Oof, hang on tight folks. This episode is a hard one to watch and I know I say this about pretty much every episode, but I mean it twice as much with this one. As we enter our finale, our strong and confident Oh-reum is put to the test and although she has the support of the Department 44 team behind her, she questions whether she can really handle everything that’s coming at her.
Miss Hammurabi: Episode 14 Recap
Judge Jung and Ba-reun hang out in the courtyard and have a casual talk about how much the other has changed. Judge Jung has changed because of Do-yeon, but Ba-reun’s the one who’s changed the most. He went from not showing any interest in others to now caring about people.
Ba-reun enters back into his office to find Oh-reum staring out the window. He worries that she’s still concerned about the professor who fainted, but she’s not. All the fine dust from the weather is what’s worrying her. Asdkfjd. Ba-reun embarrassingly walks back to his desk like nothing happened.
Do-yeon hands Presiding Judge Han a document pertaining to the dinner plans that the Chief Judge is holding that evening. Presiding Judge Han has run out of family members funerals to go to so he has no choice but to attend this time. Hahaha. Do-yeon additionally gives him another document, this time relating to a court case about a man committing fraud. Her notes indicate how attentive and intelligent she is; she was able to discover how she knew the man was lying during his testimony. Before leaving, Presiding Judge Han shows her his support for her. If anyone dares to mess with her, he’ll give them a piece of his mind. Aww, I love this team. But I also think our Do-yeon will be just fine by herself.
Judge Jung keeps himself occupied at work by reading a graphic novel and is so engaged with the novel that he even sheds some tears. Meanwhile, the professor who had fainted in court after hearing his verdict remains in the hospital. His depression gets the worst of him and he attempts to commit suicide. He was fortunately discovered, but remains in critical condition.
Upon hearing the news, Oh-reum starts to panic. She immediately starts to blame herself and questions whether she made the right decision to sentence him or not. Ba-reun remains close by her side while Judge Jung – who’s also in the room with them – grows worried for Oh-reum. Do-yeon enters the office with a cup of water, holding everything together. She reminds the three judges of their up and coming trials and tells them to get ready. Hmm, Do-yeon holding it down. I love it.
Oh-reum is still shaken by the news despite having a hearing to attend. She tries her best to keep it together, but she can’t stop thinking about the attempted suicide. The immense amount of guilt washes over her.
Ba-reun stays by Oh-reum’s side and tries to reassure her that her decision to give the professor a sentence was the right choice. Oh-reum still feels hopeless and doubtful though. She’s not sure if she can even trust herself, let alone anyone else.
That night, Oh-reum tries to not show Grandma or Aunts the stress and concern that’s been hanging onto her. She hurries into her bedroom to continue working, but is distracted by an update on the professor’s wife (aka Yong-jun’s older sister) who is also now hospitalized after a suicide attempt. Oh-reum is in even greater shock after hearing the news.
Oh-reum is paranoid that all the verdicts they’ve made for all the other trials were wrong too. She spent the entire night in the office revisiting documents from different trials just to double check that what they decided as the end result for the court cases were accurate and fair.
Ba-reun clearly sees how stressed, worried, and overwhelmed Oh-reum is with all the recent incidents and news. He wants to help her and give her additional support, but he hesitates because he’s unsure of how to best support her. This is seriously so heart-breaking.
Chief Presiding Judge and Presiding Judge Bae discuss about the aftermath of the two attempted suicides. NJ Group is most likely going to launch an attack after the court for what Department 44 did to the professor and his wife.
Things escalate when Ba-reun discovers that the professor will be having a re-trial. Tons of new articles about Oh-reum and her decision to convict the professor are published and Judge Jung stays updated on the general public’s opinion about her. Things aren’t looking so good and positive for Oh-reum as many have a bad impression of her.
Oh-reum is nowhere to be found in the office. Meanwhile, Ba-reun stays up to date on the latest news of the controversy. A TV news station comments on the recent incidents and makes false accusations about Oh-reum to bring her reputation down even lower. Painting her as the protagonist won’t do her any good either. People will be just as excited to see her downfall as they are to see her a heroine.
People calling for the resignation of Oh-reum protest outside of the court building’s entrance. Oh-reum and Ba-reun are surrounded by the protestors and receive harsh remarks while they enter the court building.
The Legislation and Judiciary Committee hold a hearing to discuss what to do with all the recent controversy happening within the court district. The same Congressman who Ba-reun has dismissed earlier in the drama returns and demands that there be regulations to remove judges who are biased and problematic in the court district. Although he petitions against judges like Oh-reum and Ba-reun, he’s not knowledgeable enough and Yong-jin wants him out of the committee. Yong-jun desperately seeks another Congressman who will defend NJ Group and attack the court district.
The re-trial for the case with the professor is assigned to Presiding Judge Sung and his team. Great. Just great. In the hearing for the re-trial, the professor’s lawyer not only defends the professor as innocent but also questions the decision made in the first trial with Department 44.
Oh-reum still can’t seem to shake off the guilt and regret from having made the final decision that lead to the verdict in the first trial. Ba-reun reassures her that he, Oh-reum, and Presiding Judge Han all came to the conclusion together and made the best decision that they could. He cheers her up.
Pictures of Oh-reum are everywhere on the internet and Ba-reun is upset and angry. Judge Jung shares with Ba-reun information about who exactly are publishing all these articles about Oh-reum. The guy is the grandson of the newspaper company owner who was illegally accepted into the university hospital. Plus, the Congressman working to bring down the court district also has connections to NJ Group. It seems like NJ Group are plotting something together.
Department 44 cannot catch a break. Even during lunch, they’re ridiculed and teased by Judge Jung’s department and the two gossip guys. Presiding Judge Han distracts the two judges by reminding Oh-reum about the murder case that she’s been assigned and to review all the files regarding it carefully. Ba-reun is worried for Oh-reum and wonders if she’ll be okay taking on the case, but she reassures him that she’ll be fine.
While walking back to their office, Department 44 comes across Presiding Judge Sung. They wish him luck on the retrial and even though Ba-reun wants to snap at Presiding Judge Sung for making an observation about Oh-reum, he holds himself back for the sake of Oh-reum.
Ba-reun is going to do whatever he can to find out who’s behind all the articles about Oh-reum. He knows that they’re deliberately trying to frame her as the antagonist and the professor as the victim. Judge Jung grows furious at Ba-reun and suggests that he stay calm. It’s unlike him to be so upset and caught-up and interested in something like this. But Ba-reun won’t back down. He’s going to stand up for Oh-reum and protect her. OOOOH.
Do-yeon invites Oh-reum to take a break by drinking some milk tea with her. During the short break, Do-yeon allows Oh-reum to call her by whatever name she wants. Oh-reum is opened to the change and calls Do-yeon informally by ‘Do-yeon Unnie.’ Do-yeon tries to do the same to Oh-reum, but struggles a bit. She’ll try it another time. Aww, I love friendship!
Presiding Judge Han is clearly stressed and overwhelmed with everything. He drinks some alcohol by himself and almost fights a stranger who he bumps into on the street. Presiding Judge Han finally realizes his wrongdoing and lets go of the stranger. He feels apologetic to Oh-reum for having not helped her enough and for not being a good enough of a mentor to her 😦
Ba-reun visits Yong-jun in his office to ask him to stop all the damage he and NJ Group has been inflicting on Oh-reum. Yong-jun feigns ignorance at first, but ultimately reveals that he and his family are human beings too. He has to protect his family members regardless of who it is he’s going against. Ba-reun strikes a deal with Yong-jun: he’ll leave the court and quit his job if Yong-jun and his family promises to leave Oh-reum alone. But before Yong-jun accepts the proposal, he makes Ba-reun beg on his knees for forgiveness first. Ba-reun bends down to get on his knee and scoops down just low enough so his knee doesn’t actually touch the ground. However, this won’t be the end of things. Ba-reun’s going to make sure Yong-jun also begs on his knees for forgiveness one day as well. Y’ALL, WHY IS THIS SO DRAMATIC AND INTENSE.
Oh-reum and Ba-reun attend the second hearing of the re-trial and sit in the back as the hearing resumes. The victim is questioned by the attorney as she testifies, but it’s clear that everyone in the room is against her. He attacks her viciously question after question to the point where she breaks down and apologizes for having lied about everything. She didn’t expect things to turn out as big and grand as it did. Presiding Judge Sung decides to schedule another hearing for the retrial since the prosecutor will now need additional time to review all evidence after the change in the victim’s story.
Ba-reun is furious and upset with how the second hearing went. It’s obvious someone forced her to change her story and that the retrial is being steered in a certain direction. Oh-reum is unable to process Ba-reun’s thoughts as well as the results of the second hearing so she breaks down in front of him. He apologizes for stressing her out even more than she already is; he just so desperately wants to help her out in any way that he can.
Oh-reum asks for Ba-reun to stay standing where he is if he wants to support her. As he stands frozen in the same position, she inches closer towards him and cries into his shoulder. She lays her head on his shoulder and cries her heart out. Ba-reun places his hands on her back and comforts her. Everything will be alright. (I’M TOTALLY NOT CRYING RIGHT NOW I SWEAR I’M NOT).
Oh-reum spends some time alone outside to get some air. Along the way, she encounters the same gossip guy who had gotten beat up by Judge Jung making mean comments about her. Instead of fighting him, she apologizes to him and then silently walks away. The gossip guy and Judge Jung’s co-judge are stunned at Oh-reum’s response.
Chief Presiding Judge and Presiding Judge Bae discuss on what their next move should be and who they will select as the scapegoat to calm the general public down and to get rid of all the commotion. Although it might hurt and they’re a bit hesitant, they ultimately decide to review Oh-reum’s disciplinary action that she should have received in the past but never did. Oh NOOOOO.
Protestors angry at Oh-reum are still going strong. They continue to protest against her. Meanwhile, Oh-reum receives an update on the murder case that she is assigned. The trial will now be a jury trial instead of the bench trial that it was originally planned to be. With all the controversy surrounding Oh-reum, the court can’t trust Oh-reum’s judgement alone.
Oh-reum enters Presiding Judge Han’s office and hands hm her letter of resignation. Presiding Judge Han is enraged and angry at Oh-reum for essentially giving up, but Oh-reum seems to have accepted her fate already. After placing the letter on his desk, she bows to him and stands in her position without saying a single word to him.
This episode was so so heart-breaking and gut-wrenching to watch. Every single little detail felt like it punched me in my stomach because it hurt so much watching Oh-reum go down without the ability to go down without a fight. The ending to this episode is so telling; she’s basically accepted reality and is aware that not many people are on her side. She knows that the only way that will make people stop once and for all is if she leaves and never returns. Although my reaction was essentially the same as Presiding Judge Han’s when she slid her letter of resignation onto his desk, I could also understand why she ultimately gave up. She’s reached her breaking point.
Oh-reum often talked about how as judges they should be merciless towards the powerful and merciful towards the powerless. It’s so interesting and ironic that she’s in the position of the ‘powerless’ now where she’s up against super wealthy, powerful, and privileged people and there aren’t any judges or any higher-ups who are merciful with her. She’s not given a second chance or the opportunity to share her side of the story and maybe doing so won’t even prove to be helpful anyways. Everyone has already formed their opinion of her that anything she says could backfire and won’t be viewed positively by the public anyways.
Oh-reum truly was so powerless and hopeless in this episode, but she tried so so hard to hang on and to keep going. How did we end up watching our strong, confident, and stubborn rookie judge fight against the systematic inequalities within the court district to now becoming so vulnerable, overwhelmed, doubtful, and hopeless? Oh-reum rarely displayed any emotions or signs of distress and pain although she clearly felt that way many times throughout the drama. We’ve been so used to seeing her so hard-headed and loud and heroic that to see her cry and break down and be so afraid of the future was so challenging to watch. Her entire world is shattering and falling apart all at the same time in the worst ways possible and she’s not sure of how to fight back and to react. Court cases in the courtroom was something that she confidently handled (or that she thought she could handle), but it was also this confidence that lead to her downfall. Although this won’t be the end for Oh-reum, she’s reached a dead end and the only thing she can do is turn around and fight back against the powerful, privileged, and wealthy people she detests and despises.
I can’t describe this episode in any other way than to describe it as heart-breaking. Ba-reun was doing things that he would have never done ever if it had not been for Oh-reum. I think even to an extent, he himself was surprised by how invested and committed he was to supporting and protecting Oh-reum, but it’s also something that he’s going to hold himself accountable to. He displayed traits that reminded me of Oh-reum pre-controversy. Before, he was a little quiet and mostly stayed in the back to watch everything while Oh-reum was more of the person in the frontline. But now it’s the complete opposite where he’s out fighting and negotiating and strategizing all the while trying to support Oh-reum that best suits her needs.
I don’t think any of us would have ever imagined that Ba-reun would be this involved, but his reactions and his emotions and his contributions to supporting Oh-reum once again proves just how much he’s grown as a person since he’s met Oh-reum. He’s using what Oh-reum taught him and challenged him to give back to her and to protect her in the best ways that he can. Throughout the entire episode, he stayed by her side and constantly reassured her to not worry and to not regret the decision that she made in the court case with the professor. He never abandoned her, but rather showed her his support in the ways that she wanted it and that just goes to show how much he really cares for her. He’s doing things that he’s never done for anyone else and that not only speaks volume about the growth and changes that he’s undergone as a person but also the love and affection that he has for Oh-reum. If not for Oh-reum, he probably wouldn’t be who he is currently. He’s so caring and kind and loving and I know he was supporting Oh-reum because he was genuinely worried and concerned for her, but another part of me hopes that Oh-reum realizes how great of a man Ba-reun is and how much of a loss it would be if she chooses not to be with him. The risks are too high, just stay with him Oh-reum. He’s definitely a keeper!
It was also heart-breaking watching Presiding Judge Han break down over Oh-reum’s situation. Presiding Judge Han has always been very straight-forward, direct, stern, blunt, and not very emotionally friendly. He established his position as Oh-reum’s boss, Presiding Judge, and mentor over the months and would show her his support in very subtle ways but that was about it. However, to see him so stressed about her situation and even blaming himself for putting herself in that situation was so so sad. He assumed that if he had just taught her better or had been a better mentor to her, she wouldn’t be in the situation that she was in. Presiding Judge Han is not to blame for what happened, but he feels guilty because Oh-reum is under his wings and he should have taught her better. He’s always been so strong this entire time despite all the challenges they’ve faced in the past that to see him break down and be so stressed this episode was heart-breaking. He absolutely doesn’t deserve it (no one does) and I hope he doesn’t blame himself for Oh-reum’s controversy and reason for resigning. He did the best that he could and I don’t think anyone had expected or anticipated that the case would blow up as big as it did. Department 44 prepared as best as they could for the case, and like Ba-reun said, there’s nothing he would change if they were to go back and do the case all over again. It’s unfortunate that they were up against powerhouses and got caught up in the trap NJ Group had set up when the professor didn’t get the results that he wanted.
In the midst of all this commotion and chaos and stressful times, the one character that stood out to me the most and gets the most bonus points from me would definitely have to be Do-yeon without a doubt. The past few episodes, she’s been a lot happier and more smiley and cheerful because of her relationship so her behaviors changed a little bit. However, this episode brought back the charismatic, confident, and strong Do-yeon that it had introduced to us back in the very beginning of the drama. When Department 44 was falling apart and they were uncertain of what to do or how to feel or how to react, Do-yeon was the person that held everything together and kept everyone grounded. Whether it was spending time with Oh-reum to cheer her up and make her feel more at ease or reminding Oh-reum and Ba-reun that they still have work to do as judges despite all the controversy erupting, she was there for our judges in the most subtle and silent way ever. She wasn’t explicitly going out to meet people and to fight people and to defend Oh-reum, but she didn’t need to do those things to show Oh-reum her support. Small and simple things like coffee breaks or cups of water were meaningful and impactful. Do-yeon has always been a character who I loved, admired, and rooted for from the beginning because she’s so confident and poised. I just don’t think I gave her enough credit until this episode when she remained as everyone’s rock and driving force. I think Department 44 would be very different without Do-yeon so her presence and the work that she does for them is probably one of their biggest blessings yet.
I’m worried as to what’s going to happen to Oh-reum. I wouldn’t want her to leave or to be exiled from the court district, but I also wouldn’t mind Oh-reum taking a break from the toxic and patriarchal institution. She excels in the courtroom and she’s great at what she does, but she’s also so limited there and has formed so many enemies in the process of breaking those limits and boundaries. Maybe this resignation is what she needs to find herself and to take a break and to be at peace again with herself and everything else. If being away from the court is what will allow Oh-reum to return to the strong, out-going, loud, and amazing woman that she used to be and always will be then I’m all for it. In or outside of the courtroom, I will support Oh-reum wherever she goes and whatever she decides to do. I just hope others will respect her decision as well and still love her with or without the robe.