Reach of Sincerity: Episode 13
What do you do when the woman that you love gets a chance to return to her once thriving career, as long as she’s not involved in another scandal? Someone like Jung-rok does the noble thing and steps aside. Sacrificing his personal happiness isn’t the only noble move that Jung-rok makes, but his desire to correct a legal mistake ends up threatening both his career and an important friendship.
EPISODE 13: “Jung-rok’s new case”
In the wake of Jung-rok’s announcement that they should break up, Yoon-seo tries to understand what happened — was it her lie about work, the paparazzi photo of the two of them or all of her sudden attention. Jung-rok manages to answer, “Yes…Because of all the reasons you just mentioned…”
Jung-rok repeats, “I think it would be best that we break up,” and he thanks a stunned Yoon-seo for everything before walking away.
Jung-rok drives home with a heavy heart while Yoon-seo sits alone in the park where she cries…and cries…and cries.
In the morning, Hyuk-joon realizes that Yoon-seo has been crying and fresh tears begin to fall when she shares that Jung-rok broke up with her. Yoon-seo doesn’t understand how Jung-rok’s feelings could change so suddenly after promising to stay by her side.
When Hyuk-joon offers to clean out her desk at the law firm, Yoon-seo insists on doing it herself because she needs to see Jung-rok.
At Always Law, Attorney Yeon sighs heavily. He thinks that the office seems dim and looks up to check the light bulbs. Everyone agrees when Attorney Yeon decides that the office doesn’t seem as bright without Yoon-seo around.
They’re all surprised when Yoon-seo walks in to clear out her desk. As a subdued Yoon-seo makes her way to Jung-rok’s office, Attorney Yeon voices what everyone noticed, “She doesn’t seem like her bubbly self today.”
Jung-rok sees Yoon-seo enter the office and they briefly lock eyes. Jung-rok tries to get back to work but he steals a glimpse of Yoon-seo packing up her things. Eventually, Yoon-seo walks into Jung-rok’s office to announce, “I’ll get going then.”
Jung-rok keeps his head down and doesn’t respond, so Yoon-seo asks, “Are you really not going to look at me?” Jung-rok walks over and wounds Yoon-seo more deeply when he says, “You did a good job during your time here. I hope that you do well even after you leave.”
Yoon-seo takes refuge in the stairwell to cry while Jung-rok escapes to the rooftop. By the time he returns to his office, Yoon-seo and her things are gone.
When Jung-rok reaches his desk, he reads one of Yoon-seo’s heart-shaped notes, “Whenever and whatever! Just tell me what you need.” He gets a call from Se-won who invites him for drinks and Jung-rok answers that’s exactly what he needs.
Jung-rok is surprised to see Yeo-reum with Se-won, who can’t wait to announce, “We agreed to give us another shot.” When Se-won jokes that he couldn’t resist her impassioned pursuit, Yeo-reum reminds him that Jung-rok takes everything seriously. Seo-won informs her that Jung-rok has changed a lot since he started dating.
Se-won wants to invite Yoon-seo to join them, forcing Jung-rok to spoil their celebration by confessing that they broke up. Not wanting to ruin the evening even more, Jung-rok suggests, “Let’s meet up another time,” and leaves.
Se-won catches up to Jung-rok on the street after sending Yeo-reum home. Over soju, Se-won summarizes Jung-rok’s explanation, “So, you broke up with her for the sake of her happiness?”
Jung-rok argues that he had to let Yoon-seo go so as not to threaten her long awaited comeback. Miserable, Jung-rok asks Se-won for advice, “After you broke up with Yeo-reum. How did you endure it?”
Se-won must have advised Jung-rok to work because he immerses himself in a complicated case that keeps him extremely busy. At the end of each day, a weary Jung-rok ends up at the bus stop as one bus after another leaves without him.
Jung-rok’s hard work makes him #1 in sales and he’s the guest of honor at a team dinner. When Attorney Yeon airs his disappointment in Attorney Choi’s performance, Attorney Dan stands up, hands on her hips, “My goodness! How could you say that? That’s too harsh!”
Attorney Choi and Dan panic when Attorney Yeon catches them exchanging a smile, but he assumes that they’ve formed some kind of office alliance.
A sullen Jung-rok hasn’t said a word so Attorney Choi whispers, “Why aren’t you smiling? You keep scowling and ruining the mood.” Attorney Yeon interrupts, “It’s okay if he doesn’t smile since he’s competent,” and he doesn’t notice Dan’s dagger eyes.
After the dinner, Jung-rok trudges to his bus stop where he sits down and looks up mournfully.
For her part, Yoon-seo is busy with photo shoots, appearances and the table reading for Love Hurts. Attorney Yeon reads about it during lunch at the office and shares a photo of Yoon-seo with Hye-young, Ms. Yang and Jung-rok.
Everyone agrees that they miss Yoon-seo, except for Jung-rok. Attorney Yeon confronts him, “Don’t you miss Ms. Oh,” and when Jung-rok fails to reply, the CEO concludes, “Goodness. He’s like a human with no heart at all.”
During lunch with Attorney Dan, Attorney Choi cringes when she calls him, “Honey,” and twirls to show off a new dress. When Dan attempts to feed him, it’s the last straw, and Attorney Choi urges her to stick to the terms of their contract.
When they both reach for the same sauce, their hands touch. Attorney Choi pulls out their contract to remind Dan that physical contact of any kind is forbidden. He lets her off with a warning since it was an accident.
Attorney Choi steps outside to answer a call and returns in time to witness Dan lecturing her left hand, “You’d better be more careful.” Even though he’s touched that Dan likes him so much, Attorney Choi can’t escape the fact that his heart doesn’t flutter for her.
Se-won is on his way home when Jung-rok exits his bus and it dawns on him that his roommate hasn’t been driving to work. Se-won suggests stopping for some soju but an exhausted Jung-rok just wants to go home.
When Yoon-seo yawns during the drive to her filming location, she explains to Hyuk-joon that there’s not much time to sleep when she has so many lines to memorize. He complains about all of the legal terms but Yoon-seo hasn’t found them difficult, thanks to her work at Always Law.
After Yoon-seo exits the van, Hyuk-joon privately admits his relief that she recovered from her heartbreak so quickly.
While working at home, Jung-rok clicks on an article about Yoon-seo’s new drama and when he sees her photo from the table reading, he tells himself, “I guess she’s okay now.”
During dinner, Attorney Dan showers Attorney Choi with gifts until he stops her. With their contract set to expire in five days, Dan presses Attorney Choi about their relationship and is crushed when he confesses that he has no feelings for her.
Later, a drunk Dan stumbles along the street and explains to Attorney Choi why she drank so much, “…once the contract’s over, we’ll have to go back to being colleagues. And that makes me miserable.”
When a scooter heads for Attorney Choi, Dan pulls him to safety and they fall into each other’s arms. Attorney Choi’s heart pounds but Dan only has eyes for the cute delivery man, who stopped to make sure that she’s okay.
Attorney Choi recognizes the look on Dan’s face and demands to know, “Did you just fall for him?” Dan justifies her sudden change of heart, “You told me that your heart feels nothing when you’re with me.”
Dan takes back her gifts and runs after the new object of her affection while Attorney Choi clutches his chest, puzzled by the sudden ache in his heart.
A older woman walks into Always Law and demands to see Jung-rok. It’s the mother of Park Soo-myeong, the mentally challenged man who confessed to stabbing Im Yoon-hee’s abusive husband.
The mother reminds Jung-rok that he identified her son as a murderer, even though Soo-myeong wasn’t responsible for both of the victim’s stab wounds. Her son’s final hearing is scheduled for the next day and his mother is worried that he’ll be given a harsh sentence. She makes sure that Jung-rok knows that if that happens, she’ll never forgive him.
Jung-rok arrives at Soo-myeong’s final hearing just as Prosecutor Im argues that the victim’s two stab wounds prove that Soo-myeong committed an intentional and brutal murder. He asks the court to deliver a sentence of twenty years and that’s exactly what the judge does.
Soo-myeong’s mother yells out that her son isn’t a murderer and when security guards restrain her, Soo-myeong shouts, “Don’t hurt my mom…Get away from my mom…I want to go home.”
Outside, the distraught mother sees Jung-rok and begs him to help her son. Jung-rok reminds her that Soo-myeong confessed to his crime in court but she interrupts, “My son only stabbed the victim once…the second stab might have come from the wife!”
Jung-rok is troubled when he learns that Im Yoon-hee never visited Soo-myeong in prison, even though she supposedly cared about him. Jung-rok is even more disturbed when Soo-myeong’s mother informs him that Im Yoon-hee has disappeared.
Jung-rok’s unease escalates when he returns to his office and tries to call Im Yoon-hee’s number, only to discover that it’s no longer in service.
Yoon-seo is in the makeup chair when her stylists ask for a photo. Hyuk-joon has to remind them not to distract Yoon-seo, who’s about to shoot an emotional scene.
The scene turns out to be a break up scene and Yoon-seo’s tears are convincing because she’s reminded of Jung-rok. Everyone claps when the director yells ‘cut’ and after Yoon-seo leaves the set to compose herself, he praises her acting.
Hyuk-joon finds Yoon-seo crying alone in her dressing room. He asks, “Why are you crying? Is it because you were reminded of him,” and Yoon-seo confesses that she hasn’t been able to forget Jung-rok.
Hyuk-joon admits, “I thought you were okay now,” but Yoon-seo corrects him, “How could I be okay? I liked him so much.” Yoon-seo promises to control her feelings but when she’s alone, her thoughts are still with Jung-rok, “I wonder if he’s doing well.”
Jung-rok learns from Mr. Lee that not only did Im Yoon-hee disappear after her trial, she left before collecting all of her late husband’s insurance money. They interview the insurance agent who met with Im Yoon-hee and she recalls that there was a man waiting outside who eventually left with her.
The next day, Jung-rok asks to represent Soo-myeong at his appeal but Attorney Yeon is dead-set against it. Attorney Yeon reminds Jung-rok that he’d be risking his career over the possibility that another culprit was involved. He puts his foot down, “I cannot allow this…That’s final,” but it’s clear from the worried look on Attorney Yeon’s face that the matter isn’t settled.
Attorney Yeon paces near Ms. Yang and Hye-young and complains, “Mr. Kwon is making me so anxious…” When Attorney Dan returns from court, Ms. Yang asks about her case but Dan quickly changes the subject by mentioning that Yoon-seo’s drama is filming in front of the courthouse.
The secretaries are surprised when Attorney Yeon takes them to the courthouse for ‘lunch’. When Attorney Yeon gets too close to the filming site, a crew member reminds him to keep his distance. Attorney Yeon can’t resist bragging, “We are well acquainted with Ms. Oh Yoon-seo,” but the crew member reminds him that’s how everyone in Korea feels.
Attorney Yeon is vindicated when Yoon-seo calls out his name and as she runs towards her friends, he tells himself, “Ms. Oh is running towards me. She’s even calling my name.” Yoon-seo hugs Ms. Yang and Hye-young but not Attorney Yeon, who has to settle for patting her on the shoulder.
With her shoot delayed, Yoon-seo suggests going out for lunch but she’s the only one eating when the food arrives. Ms. Yang and Hye-young admit that they’re uncomfortable now that they see Yoon-seo as an actress, but they relax when she convinces them that she’s missed them.
Yoon-seo asks for updates on everyone else and Hye-young mentions that she thinks Attorney Choi and Attorney Dan are dating (but not each other). When Yoon-seo asks about Jung-rok, Attorney Yeon testily replies, “…it feels like he’ll get himself in trouble soon. I think he’s going to defend Park Soo-myeong.”
After lunch, Yoon-seo considers texting Jung-rok but decides against it.
Jung-rok visits Soo-myeong in prison and he confirms what his mother told Jung-rok, “Yes, I stabbed him once…Then Yoon-hee told me to run away.” When Soo-myeong thinks of his mother all alone, he starts to cry.
Jung-rok meets again with Attorney Yeon to inform him that he decided to represent Soo-myeong. Attorney Yeon outlines Jung-rok’s dilemma — if Soo-myeong is innocent, Jung-rok will be criticized for casting suspicion on him in the first place, but if he’s guilty, Jung-rok will be criticized for helping a murderer.
Jung-rok confesses that he has already filed the necessary paperwork and Attorney Yeon points out, “…by doing this, you’re admitting that you made a mistake.” Jung-rok argues, “It’s only right because it was my mistake.”
Angry that Jung-rok ignored his advice, Attorney Yeon lashes out, “You think you’re so noble, don’t you?” He reminds Jung-rok that his decision is sure to damage the reputation of the law firm. Agitated, Attorney Yeon insists, “You really can’t do this to me,” and walks out of his own office.
As soon as Jung-rok gets home, Se-won confronts him about representing Soo-myeong and asks if it’s really necessary. Jung-rok sits down heavily and confesses, “To be honest, I’m scared.”
Jung-rok worries that it may be too late to undo the damage that he may have inflicted on a Su-myeong. He looks up with pained eyes and admits, “If I…lose my chance to set things straight, not only will I lose the right to be anyone’s attorney, but I’ll also lose my confidence to defend anyone at all.”
When Yoon-seo arrives home, she opens the group photo that Hye-young sent her. Hye-young texts that Jung-rok got into a huge argument with Attorney Yeon over his decision to represent Soo-myeong. She adds that Jung-rok will have an especially difficult time since he doesn’t have a secretary to help him.
Prosecutor Im learns that Jung-rok is now representing Soo-myeong and when a reporter asks him about the case, he shares the latest development. When Jung-rok leaves the courthouse, he’s swarmed by reporters who question him about his unusual move.
Attorney Yeon watches a televised discussion on Jung-rok’s ethical violation — when there’s a conflict of interest between two clients, an attorney can only represent one of them.
Yoon-seo watches that same discussion in her van but Hyuk-joon turns off the television so that she won’t get upset. Yoon-seo recalls, “When things were rough for me, he gave me strength.”
Jung-rok arrives at work and pauses in front of Yoon-seo’s empty desk. When he enters his office he turns at the sound of Yoon-seo’s voice and imagines her telling him, “Don’t mind what the people say. I believe that you’ll win this case.”
Jung-rok sits down at his desk and finds Yoon-seo’s Jenga piece, ‘Say a wish’. He also finds material that she gathered for Soo-myeong’s case accompanied by a new heart-shaped note, “…My wish is for you to stay steady as a rock…I believe that you’ll serve justice.”
That night, Jung-rok sits down at his bus stop and looks up at the giant billboard across the street. Staring back at him is Yoon-seo in a new commercial and when she smiles, tears spill from Jung-rok’s eyes. Unable to hold in his grief any longer, Jung-rok lowers his head and sobs.
Awww. Jung-rok has been privately pining for Yoon-seo all along as that giant screen across from the bus stop proved. I couldn’t understand why he suddenly stopped driving his car, but Jung-rok needed a daily dose of Yoon-seo without raising any suspicions. It was why he started taking the bus in the first place and why he sat there as bus after bus came and went. Day after day. It was such a poignant reveal.
As much as I hate noble idiocy, and I do, I have to confess that this is the one and only time that it has made sense to me. Because of what Yoon-seo suffered through thanks to Gang-joon and because Jung-rok sincerely wants her dream of reclaiming her career to come true. Gang-joon stole so much from Yoon-seo when he terrorized her and dragged her into that drug scandal. Gang-joon’s actions cost Yoon-seo money when she had to pay the penalties on her cancelled contracts. He took away her livelihood and wasted two years of her life. Yoon-seo also had to endure the malicious comments of her fans and the disdain of her peers. Because Gang-joon took so much from Yoon-seo, Jung-rok can’t bring himself to put her at risk of losing anything more and so he makes the painful decision to break up with her.
Even though Jung-rok cares deeply for Yoon-seo, the reality is that they’ve only dated for a few weeks and their relationship is too new to know with certainty if they will last. When weighed against Yoon-seo’s long career and two-year hiatus, I can see why Jung-rok decides that he doesn’t have the right to expect anything more from her. Plus, he would never forgive himself if Yoon-seo gets swept up into another scandal because of him and loses out on a precious second chance.
Understanding the ‘why’ behind Jung-rok’s decision didn’t make the aftermath of the break up any easier to endure. Yoon-seo believes that Jung-rok no longer cares for her while Jung-rok has to do his best to forget the woman that he loves, even though her image is suddenly everywhere.
With his personal life in tatters, Jung-rok turns to work, but soon that’s a mess as well when that old case returns to haunt him. Jung-rok is guilt ridden by the possibility that he pointed the finger at the wrong person in the Im Yoon-hee case. He risks professional censure to represent Soo-myeong, putting Always Law in the crosshairs as well. That puts him at odds with Attorney Yeon, who expects Jung-rok’s loyalty and he’s bitterly disappointed when Jung-rok chooses Soo-myeong over his colleagues. Post Yoon-seo, Jung-rok’s life is a mess.
The one couple that I expected to be a welcome respite from the inevitable Yoon-seo/Jung-rok angst surprised me with a break up of their own. The one month contract between Attorney Choi and Attorney Dan goes bust thanks to Choi’s blunt confession and Dan’s wandering eye. I’m actually a bit relieved because it pained me to see Dan try so hard to meet Attorney Choi’s impossible expectations. She’s back to her suits and ties and looks like herself again. I can’t imagine how those two can rekindle their ‘romance’ when the only time that Choi is attracted to Dan is when she comes to his rescue. How do you sustain that? If they do get back together, Attorney Choi needs to come down a notch or ten and learn to appreciate Dan. And he had better be the one who has to jump through hoops to earn a second chance.
- Premiere Watch: Reach of Sincerity, Legal High, Trap
- Take two for Lee Dong-wook in tvN’s Reach of Sincerity
- Lee Dong-wook and Yoo Inna take the bickering to court in tvN’s Reach of Sincerity
- Reach of Sincerity to pull off last-minute casting switcheroo
- Wishing for a lucky start for Reach of Sincerity
- Yoo Inna and Lee Dong-wook get cozy in first teaser for Reach of Sincerity
- Yoo Inna and Lee Dong-wook to reunite for Reach of Sincerity