Rating:
Average user rating 5.0
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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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The laundromat was near his office. He keeps clothes there because of his erratic hours.

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That explains a lot!

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The liner he was carrying was in the basket next to the bureau in his office. It was pretty obvious.

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I watched the first ep out of whim at 1 o’clock in the morning, anticipating to fall asleep midway as I had always been, but I watched the full first ep in 1 sitting and was restless for the next one! It was very good. I love the two leads. Kim Hye Soo rocks that haircut 💇‍♀️

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A total delight. Love the flawed character. Cant wait for next week.

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I love the flawed characters as well. I felt what GJ did tho was a bit below the belt. She played a dirty game when he's not even aware the game has started. And to do it in such emotional level... Although i dont like her at the moment, i do find her to be more interesting than HJ. Looking forward to what the show going to go with her character.

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She definitely hit him where it hurt, but I do think in our initial intro of HJ we get enough bits and pieces to see that he's not so shy about backstabbing his colleagues. He's just as cunning, albeit his methods don't seem as scrappy as hers.

It seems clear that she's learned to never let her guard down. So far, it feels like he's never had to think that way cause he's always thought he's been one step ahead... here's hoping he learns fast.

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Wow, thanks @missvictrix for the speedy weecap. I way prefer weecap that comes fresh after the show rather than a full recap that comes 1 or even 2 weeks after the show aired.

The laundromat puzzles me too. He certainly can afford more office attires to never needing to go to laundromat at 4.30am. Even if we pretend he did it just because he liked it, why did he not get suspicious of this lone woman who just happened to be his high school sunbae?

Although I think the laundromat plotline is weak, I do love THAT laundromat. It has got to be the prettiest laundromat I've ever seen, and I've seen a fair share of laundromat around the world. Curious, is it a fair depiction of laundromat in SK?

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Laundromat plotline weak? No, we need more laundry plots, especially if they involve men doing laundry. That was quite a nice laundromat. I don't know what most SK laundromats are like in, but I assume this is an upscale version in an upscale neighborhood.

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@egads, if Hee-Jae did the laundry shirtless, i would've up my rating. Not too be a voyeur, of course. I mean, did you see the measly load he put in that 20kg machine? What a waste of water and energy. Shirtless HJ doing laundry in a fancy laundromat, now THAT is a strong plotline 😋

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I don't need him shirtless. I find a well tailored suit much more compelling.

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Can't speak for Korean laundromats, but I did see some in Taiwan that were just about as fancy.

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I have to say that I love a man who finds a laundromat and doing laundry relaxing to be quite attractive. You can keep your shower scenes and abs, and give me laundry soap and the freshly folded shirts. That she seduced him in the laundromat... lol, that's a bonus.

On a more serious note, I fully appreciate that the last scene of episode one was not the voyeuristic sexualization of a violent attack on a woman that we usually get. It was a brutal attack, but there was no lingering camera angles, no just so lighting, and nothing about it was staged to make her look attractive in her vulnerability. On the flip side, while she ultimately was the last one standing in this fight, it was not an easily won victory. There was no miracle punch or kick, but rather this was a drawn out battle that felt more real than most drama fight scenes. I appreciated that even as I winced with each punch.

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won't you love sheldon!

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So freaking tired of the shower/ab tropes in kdramas...

As for the attack on the lady lawyer, I think at this point we can assume she is NOT some candy, and the microsecond flashbacks give me a hint that this is not the first time she has been attacked like this. I see perhaps an interesting backstory here. And as you noted - no unrealistic over the top flying drop kicks off the walls that mars so many such scenes. She knew it was a desperate situation and used any method she could to stop him. It was brutal, but also a welcome change from the far too common "please save me just this once" trope that is so overused.

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So freaking tired of the shower/ab tropes in kdramas...

Going to have to wholeheartedly and respectfully disagree - it's one of the few tropes I'll never get tired of. :D

Do agree about the attack scene though. It was a really impressive way of giving us a glimpse of why she might have such a dog-eat-dog mentality. She's been through some stuff, and she'll be darned if she's going to let it weaken or define her.

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As a guy, I feel totally discriminated against because they NEVER have such shower/ab tropes with the girls...

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But the girls almost always wear short skirts. Plus, the men routinely get to marry women who are 20 years younger than they are and much better looking and they get to become fathers well into their 60s...so I guess a few shower scenes and ab workouts are a small price to pay!! ;)

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She is a scraper. Geum Ja is a manipulative, no bars held, traumatized woman. She cares, but but not enough to do something about it. She wants to survive and find stability more than she wants to anything else. While what she did to Hee Jae was wrong, I get it. She needed the client to do well so she could survive more than she needed to worry about the ethics and the morals of the issue. Kim Hye Soo, once again bringing a complex and interesting woman to the fore.😍

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With shows like this and IC, perhaps Korean drama is finally starting to portray women (at least in a few cases) as something other than helpless candy's with actual thoughts of their own.

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My take so far on this show:
The lady lawyer is not all that she seems. Though maxed out on greed and ambition, I think that there is another agenda driving her. The flashback + the staring at the Elite Lawyer building leads me to think that something happened in the past that she might be seeking revenge or payback for. And she will do anything to get it.

Still have not figured out the guy lawyer - he seems to be all over the place in what he wants. Also seems to be a lot of infighting within the firm he works for.

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@windsun33,

I agree re: Geum-ja's hidden agenda. I smell revenge, too. She -- or someone near and dear to her -- was probably badly treated by someone at Song & Kim, if not the firm itself. Her end-game could be to destroy S&K, perhaps by revealing their sleazoid practices as well as destroying their credibility in court.

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I am really enjoying this show!! It’s a bit OTT yet it gets very real when it goes dark. The ending of episode 1 is a great example.
I also love our shameless FL!! With her large gold chain, ring et al!!
bring it on show!! Am ready.

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I'm with you, Blue! She is fire!

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At this moment I found JUNG GEUM-JA more fascinating than YOON HEE-JAE. I can understand her more. YOON HEE-JAE has everything that JUNG GEUM-JA does not – connections, education and money. He is part of privileged world – the 1%. He is still fascinating - the way he felt betrayed by JUNG GEUM-JA showed us that he is more than power hungry, arrogant lawyer. (I do think he was bit naïve to fall for KIM HEE-SUN hard and fast in short period of time.)
JUNG GEUM-JA does not need knight in shining armour and I hope show will not put YOON HEE-JAE in that role.
I think I will stick with this show for time being.

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Totally agree! I hope they stick to their guns and do not back down from the flawed - and interesting - people they showed in these first two episodes. Both of them had unusual, well-rounded characters: yes he's an ambitious, privileged shark but he's also a closet romantic; yes she's amoral and money-grubbing but she's got some heavy baggage as Reasons. Bring it on.

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I just finished watching these first 2 episodes, and I'm excited for more! I was expecting a typical rivalry resulting from a shared traumatic past between our leads. What we have is much more interesting. I so agreed with other Beanies - I'd take the laundromat scenes over the gratuitous abs scene preceding that. It's endearing that Hee-jae found doing laundry at 5 am is relaxing, and it's hilarious that Geum-ja managed to seduce him there.
The glimpses about Geum-ja's past explained her single-minded focus and makes it especially sad when she said to Han Chan-ho's son that at least he has "money" as if that would have make up for the problematic parents. :(
We haven't gotten much about Hee-jae's past, and I was a bit confused about who his family is. (Does he have an older brother who is a judge - in that scene in ep. 2?) I wonder what made him decide to become a lawyer instead of following his father's footsteps to be a judge. Maybe that would factor into the story later.
Also, I'm loving all the cheeky humor throughout the episodes that undercut some tense moments. It could be jarring if not done right, but I found myself cracking up in equal parts mortification and glee.
It would be so fun if Hee-jae and Geum-ja team up in the future. They would be a formidable and hilarious pair!

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@strawberry,

The gathering in the backyard in ep. 2 was a birthday BBQ for Hee-jae's judge Dad, whom senior partner Kim informed was soon to be named a supreme court justice. It seems to me that Kim and Dad are old friends, not literal brothers. Cousins, maybe? Hyung Yoon Hyuk-jae is also a judge, and comes across as hypervigilant about maintaining judicial propriety at the expense of having a normal relationship with his brother -- or anyone else. Perhaps he knows someone who was thrown off the bench because of the judicial equivalent of insider trading. It could be that Hee-jae's response to such a situation was to become a lawyer instead of a judge. Even as a lawyer, he doesn't like to associate with his fellows outside of the office. (Aside: Kim Young-jae [Hyuk-jae] has been one of my fave actors since his turn as the snarky, haughty, paranoid, and deeply vulnerable king of Gaya in THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SOO BAEK HYANG.)

What leapt out at me was that Mom was missing. Usually if it's a boy's night at home, Mom or Sis brings out food or puts in a brief appearance. Is Dad divorced or widowed? It makes me wonder about the family dynamics. Perhaps Hee-jae and Hyuk-jae are half-siblings.

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Thanks for the clarification! Their sibling relationship is interesting in that context and your theory is very plausible. My first impression of that BBQ was that it was a ~casual~ business meeting bt these powerful peeps and their lawyers, and not Hee-jae's family members and their shady lawyer friend. Hmmm, I can't wait to find out more about his family dynamics. That would be interesting.

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You're most welcome, @strawberry.

It almost sounds as if judges are expected to recuse themselves from living a normal life, whether or not they have kin who are lawyers. Or maybe that's just hyung's prickly approach to the situation. Perhaps Hee-jae had seen the writing on the wall and decided that he didn't want to spend the rest of his law career being targeted by influence peddlers, etc. Or maybe he wanted to remain a private citizen instead of becoming a civil servant with all the bureaucracy and scrutiny that entails.

IIRC, the issue of tampering with judges came up in YOUR HONOR / DEAR JUDGE and MS. HAMMURABI.

Now that I think about it some more, it's possible that Lawyer Kim and Dad could be half brothers. Kim told Hee-jae to call him uncle or something since they were not at work -- and Hee-jae said it weirded him out. I'm really not sure what's going on with them.

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More of this please! I can't get enough of the female lead! Finally one I want to be maybe friends with. She is so badass and practical.

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Love Ji Hoon and the rest of the cast.. very entertaining so far but I wish song hye kyo would have taken the role.. It would have been interesting seeing her put her spin on this drama plus I am tired of her playing the innocent princess chaebol daughter.. I want to see her do some comedy..

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Sorry, but Song could NOT have pulled off this character. Her acting rage is not there.

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meanie, yes it is.. I am a huge fan.. lol 😜

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Sawrry😳

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Another series not showing up on Viki, I see.

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It's on Netflix!

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Poor Viki, I think Netflix is landing the good contract and no competing streaming service can upload so Viki is losing out because it doesnt have Netflix money. The one thing that viki has over Netflix is the ability to post comments.. it makes it fun watching on Viki, I was sad Itaeweon Class was not on Viki because I knew the comments would be funny which makes the drama even more enjoyable to watch...

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I wasn’t going to watch this one but your recap made me have second thoughts. And it’s on Netflix, although I have to check it it is available or when in my zone. Sounds much better now.

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I was kinda worried with the teaser, because I love both actors and didn't like the tone. But after watching the first 2 episodes, I'm in!

Loved every bit of it and the story appears to be way deeper than what it seems.

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I'm loving this show, too! :) awesome recap there! Thank you!

i noticed the references to Lady Vengeance, too, which were clever. First, the female lead's name (geumja) is the name of the lead in LV. Then at some point, they played the violin music that usually plays in the background when Geumja in LV was plotting something. Fantastic.

Also, you are so right. The show is so much fun. and that cheekiness! I love the dynamics between the leads. And I didn't expect them to show us a lawyer who turns out to be a romantic (awww, how cute is that? also, it just made his character even more compelling). That makes all the interactions between the leads super interesting.

As for the Lady Vengeance references, is she seeking vengeance for her child? for what was done to her as a child? Can't wait for more of this awesomeness!

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Episode AND 2 were great! Completely unexpected.

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I've read The Whisperer by Donato Carrisi.

Thought I'd mention that.

Now I just have to go to a laundromat. Having my own washing machine is obviously where I've gone wrong. (or right!)

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Its a well written drama. I was curious as to why its not getting that much hype considering Ji Hoon is there. Lol. Timing must have been an a*s, a lot of kdrama is being shown simultaneously that has caught the viewers' clamor, one is Itaewon Class.
I trued watching ep1, and surprisingly I cant get enough of the next scenes and so i watched the first five episodes in one sitting. Yep, that's how interesting the storyline is. Bu there's really one thing that's throwing me off- dont get me wrong, Hye Soo is BRILLIANT. One of the most respected actresses in SKorea- and she did really GREAT in this drama, hands down. But They cant really conceal her age. She's almost 50 yrs old and sorry, but she doesnt look younger than her age. Her "love story" with the male lead(Ji Hoon) is really turning me off. Yep, call me petty haha. This is just me. She can literally pass as Ji hoon's mother, tbh. They mentioned that she's supposed to be "41" in Hyena. Cmon, she dsnt look 41 for Pete's sake. Yep, she is undoubtedly pretty but the love line between her and Ji hoon in this drama should be cut off. Otherwise, this is a wonderful drama- not your average tweety pattootie romcom; so brace yourself. You have been warned. Lol

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