This episode is intense and suspenseful. Just when you think each case is over and done with and there’s nothing left to uncover, there’s always something that pulls you back in and surprises you. Episode three was no exception and the case in this one is so relevant to society today. It’s the reason why powerful social movements like the #MeToo movement is so big, successful, universal, and impactful.
Miss Hammurabi: Episode 3 Recap
Episode three starts off with a court case of a college intern suing her manager for accounts of sexual harassment via text messages. The boss’s lawyer bluffs and asks for Presiding Judge Han to nullify the manager’s termination; he was just trying to support the intern through the struggles and challenges she was facing as an intern. However, the sexually explicit text messages the manager sent to the intern says otherwise. He clearly had other (disgusting) intentions. None of the judges are having it with the lawyer’s nonsense and defense for the manager. All the messages they look over imply some kind of sexual intent regardless of what the lawyer spouts.
During lunch, Oh-reum remains angry at the manager for sexually harassing the intern with the inappropriate text messages. Ba-reun remains indifferent while Presiding Judge Han tries to understand from the manager’s point of view. He’s from the older generation so he doesn’t quite understand what he did wrong. Plus, instead of focusing on the boss they should be focusing on whether he should get fired or not. He is the head of the household in his family and he has a family to take care of. Getting fired could ruin him and his family’s life tremendously. Oh-reum argues back against Presiding Judge Han. There’s no excuse to the manager’s actions and behaviors.
The court case continues. Different employees from the company testify and basically defend the manager, complimenting him for his kind and funny personality. The manager also expresses his thoughts on the case; he was just joking around with his texts and he has a family to take care of. Getting fired would practically mean death to his family he says as he chokes up.
After the court case ends, Oh-reum and Ba-reun have a conversation about it back in their office. Ba-reun remains undecided as to what to rule while Oh-reum remains grounded on her decision. The manager should be punished for what he did. Ba-reun tries to understand the case from a “logical perspective” while Oh-reum argues that instead of looking at it from the manager’s point of view, they should be focusing on the case from the victim’s side — in this case, the intern’s side of the story. Ba-reun and Oh-reum reach a dilemma once again. Their conversation is quickly intervened by Judge Jung who pays them a visit.
Judge Jung informs them of his personal opinion on the case. What the boss did was indecent and confusing. Which employer would ever look at their employees as women? There are so many more attractive women out there in society that’s not employed to him that he could have contacted (so basically, the boss should have committed the same acts to other women outside of his workplace instead of those working for him? Okay Judge Jung, whatever you say). Assistant clerk Do-yeon walks into the office right when Judge Jung is saying his spiel.
While waiting for Ba-reun to sign a document, she listens in on Judge Jung’s talk about how he doesn’t act on animalistic instincts like other guys do when it comes to women; he uses reasoning to control himself. That’s when Do-yeon tests this so-called reasoning herself. As she slowly approaches him, she takes off her glasses, she lifts her skirts up a few inches, she lets down her hair, and she unbuttons her dress shirt a little. Of course, this makes Judge Jung nervous and he has a hard time staying still. Hahaha, so much for using “reasoning” and being different from other guys. Judge Jung is clearly just like any other men out there. Once Do-yeon leaves, Ba-reun and Oh-reum tease Judge Jung for his reactions. Oh-reum ends the conversation by asking both guys to go somewhere with her in return for dinner which she’ll treat them out to.
The place Oh-reum takes both guys out to is none other than the farmers market. The guys get a taste of their own medicine when the Aunts in the market continually make sexual comments at them. Ba-reun and Judge Jung are clearly uncomfortable with all the inappropriate comments and are too shocked to say anything back. After a few minutes, Oh-reum sits them down at the booth she usually visits at the market and exchange greetings between both judges and her grandma.
The guys get no break even when in the restroom. The custodian cleaning the bathroom pester them there as well. OMG ASKDJFD. Judge Jung is clearly irritated and angry, but Oh-reum warns him that this should be a good learning lesson to understand what women go through on a daily basis. This prompts them to have a discussion about sexual harassment and how often times regarding sexual harassment, it’s not just about feeling unpleasant but also about how the idea of power imbalance plays into everything — just like with the case of the manager and the intern. Oh-reum and the rest of the Aunts get it to the two guy’s heads: the manager was harassing the intern because his power of position as the manager enabled him to do so even if the intern didn’t like what he was doing to her.
Back in the office, Ba-reun is starting to change his mentality. He’s working on cases similar to the one with the manager and the intern. Oh-reum then opens up to him about how the case feels personal to her; she also experienced something identical with her past part-time job when she was a pianist at a bar.
The drama then takes us back to the day when Oh-reum was working her part-time job playing the piano at a bar. Once she finishes her piano piece, she’s approached by two older men who try to get at her. She manages to escape from the two, but is approached by another man in the elevator. And it’s only the two of them in the elevator (AHHH NO. THIS IS LIKE A HORROR MOVIE). He demands for her phone number which she gives him, but gets angry when her phone doesn’t ring when he calls the number. At the last second, she runs away once the elevator door opens.
We’re back to the present. Ba-reun is bewildered that such a thing happened. But Oh-reum brings up again that the reason as to why these situations happen and why no consequences are ever taken is because 1) these men have families which serves as an excuse to not punish them and 2) they’re in a position of power that allows them to do whatever they like. Ba-reun learns something new about sexual harassment with Oh-reum’s story, but she also reminds her that their jobs as judges is to determine if a case has enough evidence. Evidence is what counts. Oh-reum agrees with Ba-reun’s opinion and this small debate finally ends on a good note for the first time.
Oh-reum heads home first that night after a long day of work. As she arrives at the elevator, the light goes out and she’s taken aback by the sudden darkness. She’s reminded of the traumatic night when she was stuck with the man in the elevator and struggles to move. However, a heroic Ba-reun comes to rescue Oh-reum just in time. He takes the elevator with her and uses the excuse of meeting up with friends to leave work. Inside the elevator, she notices the sweat on the back of his neck. He must have ran from his office to the elevator. And indeed, he did. Oh-reum thanks Ba-reun. OMG, THIS IS MY FAVORITE SCENE BETWEEN THEM SO FAR. IT’S SO SWEET AND CUTE.
It’s another day of the trial. Before the trial, Judge Jung visits Oh-reum and Ba-reun once again (he’s in their office more than he is in his own adkjfd). He’s going to be there to watch the trial. So if Judge Jung has so much time to attend the trials and cases they’re assigned to, when does he ever have the time to work? Judge Jung is pretentious and pretends to act like he has a secret to his work life, but in reality he doesn’t. Just like Ba-reun and Oh-reum, he stays in his office all night long to get work done as well. Oh Judge Jung, you thought you were slick.
And so the trial begins again. It’s the intern’s turn to testify. Her attorney questions her first, but remains uninterested in the entire thing. It seems like he doesn’t even want to be there. He asks a few small and brief questions before turning it over to the manager’s lawyer to question.
On the contrary, the manager’s lawyer is aggressive and loud. He basically blames the intern for misinterpreting the manager’s text messages; the manager was just trying to help the intern adapt and get along with the rest of the team. The intern admits that yes, that’s true, but he crossed the line by sending her inappropriate text messages every other night. If the intern was so bothered by the text messages, why didn’t she submit all of them as evidence? The intern admits that she deleted them because she was disgusted by them. She then ends her testimony and walks back to her seat while her manager apologizes to her.
The next witness is up. She’s the assistant manager of the plaintiff who has worked with him for years. Just like all the other employees, she defends him and instead blames the intern for being unable to take his sexual jokes. Plus, the intern is affecting the company and the company’s teamwork with this case. To make things worse, the intern’s attorney remains careless about the case. He has no questions to ask the assistant manager. Ugh.
Other employees from the company testify and basically defend the manager while blaming the intern for being sensitive. She takes things too personally. It’s obvious the intern is in this all by herself; everyone has been set up to attack her and go against her. She’s so upset she bursts out into tears in court. It’s not her fault she cries, but nothing changes. People still view her the same way as they did before.
Oh-reum is clearly bothered by the treatment towards the intern. She’s reminded of when she was sexually harassed by her piano teacher as a student and tears up in court. All the witnesses testify for the day and it’s time to reach a decision. However, Presiding Judge Han decides to give the trial one more day instead of coming to a conclusion right after. Phew.
After exiting the courtroom, Presiding Judge Han explains to his two associate judges the reason as to why he didn’t end the trial immediately after. He wanted to see if there was more to the story and plus, he knew Oh-reum would be disappointed in him if he did end it. He tells her that it’s okay to care about the trial, but to be careful with her reactions.
It’s a full house in Ba-reun and Oh-reum’s office after the trial. Along with Judge Jung paying yet another visit (he might as well just move into that office too by now adkjfd), Do-yeon visits Oh-reum for a quick request. While the two talk, Ba-reun notices something strange about the case. Why did the company fire the manager if it seemed like everyone in the trial was forgiving of him? That’s when the two judges – along with the great support from Do-yeon – come to a conclusion. Because the intern’s boyfriend had uploaded screenshots of the text messages via social media, it caused a big uproar which ended up with the company having no other option but to fire the manager. This could explain for why all the witnesses in the trial were women; they wanted to make it seem like they cared about women when really they don’t. The company needs to maintain its image somehow and sustain its customers who primarily represent women. Everyone in the room is outraged, but they’re even more fascinated by Do-yeon who helped them come to this conclusion. She did some research, she notes, before exiting the office.
Oh-reum and Ba-reun relay the news to Presiding Judge Han. It seems like the witnesses and the intern’s attorney are working together in trying to hide the manager’s faults. They all reach a consensus on what the next best decision should be if they want to continue with this trial: have one of the employees testify as a witness again.
Possible incidents of sexual harassment even affect Presiding Judge Han’s daughters. While eating breakfast, one of his daughters shares that her male physical education teacher has been visiting the girls changing room at school. Presiding Judge Han is outraged at this news; how could their teacher visit their changing room? His daughter doesn’t seem to care too much about it though and they both rush to school. Presiding Judge Han yells at his daughters to pull their skirts down before they rush out of the door.
It’s the final and last day of the trial. Just as they agreed, they have one of the employees who had already testified the day before testify once again. Oh-reum brings up the fact that along with the intern, she’s also one of the youngest at the company so she and the intern must have been close. To every question that Oh-reum and Ba-reun asks the witness, she remains indifferent and gives the same exact response: I’m not sure. It’s only until Oh-reum shows the screenshots of the text messages the manager sent the intern that the witness finally starts to react. She feels uncomfortable by the sight of them and asks for Oh-reum to turn off the screen. Why is she suddenly not okay when in her written statement as a witness she didn’t think badly of the text messages?
Ba-reun steps up his game and pressures the witness with his questions. The witness must have been close to the victim as evident with the amount of times they spent time with each other and had food together. It seems like all the other employees in the company were defending the manager and attacking the intern. Who would the victim feel most betrayed by out of the employees doing this? It’d be the witness of course. The intern trusted the witness the most to tell her what was going on and what she was going through and now the witness stabbed her in the back.
The manager’s lawyer shouts in disbelief and tries to blame the intern again for ruining the team’s family-like culture. But the witness breaks her silence this time. Yes, she did originally vow to protect the manager, but that was only because she was afraid of losing her job as well. All the employees were given an agenda prior to the trial: make the manager look innocent while portray the intern as a psycho. But the witness finally reveals how she truly feels. The intern is not the only one who the manager targeted; the witness too faced the same harassment by the manager two years ago when she was an intern. It’s the same for all the other female employees in the company.
All hell breaks loose in the courtroom when the manager’s wife also speaks up. She wants to sue the lawyer for threatening the wife and for sexually harassing her as well. The only reason why she kept quiet up to now was to save her husband. But since her husband is going to be punished, the lawyer might as well go down with him. The lawyer and the manager break out into a fight while the witness and the intern reconcile. It’s an interesting observation as you have one side of the courtroom crying in relief while the other is fighting.
The three judges later on come to a conclusion: the manager is guilty and his claim is dismissed. He will be punished by paying the court costs along with having lost his job.
Back in their office, Ba-reun hangs up his robe in the closet and stares at it. Oh-reum watches him as he hangs up his robe and then asks him if he’d like to take on a part-time job with her at the farmer’s market. There was a vendor there who really liked Ba-reun. Omg, what is she up to this time? Haha.
Later on that early morning, Presiding Judge Han sneaks into his home as to not wake up his wife. But he’s unsuccessful and his wife wakes up to the sound of him coming home. She expresses her disappointment in him for coming home late. Even his daughters knew that he was out drinking the night before as they tease him the next morning, causing his wife to be angry again. She warns him that no matter what, he can never quit his job. He’s the sole breadwinner of the house; if anything happens to him, the family will be in jeopardy. His wife reminds him of this over and over again and drills it into his head. Why does this make me feel like something’s going to happen to Presiding Judge Han..?
Oh-reum and Ba-reun head out to their part-time job. Oh-reum has volunteered them to act as Hanbok models for one of her Aunt’s business (OMG SO FITTING!). They attract different people with the traditional Korean clothing and manages to boost up the sales of her Aunt’s Hanbok store. Of course, Oh-reum is such a natural at it while Ba-reun struggles to greet people and take pictures with them. But he gets used to it little by little and they successfully pull off the modeling (they seriously look so pretty and good in the hanbok. I’m jealousss).
And so the modeling continues late into the night. Oh-reum and Ba-reun reconvene with her grandma and all the other Aunts at the farmers market. They thank Ba-reun for his time and support before bidding farewell with the two judges.
The next day, Oh-reum and Ba-reun head out for a walk in the park. Oh-reum explains that she wants to spend time with her colleagues outside of just work and the courtroom which is why she brought Ba-reun to a park. EEEEE.
They sit down at a bench to continue their conversation. Oh-reum first apologizes for failing to not react during their most recent trial. It was personal to her as she’s also gone through similar experiences of being sexually harassed and groped by men in positions of power as well. But she was fortunately able to go through with this case thanks to people like Ba-reun who remain strong, grounded, and willing to help others. She wishes to become someone like him — someone who’s amazing.
The episode concludes with Dan-di celebrating the results of the case with her friends at a bar. Near them are a bunch of baseball fans cheering out loudly while watching a baseball game who they complain about. Later on that night, Dan-di leaves the bar by herself and heads home until she’s stopped by a few guys. They trap her and slowly approach her. Dan-di senses that something’s wrong and fears for her life. Fortunately, the group of baseball fans that were singing loudly in the bar earlier also exit the bar at this time. Dan-di seizes the opportunity and runs to the group, clinging onto their arms and blending in with the rest of the guys. She safely manages to escape from the dangerous guys, but remains fearful of what had just happened to her and what could have happened to her if it weren’t for the group of the baseball fans. The possibilities could have been endless.
I didn’t understand the ending to this episode the first time I watched it, but watching it the second time around now makes me realize how powerful of a message it was. I was scared for our Dan-di and was afraid that something bad was going to happen to her. But watching it a second time around made me realize that even though the case between the manager and intern ended rightfully and on fair, just terms doesn’t mean that sexual harassment is forever and done with. As we see with this episode’s ending, sexual harassment and assault and the positions of power that men have over women is still an ongoing issue and one court case was not going to magically cure all women from sexual harassment. For the purposes of the show, the court case ended with good results for the victim, but unfortunately that’s not always how it ends for many other victims who decide to courageously come out with their story. In fact, I would argue that the reality for many is actually the opposite. In many cases, the victims are often shunned – like the intern was in this episode – for sharing their experiences of sexual assault and violence which this episode was bringing attention to. With just how much impact the #MeToo movement has been making and how serious of an issue sexual harassment, assault, and violence is, I’m glad the drama didn’t shy away from this topic. And for that, this episode was by far my favorite so far.
To add on, it was bittersweet watching the case end so rightfully with the victim receiving the respect and results that she seeked while the manager was ultimately punished for his wrongdoings and actions. It’s bittersweet because I know this is so rare in reality. I wished that there were more endings like this in reality for victims of sexual assault and violence where the perpetrators are the ones who are punished accordingly for their actions and behaviors. But as we all know and are too familiar with, this isn’t always the case and far too often, the perpetrators are forgiven and get away with their doings. It’s for the same exact reasons that Oh-reum notes in this episode of men using their families as an excuse as well as having a higher social status than women that they escape from any punishments that they should be given. It’s unfortunate, but this is the reality and patriarchal society that we still live in to this day and although there are many efforts all around the world to combat the toxic patriarchy that plagues society today, this fight remains a constant challenge. I’m sad to say that this episode – from the examples of the catcalling at the farmers market to the case itself – was all too true and a little too close for home for women everywhere.
Moving onto our two leads, I felt like this episode marked a new start in their professional relationship as judges. Oh-reum is bringing Ba-reun into her small but intimate circle of family and close relationships and I love that he just goes along with it. And I love it even more that he’s slowly starting to feel comfortable with the people that Oh-reum hangs out with. The scene at the end with the two sitting at the bench in the park reminds me of the scene back when they were sitting at the bench as high schoolers. Oh-reum’s story about her experience of sexual harassment by her piano teacher that she couldn’t finish then finally came around full circle when she completed her story in the present with Ba-reun at the park. She trusts him enough to share with him multiple personal experiences that have deeply affected her and that are also the root causes of her trauma as well as for why she reacts so emotionally in court. But even more so, it also proves that she’s grown as an individual and has learned from those experiences. To take Ba-reun’s observation into account, Oh-reum has changed since high school and I would argue that she’s changed in this aspect the most.
Also, the elevator scene between Ba-reun and Oh-reum was seriously one of the cutest, most endearing, and loving scenes I’ve seen between any two leads in a drama before. He was aware of her traumatic experiences with elevators so he arrived in time to help her get through this challenge. It was honestly touching for me watching that and proves once again that Ba-reun still cares for Oh-reum like he did twelve years ago back in high school.
The drama can be intense at times, but I’m glad that there’s still some comic relief with characters like Judge Jung and Do-yeon (who I think the drama is panning out to become a couple). Though I don’t have much of an opinion on him right now because he hasn’t done much yet, I wonder what his future role will be and if he will contribute anything to Ba-reun and Oh-reum’s work. All I know for now is that he’s in their office more than he is in his own and sooner or later he should just move in with them. All jokes aside, I’m enjoying the relationship between him and the two judges as well as with Do-yeon. They’re a great stress reliever when the drama can be intense at times. Also, I’m afraid that something might happen to Presiding Judge Han, especially when his wife kept on emphasizing that he shouldn’t get fired or get hurt because then it could affect the rest of the family. Maybe it’s just me getting paranoid after watching him in “Live” but nothing bad will happen to him right? Right…?