The Devil Judge: Episode 9
Our judge duo plans their next move after getting a lead on the whereabouts of a certain missing criminal. Once again, our young judge is faced with a potentially life-altering decision about what vengeance is worth to him. Meanwhile, the new chairwoman of the SRF throws herself into her role of “supporting” The People’s Live Court despite resistance from all but one judge on the bench.
While Ga-on tells Yo-han he’s ready to join the fight, Yo-han gets a call from a panicked Elijah. They rush over to where Soo-hyun is facing off with the violent nationalists. As she deals with the men, she hears Elijah scream. One of the men has opened her car door and is trying to grab her.
Thankfully, Yo-han and Ga-on arrive in time to help. Ga-on hops out and pulls the man off Elijah before punching him in the face. Once Yo-han sees that Ga-on has Elijah, he walks over to the crowd. The men are awed to see their hero.
In the middle of the leader’s introduction, Yo-han grabs him by the throat for daring to touch his niece. Yo-han ignores Soo-hyun’s warnings to stop as he chokes the man. When she points her gun at Yo-han, Ga-on intercedes and gets Yo-han to let go.
Soo-hyun slowly lowers her gun and arrests the leader for assault. Although the look she throws at Yo-han says she’d like to arrest him too, she lets him leave. Yo-han picks up Elijah and drives her home in silence.
Yo-han is livid at Soo-hyun, but Elijah argues it’s not her fault they happened across those guys. Soo-hyun – who Elijah is calling “unni” now – took her out for tteokbokki. She informs Yo-han that besides Soo-hyun, there’s not a single person she can grab tteokbokki with. He sighs as he watches her storm into her room.
When Ga-on arrives home, he assures Yo-han that Soo-hyun is a good person who cares about Elijah. How much longer does Yo-han think he can manage raising a teenage girl alone?
Yo-han reveals that Elijah has been kidnapped twice by people who either want their money or hold grudges. And Elijah is trusting of anyone who treats her well. Ga-on understands that Yo-han hates the world and everyone in it, but it’s impossible for humans to survive alone.
Meanwhile, Sun-ah celebrates in her new office by taking swigs of champaign straight from the bottle. She muses over the long road here and scrolls through her contacts. She calls Jae-hee who’s out having fun.
Jae-hee hears the dejectedness in her voice and can’t believe the great Sun-ah would be lonely. She suggests Sun-ah party it up with some models. Although Sun-ah declines, she thinks to herself that models could be fun.
The next day, Ga-on informs Yo-han that everyone from Jukchang TV (the nationalist group) was released on the police commissioner’s order. They’re interrupted by a call from Chief Justice Ji who summons all three judges to his office.
Sun-ah is there too in her new official capacity and has proposed they do more media promotion so the public will respect, love, and desire Yo-han like she does. Subtle. Yo-han and Ga-on oppose the idea, but Jin-joo is all for it.
Ga-on suspects the SRF just wants to smooth tensions between them and The People’s Live Court but doesn’t push the issue. He’s unsettled when Sun-ah wants to use the same law-and-order slogan President Heo is touting, but Yo-han surprisingly accepts it.
Outside, though, Yo-han warns Sun-ah she’ll have to pay for messing with his plans. Sun-ah argues she’s helping boost his image. In two years, there’ll be an election. He should use the SRF to take hold of the country.
Yo-han thinks she’s just trying to turn him from a wolf to her sheepdog. Sun-ah promises that if he plays along, the SRF can put him in power just like they did President Heo. He stops her when she says, “you and I.” The rest of her proposal sounds good, but none of this together business.
After he says that Sun-ah should consider his preferences, she looks downcast and asks, “Can’t you be a little nicer to me?” Then she peps up and leaves with a cheery wave.
At the mansion, Ga-on wonders what the SRF is playing at with this promotion stuff. Yo-han muses that it’d be like Sun-ah to do this flippantly. When he divulges that Sun-ah is the maid who jumped, Ga-on is shocked to realize that story was true.
Yo-han again notes Ga-on’s similarity to Isaac for believing only in what he sees. We flash back to a dejected young Yo-han being gently scolded by Isaac after the incident. Isaac is worried about him and has him promise not to hurt innocent people. He gives him his beloved cross necklace as a reminder of their promise.
Now, Yo-han gets choked up as he looks at the necklace he still wears on his wrist. He laughs off his tears and tells Ga-on that Isaac never realized no one was truly innocent.
At a press conference, President Heo gets belligerent with a reporter who asks about accusations that the police are turning the other way when it comes to Jukchang’s violence. President Heo lashes out like an angry child, making the other reporters scoff at his disrespectful behavior.
Minister Cha watches in disgust and is frustrated at Chairman Seo for elevating President Heo in the first place. He’d thought a theatrical fool like him was perfect for the times. Minister Cha knows it was really Sun-ah’s idea to have someone they could control.
The judges prepare for their photo shoot, supervised by Sun-ah who’s having a ball getting up in people’s business. Ga-on is way out of his element and struggles to look relaxed, which greatly amuses Jin-joo. She asks to be in the center for a few photos, so Yo-han moves to the side. Jin-joo continues posing enthusiastically for the camera.
Yo-han steps aside to takes a call from his lackey. He instructs him to leak info on Sun-ah’s past to Minister Cha and to make sure to include her stint as a maid in his home.
After some unusually long coffee PPL at the mansion, Elijah comes into the kitchen to find Ga-on watching Jukchang TV videos. She’s upset he’s paying them mind until he shows her the recent video of Jukchang’s interaction with Soo-hyun. Of course, it’s edited so he can play the victim.
Ga-on says he’ll do what he can to put this guy away. Elijah puts her hand on his shoulder and says to let her know if it’s too much and he needs her help. Ga-on smiles at her adorable earnestness.
Elijah is startled when the housekeeper comes in and puts on an apron. She’s determined to cook for Ga-on who will eat her food even if Yo-han won’t. When Ga-on asks Elijah to join him, she snaps that she already told him she doesn’t like Korean food and leaves.
Ga-on feels bad for causing Elijah’s outburst in case it made the housekeeper uncomfortable, but she’s used to it. In fact, thanks to Ga-on, Elijah is the most cheerful and engaged she’s been since the accident.
The housekeeper waits eagerly for Ga-on to taste the meal she prepared. He manages to keep it together and notes the taste is unique. He tastes the side dishes and discovers she’s added unique flavors (like honey and truffle oil) to everything.
Ga-on asks when Yo-han banned her from cooking. The housekeeper shares that he used to eat everything she made without complaint, but then he started eating less and less. She attributes it to him becoming suspicious of her. (Ah, so did he get his taste back at some point?)
Afterwards, Ga-on goes to commiserate about the food with Elijah. She calls the housekeeper a fool for trying so hard to make healthy meals. Ga-on smiles to realize her sincere effort is why Elijah and Yo-han put up with her cooking for so long.
That night, Yo-han is surprised to get a call from Elijah asking when he’ll be home. Ga-on made dinner but won’t let her eat until Yo-han arrives. He tells his lackey to postpone his appointment and goes home with a smile. Even the housekeeper joins them for nice family meal. Yo-han looks around the table, watching Elijah and Ga-on laughing together as they eat.
The next day, Yo-han tells Ga-on they have a lead on Do Young-choon. Attorney Go has been looking into Minister Cha’s involvement and knows any important errand is entrusted to her assistant who has been with her for years.
The plan is for the lackey to abduct the assistant to see what they can learn. Ga-on volunteers to try to get the assistant to talk. Using Yo-han’s money, of course. Didn’t he say money is a great motivator? Yo-han grins.
The assistant awakens in a warehouse and is startled to see Ga-on. He denies knowing anything about Young-choon’s whereabouts, even in the face of the millions’ worth of gold bars Ga-on offers. He’s affronted and argues he’s not serving Minister Cha for money – he believes in her.
Yo-han waltzes in and chides Ga-on for not knowing how to utilize the tools he gave him. He asks if the man will talk. When he says no, Yo-han takes away one bar. Now? He keeps taking away bars until there are only two left. The assistant blurts out that he’ll talk and greedily grabs the bars.
In the car, Ga-on is surprised that was so easy. Yo-han explains that people are more desperate when things are taken from them. He reminds Ga-on they’re only going to observe Young-choon today; they’ll return once they’ve decided how to handle him.
They find him out in the middle of nowhere, living as a farmer. After taking care of his crops, he eats happily with his wife and daughter. Ga-on and Yo-han listen to their laughter nearby.
While watching Young-choon woodcarving without a care, Ga-on can’t hold himself back. Yo-han restrains him and reminds him not to be hasty. Young-choon is their best chance to get Minister Cha.
Minister Cha has framed and destroyed many people to get where she is. Yo-han tells Ga-on about his lackey’s father committing suicide because of Minister Cha. And besides, how is Ga-on going to face Soo-hyun after getting blood on his hands?
The next day, Ga-on takes the day off and goes to see Soo-hyun. They stroll outside and eat ice cream, enjoying the day. Ga-on wonders what she’d do if he ever committed a crime. She says she’d handcuff him herself since she can’t let a judge break the law. His strange mood and question worry Soo-hyun, but Ga-on plays it off.
That night, Ga-on drives to Young-choon’s and barges into his woodcarving workshop. Young-choon asks who he is and immediately kneels when he realizes he’s one of the victims of his scams. Ga-on isn’t moved and wonders where he’s hiding his money.
Young-choon insists Minister Cha took everything that wasn’t seized. He cries as he says there’s no way for him to atone for his sins. He’s just been waiting to go to hell. “Please kill me,” he begs Ga-on tearfully.
Ga-on agrees to grant his wish and begins choking him. Young-choon’s wife comes in and can’t pull Ga-on off her husband. It’s not until the daughter runs in and begs him to kill her instead that Ga-on stops.
Ga-on screams out in rage. Why can’t he even get revenge? “You should’ve been the devil. You should still be the devil!” he yells through tears. Young-choon apologizes.
Yo-han rushes in to find everyone in tears. He grabs Ga-on and pushes him out the door. Yo-han then goes back in and grabs a craft knife. He drags Young-choon out and locks the wife and daughter inside.
Young-choon starts screaming, “My money!” when he sees that Yo-han has dug up his massive pile of cash. Yo-han has Ga-on restrain Young-choon while he pours lighter fluid on the pile of money. Then he splashes lighter fluid onto the workshop shed with the wife and daughter inside.
Yo-han says he’s giving Young-choon a chance. Ga-on is horrified as Yo-han first tosses a lighter to set the shed on fire and then tosses another lighter onto the pile of money. Ga-on releases Young-choon who goes straight over to his money, ignoring his wife and daughter’s pleas for help.
Yo-han holds Ga-on back from rushing inside to save the wife and daughter, telling him to watch. As Young-choon ecstatically discovers the burning “money” is fake, the lackey leads his wife and daughter over. He’d gone in the back to save them.
Yo-han tells Ga-on that Young-choon lied to his family that there was no money left. Young-choon tries to make excuses to his family, but his wife slaps him in the face and leads their daughter away.
Now, Yo-han hands Ga-on the craft knife he swiped and tells him to go ahead with his revenge if he wishes. Ga-on takes it and advances on Young-choon who begs for his life.
Ga-on once again has a choice to make as he stares at the knife in his hand. This time, he tosses the knife aside. Young-choon’s fake humility melts away and he laughs. Ga-on tells Yo-han they shouldn’t waste their best chance to get Minister Cha.
As they watch the fire blaze, Ga-on wonders what Yo-han did with the real money. Yo-han says he left it right where Young-choon buried it. Like he said, people grow desperate when they think they’ve lost something.
The next day, Ga-on drops a gift box on the doorstep of every one of Young-choon’s victims. Inside is a large sum of cash.
Young-choon is such an awful excuse for a human being. His poor wife and daughter deserve better, so I’m glad they got to discover for themselves who he really is and how he’s been deceiving them. I knew he was terrible, but him leaving his family to burn while he saved his money was a different kind of low. It’s no surprise that a con artist is a good actor, but it was unsettling to watch him flip between his real self and whatever demeanor he thought would work best in the moment. His penitent act to Ga-on looked so convincing, as did his happy family routine, but it only took threatening his money to unveil his ugliest side.
I’m glad Ga-on is not losing himself on this new path he’s chosen. He’s more flexible now with what it means to be on the “good” side, but he hasn’t forfeited his principles. In the end, he chose not to give in to his anger but to focus on the bigger picture. He may not have gotten revenge, but he did get to help his fellow victims by redistributing Young-choon’s stolen wealth. After that act of kindness, Ga-on looked at peace which hopefully means he’ll choose to look forward to the good he can achieve rather than back at the wrongs his family endured.
Now that they have Young-choon in hand, they might have a shot at Minister Cha. She’s covered her dirty tracks well, so bringing her down won’t be easy. This should give them leverage and possibly lead to some solid evidence. It’s really just her and Sun-ah who are clever and tough enough to pose a true challenge. Yo-han and company shouldn’t have much trouble toppling the men: President Heo is an idiot and the chairmen aren’t hard to manipulate either. Of course, Sun-ah would much rather be Yo-han’s ally and would readily join forces if he were willing. The toxic way she relates to him is concerning. One minute, she’s kidnapping him and the next she’s pouting because he doesn’t like her. She clearly gets off on their violent dynamic, not seeming to understand how messed up it all is. I don’t think she’d know a healthy relationship if it slapped her in the face. Her only “friend” appears to be Jae-hee who is more of a colleague than anything. Sun-ah looked so lonely sitting at her desk, trying to find someone to celebrate with her.
Yo-han, on the other hand, is starting to enjoy companionship for the first time since his brother’s death. Ga-on has waltzed in like Belle in the Beast’s castle, turning everyone human again. Try as he might, Yo-han can’t even stay grumpy all the time anymore. His little smile in the car when Elijah called him home for Ga-on’s family dinner said it all. He may hate the vast majority of people, but that doesn’t mean he never gets lonely. He misses his brother who he sees in Ga-on. The flashback where Isaac scolded him for what he did to Sun-ah was the only time we’ve seen Yo-han look genuinely chastened. Isaac’s words held a lot of weight for him; to this day, he’s kept his promise about not hurting “innocent” people. Yo-han might not believe in things like goodness, but he believed in Isaac and that gave him a moral compass of sorts. He’s been adrift for a while now, but it looks like Ga-on is determined to tether him back down where his little family is waiting.
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