Witch’s Court: Episode 16 (Final)
We’ve reached the end of the road, and what a long road it’s been. Witch’s Court certainly had its flaws, but Ma Yi-deum will forever hold a special place in my heart. We have one more bad guy for her to put away so without further ado, let’s watch the witch work her magic one last time.
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
Yi-deum allows herself a tentative smile as she rides with Dr. Ko to finally meet Mom. Jin-wook follows close behind them in his own car.
Meanwhile, Mom gets up to answer the door, but instead of the daughter she can’t remember, Jo Gap-soo is there to greet her. Unfortunately, she can’t recognize him either and is unaware of the danger she puts herself in when she steps out to speak with him. Nooooo!
Mom asks who he is and Jo simply replies he’s known her a long time. Taking a few steps forward, he tells her he hadn’t known she was alive… and the eerie smile falls away as Jo’s expression darkens.
Coming to a stop out front, Yi-deum leaps out of the car but a distraught Nurse Choi is waiting outside to meet them. She delivers the news that Mom has disappeared and Yi-deum struggles to comprehend that Mom has slipped through her fingers again. A text message arrives and when Yi-deum clicks it, she sees a picture of Mom, unconscious in the back seat of someone’s car.
Yi-deum sits anxiously in Jin-wook’s car. He gets in and tells her they’ve tracked the number the text came from but it’s a burner phone. Jin-wook says he’s tracking the phone itself and reassures Yi-deum that the kidnapper will call again. She wonders what the assailant could want just as her phone rings.
Shocked to hear Jo Gap-soo’s voice, Yi-deum demands to know if he took Mom. Jo tuts that she shouldn’t have cornered him, citing that he’s the kind of person that kills anyone that gets in his way and steps on the corpses to get a leg up. Yi-deum doesn’t care to listen to his threats and asks where he’s hidden Mom.
Jo replies only that Mom is alive. Infuriated, Yi-deum shouts that she’ll hunt him down and kill him if he lays a finger on her. Jin-wook warns her to focus on Mom, so Yi-deum swallows her anger and asks to see her. Jo bargains to exchange Mom for Sang-ho’s journal, and while she can’t see what good it would do him now, he uses Mom’s life as leverage.
“I killed her once already,” says Jo, “I can kill her again.” He gives her an hour to bring the journal.
Yi-deum rushes back to the office and retrieves the journal, but Lawyer Min and Jin-wook block her from leaving with it. Yi-deum pleads that Mom could die without it, but they reason that Jo won’t harm Mom until he has the journal. Additionally, if she hands it over, she’ll lose both because there’s no way Jo will play nice.
Mi-young informs them that she’s traced the phone to a different location than the drop spot. Lawyer Min sends Jin-wook to the phone’s location to look for Mom and Yi-deum offers to take the journal and see Jo. She dismisses the idea of backup, since it would only make Jo suspicious, and promises to buy time to find Mom.
When Yi-deum arrives at the designated drop spot, she finds Jo waiting, but his car is empty. She wants to see Mom but Jo scoffs that she’s in no position to make demands. Yi-deum returns the sentiment and holds up the journal.
She asks why Jo is doing this to her and her mother, wondering what he could possibly have against them. Jo replies that Mom started it, and that he’d warned Yi-deum to butt out of his business. Subtly checking her phone, Yi-deum changes tactics, questioning what Jo thinks he can accomplish with his latest attack.
Yi-deum points out that they have a mountain of evidence even without the journal, and that adding his latest crimes will ensure him a life sentence. Jo throws her by laughing and shows her his phone, where a live feed shows someone dumping gasoline around Mom’s unconscious body.
The henchman is distracted when he hears Jin-wook rattling around outside the building. When he doesn’t find an entrance, Jin-wook leaves.
Jo attacks Yi-deum’s weak point next by sighing that he understands if she doesn’t want to help Mom. Perhaps after twenty years of separation, she doesn’t care anymore.
Yi-deum caves then, and Jo orders his henchman to hold while Yi-deum throws the journal at Jo’s feet. Sighing, Jo stoops to retrieve it and then gives Yi-deum a long-suffering look before holding up his phone… and telling the henchman to burn it all down.
Yi-deum starts at him but he throws the phone, and she dives for it instead. Yi-deum watches in horror as the room around Mom bursts into flames, and the distraction provides enough time for Jo to jump into his car. He speeds away before Yi-deum can get an answer as to Mom’s location.
Luckily, she spots the burning building nearby and races towards it. The doorknob is too hot for her to grasp, but Jin-wook reappears with a sledgehammer and breaks it down. They run inside and manage to get Mom out before the building is consumed in flames.
At the hospital, Jin-wook learns from Mi-young that the henchman has already been arrested and they’re currently tracking Jo Gap-soo. Meanwhile, Mom wakes up in her hospital bed to find Yi-deum huddled on the floor next to her, clutching Mom’s hand in her sleep.
Yi-deum snaps awake when Mom moves, and beams up at her. Mom doesn’t know what to say as Yi-deum cheerfully asks if she’s okay and reports that while she inhaled smoke, the doctor said Mom would be fine.
Noticing Mom’s lost expression, Yi-deum muses that it’s been a long time. Mom starts to apologize but Yi-deum cuts her off, gently saying that it’s okay and she already knows. A smile plays on Mom’s lips and she says Yi-deum is prettier in person, admitting she’d seen her before on TV.
Brightening, Yi-deum reminds Mom that she’d promised to take care of her after she became rich. Mom’s smile falters and she apologizes again. Despite the tears in her eyes, Yi-deum smiles and says, “It’s okay if you don’t remember. I remember it all.”
Her words of encouragement only make Mom cry, but Mom assures her it isn’t anything Yi-deum said, her eyes just tear up whenever she looks at her. Yi-deum jokes that at least Mom’s eyes must remember her. Digging out her wallet, Yi-deum shows Mom the picture she carries and notes that Mom looks exactly the same and hopes that it’ll help her regain her memories.
Jin-wook and Nurse Choi join them and while the older women smile at each other, Yi-deum’s expression turns icy at the sight of Nurse Choi.
Away from Mom, Yi-deum demands to know how long Nurse Choi planned on keeping Mom hidden, saying that while she could excuse it in the beginning when they were on the run from Jo Gap-soo, Nurse Choi should’ve said something when Yi-deum visited.
Nurse Choi apologizes, but adds that she did care for Mom like her own sister. Unable to argue, Yi-deum gruffly thanks her for keeping Mom alive.
Mom smiles down at Yi-deum’s photo but looks up when someone approaches her bed. Lawyer Min introduces herself and chokes up as she thanks Mom for being alive. Mom asks if they’ve met and Min admits that they nearly did. With a smile, she thanks Mom again, adding that Yi-deum really missed her.
Jin-wook receives a report from Mi-young that Jo Gap-soo’s been located. He tries to argue when Yi-deum declares she’s coming but she’s firm that she needs to catch Jo herself. Nurse Choi promises to look after Mom so Jin-wook has no choice but to yield.
Across town, Jo flips through the journal and zones in on a passage about the prime minister’s hidden daughter. The wicked smile on his face makes no mystery of his next destination, and a short while later, the prime minister meets Jo outside his house and tells him that blackmail will no longer work. Jo tries to argue that an illegitimate child could signal the death of his political career, but the prime minister points out that it can do no harm against his current crimes.
He tells Jo to never come back and steps inside. Jo screams after him, which only calls the attention of the prime minister’s bodyguards, who throw Jo out.
At their old meeting place overlooking the city, Jo has another vision of Sang-ho, who asks if Jo’s having a hard time. Jo’s eyes water as he apologizes for what he did to Sang-ho, and whimpers that he lost everything after Sang-ho was gone. After a pause, Sang-ho promises to serve him from now on and urges Jo to come with him. Crying, Jo agrees to go together.
Mi-young reports Jo’s location on the mountain and that he hasn’t moved since arriving there. Meanwhile, Jo steps up on a chair, preparing to hang himself with a noose fashioned from his necktie.
Lawyer Min leads a press conference, apologizing for the death of their criminal subject, bringing their special investigation to an abrupt end.
Afterwards, Min asks why her team seems so sad when they haven’t lost yet. Prosecutor Jung admits that it’s just disappointing, since many of the Kingdom patrons have already gotten off for their sexual misdeeds. Min points out that they still have the trial and places her trust in Yi-deum and Jin-wook.
The trial opens and we see that Jo Gap-soo didn’t die. A quick flashback shows that Yi-deum and Jin-wook arrived to cut him down before he asphyxiated. She’d scoffed that he wouldn’t be getting off that easily since he needed to be held accountable for his crimes.
In the present, Jin-wook rattles off Jo’s laundry list of offenses, while Yi-deum and Jo give each other the stink eye. A news correspondent reports that Jo had tried to suspend his imprisonment citing health reasons, but his doctor had confirmed he was fine.
Mom watches the news in the hospital, which starts to trigger something in her memory. She asks Nurse Choi to tell her what Jo Gap-soo did to her, but Nurse Choi refuses. Mom cries that she feels guilty towards Yi-deum and that she needs her memory back. Nurse Choi replies that it happened twenty years ago and Jo’s been caught, so there’s no point dredging up bad memories. With finality, she tells Mom that she’s fine now.
Not taking no for an answer, Mom seeks out Lawyer Min. After listening to Min’s story, Mom reels from the revelation that she had been sexually tortured. Min explains that she’d be the prosecutor for Jo’s case and Mom had contacted her with information on Jo. Her brow creased with guilt, Min apologizes for not being able to catch Jo and prevent the horrors Mom suffered.
Back in court, Yi-deum questions Jo about the mountain where he tried to commit suicide. She asks why he chose that location and though Jo tries to weasel out of answering, the judge insists. He admits he went there often and Yi-deum adds that Sang-ho was always with him. She figures that after his last attempt at using the journal failed and he realized everyone had turned their backs on him, he must’ve thought of the one person who was loyal to a fault: Baek Sang-ho.
Yi-deum brings up Sang-ho’s final entry, where he’d written about meeting Jo and hoped it wouldn’t be his last. Yi-deum asserts that Sang-ho knew Jo would try to kill him, but trusted him one last time for his brother’s sake. Yi-deum concludes that Jo gave Sang-ho the pen, dangled Min-ho’s fate in front of him, and forced him to write a suicide note where he assumed responsibility for Jo’s crimes. After which Jo killed Sang-ho.
Jo denies culpability and insists that Sang-ho died on his own. Yi-deum declares she also wishes that had been the case—since dying by the hands of someone like Jo would have been too unfair. Her words finally break through his aloof façade and he glares daggers at her.
Watch the scene
The trial finally turns a corner when Yi-deum gets under Jo Gap-soo’s skin
Next is the trial of Mom’s case, and Mom slips quietly into the back of the courtroom as Dr. Ko takes the stand. Jin-wook struggles to contain his emotions as he questions his mother, who testifies that Mom was held prisoner in the mental hospital where Dr. Ko was a director, despite Mom being mentally sound.
When Dr. Ko admits that Mom had cried to go home to her daughter, Mom’s memory flashes back to her captivity, when she’d begged for her release. Dr. Ko says that Mom claimed to have been abducted by Jo Gap-soo, and that she’d found her story plausible. Then seven years later, Sang-ho had told her to kill Mom on Jo Gap-soo’s orders.
Jo is called to the stand but claims to have no memory of kidnapping Mom. Jin-wook reads the journal entry from that day, which triggers another memory for Mom, who remembers being trapped in the elevator with Jo and Sang-ho. Jin-wook questions Jo about his recent attempt on Mom’s life but Jo asserts that he did no such thing.
In response, Jin-wook plays a recording of Jo’s phone call with his henchman where he’d ordered him to kill Mom after discovering she was still alive. Jin-wook continues that Jo had tried to kill Mom again just last week, and Jo shouts that he’s being framed. Cue the recording Yi-deum took of Jo telling her he’d killed Mom once and could do it again the night they’d bargained over the journal.
Jin-wook concludes that Jo tried to kill Mom three times and wonders if he considers her a bug to be squashed. Mom shudders in her seat and the judge asks Jo for a final statement. His lawyer has nothing to offer, so Jo stands and speaks. He shares that his father died when he was a teen and he took his words to heart: “Sacrifices are necessary to accomplish big things, and progress is made through certain people’s hard work.”
Jo waxes philosophical as he declares that he wanted to live by his father’s words and sacrifice himself for the benefit of the world. He never lived for himself—only the nation—and if anyone was sacrificed, it was unavoidable. Jo continues that as he looked around at the faces of disgust in the courtroom, he reflected on himself and what he did wrong.
“All I did was work hard and look toward the future,” he says. “If that’s a crime, I will gladly accept that judgment.”
He shouts that regardless, he has no regrets and the judge asks for the prosecution’s closing argument. Yi-deum stands and says that in 1986 a woman was sexually tortured and tried to reveal her nightmare to the world. Tears fall from Mom’s eyes as Yi-deum tells her story.
Yi-deum asks why the justice department forgave Jo’s heinous sex crimes and reasons that if the law had heeded the victims a little more and applied the law equally, maybe some of the misery that followed could’ve been prevented.
Yi-deum:“As I watched the defendant, who refused to make a single excuse, who does not repent in the slightest, I asked myself this one question: When will the law judge that defendant who believes it’s only natural to step on and use the weak, and never once repented for what he did? When will it judge him?”
Yi-deum believes that time is now and declares that Jo, who thinks his only crime was working hard, should be forced to forfeit that work ethic by being removed from society permanently. Her voice borders on a shout as she requests the harshest punishment available—the death sentence.
After deliberation, the judge announces that Jo Gap-soo is to be executed. Jo’s head snaps around and he balks at the absurdity of the sentence, and he has to be dragged away by bailiffs while yelling at the court, demanding to know who they are to judge him. He cries that he won’t die before the bailiffs finally get him outside.
Mom turns back to Yi-deum, but this time she sees her as a young girl again, waving cheerfully. Her memories come flooding back and she cries out Yi-deum’s name, tears falling from her eyes as she rushes over to her child. They hold hands and Mom tells her, “Mom is here.” She cries harder and apologizes before enveloping Yi-deum in a hug.
One year later.
Now incarcerated, Jo Gap-soo shuffles into the prison cafeteria and spots Tae-gyu eatling alone. He calls out to his nephew, but Tae-gyu rolls his eyes and walks away. Jo tries to chase after him, but another prisoner trips him and he crashes to the floor, his lunch scattering in front of him. Jo looks up to see his tripper was none other than the secretary he’d discarded, Kim Hyung-soo.
Hyung-soo smirks at Jo’s pathetic position, correcting himself when he starts to address Jo by name and using his prison number instead. After Hyung-soo walks away, Jo crawls over to his fallen tray and begins shoveling the food into his mouth with his hands.
Yi-deum presents Mom with a new coat to match hers and they giggle as she tries it on. When Yi-deum goes to fetch them drinks, a boy sidles up to her asks, “Honey, have you decided?” Both are taken aback when they look at each other and he jumps just as his actual girlfriend appears behind them. He apologizes and his girlfriend pouts that she and Yi-deum look nothing alike.
On her way to the prosecutor’s building, Yi-deum stumbles upon an eerily familiar scene when she spots Hoon-soo passing out promotional tissues for his legal services. He tries his spiel on her and she just barks at him to change to a better tissue brand. She even pulls out a pair of sunglasses and tells him to wear them since it’s embarrassing.
Hoon-soo says she really is an ace, and Yi-deum smiles. She quips that they shouldn’t meet again, but he supposes they can run into each other from time to time, and they both laugh as they part ways.
Directly outside the building, Yi-deum sees Mi-young and Investigator Gu with their baby. They cheerfully greet each other and Yi-deum learns that Mi-young has just returned to work while Gu is now on paternity leave. Gu suggests they take a picture and hands his daughter over to Yi-deum to do the honors.
Afterwards, Gu takes the baby back and Yi-deum asks after the rest of their old team. Mi-young tells her that after the special investigation, Lawyer Min’s law office is booming. Prosecutor Jung received a humanitarian award and Prosecutor Song is doing an impressive job as well. She asks what Yi-deum is up to, wondering if she’s still a lawyer. Yi-deum grins but we don’t hear her answer.
Kicking open the door to Jin-wook’s office, Yi-deum places a box on her old desk and extracts her nameplate. Engrossed in a file, Jin-wook starts to make a request, assuming she’s Mi-young, but stops when he sees Yi-deum. Breaking into a smile, he asks if she’s returning to the office.
Yi-deum affirms it and reminds him that she’d promised to come back as his superior, and Jin-wook recalls that she vowed to rearrange his brain. They share a laugh, and she places a small box on his desk, downplaying the gift and calling it something she found lying around somewhere.
She tells him not to read into it, and Jin-wook opens the box to reveal a spiffy new watch. He huffs that it’s too expensive, so Yi-deum tells him to buy her a drink.
It’s another familiar scene but this time Jin-wook is the one throwing back the beers in his apartment as Yi-deum tells him to slow down. He crushes his can and after a deep breath, tells Yi-deum he’s ready now… to accept Yi-deum’s feelings. Ha!
She feigns ignorance, but he wags his finger and shows her the slew of texts on his phone, which all ask if he’s asleep yet. It’s a classic flirting move, but she just says she’s genuinely curious about whether he’s sleeping. Jin-wook disagrees, thinking that she’s saying she misses him.
Yi-deum denies it, so Jin-wook asks instead why she joined the department again. Yi-deum reasons that since she’s already worked there, the adjustment was easiest. She adds that she plans to transfer later and he snickers that her excuses are so diverse. Finally, he pulls out his trump card—the watch.
Watch the scene
A gift… and a kiss
She pointedly avoids his eyes and he says that she should know the meaning behind giving a guy a watch. Yi-deum reminds him that she’d just found it somewhere—and then her eyes go wide as he lets out a soft laugh and then leans in to kiss her. Just as she reaches up to hold his face and kiss him back, Jin-wook pulls away… and passes out cold.
Poking his leg, she asks if that was it and whines that he should finish what he started. Annoyed, she snaps, “Are you bailing on me?” Burying her face in her hands, she whimpers that he’s really sleeping.
The next morning, Jin-wook grins when he spots Yi-deum in front of the elevators and sidles up next to her. He jostles her playfully with his elbow but is taken aback when she greets him normally. Jin-wook stares after her as she boards the elevator and then, perhaps recalling this same thing happening in reverse, he breaks into a smile.
As they ride up to their office, he asks what she’s doing tonight. Yi-deum replies that she’ll, of course, be working. Jin-wook tries again and asks what she’s doing after work, and she retorts that, of course, she’ll go home. He snickers and suggests they leave together.
Out in the hall, she asks why and Jin-wook answers that he wants to spend that extra thirty minutes with her. He brandishes the watch she gave him and declares that her time belongs to him now. She stares at him in shock and calls him crazy but as she walks away, she grins to herself. Jin-wook thinks she’s cute as he follows after her.
Later, they stand outside the interrogation room and she asks if he’s ready. Jin-wook smiles and points out that he’s already in his second year as a prosecutor. They fist-bump before stepping inside to find a man in the middle of an angry phone call, demanding to speak to the supreme prosecutor.
He hangs up when he seems them but doesn’t lower his voice, so Jin-wook tells him to cool it. Yi-deum warns him to tell the truth, saying, “I’m the famous prosecutor, Ma Yi-deum.”
Oh, what this drama could’ve been… I’ll admit that the ending was fitting, but that’s not exactly praise when you consider that the drama really tumbled downhill to the point where my expectations were pretty low, here at the end. The show did manage to tie up what it deemed to be it’s important loose ends with the return of Mom (and her memory), Jo Gap-soo crazy and on death row, and the last five minutes of cuteness that promise a future for the romance of Yi-deum and Jin-wook. I actually found myself giggling more in those dwindling moments than I have the entire drama… but that may be partially attributed to hysteria. Who’s to say?
I feel like I’ve complained nearly all drama about the mess that is Jo Gap-soo, but kindly indulge me one last time. I hate that his character was so weakly written that I could never understand his motives apart from being eeeeeeevil. His lack of cunning was never more obvious than when he kidnapped Mom (again) in a final power play for… what? I won’t ask why he needed that journal when there were two, but I do question what possessed him to even grasp at it as his final straw. He was already royally screwed and I was surprised that he wasn’t immediately ousted from his position after Sang-ho’s dirty deeds book was exposed, since I feel like the scandal would be enough to jeopardize his political favor.
So why did he think he could blackmail his way out of it? He had to know the evidence was stacked against him. Not to mention that all the people Sang-ho had gathered dirt on were already coated in mud. The smart option in that scenario would be to get out of the country. Instead, he goes up on a mountain to talk to his dead friend before attempting suicide. I’d say it was out of character, but he didn’t really have a discernable character to speak of.
As for the other characters, most of them were wasted. Lawyer Min was underutilized, my hopes for Lawyer Heo died out halfway through when we had no development with her. They completely skimmed over Dr. Ko’s conflict with Yi-deum at the end so I suppose she was forgiven. At the very least, her testimony will allow her to reconcile with her son. Mom was more compelling and while I feel like her sudden recovery was a tad fantastical, I’ll give it a pass because it was good to see her and Yi-deum happy for once—they certainly earned it.
Jin-wook pulled out his cute side in this final stretch but I wish we could’ve seen more of it. All in all, aside from Yi-deum (who I adore wholeheartedly), the most interesting character was Sang-ho… and they killed him off halfway through! There is no question that this show was carried on Yi-deum’s shoulders because without her, there would be no point in watching. I won’t linger on her praises—we’d be here all day and Helcat already expressed it better than I could in the last recap. Lastly, I’d like to give an honorable mention to Yi-deum’s old sunbae Hoon-soo because I did find him amusing every time he was on the screen.
I don’t mind the way they wrapped up the romance because with the way it’s been handled over the course of the drama, I don’t think there was any other way. Sweeping confessions and passionate kisses just feel out of place after shoving the romance aside for so long. I do like Jin-wook and Yi-deum together but I also admit the chemistry that sizzled in the beginning has settled into something closer to badass partners than lovers. Regardless, I wish them all the best as they venture forward.
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