Why Her?: Episodes 11-12
You might want to grab a pair of rain boots to help you slog through all the waterworks, because now that the truth is out, emotions are running high and the tears are free flowing. But along with all the relationship drama, comes new revelations about what went down ten years ago.
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP
You know how I said that our leading couple could possibly use some angst to offset the yawnfest that is their romance? Yeah, well, I take it back. This week’s episodes definitely delivered on the anticipated pity party, but if I thought this couple was uncomfortable to watch when they were happy, then watching them being all mopey is downright painful. On the bright side, we also learn the full extent of everything that happened ten years ago, so… yay?
We begin on a somber note as Soo-jae grapples with the realization that Chan is Dong-goo. She tearfully asks aloud, “How could I not recognize you?” And considering there are back-to-back flashbacks highlighting Chan’s two very different faces right before Soo-jae asks herself this question, I have a hard time understanding why she can’t figure it out herself. (Seriously, the lengths this drama goes to in order to completely ignore this glaringly obvious detail is ridiculous, and I keep hoping that Chan will admit to having John-Travolta-in-Face/Off-level plastic surgery at some point.)
While Soo-jae tries to sort out her thoughts, Chan focuses on identifying the body found at the construction site, which he suspects is his step-sister JEON NA-JUNG (Hwang Ji-ah). Chan visits his father, hoping he will meet with Na-jung’s mother JI SOON-OK (Bae Hae-sun) and convince her to provide a DNA sample for the police so they can compare with the body. Chan’s dad, however, selfishly wishes to keep the past buried, and a disgusted Chan vows to cut ties with his father — this time for good.
Both Chan and Soo-jae get drunk (separately), but Chan hits the soju a little harder and instigates a fight with a group of random men on his way home. It is at this moment, as he’s laying on the ground and crying in frustration, that I found myself feeling the full impact of his wrongful incarceration. Not only did he spend a year in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, but when he was released, the remaining pieces of his family couldn’t be picked up and put back together. Unlike his father, who is so quick to put the past behind him, Chan cannot forget the brief happiness he felt being Soon-ok’s son and Na-jung’s brother.
After getting the anger and frustration beat out of him, Chan mopes outside in the rain until Soo-jae holds an umbrella over his head. But it’s not the happy, romantic kind of umbrella sharing so prominently featured in K-dramas. Instead, even though Soo-jae says she’s not ready to talk about the past, it’s clearly a I’m-returning-your-umbrella-because-we’re-done kind of moment. As Chan watches her walk away, he drops the symbolic umbrella, preferring to stand dramatically in the rain while a moody OST ballad emphasizes the melancholy moment.
Our leading couple’s gloominess continues to permeate just about every second of this week’s episodes, even when they aren’t on screen together. On the surface, Soo-jae wears her cold work facade as she wraps up the construction incident and assures Sung-beom that the best way to quiet the protesting victims and their grieving families is to offer them a very generous settlement. When she’s alone, though, Soo-jae lets her mask slip. Suspiciously, she acts more guilty than upset that Chan lied about his identity. Hmmmmm…
Chan continues his hunt for the truth and visits NO BYUNG-CHUL (Kim Han-joon), the man who confessed to killing Na-jung, in prison. Chan always doubted that Byung-chul was the actual killer, but he never had any proof. Byung-chul, who is up for parole soon, sticks to his story — including the part where he claims he dumped her body in the ocean where no one could find it. But her body was uncovered at the construction site, which means Byung-chul lied. He’s not Na-jung’s killer.
It’s this knowledge that gives Chan the courage to speak with Soon-ok when she returns to the law school clinic to apologize for her previous outburst. Chan reveals that she wasn’t mistaken — he actually is Dong-goo — and with his identity out in the open, he tries to convince her to speak with the police. He believes the uncovered body belongs to Na-jung, but Soon-ok, who is still in denial that her daughter is dead, causes another dramatic scene.
Since Soon-ok won’t go to the police herself, Chan goes digging through her trash to find something containing her DNA, and with a ziplock baggie of Soon-ok’s hair in hand, Chan tries to convince the police detective to compare it to the body. Because Chan is being dodgy about his own identity, the detective refuses to take Chan seriously. He assumes Chan is one of those pesky Gen Z YouTubers — you know, the ones always showing up with bags of hair and asking for DNA tests.
Chan reaches peak frustration right as Mi-rim and Yoon-sang walk into the room, and they overhear him when he blurts out that he believes the body belongs to his sister. The detective seems to be taking Chan more seriously now that he claims he’s a family member, but Chan panics and runs away when he sees Mi-rim and Yoon-sang.
Having hit a dead end in every direction he’s turned, Chan is understandably down on himself, so when Soo-jae calls him, he goes running to her like an eager little puppy, hoping for good news. Unfortunately, with a literal divide between them, she officially asks him to keep his distance. She explains her previous feelings for him were a mistake; she never would have fallen for him if she’d know his true identity. She wants to forget what happened ten years ago, and she can’t put the past behind her if he’s around as a reminder. Oof!
After she’s properly crushed his heart and sent him on his way, we learn the truth: she feels guilty because she intentionally lost his case. Her mother and brothers were arrested around the time of the trial, and Jin-ki advised her to make a deal with Tae-kook in exchange for their release.
Yoon-sang goes digging into Chan’s case files, and he figures out that Soo-jae threw the trial. And what does he do with this information? Well, he starts by inviting perverted professor Joon-myung to be a guest speaker during Soo-jae’s class — without Soo-jae’s permission and with his other victim Se-ryung seated in the audience. Bad form, Yoon-sang.
Reunited, the former prosecutor and public defender hash out the details of the case in front of the class, and even though Joon-myung is disgustingly cocky over his past win — despite Byung-chul’s later confession proving his case against Dong-goo was wrong — it becomes apparent that Soo-jae should have leveraged the unidentified finger print found on murder weapon to provide reasonable doubt.
This little impromptu classroom dramatization was all part of Yoon-sang’s plan to get Chan to realize that Soo-jae betrayed him ten years ago, and… wow. Just wow. I honestly don’t know what to make of this level of pettiness. Like, why would Yoon-sang publicly embarrass Soo-jae — the object of his affection — in the process of trying to end Chan’s crush on her? A part of me wonders — hopes — this is some backwards plan to protect them by keeping them apart. Because if this was all done because he was jealous… ugh.
Want to know what’s even more messed up? Not only did Jin-ki advise Soo-jae to lose Chan’s case, but he did so even though he knew Chan was innocent and strongly suspected Tae-kook covered up his daughter’s rape. Yeah, you read that correctly, and if you’re anything like me, you’re wearing a WTF expression similar to the one Soo-jae gave Tae-kook when he told her to marry Joo-wan.
Ten years ago, Eun-seo was at a club with friends and her drink was drugged by Joo-wan, Sung-beom’s son HAN DANG-OH (Park Shin-woo), and In-soo’s son LEE SHI-HYUK (Won Hyung-hoon). After she was abducted and raped, she escaped and ran into Na-jung outside the nearby convenience store.
Na-jung gave Eun-seo her work jacket to cover up, but before she could give Eun-seo her cell phone so she could call for help, the second generation Terrible Trio found her. Eun-seo panicked and ran out in front of a car, and because Na-jung saw everything, Joo-wan and his despicable pals made her their next victim.
To protect his son, Tae-kook framed Chan for Na-jung’s murder. Chan was released a year later because a television documentary was about to shine a light on Chan’s possible innocence, and Tae-kook couldn’t have people looking for the truth. So he had Joon-myung coerce Byung-chul into giving a false confession.
Jin-ki and Se-pil justified their ten years of silence by working under the belief that revenge was best served cold — after they had gathered enough power and evidence to overthrow Tae-kook and his co-conspirators. While there is logic to their silence and passive compliance, I’m right there with Soo-jae in feeling disgusted by them.
Tae-kook is still unaware that Se-pil and Jin-ki are plotting against him, but after eliminating Byung-chul (prison murder disguised as suicide), he learns that Chan has been visiting Byung-chul. Tae-kook is surprised that Chan is Dong-goo, but he seems even more shocked that he’s still alive. Reason being: at some point in the past, Tae-kook had Il-goo run Dong-goo over with a Truck of Doom.
Wait, what? When did this supposedly happen? Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember Chan ever mentioning that he got hit by a truck and was hospitalized for an extensive period of time. This all feels a bit unexpected and random. But maybe he was hit so hard he had to get reconstructive surgery, and that’s how he got the new face?
Unfortunately, Tae-kook’s attempted murder of Dong-goo will remain a mystery for now because we jump to Yoon-sang cornering Chan and trying yet again to drive a wedge between the eternally faithful Chan, and Soo-jae, the noona everyone wants to date. Yoon-sang doesn’t pull any punches, and — in case Chan missed the point Yoon-sang was trying to make during show and tell — he reveals that Soo-jae bartered Chan’s freedom and struck a deal with Tae-kook.
She intentionally lost his trial in order to help bail her family out of jail, and as Yoon-sang continues to point out all the ways a relationship between Chan and Soo-jae wouldn’t work, the camera pans down to his hand where he’s holding his phone. Soo-jae is listening to every word, and it’s pretty obvious that she believes Yoon-sang is correct. She and Chan cannot be together because she abandoned him.
Except… that’s not Chan’s take on the situation, and he claims that he would have done the exact same thing in her shoes. It doesn’t matter that she betrayed him because she still believed he was innocent. That’s all he cares about, and he doesn’t care if that makes him a foolish gullible idiot.
And so we end on a positive, hopeful message. As cheesy and as unrealistic as it is for Chan to be totally copacetic with the fact that his legal council made an unethical deal and did not honorably represent him in the court of law, I welcome Chan and Soo-jae’s potential reconciliation. They are more tolerable together than they are apart.
In general, I’m feeling emotionally fatigued after this week’s episodes. I’m not pleased with some of the character development and reveals, particularly the fact that Soo-jae lost Chan’s trial because she made a deal with Tae-kook. I would have preferred it if she lost due to incompetence. The loss and subsequent feeling that she failed an innocent person due to her own shortcomings should have been enough to initially motivate her to become a better lawyer, and the (supposed) stillbirth and Joo-wan’s betrayal would have been the catalyst that turned her into a cutthroat lawyer bent on revenge.
Se-pil and Jin-ki were also disappointing this week. I can’t imagine what they could or should have done differently because Tae-kook is, indeed, a formidable foe who would have completely destroyed them ten years ago. So I understand why they have been biding their time, but you mean to tell me that Se-pil amassed a crap ton of money and the only thing he and Jin-ki did to atone for their silence was put law school pamphlets in Chan’s mailbox? Rude.