Episode 7 teaches us the important life lessons surrounding the one thing that we all need and love in life: family. What we thought we knew about family and what we didn’t know about family is highlighted in this episode and everything from the court case to the lives of our two leads are related to this theme. Just like its prior episodes, episode 7 is beautiful and balanced and leaves you with the gentle reminder that you too should learn to love your own family in your own ways.
Miss Hammurabi: Episode 7 Recap
Episode 7 begins with our two leads in the office, working the entire day without saying much to each other. Ba-reun regrets confessing to Oh-reum and wishes that he hadn’t told her his honest feelings. Maybe it wouldn’t be so awkward between the two.
Team Department 44 heads out for another team dinner. They eventually notice the awkward tension between Oh-reum and Ba-reun, but don’t pay much attention to it. Our workers Sa-sung, Ji-young, and Dan-di go off on tangents about the types of frustrating people they’ve had to meet with as a result of different court cases. But Presiding Judge Han notes that the most frustrating of them all are cases related to religion and pastors.
Our three judges take on another case the next day. It’s one involving four siblings arguing about who their father’s property should properly be given to. Dad had originally given his land to the eldest son of the family, but he had dementia while making his decision so all the other siblings feel like the transfer should be void. The eldest never once visited their dad, but he suddenly started to visit their dad once he became ill which arouses the suspicion of all the siblings. The courtroom becomes loud and intense so Presiding Judge Han calls for a 10-minute break.
Department 44 discuss about the case in the settlement room while on the break. Okay, so the 4 siblings’s dad must have had a lot of money to be able to buy so much property and land, but how so? We learn from the youngest daughter that their dad would always invest in property with however much money he earned ever since he was young. Sounds fair. So how did he end up losing all his property to the point where he only had one piece of land left to give to his eldest son? We learn from the second son that their father was a big spender and gave lots of money to the eldest son to spend on his multiple failed businesses.
Ba-reun feels like they should try to find a solution from a logistical point of view while Oh-reum thinks that they should mediate the court case. Even after their dad dies, the siblings might file another lawsuit afterwards to fight for their dad’s inheritance. If they can persuade the older brother to somehow reach a middle ground with his siblings now, then maybe there won’t be a future lawsuit. Ba-reun begs to differ and Presiding Judge Han is once again left to decide on the best option recommended by his two opposing judges.
He takes Oh-reum’s suggestion of mediation and asks the four siblings (technically five because they have a younger sibling who isn’t present at the court) to find the best way to divide their father’s inheritance for each of them. Presiding Judge Han also assigns Ba-reun the same assignment. Although Ba-reun refuses at first, he gives in (someone’s being pettyyy lol). Oh-reum volunteers to take on the assignment since she did suggest that they mediate the case, but Ba-reun will take care of it.
It’s another day of working late into the night for Oh-reum. She’s dressed comfortably in some shorts and a sweater to feel more comfortable at work. However, she’s surprised when Ba-reun suddenly enters the office again although he had left work earlier. He returned to quickly finish some work he needed to get done.
It’s still awkward between the two so Ba-reun finally addresses the elephant in the room. Oh-reum doesn’t need to apologize for rejecting his confession; he shouldn’t have said anything in the first place so Ba-reun apologizes that he’s made things between the two of them awkward. But then he begins to think to himself and wonders if he should have apologized to her after all.
Ba-reun returns home with some groceries to help prep for a memorial service with his mom. Meanwhile, his dad is still out, meeting with different people. Ba-reun complains to his mother that his dad is too caring and nice to others. These people he’s meeting with are just taking advantage of him, his time, and his money.
Later on that night, Ba-reun’s aunt and uncle are over for the memorial service. Uncle complains that Ba-reun’s dad hasn’t done much to help pay back the family even though most of the money and support went towards him growing up. All he does is spends time with protestors and human rights activist hoping to get an opportunity to work with them. Dad walks away in disappointment, anger, and sadness. Mom can only watch the two argue and struggles to intervene. Ba-reun – who’s in his bedroom studying – overhears the conversation out in the living room. Along with the immense amount of pressure to meet the expectations of those around him, he has to hear his father and uncle argue against each other. He sits on his bed and starts to play his guitar to lift the mood.
The next day at work, Do-yeon informs Oh-reum that she’ll be taking the afternoon off to show her father who has come to visit her around the court. Judge Jung witnesses Do-yeon with her father outside and asks Oh-reum and Ba-reun about this. After commenting that his opinion on Do-yeon has changed (“she’s actually warmhearted!)”, he asks them about the old man that she was walking around with. He wants to so desperately believe that the man she was with isn’t her father, but Oh-reum insists that the man is her father. That leaves the man seen with Do-yeon in her photo frame as her boyfriend. Judge Jung is in disbelief and doesn’t want to believe what he saw.
It’s another hearing for the court trial with the 4 siblings. They once again out each other on the shady and sketchy types of activities that they’ve each committed with their dad’s money. The only daughter in the family even utilizes the hearing to rant about the unfair and biased treatment her parents gave to her compared to her brothers (the drama paints this situation out as comedic relief but it’s so sad because I can actually relate LOL. And plus, I think it touches upon the larger and more serious topic of patriarchy within Asian American communities but we can save that for another day lol). Presiding Judge Han wraps up the court hearing for the day and invites the daughter to his office to continue her rant.
In his office, Presiding Judge Han gives the daughter the opportunity to continue to rant her frustration and sadness to him while he works on the many other cases that he’s assigned. While the daughter goes on and on and on about all the types of unfair experiences she’s faced growing up, Presiding Judge Han works, but adds in some general comments here and there to pretend like he cares. OMGGGG. He’s too funny.
Back in the office, Ba-reun feels like they’re spending way too much time on the siblings case more than they should just because of the fact that they’re all family, but it’s obvious that they don’t get along nor do they like each other. However, Oh-reum disagrees and argues that family is family. Family is all you have sometimes. Her family has definitely helped her the most during her most challenging and difficult times. Ba-reun apologizes for the insensitive and inconsiderate thoughts, considering just how difficult of a situation Oh-reum’s family is currently in.
The siblings case continues to tire our three judges out. While in the elevator after closing the trial for that day, Ba-reun notices a flyer on the wall of the elevator. It’s an invitation for families to attend a field day that’s happening that weekend. Ba-reun is envious. That day will sure be fun for those families who go. The thought and idea of family continues to consume both of our judges’s minds. While walking out of the court building, they witness a dad taking a picture of his family. Family is everywhere.
Oh-reum’s family remains as her driving force for the work that she does, but Ba-reun’s family plays a different role in his life. He’s reminded of his childhood days when he heard his mother’s family complain about his father or when he heard his mother wail in her bedroom all to herself or when he had suddenly gained a younger brother who his father had decided to adopt into the family. Ba-reun has a family who doesn’t feel like family to him.
Ba-reun is different from his father who he has a conversation with later on that night about dreams, life, and one’s future. While his father argues that the youth nowadays shouldn’t just focus on security and money, Ba-reun expresses that the reason as to why they do so is because of the generations prior who shaped that future for them. Everyone’s just trying to do the best they can to survive in society Ba-reun tells his father.
After the four siblings fail to write their individual reports of how their father’s inheritance should be divided equally between each of them, Presiding Judge Han demands that their father be present in court for the next hearing. Ooooh, this is gonna get interesting.
Judge Jung manages to get Oh-reum and Ba-reun to get dinner with him the next evening. He also doesn’t mind if Do-yeon tags along since it’s been a while since he’s seen her. Asdfkd. He’s totally not making it obvious or anything. Ba-reun’s instinct tells him that the next day is very important so he looks up Oh-reum’s profile and sure enough, it’s her birthday tomorrow.
After pondering over whether to get her a gift or not, Ba-reun eventually buys Oh-reum a birthday gift. The next day at work, he attempts to give her the present, but is too nervous and indecisive. He’s not sure how to initiate the conversation so he eventually just keeps the gift tucked in his bag. Do it Ba-reun, just do it!
It’s finally dinner time and Judge Jung meets with Oh-reum and Ba-reun at the farmer’s market. While they all converse over Judge Jung’s nickname ‘Treasured Prince’, he’s too busy looking around for Do-yeon. She arrives a few minutes later which excites Judge Jung who had obviously been anticipating her arrival. She’s charms the three usual Aunts they always meet with at the market and they easily get along.
While they all talk, Oh-reum leans in to Ba-reun to share with him details about her family: the three Aunts they’re all talking to are her extended family members. They moved in with her grandma ten years ago when they were each facing difficult situations and have been living together ever since then. Oh-reum wraps up her story by noting that family isn’t always limited to the one you were born into. You can form a family with those who are also going through similar times and situations as you are. Ba-reun listens carefully to Oh-reum’s wise words and reflects on her story:
Even if you don’t share blood, you can be family. Even if you do share the same blood, you can be strangers. Is that how humans are?
Yong-jun joins the party and arrives at the farmers market to hand Oh-reum the birthday presents he got her. They all go out for another round of drinks at a restaurant where Ba-reun drinks a little bit more than he probably should while Do-yeon and Judge Jung bond. Just like she did the other times, she leaves the gathering a little early to go to her night job. Judge Jung chases after her at the restaurant, but he barely catches a glimpse of her before he can hold her back from leaving. She’s dressed in entirely pretty casual clothing and accessories. She’s entirely someone else during the night time.
As the birthday party celebration comes to an end, Oh-reum has a small conversation with her extended family about Ba-reun. They assume that she must like him, but Oh-reum assures them that she only appreciates Ba-reun as her wonderful colleague. She sends him home, but before they separate he finally has enough courage to hand her the birthday gift he bought for her. He then leaves in a taxi while Oh-reum stays behind. She watches him leave with a smile plastered on her face.
It’s another hearing for the siblings court case. Their dad arrives in the court room with the youngest sibling and together they stand next to the four siblings. Presiding Judge Han notes that in their reports, they all had trouble coming to a conclusion on how their father’s assets should be divided but they did have one thing in common: they didn’t mention anything about their youngest sibling in the reports.
Turns out that the youngest sibling was adopted by their father when he was younger. His biological father passed away working for the siblings’s father so he was taken in as an adopted son. Of course, the four siblings aren’t too welcoming of the adopted son and never has been. But unlike what they think about him, he’s the only one that their father truly loves, cares about, appreciates, and needs. The two share an intimate, emotional, and touching moment in the court after the youngest sibling gives a speech to his adopted father, thanking him for raising him and taking him in as his own son. Everyone else watches the father and son share tears of pain and love with each other and sheds some tears of their own.
Ba-reun returns home that night, curious about his own family. He asks his mother why she decided to marry his father in which she shares with him the story of how they met and how she fell in love with him. Additionally, mother shares that throughout the years, he’s saved so many people by donating his blood to those in need. It was essentially because of his good, kind, and warm heart that she married him. So then what happened to that kid that Ba-reun’s dad had originally brought home to take care of? Mom shares that he was the son of one of Dad’s close colleagues whose father passed away early due to cancer. Dad took him in because he didn’t want the kid to suffer at a young age.
After all misunderstandings are cleared, Dad wakes up thanks to Ba-reun’s yelling and Mom who jabs him on his back while he was asleep. He joins the two and also watches the TV while Ba-reun steals glances at his dad. The dad who he might not have appreciated enough growing up and the dad who he didn’t know enough about growing up has now transformed in his eyes. Just like how his dad has been all along, Ba-reun finally realizes how much of a hero his dad is not only to him and his mother, but to many others out there as well.
Truly, not all heroes wear capes.
This episode has to probably be the most balanced, well-written, and touching episode yet due to the theme that it touched upon: family. The episode did a great job in sharing ideas about family that we already know, but find it difficult to practice: family is love and family is forever.
We just automatically assume that with family, you’re supposed to love each other and things are supposed to be fine and dandy and beautiful. But it’s not always like that and Ba-reun’s family was an example of how not all families are well-knit and tight who live a perfect life. He grew up knowing and hearing that his family wasn’t that great or that his family was broken and he internalized those thoughts growing up. It isn’t until the case with the siblings as well as Oh-reum’s story about her extended family that he opens up to learning more about his family and becomes more open-minded. He doesn’t have the extended family members that Oh-reum might have and he’s the only child in the family, but if he looks close enough at those near and around him, he will realize that he does have another family: his Department 44 team as well as Oh-reum’s extended family.
This episode returned to its routine of combining a case with providing context on our two leads’s lives. The act of doing both was so beautifully woven together and complimented each other. Here you have four siblings arguing with one another over money while we see our own two leads interacting lovingly with their family-like members. I’m glad that this episode was able to shed light on the families of our two leads who are both so different but similar to each other. Oh-reum grew up surrounded by strong, confident, and amazing women while Ba-reun grew up lonely and isolated and hurt, but they’ve also grown as a result of their families. Although Oh-reum has been known to show a little bit more gratitude and appreciation towards her family, I anticipate that Ba-reun will now do the same after learning more about his parents and demystifying all the rumors that he heard about them when he was younger.
I’m glad that Ba-reun was able to learn more about his parents from his parents themselves instead of from other people like how he did in his childhood. His kind and intelligent and caring heart were traits that he gained from his father who himself is so selfless and altruistic. Although Ba-reun has been a bit more reserved in showing this kindness, he sincerely and genuinely cares for those around him or for those in the court cases. He’s been taught to not show any emotions in the courtroom which might have extended to other environments outside of the courtroom so he didn’t emote as much. However, through Oh-reum, he’s been unlearning and re-learning these notions he once strongly believed in. We know that at the end of the day, from the bottom of his heart, Ba-reun is a kind and warm-hearted person who just might have had trouble expressing this because of the environment he grew up in. But now things are changing because the environment he’s in has also changed. He’s changed and continues to change in many positive ways.
After watching seven episodes, the drama is pretty formulaic and includes the typical case-by-case scenario which is perfectly fine, but I also have noticed that every case usually ends on a perfect note with a perfect ending. Sometimes these cases are introduced just for the sole purpose of emphasizing the episode’s learning lesson (as seen with episode 6) or are used to demonstrate the complexity of our characters. For whatever reason, each case has been solved in the most satisfying way and while I’m glad that justice was served for those who rightfully deserved it, the act of ending each case perfectly also makes things seem.. unrealistic. I wished that each case didn’t end on the right note every single time because we know that it’s different in reality. Justice isn’t always served and sometimes there are challenges that those in the courtroom faces.
The drama has done a great job in establishing and painting itself as this light, warm, fluffy, and righteous drama, but it doesn’t always need to be that way either. The drama can still be all of those things and not end each case in a dramatic way that is purposely used to sustain these characteristics. You can learn from hardships and adversity just like how you can learn from hard-fought victories and wins. This is for the reason that Protesting Mom’s case remains one of my favorites in this drama yet: she didn’t get the ending or answers that she (and we) wanted, but she got something else in return. This is sometimes the honest and hurtful ending that some people receive and I wished the drama would tackle more of this certain type of ending on.
Oh-reum and Ba-reun still remain cute and adorable even though things are awkward between them. Although I hope Oh-reum doesn’t rush her feelings for Ba-reun and develops her feelings for him at her own pace (if she ever feels comfortable enough doing so), I really do think that they compliment each other outside of their work relationship. It’s so interesting how different and conflicting they are as judges, often having opposing thoughts and notions on a case or an idea, but when not at work they complement each other. Ba-reun made some bold moves on Oh-reum in this episode and I’m glad that she’s taking them positively. I can’t wait for the day when her feelings for him develop genuinely and she also starts to see him in the same way he’s seen her the past twelve years. Maybe then we’ll see Oh-reum start to stutter and blush and get nervous around Ba-reun, but for now, we’re going to see her be the bold, confident, and daring woman she is and has been. I can see why Ba-reun – who remains ever so charming and admirable (L IS KILLING ME WITH HIS GOOD LOOKS AND THE GLANCES HE GIVES GO ARA) – would fall for her.