The Devil Judge: Episode 12
Our avenging judges butt heads about where to go next in the wake of the recent tragedy and find their differences may be irreconcilable. As our young judge reevaluates his role in this fight, the chairwoman discovers her position may be more precarious than she thought. In a desperate bid to get what she wants, she takes drastic measures that might end up costing her more than she bargained for.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Soo-hyun is shocked to see Ga-on beside Minister Cha’s body and, in a panic, demands to know what he’s doing here. Yo-han steps in and explains Minister Cha committed suicide. Is Soo-hyun going to arrest them?
She stares at Ga-on for a long moment before lowering her gun. “Go,” she tells him shakily. Ga-on is reluctant to leave like this, but Yo-han pushes him out the door. Once they’re gone, Soo-hyun calls in the suicide.
Looking around, Soo-hyun realizes that Ga-on left a bloody handprint on the table. After a moment of internal struggle, she sobs and begins wiping it off.
When President Heo hears the news, he immediately sends someone to Minister Cha’s office to look for the file she kept on him. Meanwhile, in the car, Ga-on starts to panic. Yo-han reaches over and puts a hand on his arm until he calms.
The next day, the news reports that Minister Cha committed suicide. There were no suspicious circumstances. Ga-on is still reeling and lashes out at Yo-han, although he knows it’s not his fault.
Yo-han tells him to forget this failure. It’s time to move on to the next plan because the file is no doubt in President Heo’s hands now. Sure enough, President Heo extracts a SIM card from the top of the cigar Minister Cha smoked before she died.
Ga-on nervously goes to see Soo-hyun, but she won’t speak to him. When he catches up to her, she slaps him in the face and grabs him by the lapels. Does he know she got rid of evidence for him?
They’re both crying as he apologizes and she demands to know what he’s been up to with Yo-han. Ga-on is silent. “Never appear in front of me again, Kim Ga-on,” Soo-hyun says through her tears. She walks away, leaving Ga-on devastated.
Sun-ah calls Yo-han to congratulate him on getting rid of Minister Cha. With the frontrunner for the presidential nomination gone, Sun-ah is ready to focus on maneuvering Yo-han into that spot. When Yo-han asks for a director position at the SRF so he can be involved with the Dream Village, Sun-ah chides him for being too hasty.
Once she hangs up, Yo-han immediately calls his lackey and asks him to find Ga-on. He’s worried something will happen since Ga-on isn’t himself right now.
In the parking garage, Yo-han finds Soo-hyun waiting for him by his car. She warns him that she’ll arrest him if he doesn’t stop. Yo-han doesn’t care and starts driving, but Soo-hyun grabs onto the car. “Please leave Ga-on out of this,” she pleads. He’s unmoved by her tears and tells her to get off his car.
Ga-on drinks alone and runs into a couple of fans who want a selfie. When they won’t back off, he yells at them. Yo-han’s lackey shows up in time to offer the excuse that he’s drunk and take him home.
Ga-on knows Yo-han must’ve sent him to keep an eye on him. The lackey apologizes for upsetting him. When Ga-on brings up Minister Cha, the lackey admits he feels empty after wanting revenge for so long. He advises Ga-on not to get too involved. Unlike him, Ga-on has a life. If he stays with Yo-han, he’ll lose everything, including himself.
The moment Ga-on gets home, Yo-han chides him for visiting Soo-hyun at this precarious time. Ga-on scoffs that Yo-han must’ve been afraid he’d mess up the plan. Yo-han shouts at Ga-on that this fight is no joke, and he’s put everything on the line. “How long do I have to put up with you playing house?!”
Ga-on fires back that he’s put everything on the line too. He was standing next to a dead body, and his first thought was the file they needed. “What kind of monster am I becoming?” Ga-on asks fearfully. Yo-han softens and grips Ga-on’s shoulder. He knows it’s hard, but it’s inevitable when facing such challenging foes.
Yo-han doesn’t know what’s going to happen in the future. He shares that Soo-hyun came to see him and threatened to arrest him. “If you want to save the world, cut Yoon Soo-hyun out of your life.” Ga-on can’t help Yo-han and keep her as a friend.
With tears in his eyes, Ga-on lightly pushes Yo-han’s hand from his shoulder. “For me,” Ga-on says, “Soo-hyun is the world.” He leaves Yo-han standing there and heads up to his room. Ga-on is so upset he doesn’t even greet Elijah.
Elijah follows him up and sees him packing. Did he fight with Yo-han? Ga-on denies it but says he can’t live here forever. She argues that he’s safer at the mansion – what if those Jukchang people retaliate or something?
Ga-on stops her and apologizes for not being able to stay with her. She tears up as he says she can come visit him. Elijah yells, “Where could I go like this?!” and wheels herself out.
As Ga-on walks down the driveway, he takes one last look at the mansion. Inside, Yo-han sits alone in his room, wringing his hands in distress. Ga-on narrates that he doesn’t believe in God, but he prayed that night. He thinks of the moments he’s shared with Elijah and Yo-han and prays that everyone in that house can have one night without tears or nightmares.
Elijah angrily asks why Yo-han made Ga-on leave after having him do all those dangerous things. He could’ve at least tried to stop him. “He’s not your father,” Yo-han cautions Elijah. She’ll get hurt if she keeps deluding herself.
After she goes off crying, Yo-han regrets his harsh words and apologizes through her door. Elijah yells at him for acting out of character and tells him to be like normal and leave her alone. They both cry on opposite sides of the door. Elijah uncovers the painting of Ga-on she’s been working on and then cries herself to sleep.
Meanwhile, the SRF crew meets and celebrates Minister Cha’s death. President Heo reminds everyone the game isn’t over yet: Yo-han is still a threat. Sun-ah tests the waters and suggests bringing Yo-han into the fold rather than destroying him.
When she mentions the upcoming election, President Heo asks, “Is an election really necessary?” Democracy is not a given during times of crisis. Yikes. The men nod along.
Sun-ah still asserts that Yo-han could be useful. “Did you sleep with him?” President Heo asks disrespectfully. He tries to soothe her anger by saying it was a joke.
Before she died, Minister Cha threatened to send everything about the SRF to Yo-han. President Heo berates Sun-ah for unwittingly letting Yo-han use her. He tells her to stop losing her head over a boy like a little girl. The men chuckle while Sun-ah blinks back angry tears.
After meeting with Soo-hyun, Justice Min calls Yo-han into his office. He angrily demands to know what Yo-han has been ordering Ga-on to do. Does he know what Ga-on has been through? Yo-han counters that everyone has hardships, and Ga-on is not a child.
Justice Min vows to discover what Yo-han is up to, but Yo-han warns that if he does, Ga-on will be implicated too. It was a crime, after all. Justice Min’s reaction to the crime bit tells Yo-han he doesn’t have the full story. Yo-han correctly surmises Ga-on didn’t tell him directly, so it must’ve been Soo-hyun.
When Yo-han accuses Justice Min of being the first to put Ga-on in a dangerous situation by “sending him” to Yo-han, Justice Min blows up at him. Is what Yo-han is doing truly justice? Yo-han has never considered himself just – he merely made a choice.
Yo-han had to decide whether to accept everything as is or fight. Ga-on also made a choice, and it’s up to him what he does next. Justice Min argues that you can only stare into the abyss for so long before it changes you; Yo-han isn’t saving the world but ruining it. Yo-han corrects him, “I am the abyss.”
Yo-han calls his lackey and tells him to keep an eye on Justice Min. He hesitates before saying he should keep an eye on Ga-on too. Out on a run that night, Yo-han thinks of Ga-on and how he empathized with Yo-han’s anger and wanted to fight a corrupt world. And then how he feared he was becoming a monster.
At home, the housekeeper lays out the final meal Ga-on prepared for them before leaving. She’s startled when Yo-han suggests she eat with him, so he covers by saying he was kidding. She sighs that the house feels empty now and pointedly says you should be good to people while they’re around.
Yo-han stares at the meal Ga-on made and thinks back to happily watching Elijah and Ga-on play cards at the table. He’d sat down to join them, laughing as Ga-on good-naturedly messed with him.
Looking at their smiling faces, Yo-han thinks, “It’s okay if humanity is destroyed so long as you both are here.” The scene fades, and he’s alone at the table as he eats the meal Ga-on prepared. At home, Ga-on sits in the dark and repeatedly calls Soo-hyun, but it goes straight to voicemail.
Soo-hyun visits the site of the burned-down church but finds nothing new. She goes to see an elderly woman who runs a restaurant nearby. The woman complains about Soo-hyun’s frequent visits and questions about the fire. This time, Soo-hyun wants help locating a priest named Jung Joseph.
Elsewhere, the lackey reports to Yo-han that Justice Min is meeting with opposition party members and reporters. He then shares that Jukchang has escaped, likely with President Heo’s help.
Justice Min makes his move and holds a press conference denouncing Yo-han, accusing him of instigating unlawful behavior through his theatrical trials. “This is not justice.” Justice Min demands the dissolution of The People’s Live Court.
President Heo laughs at Justice Min’s fortuitous timing and makes a call. The next day, Justice Min is met at the courthouse with protesters calling for his resignation. He then receives a threatening call that sends him running home to check on his family. When he arrives, a man attacks him, knocking him unconscious.
Ga-on sees the news and runs to the hospital. Meanwhile, President Heo holds a press conference to denounce these violent supporters of Yo-han’s. He calls for the courts to reevaluate Yo-han’s position as presiding judge.
Ga-on arrives at the hospital as Justice Min wakes up. He’s fine, but he’s worried about his family who is being harassed. When Ga-on suggests this attack wasn’t Yo-han’s doing, Justice Min loses his cool. Is Ga-on still on his side?! Ga-on looks sad when Justice Min grits out he’ll never forgive Yo-han.
Elsewhere, Jae-hee finally discovers who Yo-han has digging into Sun-ah’s background. She shows Sun-ah photos of the lackey and the detective who are still investigating her link to her father and Chairman Seo’s deaths.
Sun-ah calls President Heo and says they’ll proceed with his plan. She asks to use Jukchang for a “personal errand.” She downs some hard liquor and fondles the necklace Yo-han gave her. Sun-ah rips it off her neck and drops it over her balcony. Across the city, Yo-han wakes from another nightmare.
In the morning, Sun-ah calls Yo-han and invites him on a date – she has something to show him. Meanwhile, Ga-on gets a call telling him to go to Hyungsan-dong if he wants to save Justice Min.
Ga-on rushes over and sees the police have set up barriers while what is likely President Heo’s private army violently apprehends citizens and forces them into SRF vans. On a national broadcast, Jin-joo announces that the virus has been detected in a Hyungsan-dong neighborhood where quarantine is now in effect.
Elsewhere, Yo-han meets Sun-ah for their “date” at what looks like a constructed cavern of some sort. He immediately notices she’s not wearing the necklace. She lies that she’s keeping it safe since it’s precious. She asks if he finds her scary and hugs him when he says no.
She’s happy he’s being nice now but chides that he should’ve treated her better before. Suddenly, a man screams. Above them, Yo-han’s lackey is dangling from a rope hooked to a pulley controlled by Jae-hee. Sun-ah pulls out a gun and trains it on Yo-han.
All he had to do was wait two years to join her at the top. Sun-ah doesn’t understand why he’d want to destroy everything rather than rule; new trash will simply take the old’s place. “Being the leader of trashy low-lives isn’t to my taste,” Yo-han replies.
Sun-ah laments his choice and orders Jae-hee to kill the lackey. Yo-han takes the opportunity to kick the gun out of Sun-ah’s hand. Jae-hee doesn’t miss a beat and turns her gun on him, shooting Yo-han in the stomach.
Despite the lackey’s protests, Yo-han laboriously makes his way up the stairs after Sun-ah. While Ga-on looks for Justice Min in the sea of citizens being attacked on the street, Yo-han manages to reach the upper floor where Jae-hee and Sun-ah are waiting.
Jae-hee keeps her gun trained on Yo-han while Sun-ah holds the button that controls the pulley suspending the lackey. Sun-ah wants Yo-han to be lonely like her so that he’ll have no choice but to stay by her side. Wow.
As Ga-on helps citizens escape, Jukchang and his large gang approach. They run towards Ga-on, weapons raised. In the cavern, Yo-han can only watch as Sun-ah presses the button that sends his lackey crashing to the ground, seemingly to his death.
Yo-han stands in shock and takes a breath to steady himself. He promises Sun-ah a miserable, lonely death. Sun-ah smiles and says, “Goodbye, Young Master.”
Sun-ah has completely lost it if she thinks Yo-han will ever accept her after what she’s done. I thought she had just decided to take him down since he wasn’t being cooperative, but she’s still delusionally holding onto hope that he’ll be with her. Is killing people her solution to everything? I’m assuming the loyal lackey is dead since he shouldn’t be able to survive that fall, but who knows in dramaland? Yo-han managed to climb a flight of stairs and remain standing after getting shot in the abdomen, so I’ll wait to see the body before declaring anyone dead. Either way, Yo-han is going to go postal on Sun-ah for messing with his people, especially if Ga-on gets hurt too. Since Sun-ah asked to borrow Jukchang, I’m assuming the attack on Ga-on is her doing as well. Now I’m worried about Elijah. Sun-ah seems to have a soft spot for orphaned girls, but I wouldn’t put anything past her. Let’s hope her tiny bit of empathy will at least extend far enough to leave Elijah alone.
I knew there’d come a point where Ga-on struggled with Yo-han’s methods. Ga-on is not ruthless by nature – quite the opposite. I’m not sure he’s capable of being callous enough to handle everything that comes with being in Yo-han’s inner circle. Although Yo-han has always known Ga-on is very different from him, he seemed to underestimate the impact of that. Ga-on might be willing to go a little vigilante and get his hands dirty, but that doesn’t mean he can distance himself emotionally the way Yo-han naturally does.
Yo-han is so consumed with this fight that he struggles to see anything else. He’s made this his life’s mission and channeled all his pain and rage into waging war. Yo-han’s identity itself is wrapped up in it now. Even though the mission doesn’t hold the same meaning for Ga-on, he didn’t make the decision to join flippantly. Ga-on taking a step back doesn’t mean he’s given up completely on it; he just knows that he can’t be as devoted as Yo-han wants him to be and may not be able to handle the ramifications of Yo-han’s methods. I understand why Soo-hyun and Justice Min are worried about Ga-on’s involvement – any good friend would be – but Yo-han is right that Ga-on isn’t a child. Whether they approve of what he’s doing or not, in the end, how he lives his life is Ga-on’s decision. I felt for Soo-hyun and the situation this put her in, but it was her call to get rid of evidence that implicated Ga-on; he never asked her to do that. I may not agree with much of Yo-han’s life philosophy, but I do appreciate that he respects everyone’s agency and holds everyone accountable for their own choices.
Ga-on leaving hit Yo-han hard. Slowly but surely, he’s been growing attached to Ga-on, and I don’t think he even realized how much until Ga-on left. Yo-han was likely reminding himself as much as Elijah that Ga-on isn’t Isaac. He and Elijah have come to depend on Ga-on, and it’s clear he’s the link that’s been holding them together. Without him nudging them into the light, they both retreat. Hopefully, they can find a way to continue healing even when Ga-on isn’t there. After the atrocities that President Heo and Sun-ah have just committed, though, I imagine Ga-on might be back soon enough. I doubt he’ll be able to sit by while they strike at the people around him.
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