Hyena: Episodes 1-2 Open Thread
Hyena has leapt onto our screens with a tale of sparring lawyers, but it looks like the story is going to be much more than clashing courtroom scenes. Our premiere week introduces a lot more layers to our story than I was expecting, especially when it comes to the entanglements between our leads. I’m not completely sure what sort of a story we’re going to get yet, but it’s clear that between the direction and the strength of the leads, this drama is in capable hands.
EPISODES 1-2 WEECAP
Hyena starts with a good look at our hero YOON HEE-JAE (Joo Ji-hoon). He’s dramaland’s typical hotshot attorney, and when we meet him he’s just won a huge case without even breaking a sweat. The only time he actually does break a sweat is when he’s doing his crossfit training, which gives us another confirmation of his go-getter personality — and acts as a bit of a lure in, too.
He’s the best and youngest partner at his firm, he cares more about rising to the top than the justice that’s at stake in the courtroom, and he’s as arrogant as he is successful. But why do I like him so much? Maybe because somewhere underneath all his pomp and glory, Hee-jae is also a total romantic?
A girl catches his eye at the laundromat, and he goes there relentlessly day after day at 5:30 in the morning just to see her. I’m not sure why he needs a laundromat in the first place, but I have a thing for laundromat settings, so I am all about this. Also, how cute is it that of all the flashy women around him, he is intrigued by a quiet waif-like creature up before the sun and glued to a good book?
When he finds out that his laundromat girl is KIM HEE-SUN (Kim Hye-soo), and that she shares a connection with some old classmates, Hee-jae thinks it’s fate. He’s quite (swoonily) direct as he pursues her, and before we know it they’re dating. I didn’t expect the story to go here at all: I thought these two started as foes, not lovers! This adds a whole lot of question marks about how the plot will unfold… And then suddenly it all makes sense.
Hee-jae goes to a hearing for a divorce case that’s an easy win for him — until his case is upended by the opposing attorney: his girlfriend. Turns out “Kim Hee-sun” is actually JUNG GEUM-JA, a rather low-life attorney from a small, seedy practice. Their whole meeting and relationship was staged, and we get a painful replay of Geum-ja and her assistant planning it out, from the laundromat, to the way she would get the documents to win her case. It’s wicked clever — but it’s also so wrong.
The court scene where her identity is revealed is really great, and Hee-jae goes through the most authentic display of facial expressions and emotions here, from shock to horror to being impressed with her cunning. I have to agree with all of those reactions; he got seriously played. It’s a huge blow to his credibility and his pride — but also his heart, which is an element I didn’t expect Hyena to hit on.
Geum-ja thinks she’ll never see him again after the divorce case, but we know better. And it doesn’t look like Hee-jae is quite ready to say goodbye yet, either. The two continue to get entangled over past clients and current cases, and in short, I’m liking the Hyena setup much more than I expected to. The blurred lines between attraction, competition, revenge, and I don’t even know what else, puts the drama at the perfect position to have a lot of fun.
Speaking of fun, Geum-ja is a serious pip! Her total unscrupulousness and way of using people to her benefit is worse to me than Hee-jae’s coldness and arrogance. But while I find her seedy and shameless, she’s also totally fierce.
In our first week, we meet a heroine who is hellbent on success, and willing to do whatever it takes for her to get there, whether it means trampling hearts, or even viciously defending herself from an assailant (and I mean viciously). There’s certainly more to Geum-ja than meets the eye, and I’m looking forward to more of her story.
Overall, the characters in Hyena are not only interesting but refreshing, mostly because they’re not exactly nice. I’m currently a little tired of perfect heroes and good-hearted Candys, so as much as greedy, clambering lawyers are not my cup of tea, I don’t mind if I change my tune this time around. The tone of Hyena is interesting as well — it’s mostly serious and straightforward, but it’s also got this playful and almost cheeky edge to it at times. So far, it’s a great balance. More, please!
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