Why Her: Episodes 7-8
Our lawyer finds herself on the wrong side of the law this week, and our bad guys work to eliminate her as a threat so they can retrieve the files that she stole from them. Will her loyal students help clear her name, or will she go to prison for a crime she didn’t commit?
EPISODES 7-8 WEECAP
Not a whole lot of action this week, but we do see an attempt at some much needed character development following Soo-jae’s foolish solo trip to meet with Suk-pal. Thankfully, even though she was uncharacteristically naive to show up to the fish market without any backup, she did at least tell Mi-rim where she was headed, which helped Chan to locate her.
After witnessing the explosion and Suk-pal’s death, she’s understandably shaken, and Chan drives her back to her place and insists on staying the night. They both fall asleep on the sofa, but Soo-jae is terrorized by a nightmare where she’s trapped in Suk-pal’s car before it explodes. Chan wakes her, and she seeks a moment of privacy in her bathroom, but when Chan hears her crying through the door, he enters and comforts her.
While it’s getting a bit tiring seeing Chan play Soo-jae’s wannabe champion and personal cheer squad, this is the first exchange that made me feel like they are connecting on an intimate level. Admittedly, Chan’s words are still rife with hero worship, and he insists she will always be “cool” in his eyes, even if she cries and shows weakness. Soo-jae, however, responds by sharing her fears and vulnerability, which humanizes her just enough that I felt the emotional distance between them shrink ever so slightly.
Sadly, while Chan and Soo-jae appear to be getting closer, the gap between Chan and his almost-buddy Yoon-sang grows wider. The day after Suk-pal’s explosive death, Yoon-sang is still riding a wave of concern for Soo-jae, and when he finds out that she called Chan in her hour of need, Yoon-sang’s jealousy causes him to lash out against Chan.
Chan counters by reminding Yoon-sang that his family members are suspects in their ongoing investigation, but Yoon-sang — who doesn’t take kindly to people other than himself talking shit about his family — passionately denies that his brother and father are involved. Considering Yoon-sang spent the previous night snooping through his father’s office, though, his denial seems rooted in his desire to disagree with Chan. Any lingering faith he may still have in his family is hanging on by a thin thread of hope that his gut — and all the evidence — is wrong.
The other members of Group 8 overhear Chan and Yoon-sang’s exchange, and quick witted Se-ryun correctly deduces that Yoon-sang is Tae-kook’s son — daebak!
As we all know, Tae-kook is not the man his son wants him to be, and when he and Soo-jae have another private exchange over dinner, Tae-kook borrows Soo-jae’s metaphor about fishing to throw down the gauntlet. Since she won’t play nicely with him, he has no choice but to destroy her.
Soo-jae doesn’t have to wait long for Tae-kook’s attack, and the next day the police are waiting for her when she arrives at the law clinic. Initially, they only want to call her in for questioning as a material witness to Suk-pal’s suicide, but after receiving a phone call from the chief of police — who is in Tae-kook’s pocket — she’s arrested without a warrant, charged with inciting the murder of So-young.
The police handcuff her, but Chan covers the cuffs with his scarf to help her maintain her dignity. She uses their close proximity to cryptically tell him to please water her plants. Knowing her plants are already at death’s door due to her neglect, he correctly infers that there’s something she wants him to recover. That something is a laptop, and Chan and Mi-rim are barely quick enough to recover it before Joo-wan, who uses the fact that Soo-jae’s apartment is “company housing” as an excuse to gain entry while she’s being detained.
At the police station, while Soo-jae waits in an interrogation room, the detectives observe her from behind a two-way mirror. They’re comically unnerved by her calm demeanor, and a bit freaked out when she turns and smiles as though she can see and hear them.
When Mi-rim arrives, they jump into the interrogation, full of bravado and all too eager to show her Suk-pal’s suicide video, which identifies her — through a voice recording of an old phone conversation she had with Suk-pal — as the one who told Suk-pal to murder So-young. It is pretty damning evidence, but Soo-jae whispers to Mi-rim — so the police cannot overhear — that the most incriminating part of the recording was fabricated.
Soo-jae is transported to a detention center to wait until her pre-arrest hearing, and Mi-rim and Group 8 work to prove that the audio in the video was edited. They also have a suspicion that Suk-pal’s suicide was — more likely — a murder, and they try to determine if a third party added explosives to his car.
Meanwhile, one of Soo-jae’s own contingency plans goes into effect. See, even before she had dinner with Tae-kook, Soo-jae sensed that the shiitake mushrooms were about to hit the fan. She preemptively met with YOON SE-PIL (Choi Young-joon), the CEO of SP Partners, and warned him that something might happen to her. After her arrest, Se-pil halted the buyout of Hansu Bio, citing the clause in their contract that stipulated SP Partners would only proceed if Soo-jae was handling the deal.
This news frustrates Sung-beom and In-soo, and both men call Tae-kook to complain. He assures them that the buyout will move forward, but he’s annoyed by their sniveling demands. They think Tae-kook is their faithful dog, but he — like Soo-jae — has his own agenda. He isn’t going to remain loyal forever, and with the flash drive back in his possession, he has the upper hand.
Back in jail, Soo-jae’s deductive reasoning skills kick into overdrive, and she tries to figure out which of our three evil men orchestrated So-young’s murder and then implicated Soo-jae as part of the cover up. The culprit has to be someone who knew that So-young would be at TK Law Firm the night of her death, and he would also have to be aware that Soo-jae planned to meet with Suk-pal. Of the three suspects, Tae-kook is the only one that fits both requirements.
Group 8, on the other hand, keeps encountering dead ends in their investigation, but then Chan’s hyungs notice that Suk-pal appears to be signaling something with his hand in his suicide video. That something — make that someone — is HA IL-GOO (Jeon Jin-ki), Tae-kook’s chief secretary and loyal lapdog.
After figuring out Il-goo was the one who coerced Suk-pal into filming a suicide video, Yoon-sang lures Il-goo out for soju. Once Il-goo is thoroughly wasted and on the verge of passing out at the table, Young-sang and Chan break into his office and steal the original audio file, which their expert witness proves has been altered.
At Soo-jae’s pre-arrest hearing, the prosecution fights to prohibit the new evidence from being presented, but the police (who are miffed that the prosecution strong-armed the case away from them) and the judge (perverted Joon-myung’s wife) want to see it. In addition to proving that the audio was fabricated, one of Soo-jae’s freelance associates was able to obtain video proof that someone put explosives inside Tae-kook’s car.
The evidence clears Soo-jae’s name, but it turns out to be completely unnecessary because there’s a breaking news report: Gi-tak confessed to aiding in Suk-pal’s suicide. Supposedly, Suk-pal resented Soo-jae for causing his business to fail, so he recruited Gi-tak aid in his revenge. Gi-tak put the explosives in Suk-pal’s car, and Suk-pal lied in his suicide video that Soo-jae ordered him to kill So-young.
The reality, however, is that Tae-kook and Il-goo promised Suk-pal that they would help him fake his death as part of their plan to frame Soo-jae. Instead, they secretly had Gi-tak add the explosives to Suk-pal’s car and kill him. Tae-kook then had Gi-tak admit to aiding in Suk-pal’s suicide attempt and cleared Soo-jae’s name.
And why did Tae-kook help release Soo-jae? Well, his motives appear to be three-fold. For one, the Hansu Bio deal can move forward. For another, Tae-kook secretly disdains his business partners, and Gi-tak’s arrest moves Tae-kook’s private agenda forward. Finally, Yoon-sang agreed to work for Tae-kook if he promised to save Soo-jae.
It seems that Yoon-sang is Tae-kook’s favorite son, and Tae-kook has high hopes that his dirty dealings will benefit his progeny. Not only does he help release Soo-jae, but he agrees to Yoon-sang’s other demand: to be Soo-jae’s intern. Yoon-sang claims he wants to be the mediator between them — simultaneously her protector and Tae-kook’s informant — and in exchange, he will work towards being a better lawyer and successor than his older brother.
It’s fairly obvious that Yoon-sang’s true loyalties are still with Soo-jae, though, and I doubt Tae-kook naively believes his son’s words. This makes me extremely anxious for Yoon-sang’s future. Best case scenario, he will have to live with the guilt that he helped bring about his family’s downfall, but I fear his ending will be more tragic, especially now that he’s literally and figuratively inserted himself between Tae-kook and Soo-jae. Sadly, while Yoon-sang gallantly makes a deal with the devil, the woman he’s protecting seeks comfort in another man’s arms.
Soo-jae is released from prison, and Chan is waiting outside her apartment when she arrives home. He sees his scarf in her hands, and comments that he would have worn a nicer one if he’d known he’d be giving it to her. He then tells her to come to his place for the night because her apartment isn’t safe. Instead of politely ignoring and rebuffing his flirtations, like she’s done in the past, she approaches him and rests her head on his shoulder. We end with them embracing.
For once, their intimacy feels natural. It makes sense that she would seek comfort after her recent ordeal, and because Chan’s already witnessed her vulnerability, there’s no reason for her to hold back. It also feels more natural because there wasn’t a kiss, but does this mean I’m on board with the romance? Ehhhhh… not there yet, but I might be coming around.
In general, this week’s episodes were very Tae-kook centric. A part of me appreciates this because I think we needed more clarity on how he fit into the trio with Sung-beom and In-soo, and his relationship with them drew some nice parallels with Soo-jae. It’s no wonder that he seems hesitant to fully break her. She’s not just useful; she’s a lot like him.
Unfortunately, while Tae-kook was prominently featured, most of our secondary characters got shafted — again. Group 8’s sole purpose in this drama is to move the plot forward when it’s convenient, and even then, their investigations prove pointless. Either Soo-jae has already figured out everything on her own or — as was the case this week — Tae-kook makes a move that renders all of their hard work unnessary.
And let’s not forget the little mystery going on with Se-pil, Seojung University Law School Director BAEK JIN-KI (Kim Chang-wan), and the girl with neurological damage that Jin-ki seems to have hidden away at some nursing home facility. Could she be Chan’s missing (and presumed dead) step-sister? Or is she someone else, meaning there’s not one but two side plots that have been mostly ignored for the last eight episodes? Yeah, there’s a lot of unanswered questions here, so I’m going to need the drama to cut back on the number of Group 8 scenes. Kthxbai.