung-il.
Attorney Jo’s also dug up the same CCTV footage of the highway that Young-joo did, which proves that Soo-yeon was on the road leading to the fishing spot that night. As Jung-il watches the footage from the parking garage on his laptop, Attorney Jo explains to him and Chairman Kang how they can pin the murder on Soo-yeon.
The only catch is that Jung-il might lose his license to practice law since he’d be implicated in paying off Sang-gu, but Chairman Kang is pleased because that means his son will have to join him at his company. Besides, Chairman Kang has his sights on destroying more than just Soo-yeon — he wants to utterly ruin Lawyer Choi and Taebaek.
The doorbell rings and Jung-il answers it, surprised to see Soo-yeon. Attorney Jo scrambles to cover up his detailed evidence board so she can’t see their plans, but no one notices that she can see the reflection of Jung-il’s computer screen — which is paused on the parking garage CCTV footage. He quietly tells her that he’ll meet with her later, and she dazedly asks if he thinks whatever he’s working on now will turn out well.
At his strained “yes,” she turns away, trying to hide her distraught emotions. She leaves the hotel room, staggering under the realization that Jung-il is indeed planning to betray her, and begins to cry.
Young-joo is still trying to figure out how get one step ahead of Jung-il, but Dong-joon simply tells her to wait. After all, Soo-yeon might surprise them. Young-joo marvels at how different their lives are, where Dong-joon continues to be optimistic as she prepares for the worst.
But it seems Dong-joon knows what he’s doing, because Soo-yeon arrives to let them know that she’ll testify again — and this time she’ll tell the truth. In return, she wants security. With pleading eyes, she asks Dong-joon if “her husband” will stay by her side and keep her safe.
Knowing that they can’t wait until the official summons (because Jung-il’s side will surely find a way to block them in the meantime), they immediately set up a camera to record Soo-yeon’s new testimony, where she admits that she lied originally — she wasn’t praying at church. Instead, she was at the fishing spot where Sung-shik died.
As Jung-il’s team packs up to leave, he notices his laptop is reflected in the mirror and that Soo-yeon must have seen what was on the screen. Suddenly her cryptic statement makes sense, and he realizes that she knows that they’re working on a case against her.
Meanwhile, in front of the video camera, Soo-yeon declares that she witnessed Sung-shik’s death that night. She hesitates a moment as she gathers her strength before she admitting that Jung-il killed Sung-shik. She also says that he purposefully framed Chang-ho for the murder that night: “Shin Chang-ho is innocent.”
That phrase causes Young-joo to release the breath she was holding, as well as the pent-up emotions that she’s no doubt been stifling ever since her father was first accused. It’s sweet how Dong-joo comforts her.
Jung-il’s team regroup as they try to figure out how to counterattack before Dong-joon does. But Jung-il knows that even if they get rid of Dong-joon, Lawyer Choi will take over. Suddenly he has an idea of how to get rid of both men at the same time, and sends Attorney Jo off on a mission.
That mission is to distract Secretary Song by inviting him out for drinks as a way to get caught up on their lives, since their respective bosses have been keeping them so busy.
But it’s really just an excuse to get his security code and get into restricted areas of Taebaek’s server. Taebaek seriously needs to get better security training since everyone seems to leave their code cards where they’re easily accessible for other people to steal them.
In the morning, Young-joo enters Jung-il’s office to pointedly ask for his files on a case that he’s scheduled to be working on at the same time he’ll be testifying in court. Amused, he wonders if Dong-joon is reassigning his work on the assumption that Jung-il will be immediately arrested.
Young-joo confidently tells him that, for once, the court will rule justly. She also advises him to not bother with any regrets just yet — he’ll have plenty of time in prison to think about them then.
It seems negotiations are in order as Chairman Kang, Jung-il, Soo-yeon, and Dong-joon all gather in Lawyer Choi’s office. Dong-joon confidently declares that Jung-il will be leaving Taebaek, since it wouldn’t reflect well on the company to have one of their team leads arrested for murder.
Chairman Kang wonders if they have any proof that Jung-il did it, and Soo-yeon, who’s been unable to keep her eyes from Jung-il’s face, confesses that she saw it happen. But Jung-il has his own confession to make — and it’s a truthful one, too.
He slaps down a copy of Dong-joon’s original ruling against Chang-ho, the one that was actually written by Lawyer Choi. So that’s what Attorney Jo was looking for with Secretary Song’s security code! Jung-il will be able to prove in court that the ruling was created on Taebaek’s servers a week before Dong-joon handed it down in court — a fact that implicates Dong-joon, since it proves that Lawyer Choi bought a verdict.
It seems that they’re at a stalemate, since both sides can destroy the other (using honest-to-goodness truth and facts for once!), so Chairman Kang proposes that Lawyer Choi drop the trial. It’ll be the only way he can keep Taebaek.
As father and son leave the office, Jung-il wonders if his father is actually willing to give up Taebaek. But of course Chairman Kang’s true plan is to make sure all the evidence against Jung-il is destroyed, which will then leave Lawyer Choi without any leverage. Then, Chairman Kang will reveal his “hidden card.”
Lawyer Choi knows that their reputation will be ruined if it gets out that the ruling was purchased. But Dong-joon points out that Chairman Kang’s company will be implicated, too. Except Chairman Kang has his “deep roots” that can supposedly weather any storm. Lawyer Choi orders the litigation team to cease their work on Chang-ho’s case and to destroy any documents they have.
When Soo-yeon runs into Jung-il later, she muses that he must have a lot to tell her and that she was going to promise to visit him in prison. She reflects back on all the happy times they’ve spent together, adding that she seems to have forgotten so much of it already. From now on, she plans to only remember what happened yesterday (when she discovered Jung-il was planning to frame her).
Dong-joon calls Jung-il, requesting to meet. Their meeting spot is on top of the building. Jung-il manages to resist the urge to push Dong-joon off it, instead merely tapping the other man on the shoulder, letting him know he’s there.
Jung-il doesn’t think there’s anything left to discuss, but Dong-joon reminds him that Jung-il once told him he could get someone to turn himself in for Sung-shik’s murder (since originally the plan was to implicate one of Sang-gu’s men).
Jung-il reminds him that he turned down that offer, and Dong-joon quotes Jung-il’s “law is about compromise” statement back at him. Neither men seem eager to budge, and Jung-il wonders why he should agree to work with someone who will soon be leaving Taebaek.
Dong-joon brings up the fact that he still has Soo-yeon’s recorded confession. He’s not afraid to deal with the repercussion of his purchased verdict (which means he’s not afraid to use the confession if he needs to), and orders Jung-il to find a scapegoat for Sung-shik’s murder by the end of the day.
Young-joo wonders why she and Dong-joon are headed somewhere else when they should be working on her father’s case, and he quietly tells her that the litigation team has been disassembled. Ohhhh, that’s right, she doesn’t know about the earlier meeting in Lawyer Choi’s office.
They arrive at a restaurant where Jung-il and Sang-gu are waiting for them, and Sang-gu brings in one of his men who will confess to killing Sung-shik. The explanation is that both men were drinking and had a quarrel that escalated into a physical fight, resulting in the goon accidentally killing Sung-shik. The man is being paid handsomely by Sang-gu to take the fall.
Young-joo tries to protest, but Dong-joon squeezes her hand to quiet her. Jung-il reminds her that this means her father will be freed. But Dong-joon has one more condition — guarantee Young-joo’s reinstatement into the police force.
As they leave the restaurant, Young-joo angrily asks Dong-joon why he’s agreeing to work with Jung-il when they already have Soo-yeon’s testimony. He points out that Jung-il would purposefully keep dragging out the trial until her father dies.
He urges her to think of her father who shouldn’t spend the rest of his life tangled in legal disputes. It may not be the ideal solution, but it’s all they have right now. Despite her frustration, she knows he’s right.
Young-joo and her mother visit Chang-ho at the nursing home, and Mom gets frustrated with him when he talks about the Independence Movement (based on the book he’s reading), reminding him that the families of the people who fought for independence suffered in poverty. She retorts that he should stop being so idealistic and instead think of his own family.
When it’s just the two of them, Dad confesses to Young-joo that when he first started investigating the corrupt defense industry cases, people from Chairman Kang’s company and Taebaek both approached him, offering him money if he gave up his investigation. He turned them down, of course, but now he wonders why he was such a fool. Because now he’s going to die like this and they’ve still won.
Dong-joon unlocks one of his desk drawers (with a key that he keeps in his pocket, so there’s some kind of security at least) and pulls out an envelope and a memory stick — presumably the video of Soo-yeon’s confession.
He informs Young-joo that he will be leaving Taebaek next week and their volunteer culprit will be turning himself in soon. It’s all over now.
Everyone is waiting for him as he arrives at Lawyer Choi’s office, and he hands over the documents he has on Sung-shik’s case, including the memory stick. It has been a couple of episodes since evidence has been destroyed, so it seems about time for another burning (anybody have a lighter?), but Chairman Kang first wants to make sure the memory stick actually contains Soo-yeon’s confession.
It’s a good thing, too, because when they play it, Chang-ho and Sung-shik’s cheery faces appear instead from one of their old podcasts. Turns out Young-joo had switched the memory sticks — I guess that locked desk drawer isn’t that secure after all (then again, what at Taebaek is?).
Young-joo calls Dong-joon, demanding to be put on speaker phone. She asks Jung-il if he recognizes the face of the man he killed, and if Lawyer Choi and Chairman Kang recognize the face of the other man they tried to kill on the operating table. One may be gone, the other may be soon leaving — but she is still here.
As she walks up the stairs to the courthouse, she tells them that she’s going to submit Soo-yeon’s confession as evidence. Worried, Dong-joon reminds her that the people she’s dealing with are dangerous — she can’t win against them. But she purposefully declares war against Jung-il, Chairman Kang, and Lawyer CHoi.
She tells Dong-joon he has a choice. He can fight along side her, or join in the fight against her.
Yes! That’s the spitfire Young-joo I know and love! Even though I know this won’t be an easy battle to win, I’m thrilled that she still refuses to give up. At least this time she’s actually giving Dong-joon the option of saying “no” to being pulled into whatever scheme she’s got cooked up (although let’s be real, he’s totally going to fight along side her. But at least it will be by his choice and not because she’s blackmailed him).
At first I wondered how the show would possibly drag out another eight episodes (or nine, considering the extension) solely on Young-joo’s determination to clear her father’s name, but now I’m hoping that this new war is less about her father’s life in the physical sense and more about his life’s work. I want Young-joo to pick up where he left off and focus on destroying Chairman Kang’s company (because, ooooh, if ever there was a drama villain I want to punch in the face every time I see his smug smile, it’s him). He’s made his billions by profiteering from the deaths of who knows how many innocent people. I’m still scandalized that he established his company and Taebaek based on the fortune made during the Gwangju Uprising, when hundreds of people were massacred (by Chairman Kang’s tanks and guns, apparently) in their protest for democracy.
It’s no wonder he keeps needling Lawyer Choi about his “servant” status because it feels like this is a man who’s never had to deal with answering to anyone else, much less the voices of the “common” people. In that sense, I also want Young-joo to take down the corrupt and powerful Chairman Kang just to provide a win for the “everyman.” Who, to be fair, has shown they can be influential in directing the country’s path and rooting out corruption in real life. After all, there’s a reason Korea will be going through an election in a few weeks.
Really, that remains one of my favorite things about the show. As ridiculous as some of the convenient plot devices can be (seriously, people need to be smarter about their security!), I love the fact the show continues to offer me kernels of hope that the idealistic person who wants to make the world a better place can somehow be successful. It may not be a pretty battle, and there will definitely be scars and wounds and other losses — but it’s a battle worth fighting for, and I can’t wait to see how Young-joo and Dong-joon survive until the end.
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