Hyena: Episodes 11-12 Open Thread
With two weeks left in our story, you can really feel Hyena getting poised for a final culminating battle. Clients, cases, characters — and the past — are all coming together in a whirlpool of plot goodness for the (too few) episodes that remain.
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP
I’m not sure what Hee-jae was hoping for when he confronted Geum-ja over her real name and implied he had learned about her past. Well, yes I do, he wanted to break through the wall she built, see her vulnerability (again), and above all, protect her. As expected, none of those things happened. Instead, she’s mad as hell, defensive, and they’re back to fighting for real — until he apologizes (sigh, I love a man that can apologize. Stop that, Hee-jae!)
Before we dig into the drama and depth of this week’s episodes, I need a moment to talk about the comedy. Hyena has always struck a really strong balance between its lawyer gameplay (so to speak), its intimate character-driven moments, and its sense of humor.
This week, though, I giggled a little more than usual, and most of it was because of Joo Ji-hoon. The weird flurrying of his hands when he one-upped Attorney Ma, and the way his posture changed when he was talking to Kevin about his closeness to Geum-ja — both really funny moments of physical acting, and Joo Ji-hoon is killing it. We also had some great girl power fist bumps this week, and Attorney Ga cradling his cracked phone and muttering curses in the Song & Kim hallways. Hah.
There was also not one, but two, spit-takes. Spit-takes are some of the slapstickiest bits of humor you can add, and they can be a little much, so I love how Hyena balances theirs with moments of emotional depth. Especially in the scene with Hee-jae and his brother, the physical comedy was complemented by Hee-jae’s more serious impulse to center himself by seeking the people who know him most. He did it a few episodes ago with his father, and here we see him do it again, looking for someone to recognize and ground him after the beating he took this week.
Geum-ja’s case — the successful acquisition of Gnosis by Kevin’s AP EON — went off not only without a hitch, but with a dramatic flourish. Geum-ja basically crushes creepy cult mother while simultaneously rescuing the daughter and freeing her from her past. I loved Geum-ja’s commitment to doing this even when everyone thought she was just using the daughter for the case. It was also a great mirror for us to see a little more of Geum-ja’s heart through this parallel.
In comparison, Hee-jae’s bill around inheritance law causes not only political problems, but a lot of navel-gazing angst for Hee-jae. The congressman he’s working with tells Hee-jae, “I thought you were a cattle dog but you’re a hound” — and it’s just another ding to Hee-jae’s self-concept, and in line with yet another criticism he receives from Geum-ja. It’s so true that little moments like these that make you question yourself tend to pile up, and we’re seeing them take a toll on Hee-jae. So, our pompous but fragile hero turns up on Geum-ja’s doorstep and blatantly asks for comfort. Yesss. I am ready!
Just when we were heading for another fantastic, intimate scene between the two of them, we (and they) are interrupted by the returning scoundrel that is Issume CEO Ha Chan-ho. As much as I hate seeing this guy again, I really appreciate the drama keeping these characters and relationships continuous rather than episodic. And if he didn’t create a (gross) splash before, it’s all chaos now.
Hee-jae and Geum-ja are called to a horrific crime scene where Chan-ho is covered in blood and wasted, and his mistress, Seo Jung-hwa, is dead. Our attorneys have to be on Chan-ho’s side (how is this guy a functional CEO, by the way?), and it’s time for our team to get at it. There’s an incredible amount of politics, bargaining, and under-the-table deals happening around Issume, and it’s kind of awful how it’s all strategizing and no heart.
The Issume plot nicely pulls together the conflicts going on inside our leads, though, and I love it for that. For those of us that were pretty disgusted by Geum-ja’s early disregard for Seo Jung-hwa as a human (as opposed to a chess piece), this week we saw that she really was affected by her decision, made an attempt to warn Seo Jung-hwa, and even feels partially responsible for her death.
This week’s episodes really started to give off the feeling of things coming to a peak. With previous cases intersecting, Kevin Jung getting involved in the Issume plot — and becoming a foe to Hee-jae — the stakes are getting higher. I no longer trust Kevin or Attorney Song an inch, but I’m all for more shady subterfuge forcing our leads to reveal how much they care about each other. Which is exactly what we get in a fantastic close to this week’s episodes: the most heartfelt love confession ever from Hee-jae, and a clear sign that Geum-ja cares about him (and his integrity) by warning him about the plot against his father. It’s going to get wild, folks!
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