Law School: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread
Things get even more tangled, as the murder case goes from having one suspect to two. Meanwhile, gossip and speculation run rife on campus, the real world continuing to intrude into the classroom in very uncomfortable ways. As usual, almost everyone is lying, and each reveal tells us more about what makes each character tick.
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP
These episodes were as full of twisty and fast-paced developments as last week’s, and now we know the characters better, I find myself quite invested! I was glad to see that Joon-hwi’s enigmatic withholding was simply part of his plan to divert suspicion from Jong-hoon. His private disappointment and grief over his uncle came across really well in these two episodes. And color me fully unsurprised at his aunt’s shady scheme to steal Joon-hwi’s inheritance—it was obvious she cared more about the money than her dead husband. I’m only sad that he’d already signed away his share by the time Jong-hoon exposed her.
I LOVED Sol A acing Jong-hoon’s questions—and his exam!—after we saw her incredibly rough start with him in Episode 1. She seems to be the kind of student who only applies herself when she cares, and she’s become highly motivated to do well in Jong-hoon’s class. We also got more of her backstory, and as expected, her twin sister Dan is either dead or just missing, and Sol seems to be attending Hankook Law in place of her sister.
That meet-cute fleecing in the bookstore probably means Sol A and Joon-hwi are endgame. Sucks to be Sol B, since it’s unclear whether Joon-hwi returns her obvious crush. (And Sol B’s username AnotB confirms exactly the disgruntled vibes we picked up on last week! I laughed. Although it became less funny once I saw her nightmare of a mother.)
Speaking of the other students, we’re getting to know them better. SEO JI-HO (Lee David) keeps his cards to himself, but is gunning for Joon-hwi’s top spot. There’s something off about former med student YOO SEUNG-JAE (Hyun Woo)—why does he have Sol B’s computer, and how many stolen laptops are there around here? Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to give everyone identical ones. JEON YE-SEUL (Go Yoon-jung) seems shadowed by an abusive boyfriend while MIN BOK-KI (Lee Kang-ji) looks puppyishly on. Then there’s vulture-like JO YE-BUM (Kim Min-seok), who takes pleasure in spreading malicious gossip.
There are layers of tension here, each bumping against the others to create an incredibly stressful atmosphere for students. The hyper-competitiveness inherent to a program where only half will succeed—those secret-but-not-really exam scores floating above their heads were painfully real. Someone they see every day killed their professor while they were in the same building, and the university is doing THE MOST to act as though everything is normal. On top of that, the murderer is still lurking among them, walking around carefree on campus.
Jong-hoon’s return to school right after his stabbing, and his insistence on making the students debate his and Joon-hwi’s innocence, reminds me of Sol A’s distress at her classmates’ blase attitudes after the murder. Jong-hoon makes a similar point by refusing to allow the grind of the academic machine, which certainly isn’t motivated by truth or justice, to chew up and discard anything that would disrupt the status quo—and status—of this elite institution.
Jong-hoon thrives on forcing his students to face unpleasant and uncomfortable aspects of the law, because he has intimate experience of the fallout from a clash of ideals and reality, especially when you add personal friendships and corrupt double dealing to the mix. Better for them to encounter it first here, in the safe(ish) cocoon of law school, than as practicing lawyers and prosecutors, with the power to destroy people’s lives. As Jong-hoon tells Sol A, they shouldn’t strive to understand Supreme Court rulings, but question them.
I love that he’s this kind of teacher. He doesn’t teach the law as a rigid set of theories, precedents and statutes; he treats it as the living, evolving and corruptible organism it actually is, and reminds them sharply and repeatedly of the consequences that has for real people. Even if it means brutally exposing his own (and Joon-hwi’s) vulnerabilities to the entire class. (And his methods are clearly effective, given how willing his students are to do various off-the-record detective work for him.)
But. Sigh. Still too much of the pedophile. WHY is he living across the street from Sol A’s mother and adorable sister? Why are we being subject to him creeping on poor little Byul from the window? Why is he getting increasingly entangled in these people’s lives, having confrontations with Joon-hwi and saving Jong-hoon’s life? I understand wanting to challenge the audience with the the extreme nature of his crime, and question how society can deal with such people besides simply locking them away forever. Intellectually, that’s a legitimate debate, but the aggressively vile and predatory portrayal of this character feels gratuitous.
Not to mention, the drama is piling this unwieldy, major theme on top of an already complex plot that’s essentially an unsanctioned remake of How to Get Away with Murder. So no votes for that. But I’m here for the rest of this entertaining mix of soapy drama and witty banter (did anyone else get sudden Aaron Sorkin vibes from the vice dean’s walk-and-talk “discussion” with Eun-sook?). And now we know who stole the laptop, and possibly why! Waiting for next week to see if my theory that the vice dean is actually Sol B’s father is correct. *rubs hands together*
Just a heads up: this is still Laica, but I’ve changed my display name to Anisa.