Witch’s Court: Episode 11
A return to the lighthearted (or as lighthearted as a show about sexual abuse can get) is welcome, as our heroes enter the final few weeks of battle. Yi-deum is back on form as she scrambles to prove herself, and I have no complaints that we quickly move past the more fraught fall-out from last week. This show has always been strongest when it concentrates on our main characters, and it’s good to know that hasn’t changed, even when their circumstances have.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Three months after Yi-deum left without a trace, she turns up at the prosecutor’s office, and Jin-wook’s delight at seeing her again quickly turns to exasperation as he learns that Yi-deum isn’t here on a social visit. She’s listed as the accused party in a sexual harassment suit, and he quotes the report incredulously, “He was so good-looking you couldn’t help yourself? Why did you do it?”
In flashback to one week before, we see Yi-deum in her new—very cramped and messy—place on the phone with a bank telemarketer who tries to sell her on loan products. Yi-deum hopefully asks for a loan of 50 million won (roughly $50,000) without interest, and while that gets denied, it does give her an idea to make some money.
Emboldened, Yi-deum heads straight to a respectable-looking law office for an interview, and brags that she’s just out of the prosecutor’s office. She brazenly lists her demands, and asks for 50 million won up front. Unsurprisingly, this tactic doesn’t work, and Yi-deum is told that the firm won’t hire her because of her scandalous past.
Yi-deum’s next stop is to the Seoul Eastern Prosecutor’s office, where she stands proudly outside the building while taking selfies that read “#FreshStart” and “#SuccessfulLawyer.” Except she isn’t here for a job, and instead energetically starts to hand out cards to passersby with the offer of a “free consultation” from a former prosecutor.
Yi-deum doesn’t have much luck, but it gets worse when Mi-young and Investigator Gu recognize her, and she can’t get away fast enough. The duo are pleased to see Yi-deum, and even have exciting news—Mi-young is pregnant and Gu is the father!
It happens that after Prosecutor Min and Yi-deum left, Mi-young and Gu went for drinks together and they proudly state it only took that one time for Mi-young to get pregnant. Yi-deum congratulates the happy pair, and hesitantly asks if “everyone” is okay at the office.
Mi-young answers that everyone is okay: Prosecutor Jang has taken over as Chief Prosecutor, and her leadership style is so eerily similar to Prosecutor Min’s that she sounds like she’s been possessed by their old boss. A new prosecutor, Park Hoon-soo (Yi-deum’s former colleague), has been brought in to replace Yi-deum. Jin-wook still hasn’t adjusted to Yi-deum’s departure though, and regularly calls Hoon-soo by Yi-deum’s name, as well as resisting his attempts to get to know him better.
Yi-deum brags to Mi-young that she is doing well too, with a new car and her pick of law firms. Unfortunately, someone knocks into her bag of promotional freebies she was handing out, revealing her lie. Mortified, she grabs for the packets desperately and runs away.
Later that night, Yi-deum is back to her old habit of comfort-drinking, and whines, “I drank nine beers but I still feel embarrassed!” Trying to take control, Yi-deum scolds herself that there is no shame in looking for work, and decides to call it a night.
Drunk in her car, Yi-deum rouses when her (young and handsome) designated driver shows up. Blinking, Yi-deum asks, “Wow, did they hire you for your looks?” The driver agrees uncomfortably. Yi-deum creepily leans in and offers the dried squid in her hand, asking, “Would you like?”
Which brings us back to Yi-deum and Jin-wook in the present. Disgusted, Jin-wook reads out her list of transgressions, while Yi-deum protests that it’s not like that. Since there isn’t any dash-cam footage, Yi-deum helpfully suggests that Jin-wook conduct a cross-examination.
We pan over to the victim, who it turns out is NOT young or handsome, and Jin-wook concedes, “Everyone has different tastes.” The man claims that Yi-deum pushed a button on his seat which made it zoom down until he was on his back. Yi-deum ushers everyone outside to demonstrate that her car seat only has a manual crank, and wouldn’t “zoom” anywhere.
The man confesses that he was caught stealing from the drunk Yi-deum and lied to cover up. That wraps up the case swiftly, and as Yi-deum turns to leave, Jin-wook stops her, asking, “How… have you been doing? I was worried about you.”
Yi-deum briskly tells him not to worry about her, but Jin-wook vows that they will meet again—he is preparing for Soo-ah’s appeal, and will help on Mom’s case as a prosecutor. Yi-deum firmly points out that will be a problem because of his mom, and states that she can take care of her own business. Yi-deum flatly says, “Don’t start something you can’t handle, and blame me later.”
Outside, Yi-deum notices an anxious man on the phone demanding the best lawyer he can get, preferably with experience in sexual assault cases. Yi-deum sidles over to hand him her card.
In flashback, we see that the man, Lee Sang-hyun, had met with a photographer, Yang Yoo-jin, to take photos of him for a magazine. The two went out for drinks, and afterwards Sang-hyun escorted the stumbling Yoo-jin back to his apartment block. Some time later, Yoo-jin called the police to report a sexual assault.
At the prosecutor’s office, Prosecutor Jang notes that Yoo-jin was the one to suggest the drinking, and willingly went back with Sang-hyun to his apartment. She asks if this doesn’t mean that Yoo-jin was consenting to any intercourse that took place.
Mi-young plays the recording of Yoo-jin’s call to the police, where she claimed she had just been raped. Yoo-jin made the call with Sang-hyun’s phone, and it initially got cut off. When the police called back, Sang-hyun answered and claimed it was a prank call. The police accepted that explanation, but after they found Yoo-jin outside Sang-hyun’s home, they investigated his apartment for the crime and found a condom.
Hoon-soo states that it will be difficult to get a conviction—Yoo-jin doesn’t remember the attack, but was lucid enough to call the police. Either way, Sang-hyun will be found innocent. Prosecutor Jang is annoyed at his fatalistic attitude, as though cases that are hard to prove aren’t worth the effort, but Jin-wook steers the conversation back to the matter at hand. Hoon-soo heartily recommends that Jin-wook be the one to take this case.
Meanwhile, Yi-deum meets Sang-hyun at the upscale restaurant he works at to discuss his case. Yi-deum warns Sang-hyun not to lie to her, and cheerfully threatens that she hates being stabbed in the back, whereupon their contract would instantly end.
At the prosecutor’s office, Yoo-jin forcefully states that she knew her reputation in the photography world would be destroyed if she reported Sang-hyun—but she came forward anyway because she was so angry over what he had done to her.
At the same time, Sang-hyun claims that the two were practically dating. To the contrary, Yoo-jin claims that Sang-hyun is not her type at all. She suggested drinks first, but in a professional capacity, given that the nature of her job relies on building connections.
Sang-hyun claims that Yoo-jin wanted to continue drinking at his place—and she even bought drinks at a convenience store to do so. Yoo-jin maintains that she likes paying for other people—and acerbically points out to Jin-wook that women don’t always have to let others pay.
Yoo-jin admits that she can normally handle a large amount of alcohol, and supposes that she must have been under the weather to black out after a few drinks. She recounts that when she woke up, Sang-hyun was on top of her, and resisted being pushed off even when she asked him to stop. Instead, Sang-hyun handed her his phone and taunted that she should call the police.
Shaken, Yoo-jin says that she really did call the police, “Because… I felt like he’d force himself onto me otherwise.”
Yi-deum goes to the convenience store for a copy of the footage form that night, but is put out upon learning that the prosecutors got there first. Undaunted, Yi-deum touts her own services as a defense lawyer, before she (successfully) bribes the store clerk into giving her the tape.
While scrutinizing the crime scene photos, Jin-wook notices a gap in the police account—and finds out that the condom was actually discovered by the police, suspiciously hidden away in a nightstand.
Jin-wook and Mi-young look exasperated as they go to question Sang-hyun… because sitting across from them is a grinning Yi-deum.
Jin-wook pulls her aside to talk, and Yi-deum unrepentantly explains that she is here to represent Sang-hyun. Yi-deum is hilariously condescending as she schools Jin-wook in professional courtesy, and says, “If you keep being amateurish, it will be a pain. Let us each do our jobs.”
Jin-wook reluctantly goes back to finish the interrogation, and asks Sang-hyun why he hid the condom. Yi-deum quickly counsels Sang-hyun not to say anything, and after some whispered advice, Sang-hyun replies that he was so drunk he got the drawer confused with the trash can. If he intended to hide it from police, as the prosecution suggests, he would have flushed it down the toilet.
Jin-wook sternly asks Sang-hyun to complete a polygraph test then, but Yi-deum refuses to allow the test and announces the interview is over. Yi-deum pauses at the exit, and reminds Jin-wook that because the condom won’t be admissible in court, it would be sensible if he just dropped the case altogether. Jin-wook challenges Yi-deum to prove herself in court, and Yi-deum cutely encourages Jin-wook, “Fighting!”
In court, Yoo-jin tells her side of the story, and then Yi-deum gets up to cross-examine her. Yi-deum points out Yoo-jin’s heart-filled text messages and the picture she sent of her sexy outfit to Sang-hyun, which suggest personal intentions, not professional ones.
Jin-wook objects, arguing that what Yoo-jin wore that day isn’t relevant to the case, but Yi-deum maintains that Yoo-jin’s sexy outfit showed she meant to seduce Sang-hyun. The judge warns Yi-deum to dial it back, but the idea has already been planted.
Yi-deum asks Yoo-jin how much she can normally drink, which is more than double the amount she drank on the night in question. And yet Yoo-jin testified that such a small amount would barely affect her—so Yoo-jin must be lying about being so drunk she blacked out. Yi-deum smirks, “Does your tolerance change based on your situation?”
Next, Jin-wook submits the convenience store footage, which shows Yoo-jin stumbling and Sang-hyun dragging her out, as evidence that Sang-hyun intended to take advantage of her inebriated state. In response, Yi-deum presents the receipt of items Yoo-jin paid for—and included is the sale of a pack of condoms. Yi-deum claims that this proves consent.
Jin-wook objects that Yoo-jin may not have known they were condoms because of her drunkenness, but the judge decides that this claim is unfounded. The judge declares that the burden of proof is on the prosecution, and without any more evidence, he will have to make a decision for the defendant accordingly.
Even though the trial isn’t over yet, Yi-deum smiles in triumph. Dispirited, Jin-wook watches a thrilled Sang-hyun thank Yi-deum with a complimentary card for a fancy meal.
Jin-wook chases after Yi-deum and asks whether she really believes that Sang-hyun is innocent. Yi-deum says that by her standards he is, and scolds Jin-wook for going to trial with such weak evidence. Yi-deum smiles before she stalks off, “This is a war zone.”
Back at the office, Hoon-soo commiserates that Jin-wook was crushed by Yi-deum and urges him to grab a drink rather than stare art the same evidence over and over. That gives Jin-wook an idea, who recalls Yoo-jin’s confusion over getting drunk on so few drinks, and he asks Hoon-soo to accompany him to the bar. Misunderstanding, Hoon-soo proclaims, “Finally! You’re becoming more like a real prosecutor.”
At the bar, Jin-wook discovers that Yoo-jin only had three very weak cocktails while she was there, but couldn’t stand straight by the time she left. Jin-wook asks the bartender to come testify to that in court.
Meanwhile, Yi-deum treats herself to the fancy meal Sang-hyun gave her, taking selfies to show off. To her dismay, she spots Sang-hyun in the same restaurant, getting intimate with another woman. Yi-deum mutters that the trial isn’t even over yet and heads over to warn him to cool it.
Yi-deum just misses confronting him as he leaves to take a phone call, and she follows closely behind. On Yi-deum’s return, her appetite ruined, she angrily packs up to leave, but not before noticing that Sang-hyun’s date has rapidly gone from sober to semi-conscious.
Provoked, Yi-deum methodically searches through her selfies at home, and finds one with a clear shot of Sang-hyun and his date.
Mi-young points out Yi-deum’s new social media posts to Jin-wook, who perks up when Mi-young wonders why Yi-deum was so insistent that Jin-wook see the photos. Jin-wook’s eyebrow raises as he spots something.
The next day, Jin-wook questions the bartender on the drinks he served Yoo-jin that night, and makes sure to point out that all the cocktails were blue. Jin-wook drops a pill into a glass of liquid, which turns blue, and explains that this is a date rape drug which turns blue on contact with alcohol. Jin-wook declares that this explains Yoo-jin’s lower alcohol tolerance and her memory loss.
Unconvinced, the judge asks if Jin-wook has evidence to prove this. Jin-wook confirms that he does and points straight at Sang-hyun… and the pen in his pocket.
Yi-deum acts incredulous as she takes the pen, then feigns surprise when liquid spurts from the tip. Sang-hyun nervously explains it’s for foul breath, so Yi-deum quickly asks him to open his mouth and prove his innocence. Sang-hyun refuses, so Yi-deum squirts the pen into the liquid in her glass. It turns an incriminating blue.
Yi-deum smirks as Sang-hyun hangs his head, knowing he’s been caught. Flashing back to last night, we see Yi-deum overhearing Sang-hyun’s phone call and how he had no intention of paying her fee. He’d sniggered, “I’ll give her a few bucks and a pat on the butt.”
Yi-deum states that she is withdrawing her representation because her client lied to her. Yi-deum quietly snarls at Sang-hyun that she warned him not to betray her, and now she is showing him why. Sang-hyun is sentenced to three years in prison.
Outside, Jin-wook thanks Yi-deum for her help, but she remains wide-eyed and feigns ignorance of doing any helping. He grins that she seems to have changed a little. It turns out that the hashtags Yi-deum had posted lined up to read “Sang-hyun’s pen,” and the photo showed Sang-hyun squirting the pen into his date’s drink.
Yi-deum sighs that she has no way of getting the 40 million won she needs, and her face sinks at the sight of her lovely new car. Desperate, Yi-deum sells her car for less than she wants, and dramatically bids it adieu.
We finally learn why Yi-deum was so desperate for that large sum, as she rushes to swap her cash for dash-cam footage. We flashback to three months ago, to Yi-deum’s lowest moment. In the pouring rain, Yi-deum stares down at the message Baek Sang-ho left her, which reads, “If anything happens to me, I have left the evidence with Min-ho.”
Refusing to give up, Yi-deum spends her time poring over crime scene photos of Sang-ho’s house, until she spots something. She hires a private investigator to find the dash-cam of a car reflected in Sang-ho’s window, and visits Min-ho at the prison, although he refuses to see her.
In the present, Yi-deum is horrified to learn that after all her efforts, the private investigator has sold the dash-cam footage to someone who got there first.
That someone, of course, is Jo Gap-soo, who watches the footage with a teary eye. Lawyer Heo interrupts his reverie to inform him that everyone is ready, and Jo leaves to attend the children’s function. A reporter comments on Jo Gap-soo’s 70 percent approval rating, and asks what he thinks is the reason for it.
In the background, Lawyer Heo gulps as she remembers back to the night she bumped into Jo Gap-soo and had gotten a glimpse of incriminating words in a notebook (Sang-ho’s secret log book). Lawyer Heo tried to hide her reaction, but he nevertheless suspected that she saw. Meanwhile, Jo Gap-soo credits Lawyer Heo with his popularity, and the two share a brief, tense stare.
Elsewhere, Jin-wook informs Min-ho that his appeal is coming up, and recommends that he work on a way to prove Tae-gyu’s guilt. Min-ho scoffs at how unlikely that is, when he only has a useless public defender to help him.
On his way out, Jin-wook asks why Min-ho refuses to see Yi-deum, but Min-ho blames her for her role in his brother’s death. Jin-wook lightly says to call if he changes his mind.
Realizing that Yi-deum needs work, Mi-young calls Yi-deum to let her know of a job opportunity with new law firm, Jeongso Law Office. The tip is from Jin-wook, who is exultant when Mi-young tells him that Yi-deum is going to apply.
Happy to have a lead, Yi-deum goes straight to the law firm, and is impressed by the high-rise building that greets her… and less impressed when she discovers that the Jeongso is actually the name of Prosecutor—now Lawyer—Min’s new law firm.
Yi-deum can’t steal away quickly enough, and Lawyer Min ushers the reluctant Yi-deum into her office. Although Lawyer Min forthrightly asks Yi-deum if she is here for the new job, Yi-deum bluffs and replies that she has already accepted an offer somewhere else.
About to leave, Yi-deum comes to a halt as Lawyer Min’s co-conspirator Yun-hee enters and informs Min that she is finally ready to take down Jo Gap-soo.
Later that night, Yi-deum contemplates her own investigation into Jo Gap-soo, the connections that she has and the ones that are missing.
The next day, Yi-deum strides back into Lawyer Min’s office and boldly asks Min for her help. Yi-deum declares, “Please let me fight with you. I want to work here.”
Beyond pleased with herself, Yi-deum is taken completely by surprise as Lawyer Min leans back and replies, “But I don’t want to.”
I have to say that I am mightily relieved that this episode brought the funny back. I don’t even mind that the show used a time skip to get us there, which can be a pretty cheap trick that robs us of character development. Considering how little Yi-deum has changed, though, I don’t think the time jump would have shown us anything substantial.
On that point, however, I actually love how Yi-deum has remained largely the same since the start. Yi-deum will never stop bragging, because she really is that good at her job. Her abrasive personality has stayed the same, but she knows how to make connections with people as well. Yi-deum’s motivations may have been suspect, but she came to the realization herself that revenge comes with a cost, and she paid too steep a price for it last week. Thankfully, we don’t dwell too long on Yi-deum’s self-reproach, and to the show’s credit it doesn’t try to castigate her other actions. Yi-deum will always remain just a little bit of a scoundrel, but she knows how to toe the line without crossing it.
As Jin-wook pointed out, Yi-deum’s motivations do seem to have shifted a little, mostly in that she has more compassion for victims now. Realistically though, her style will never be as empathetic as Jin-wook’s, which is a good thing because she balances out his naivety, and she will always play by her own rules. Case in point: Yi-deum took down Sang-hyun because he betrayed and lied to her, as well as discovering that he was drugging women, not just because she believes in a pure form of justice.
This week’s case was straightforward enough, and I was only invested insofar as I loved seeing Jin-wook and Yi-deum butt heads again. Especially the part where Yi-deum encouraged Jin-wook to do well in court. I thought it was really sweet throughout the episode that Yi-deum continued to teach Jin-wook how to be a better prosecutor (in her own hilarious way) even though she is no longer his sunbae, and that Jin-wook begrudgingly listened to her in return.
In the case itself, Yi-deum took on the role of slimy lawyer protecting a guilty client, and to a viewer’s eyes, her comments on victim Yoo-jin’s “flirty” texts and outfit might have seemed on the nose. To my real-world eyes though, I know that such a defense is all too common and usually persuasive, and I’m glad we didn’t spend any longer on such arguments before my blood pressure could get too high. My bigger problem with the case was why no one suspected that Yoo-jin had been drugged until halfway through the trial. I have gotten used to side-eyeing the case shenanigans, though, so I guess I’ll just put up with it until the end.
On the whole, it feels like we have hit the reset button on the show. Jin-wook has had time for his anger to dissipate (what little there was of it) and has instead morphed into worry over Yi-deum’s disappearance, which makes it easy for them to easily slip back into their old affectionately combative relationship. Yi-deum’s irrepressibly audacious nature is back after she has had time to contemplate what her mistakes have wrought. And it looks like we are finally going to get the Yi-deum and Lawyer Min buddy-up that I have been waiting for. Even the case this week reminded me of the case from the very first episode—a professional woman who knows the risks that coming forward will have on her career but does so anyway. All of this is to say that I know it can be tempting for a show to continue getting darker or upping the melodrama once it nears the end of its run, but I’m glad that Witch seems to have avoided that.
The legal cases are still laughably bad, Jo Gap-soo remains pointless, and it has taken an unforgivably long time to fold Min into the main action, but I’m glad we’re back in the show’s sweet spot. I have a lot of fun watching Yi-deum’s antics, the show still has some incisive things to say about sexual assault and I can only hope that our team finally comes together to take down the bad guys.
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