The Devil Judge: Episode 7
Our lead judge’s shocking revelation on national television makes waves and sends his opponents scrambling to protect their reputations. As he moves forward with his plan, he uses every tool at his disposal, including his idealistic junior colleague who is still on the fence about his role in this war. Meanwhile, the brains behind the opposition makes a bold move in her quest for world domination … or whatever it is she’s after.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Yo-han offers a reward for information on the true purpose of the Dream Village and how its funds are being used. The SRF men panic and whine about how unfair this all is. They’re brought up short when Sun-ah asks why they’re so riled up over a false accusation.
In his office, Yo-han freely admits to Ga-on that he kidnapped Ki-hyun for this spectacle. Ga-on observes Yo-han had no reason, then, to hurt Soo-hyun. Yo-han scolds him for being so smart yet becoming irrational over Soo-hyun. Ga-on reminds him that he did the same over Elijah. When Ga-on wonders who attacked Soo-hyun, Yo-han muses that whoever hurt Soo-hyun is likely to be on the opposing team.
In their office, Jin-joo asks Ga-on what’s going on. Isn’t the SRF on the good side? Ga-on hesitantly tells her about the exclusive event he and Yo-han went to – she’s livid they went without her – and how the higherups were trying to sway Young-min’s trial.
Yo-han didn’t stop them, but this declaration of war suggests he’s not on their side. Jin-joo isn’t so sure. As a Yo-han fangirl, her faith is shaken after his sketchy behavior and theatrics. She thinks of Sun-ah’s comment that she shines brightest on stage.
Sun-ah does yoga and listens to what sounds like a motivational recording of herself talking about becoming the person you need to be to reach your goals. She then looks in the mirror and declares herself perfect.
She orders Jae-hee to get rid of the bankbook they stole from Soo-hyun and to keep an eye on the “old men” of the SRF. Before Jae-hee leaves, Sun-ah notes that if she had been a little faster, they would’ve gotten Ki-hyun first.
Jae-hee apologizes and nervously backs up when Sun-ah stalks toward her. “Let’s do well, okay?” she says with her hands on either side of Jae-hee’s face. Sun-ah smiles and reminds her they’re almost there.
Sun-ah arrives at a facility for runaway youth and orphans to give a lecture in place of Chairman Seo. She notices a bruise on one of the girls’ foreheads, and her face goes cold as the director warns her not to trust these troubled kids who might steal her valuables.
In the classroom, Sun-ah starts writing her name in hanja (Chinese characters) on the board but can’t remember it all and just gives up. Ha. She explains her name means “good child” which is ironic since her mother used to beat her when she was drunk.
The girl with the bruise pipes up that her mom does that too. Sun-ah now gets that her mother abused her because she was struggling as a single mom, but she used to think it was because she was a bad kid who cursed, fought, and stole.
When she was 12 and started working for a wealthy family, she was amazed at how well-behaved the children were. Would her mom have loved her had she been that good?
And that’s why only rich kids can be good. Jae-hee furiously shakes her head at this problematic turn. Sun-ah obliviously continues that you must survive at all costs and can’t always afford to be nice. Strike back and steal when necessary. It’s even harder for girls since men are all beasts.
Sun-ah teaches the girls that the law is never on their side, so they have to handle scumbags like that on their own. Jae-hee signals to the camera men who turn off their equipment. Sun-ah instructs the girls to get evidence like a recording “and then torment him until the day he dies.” Tame him like a dog.
“Understand?” Sun-ah asks brightly. “Yes!” the girls respond and applaud enthusiastically. The girl who said her mom hits her raises her hand. Now that Sun-ah is so successful, does her mother love her? Sun-ah says her mom died when she was 12; she fell down a flight of stairs while drunk.
While they walk downstairs, the director is full of insincere praise for Sun-ah’s “realistic” lecture. Sun-ah smiles. She reaches up and gives her a firm push on the forehead. The woman tumbles down the stairs. Sun-ah turns back to see the girl with the bruise staring. She winks, and the girl gives a wide smile.
At the mansion, Elijah and Yo-han get into a massive fight over the tracker she found that he used to located her that day. She screams that who she meets and where she goes is her decision, but Yo-han disagrees as her guardian.
Ga-on walks on Yo-han berating Elijah for foolishly following whoever shows her an ounce of kindness. Seeing her tears, Ga-on tells Yo-han to stop. “Is it her fault she feels lonely?”
Ga-on reminds Yo-han that he’s all Elijah has. Shouldn’t he be more honest? Yo-han softens at that and halfheartedly chastises Ga-on for acting like he knows everything. Ga-on apologizes for overstepping, and he and Elijah leave the room. Yo-han sighs and asks his trusty smart speaker how to communicate with a teenage girl. He directs it to order some book on the subject for him. Aw.
Ga-on and Elijah bond over their shared orphan experience. He opens up about his parents’ death but brushes it off as something that happened long ago. Elijah knows it’s not easy to forget, though. Ga-on acknowledges it and understands how hard it is to be alone.
He says he was like a stray dog, sleeping wherever and hanging out with whoever. Elijah gets all bashful when he calls her strong and amazing for how she’s endured. She smacks him, though, when he jokes that it’s hard to say insincere cringey words like that. Elijah is smiling by the time he leaves.
After reading some tips from a book about how to talk to your teenager, Yo-han heads to Elijah’s room. He’s greeted with a disappointed expression – Elijah was clearly hoping for a different guest. Yo-han pastes on a smile and asks, “How was your day?” HA.
Elijah is naturally baffled at this pleasanter Yo-han, but he presses onward. Does she have anything she’d like to discuss with him? She slams the door in his face.
Yo-han brightens when she opens it again, but she merely asks about the man who scammed Ga-on’s parents. Reminding himself to smile, Yo-han responds that the man’s pyramid scheme led to 10 victims committing suicide. Elijah says okay and slams the door. After that communicative failure, Yo-han blames his smart speaker for giving him bad advice.
In a press conference, President Heo denies the embezzlement allegations and rants about Yo-han. He desperately accuses Yo-han of “conspiring” with foreign powers and even claims he might not be “pure-blooded” Korean. President Heo then offers a reward for info on Yo-han’s misdeeds.
His wife worries he went too far, but President Heo intended it to be overboard. The more dramatic it is, the more the people are distracted. And by offering a reward, he’s turning it into a competition.
Meanwhile, Ga-on asks Yo-han if he’ll be okay taking on the government like this. Yo-han argues they came to power through hypocrisy. The SRF swooped in after the pandemic when people were desperate for help. Then, they used their money primary for self-advertisement and political gain. The Dream Village is a means of isolating the undesirables from society so that the SRF can redevelop the city.
Ga-on is flummoxed by Yo-han’s blasé approach, especially when he calls all the risk-taking and danger fun. Ga-on thinks he’s being irresponsible. Does he think of Elijah at all? “Constantly,” Yo-han replies.
Finally, Ga-on makes his choice and agrees to help. But he won’t dishonor his parents or Soo-hyun by breaking the law and using shady tactics. Judges are most powerful when abiding by the law. Yo-han is amused by says to do as he wishes.
Yo-han shares the next phase of his plan: divide and conquer. Based on a coin flip, he decides to visit Chairman Min first. He waits outside Chairman Min’s office for exactly 7 minutes and 30 seconds before getting up to leave.
He gets one of the assistants to give him a Minbo manila envelope which he stuffs with flyers calling for Chairman Min’s resignation. As he leaves, the front desk assistant makes a call. Within minutes, Chairman Park calls Yo-han exactly as he anticipated.
During their meal together, Yo-han is quiet while Chairman Park fishes for information. One of Chairman Park’s subordinates sneaks off to call Chairman Min and inform him of the meeting. Then it’s Chairman Min’s turn to meet with Yo-han.
In both meetings, the chairmen badmouth each other and try to win Yo-han over. Yo-han maintains absolute silence until they each volunteer to get him the SRF’s financial documents. They each insist that only they can get him the real documents. Meanwhile, Ga-on goes over mountains of documents related to the SRF’s property dealings.
It’s not long before President Heo gets involved and sends a bunch of his people to essentially kidnap Yo-han and bring him over. President Heo boasts that their public feud means he’d never be suspected of harming Yo-han if he so chose. He could easily cover up his disappearance.
After those threats, President Heo demands to know what the chairmen gave Yo-han. Before the chairman figures out what’s happening, Yo-han takes out his phone and starts livestreaming. On the stream, Yo-han thanks President Heo for inviting him and agreeing to investigate the SRF’s corruption.
Yo-han vows that the two of them will solve this together and coerces the stunned President Heo into do his usual outro. With his business completed, Yo-han takes his leave.
At the mansion, Ga-on shares that the SRF has been doing too much PR for their Dream Village donations. Based on the reported donation amount and size of the project, they should already have enough money.
They have no other leads since the financial data from both chairmen is fake, and they haven’t received any useful public tips. Yo-han wants to reward the informants anyway and post the number of tips online to give the appearance of success. All it takes to fool people is confidence.
After Ga-on observes darkly that he sounds like an experienced con artist, Yo-han recalls Ga-on’s family history. He argues this is different since he’s saving innocent people, not destroying them. Ga-on doesn’t look convinced.
That night, Ga-on dreams of his parents’ tragedy and how Soo-hyun comforted him at their funeral. Later, Ga-on went to the courthouse and watched the culprit arrive. The smile on the man’s face was too much too bear.
Ga-on drew his knife and ran toward him. Soo-hyun blocked Ga-on, grabbing the knife blade with her bare hand. She begged him not to ruin his life over this man and held Ga-on as he cried. Ga-on wakes up.
He makes his daily visit to Soo-hyun in the hospital, and the nurse embarrasses her by revealing Soo-hyun has been waiting for Ga-on all morning When Soo-hyun asks what Yo-han is up to, Ga-on deflects and tells her to focus on recovering.
Soo-hyun plays hostess and offers Ga-on an apple. As Soo-hyun prepares to peel it, Ga-on spots the old scar on her palm. He takes the knife in one hand and her palm in the other. Ga-on breaks the awkward silence by joking that he’ll peel the apple – there’ll be nothing left if she tries.
At the SRF, finance department employees watch a news report on Yo-han receiving more than 20 tips regarding the SRF. The foundation has denied the allegations and made no further statement. A petition with over 100,000 signatures has been sent to the Blue House, demanding an investigation. One SRF employee looks conflicted as she stares at financial documents on her desk.
Meanwhile, President Heo and the chairmen scoff at how quickly the opposition party switched to Yo-han’s side. As the chairman snipe at each other over the intel they gave Yo-han, Sun-ah points out this divisiveness is not helping them.
Chairman Park gets a text that Yo-han is holding a live press conference in the courtroom. Yo-han displays the ever-increasing number of informants on the screen and says their courage is affecting change.
Yo-han shows the livestream he did with President Heo and announces that Chairman Min and Chairman Park gave him info on the SRF. Pictures of the exchange are displayed on the screen. But their information conflicted and needs further investigation.
The audience gasps to learn the SRF has already received over 64 million dollars in donations. Yo-han publicly credits Ga-on with going through all the SRF’s financial documents and discovering the amount the SRF has actually received and the amount they’ve claimed to receive don’t add up. Either they falsely reported the donations, or someone embezzled.
Yo-han confirms that the upright Ga-on is helping expose the SRF’s corruption. He then puts an article about Ga-on’s family tragedy, complete with family photo, on the screen. Oh, that’s low.
Ga-on hops up and stares at Yo-han in disbelief and betrayal. He doesn’t say a word as Yo-han makes a display of walking up and patting him on the shoulder. Yo-han says Ga-on couldn’t stand by and watch the citizens get swindled.
Yo-han vows to disclose all reports next week after they’ve ensured the safety of the informants. He locks eyes with the glaring Ga-on. Yo-han walks away, leaving Jin-joo to help Ga-on extract himself from the horde of reporters surrounding him.
Ga-on barges into Yo-han’s office and accuses him of being no different than those they’re fighting. Is he just a tool for Yo-han’s schemes? Yo-han argues Ga-on is being too naïve – they’re at war.
Since the financial records and tips Yo-han cited were made up, what is he going to “reveal”? When Ga-on argues the corrupt should be punished by law, Yo-han sarcastically says Ga-on must’ve been satisfied with the punishment his parents’ murderer received, then.
Ga-on tells Yo-han to shut up and insists the system exists for a reason, even if they don’t always like it. “Is that what you told yourself to survive?” Did Soo-hyun and Justice Min convince him to suppress his rage and desire to die? As Ga-on reaches a breaking point, Yo-han says there’s something he needs to see.
Elsewhere, the SRF gang panics at this newest stunt of Yo-han’s and assumes he must be bluffing about having the financial records. As always, Sun-ah is the only one with her thinking cap on and says calling Yo-han’s bluff would mean revealing the entire truth of the Dream Village. She reminds them that Chairman Seo can help.
The men meet with Chairman Seo, and they’re full of flattery when he offers to handle the situation. Chairman Seo concludes that to control the narrative, they’ll need to toss the public a bone: Sun-ah. Didn’t they groom her to be useful? Chairman Seo says they’ll need to silence her “forever” and have her take the fall. This seems like a very bad idea.
Ga-on is surprised when Yo-han takes him to a prison. The correction officers are Yo-han fans and usher them into a visitor’s room without question. The second Ga-on hears the name Do Young-choon – the con artist who scammed his parents – Ga-on grows angry, but Yo-han stops him from leaving.
An old and frail man who is decidedly not Young-choon shuffles into the room. Ga-on is in shock as the officer insists this man is Young-choon and even shows him the official record. Ga-on desperately insists he could never forget Young-choon’s face; this is the wrong man.
Yo-han leads a distraught Ga-on outside. He puts his hand on Ga-on’s back and says the powerful can always manipulate the system. Ga-on breaks down, screaming and crying out his rage and grief. Yo-han stands beside him in silence.
Meanwhile, Chairman Seo finds Sun-ah in his office and stammers that he was out for some fresh air. She remarks that he’s aged. Is it because she’s been blackmailing and bullying him? He insists everything is his fault, and he has no right to blame anyone.
Sun-ah reminisces about how young she was when she first came to work for him. “Why did you do that to a girl who had nowhere to go?” She rolls her eyes as he falls to the ground, sobbing. She never even got to cry over it.
She orders him up and opens her arms for the most terrifying hug ever. Sun-ah says it’s time to end this – she forgives him. After all, he’s an important person who needs to save the country. And then she sticks a knife in his gut.
Sun-ah whispers that he’ll die as the honorable chairman, which is much more than he deserves. She stabs him a second time and pushes him to the ground.
The media narrative is that Chairman Seo committed suicide as a means of taking responsibility for the embezzlement scandal after the guilty employees fled. At an inaugural event, Sun-ah takes the stage as the new chairwoman of the SRF.
I can’t help but be impressed by Sun-ah’s diabolical genius. She went from a poor, orphaned maid to the leader of the most powerful organization in the country. From the sounds of it, Chairman Seo assaulted her when she first came to work for him, and then she somehow managed to effectively blackmail him for all these years and take control of the whole foundation behind the scenes. And then all it took was a little murder to become chairwoman. I’m guessing this wasn’t her first foray into murder since it seems like she killed her abusive mother by pushing her down the stairs. Given how much she enjoys pushing people down flights of stairs, I’m kind of surprised she didn’t choose that method of offing Chairman Seo.
That “lecture” Sun-ah gave was hilarious. The wisdom she was imparting to those girls may have been questionable, but she was so sincere about it. Poor Jae-hee couldn’t even keep her on track; working for Sun-ah must be exhausting. I’m really curious about their relationship. Jae-hee uses banmal (casual speech) with Sun-ah and is clearly comfortable with her, but she is also cautious not to cross her. She looked genuinely scared when Sun-ah berated her for letting Yo-han get to the witness first. I imagine Sun-ah doesn’t abide failure in anyone, even people she likes.
Sun-ah’s character really clicked for me this episode – who she is and how she got where she is. The fact that Sun-ah was abused and had such a dark childhood explains her attachment to and obsession with Yo-han. While Sun-ah is the type to survive at all costs and put herself first (like she told those girls), I do believe her that she liked Yo-han as much as she’s capable of doing. Yo-han is perhaps less extreme than Sun-ah, but they’re similar people who both used the methods available to them to rise to the top. Despite their ruthless natures, they both have cute moments too. I cracked up when Sun-ah couldn’t figure out how to write her name in hanja and just gave up after failing to interpret Jae-hee’s gesturing. And Yo-han’s attempts to learn how to communicate better with Elijah were adorable. He was so awkward but determined to try, which was sweet. It’s obvious he cares a lot about her and just has no idea how to connect with her. Empathy and interpersonal connection aren’t exactly his strong suits.
Ga-on, on the other hand, connects so easily with Elijah since he can understand her anger and loneliness on a personal level. We got a lot more insight into him, too, this episode. If it weren’t for Soo-hyun in particular, his life would’ve been very different. While Yo-han’s public exploitation of his tragedy was cruel and disrespectful, I think he’s right that Ga-on likely cloaked himself in Justice Min and Soo-hyun’s version of justice as a way to survive and move forward. I’m starting to see why Yo-han might’ve picked Ga-on as a partner in this fight. He not only has the right image as someone upright with a compelling backstory, but he has the anger and motivation to take the system down. Yo-han must’ve been holding onto this powerful card until the perfect moment, waiting for the opportunity to persuade Ga-on to take more extreme measures. What better way to get him to lose faith in the justice system than to show him firsthand that the criminal who destroyed his family has been free all this time? I’m not saying I want to see Ga-on go over to the dark side or anything, but I wouldn’t mind an edgier version.
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