Extraordinary Attorney Woo: Episode 3 Recap

Things have been pretty smooth and successful for Young-woo so far as a rookie attorney at Hanbada and she’s quickly adjusting to work and the court room. However, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns for the young attorney who’s reminded daily about her reality and the challenges that she faces as someone with autism spectrum disorder.

Content warning: This episode contains mentions of suicide and suicide attempts.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo Episode 3: Case 3 – This is Peng-soo

The episode starts off with two parents returning home after a date. They notice that the lights are off and their sons are no where to be found in the living room. It’s only until they hear some commotion coming from their son’s bedroom that they discover their eldest son, Sang-hun, laying on the floor with his younger brother, Jeong-hun, hunched over him and pounding on his chest. While the parents tend to Sang-hun who’s unconscious, Jeong-hun repeats the words “Die! Stop!” out loud in the back while hitting his head as a response.

Young-woo now has a nameplate in front of her office door that clearly signifies that the office is hers (woo hoo! baby steps!). Soo-yeon notices Young-woo admiring and cherishing the name plate and volunteers to take a photo of her standing next to it. Young-woo isn’t the most photogenic (same Young-woo same, I can totally relate) and Soo-yeon attempts to give her a few pointers, but the photoshoot will have to wait. Young-woo is called into Attorney Jung’s office to discuss their next court case.

Young-woo and Attorney Jung seat themselves down at the table and go over the court documents. Attorney Jung explains that Jeong-hun is being charged with bodily injury after allegedly beating his brother to death. Sang-hun suffered 22 rib fractures and they attribute the fractures to the front of his ribs to CPR, but it’s unknown what the causes to the other fractures were. There was also a faint mark on Sang-hun’s neck, but Attorney Jung notes that it didn’t seem life-threatening and doesn’t make too much out of it. As Young-woo browses through the documents, Attorney Jung adds that Sang-hun’s blood alcohol level at the time of his death was at intoxication levels. He assumes that had Sang-hun been sober, maybe none of this would have transpired.

Probably the most important detail to this case is the fact that the defendant, Jeong-hun, is autistic. While Young-woo reads the psychiatric evaluation for Jeong-hun that was provided, Attorney Jung shares that he would feel more confident in the case if Young-woo was to assist him given that she herself identifies on the spectrum. However, Young-woo is uncertain as to how to feel about the situation. Even though she and Jeong-hun are both autistic, they also differ as there are various disorders of autism on the spectrum. Unlike what Attorney Jung assumed, Young-woo has never met someone like Jeong-hun who’s on the more severe end of the spectrum. Attorney Jung presents the opportunity that they have with this case then: it’ll be a learning process for the both of them.

Attorney Jung and Young-woo meet with the parents of the two brothers. It is there that Attorney Jung shares that Young-woo herself has Autism Spectrum Disorder just like Jeong-hun. Neither parents say anything; all they can do is look at each other. While going over the case, the Hanbada pair learn from the parents that Jeong-hun and Sang-hun had a good relationship withe each other. Even though Sang-hun might have been busy with medical school, he still spent time with his younger brother. Jeong-hun himself is a good and kind person even though he can be misunderstood because of his physical appearance. Ms. (–) can’t seem to comprehend what was going on in Jeong-hun’s mind that lead him to the situation. Towards the end of the meeting, they all agree to let the Hanbada team meet with Jeong-hun. He’s a little shy when it comes to strangers so he might not talk much, but Attorney Jung is confident that things could potentially work out since they have Young-woo on their team.

It’s everyone’s favorite time of the day: lunch time! Jun-ho waits with a group of his hungry co-workers for the elevator to head down to the cafeteria together. But not so fast! Jun-ho catches Young-woo walking to her office so he stops the elevator from going down and has everyone wait in the elevator for her. Hahaha. LEE JUN-HOOOOO. Young-woo grabs the lunch that her dad has prepared for her and eventually joins everyone else in the elevator.

Since it is lunch time, Young-woo rambles on about whales to Jun-ho, but Jun-ho doesn’t mind one bit. His eyes are beaming and he pays close attention to every word that Young-woo has to say (Jun-ho is soooo swoony. You can literally see the hearts oozing out of his eyes at Young-woo). Soo-yeon and Min-woo notice Jun-ho and Young-woo eating lunch together and she even threatens to interrupt, but Min-woo thinks otherwise. He notes that Jun-ho looks like he doesn’t mind at all (and neither do I).

Young-woo and Attorney Jung prepare to meet with Jeong-hun. When he does arrive to the office with his mom, the two are a bit intimidated at first as Jeong-hun is much taller and bigger than them. However, they eventually settle down and get right to introductions. But Jeong-hun doesn’t seem all that interested in getting to know the two attorneys. He begins to make noises, rock back and forth in his seat, and flicker his fingers as a response. It’s not until his mother holds her hand in front of his face that he stops motioning. Jeong-hun still is the defendant after all so Young-woo poses some questions to the young man. Does he have any recollection of the day that Sang-hun died? Why did he beat his older brother up?

Jeong-hun reacts by banging on the table, hitting his head, and shouting the word “why?” repeatedly. Young-woo is taken aback by the reaction herself and the meeting comes to an abrupt stop. When she gets home later on that night, she goes straight to Dad to get some advice. How should she communicate with Jeong-hun? As someone who raised and took care of someone with autism, what would be the most effective and healthiest approach? With that, Dad opens up that it wasn’t easy as there were many moments that he felt lonely — in particular, when Young-woo was younger.

We’re brought back to when Young-woo was still a little kid. Dad had just gotten off the phone with his mom who nagged at him to resume with his love life and get married. She’ll take care of Young-woo for him. But Dad isn’t so opened to the idea and he has no plans of doing so. After ending the phone call, he walks out to the living room where Young-woo is playing with her legos and unfortunately steps on one of them. Of course, the pain is tremendous and he lays down on the ground in pain. However, Young-woo pays no attention to him which is just as painful as the physical pain from the lego itself. He attempts to have a conversation with his young daughter: what does she want to be when she grows up? Someone who plants lego pieces on the floor? But young Young-woo says nothing and resumes with playing with her legos.

But as Dad points out, things got better because there were things they could do together such as talk about law. Young-woo loved the law as much as she loved her toys and that warmed Dad’s heart. We’re taken back to another memory when Dad frantically discovered Young-woo at a small shop in the neighborhood. She’s wailing and crying and it’s only until Dad recites the law pertaining to public disturbance that she stops. With that, Dad and Young-woo return back home together.

So to sum the conversation up, Dad suggests that Young-woo dig into what Jeong-hun likes in an effort to communicate with him. And sometimes it’s not determining the method that can be difficult but more so accomplishing it. With Dad’s advice, Young-woo exits the restaurant and leaves Dad alone. What she didn’t get to hear from Dad was the remaining piece of advice: conversations don’t happen right away just by putting in effort. They take time.

So our Hanbada team make their next move in an effort to communicate with Jeong-hun. Seeing as to how Jeong-hun is a big fan of penguin character Peng-soo, Young-woo, Attorney Jung, and Soo-yeon all greet Jeong-hun using Peng-soo’s introduction. They get a friendly response from Jeong-hun who also waves back. And so the performance begins and the trio uses the fancy microphones in the office to sing and rap to the Peng-soo theme song (OMG I CAN’TTTTT. I’M LAUGHING SO HARD). Soo-yeon is the vocalist and Attorney Jung is the rapper, but Young-woo is the visual and main rapper of the idol group and she outshines them both (GIRL’S GOT BARS!). Unfortunately, not all good things last and the performance comes to an end. Jeong-hun doesn’t react throughout the performance, but it’s not until they stop performing that he sings along to the song. Yay! Things seem to be working.

But our Hanbada team takes two steps forward only to take one back. Just when they thought they were finally getting Jeong-hun to open up, Young-woo’s questions about him beating up his brother causes him to retreat. Young-woo then reaches an epiphany and she realizes something from Jeong-hun’s repeat of the words “die! stop!”. Could it be that Jeong-hun is referring to the word die as if in hoping his brother wouldn’t die? Given the stretch marks on Sang-hun’s neck as well as Sang-hun’s intoxication level, maybe it wasn’t Jeong-hun who killed him. Maybe it was that Sang-hun attempted suicide.

The Hanbada team investigate further by following up with Jeong-hun to get confirmation. Did his brother try to commit suicide? Jeong-hun answers yes. But Mom is in disbelief that her son would try to do such a thing. Plus, communicating with Jeong-hun is not as easy as it seems. She disproves their theory by asking Jeong-hun questions about Sang-hun wanting to live. Jeong-hun answers those questions in the same exact way: yes. And so we’re back to square one. They can’t confirm that Sang-hun really did attempt to commit suicide. Like Dad mentioned earlier, conversation and communication takes time.

Jun-ho and Young-woo head out to go visit Sang-hun’s bedroom to further investigate and see if there’s anything that could be used as evidence of a suicide attempt. While on the walk there, they encounter one of Jun-ho’s friends from college. A few seconds into the chat and she notices Young-woo reacting in surprise upon hearing an electric lawn mower down the sidewalk. Upon seeing Young-woo’s reaction, she assumes that Jun-ho must still be volunteering with the organization that works with people with disabilities. Jun-ho is embarrassed and disappointed at his friend’s response and apologizes to Young-woo. He understands that Young-woo could be hurt from the comments, but Young-woo isn’t. She’s used to it. She understands that people can react this way since she is autistic.

Jun-ho and Young-woo are invited into Sang-hun’s bedroom and they resume with their investigation. They take out a camera and imagine what it’d be like if they were Jeong-hun in that moment that he discovered his brother hanging himself. To assume Jeong-hun’s height, they point the camera upwards and start from the bedroom door to the spot where Sang-hun’s body was found. But there has to be more.

So the two lovers colleagues roam around the room with the camera pointed up to continue their search. Instead of a revolving door, Jun-ho and Young-woo waltz around the bedroom this time and it’s just as romantic as the first time (why is it that the smallest thing they do together seem so romantic? I’m going nuts over here because my heart feels so full and fluttery). To their surprise, they find a rope laying on top of the bookshelf in the room. They grab that as evidence, but that’s not the only thing that they discover. Young-woo also finds Sang-hun’s diary that had fallen down behind the bookshelf. The entries date to the year before and they’ll definitely need to take that with them too.

Attorney Jung and Young-woo present a few pages from the diary to Jeong-hun’s parents and shares that it seems like this suicide attempt was not a one-off. It’s happened multiple times the previous year as well. From the diary entries, medical school and studying was the primary reason as to why Sang-hun attempted suicide multiple times and Jeong-hun was witness to those attempts a few times. But both parents aren’t happy with the information and disprove of it. By focusing on Sang-hun’s suicide attempts and dissatisfaction in life, they’ll only bring about disgrace to his name. Young-woo notes that they still have to focus on Jeong-hun as the defendant in the case; it might be more important to prove that he didn’t beat his brother for no reason and to show that he won’t commit violence any longer.

Jeong-hun’s dad lashes out at Young-woo for her arguments and for caring more about Jeong-hun than protecting Sang-hun’s name. He decides to part with Hanbada and refuses to work with the law firm any longer on the case. With that, he storms out of the office and Young-woo processes what just happened. When Jun-ho gets home from work that night, he heads straight into his room and debates on how to approach Young-woo for what happened earlier that day with his college friend. He prepares to send a text to Young-woo to apologize, but he stops himself from doing so at the last second. Apologizing won’t change anything, but deep down, the interaction bothers him and he can’t stop thinking about it. Oh, my heart.

With Hanbada no longer working on the case, Young-woo gets caught up in reading comments from a news video reporting on the situation. The comments aren’t so friendly towards Jeong-hun and the commenters bash him, calling the death of his brother a national loss while he – a person with autism – gets to live. The rest of the comments express similar resentment and hate towards Jeong-hun and they assume the worst of him just because he’s autistic. Young-woo herself is affected by these comments.

Young-woo, Soo-yeon, and Min-woo head downstairs to the lobby of the building to meet with Attorney Jung. Min-woo, of course, uses that time to tease the attorneys for their performance as nothing amounted from it. But the performance did seem to have a positive effect and impact on Jeong-hun. He’s seen outside of the building with a taxi driver and the group of 4 run out to greet them both. Young-woo arrives there first, but it’s Attorney Jung who calms the angry taxi driver down by paying for Jeong-hun’s fare. Turns out Jeong-hun wanted an encore of the performance which is why he showed up to their work building. But there won’t be an encore and Young-woo is instructed by Attorney Jung to stay with Jeong-hun until his mother comes to pick him up.

Eventually, Jeong-hun’s mom does come arrive to the office and everything seems to be okay. However, Mom has something else she wants to talk to Young-woo about. She’s opened to the idea of working with Hanbada again on the case as long as they don’t mention about Sang-hun’s suicide attempt. Jeong-hun can always receive a reduced sentence by pleading insanity. Young-woo’s only response is that she’ll follow up with Attorney Jung for an answer and she prepares to head out. But Mom isn’t done just quite yet. This time, she points out her personal feelings about Young-woo towards Jeong-hun and how she couldn’t help but compare the two since they’re both on the spectrum. She and her husband let their personal feelings and emotions get involved with the case which wasn’t fair to Young-woo.

Young-woo heads down with Jeong-hun and his mom to bid farewell with them and send them off. While doing so, she narrates about the work of Hans Asperger, the first person to do research on autism. His research started in connection with the Nazi camps where they determined anyone physically disabled, mentally ill, or terminally ill as unworthy of living. Fast forward 80 years later and not much has changed. For those with autism such as Young-woo and Jeong-hun, there’s still a long way to go in the fight for justice and equality. There’s this heavy weight that they have to bear as individuals with autism. And so Young-woo and Jeong-hun bid farewell with each other, Peng-soo style.

The court trial for Jeong-hun’s case begins and a psychiatrist well-informed in autism spectrum disorder is brought on to testify as a witness. Young-woo questions the witness by asking him about a meltdown and they conclude that Jeong-hun suffered a meltdown that was out of his control or choice during the time of the incident. When it’s the prosecutor’s turn to question the witness, things take a sharp and unexpected turn. He utilizes Young-woo to argue that the plead for the defendant as mentally unfit is invalid. If Jeong-hun is mentally unfit because he’s autistic, then that also means that Young-woo must be the same since she too has autism (I’m literally fuming. This scene made me so angry and upset).

Attorney Jung calls for objection and even scolds the prosecutor, but he is overruled. The prosecutor questions how is it that the defendant’s sentence should be reduced compared to other criminals while Young-woo’s arguments should be recognized and received as equal to other legal professionals. Isn’t that ironic? Young-woo’s head spins as she is humiliated and attacked in the courtroom and nothing is done about it. Everyone can only stare at her, including Jun-ho who watches on in horror and concern.

After the intense confrontation, Jun-ho decides to check in with Young-woo at the office later on that day. Just as he approaches the front of her office, he sees her with a rope around her neck and rushes in to save her. He wraps his left arm right below her bottom and uses his right hand to untie the knot around her neck. As a result, the two of them fall back and down onto the ground. Jun-ho lays right on top of Young-woo and the two stare at each other for a few seconds until it finally dawns on Young-woo what happened. She reaches another epiphany and the whale vision she gets when she realizes something shows up on the screen.

Young-woo and Jun-ho rush out of her office and into Attorney Jung’s office where Jeong-hun’s dad is also present. She explains the situation that just transpired back in her office and conclude that the back of the ribs could not have been fractured due to a beating by Jeong-hun. Because they were all fractured in a straight line, it must have been caused by the fall when Jeong-hun attempted to save his brother. Jeong-hun must have also wrapped his arms around his brother’s bottom the same way Jun-ho just did with Young-woo. This means that Jeong-hun will be found not guilty of bodily injury that resulted in a death.

The only caveat? In order to present this argument, they’ll have no choice but to mention Sang-hun’s suicide attempt which his dad originally didn’t want. But given the desperate situation that they’re in, Dad changes his mind and permits them to head in that direction. But there’s also something else that he proposes: he wants the trial to proceed without Young-woo. As they just saw inside of the court room earlier, her presence affected the case and could potentially alter the trial. At the end of the day, he wants what is best for Jeong-hun.

Despite Attorney Jung’s efforts to appeal the decision, Young-woo agrees with Jeong-hun’s dad. She recollects the most recent experiences she had where she was discriminated against and is well aware that people aren’t able to differentiate between her and Jeong-hun even though she can herself. If the prosecutor can’t do it, then the judge definitely won’t be able to. With that, she solemnly admits that she’s an attorney who wouldn’t be helpful to Jeong-hun.

Attorney Jung brings this issue to CEO Han’s attention and requests that she speak with Jeong-hun’s dad to change his mind. But Jeong-hun’s dad still is a client and it’s CEO Han’s job to do whatever her clients want. Instead, she suggests that Attorney Jung change his approach. Actions speak louder than words. He can prove that he and Young-woo are a team and back out of the court case as well. They’ll hand the court case over to another attorney within the law firm instead.

So who exactly is this attorney that they’re assigning the case to? It’s Attorney Jang who Attorney Jung doesn’t get along with the greatest. They have this friendly rivalry of some sort, but Attorney Jung has to suck it up and ask him to help take on the case. So with that, Attorney Jang proceeds with the court trial by representing Jeong-hun. During the next court hearing, they bring in the medical examiner who studied Sang-hun’s autopsy report and ask her about the fractured ribs. Just like Young-woo pointed out, the ribs on the back was most likely due to a fall and not because of Jeong-hun. Given Sang-hun’s intoxication levels, he also would not have been able to react fast enough upon falling. Jeong-hun also would not have been able to fracture the back side of the ribs because he was in such an agitated state during the incident.

Just when it’s the prosecutor’s turn to question the witness, the judge intervenes to ask Jeong-hun a series of questions related to the incident. Did he drop his brother to the ground? Did he try to save his life? Was he trying to save his brother or not? Jeong-hun is uncomfortable and stressed at all the questions and the amount of pressure being placed on him. He responds yes to every single question thrown at him which the judge deems makes him mentally unfit and unable to understand and answer questions about the incident.

Upon the conclusion of the court trial, Young-woo and Attorney Jung walk out together to discuss the case. Attorney Jung has a good feeling about the case and assumes Jeong-hun will be found not guilty of bodily injury and will probably get probation for the charge on assault. It’s also during this time that Jeong-hun’s parents express their gratitude and appreciation to both attorneys for their hard work, especially Young-woo. There’s not much to be said and as Young-woo walks away, she takes one final glance at Jeong-hun.

Jun-ho purchases a gift for Young-woo and heads to her office to hand her the present. However, her office is empty and unlit as she’s not inside. Instead, Young-woo is in the printing room printing out a copy of her… resignation letter (NOOOOO!! NOOOOOO). With the letter in her hand and her headphones on, an image of a sperm whale floats outside by the window. Young-woo returns to her office to pack her belongings and grabs one last thing before leaving: her nameplate (I’M CRYINGGGG!! I’m such a mess right now). She places the nameplate inside her box and walks away.

My Thoughts:

I’m SOOOOOO emotional! I’m not okay. The first time watching this episode was already hard enough, but the ending to this second re-watch just hit me soooo much harder and I don’t even know why. I felt so many different emotions while watching this episode and my thoughts are all over the place. I don’t even know where to start.

This episode was the most difficult episode to watch so far and I really was not prepared at all for all the curveballs and messages it threw at us. And it wasn’t just a one-time thing but something that the episode was constantly doing throughout its one-hour run. So even though I wanted to focus on the court case like I did with the previous episodes and all the chaos that came with it, there was so much more that happened in this episode that wasn’t really all there with the previous episodes. That’s what made episode 3 a much harder watch.

We witnessed the type of treatment and judgement that Young-woo received as a person with autism within the law firm. Outside of Jun-ho, everyone didn’t respond so friendly to her at first. Attorney Jung, Soo-yeon, and Min-woo were all sort of in the same boat of misunderstanding Young-woo, underestimating her, and mistreating her because she was autistic. However, as seen with Attorney Jung, he’s grown from that first impression and treats Young-woo with so much more respect and support now because he knows her better and is well familiar with her brilliance, intelligence, and energy. What I wasn’t prepared for was the way that these pre-conceived judgements and treatment extended outside of the Hanbada walls and into the courtroom. That was what broke me.

It was having to watch Young-woo be attacked and humiliated for who she is inside of the court room. It was the anger and frustration that boiled up inside of me as the prosecutor used her as an excuse to invalidate her argument that Jeong-hun is mentally unfit. It was the fact that she’s already well aware and conscious of how others perceive her, but to have those judgements be said out loud and explicitly to her face in front of a group of people was upsetting. Even if it wasn’t in the courtroom or instead in a one-on-one conversation, this confrontation would still be so upsetting. And it’s wrong and unfair to place these harmful generalizations and judgements on Young-woo as she did nothing wrong and she was just simply doing her job as an attorney defending her client. But because she has autism, she was attacked and picked on in the court room. She was placed on the spot, all this attention and weight was on her, and she had no idea that such a thing would happen to her.

It was so upsetting watching the prosecutor attack her and the judge ultimately not do anything about it, but like Young-woo pointed out towards the end, everyone just assumes that everyone who has autism spectrum disorder is the same when they’re not. There’s a reason as to why the official diagnosis includes the word “spectrum” in there. But no one will be able to see the differences between Jeong-hun and Young-woo because they already have these preconceived notions and judgements of those with autism.

Along with that court scene, the other scene that really impacted me was Jeong-hun’s dad’s request to proceed the court case without Young-woo. The request was hurtful and heartbreaking, but it was Young-woo’s response that hurt even more. The way she accepted it, the way she didn’t even fight it, the way she didn’t even say much back the way that Attorney Jung did. The way that she couldn’t even advocate for herself. She let it go and she accepted it because this is her reality. This is her truth. The reality is that she has and will continue to face discrimination from society because she has autism. And the hardest part is that there’s not much she can do about it at this point so she just has to take it in and accept it for what it is.

And of course, a part of me felt so conflicted because I wanted to see her stand her ground and stand up for herself and fight for her spot as an attorney who needs to do her job of defending her defendant. How awesome would it have been had Young-woo rejected Jeong-hun’s dad’s proposal, got up there in the courtroom to make her argument, and successfully swooped in to defend her client like she did in episode one? But as much I would have liked this happy ending, it also wasn’t going to happen. The drama was realistic in how Young-woo maturely and realistically stepped out and away from the court case. Young-woo is well-aware and conscious of the stereotypes and generalizations and perceptions that society still has of those with autism and had to take that into consideration for the sake of the court case. And maybe one day it won’t have to be this way. Maybe one day, there will be a case where the clients do want Young-woo to help out because she’s great and talented as an attorney and she’s really awesome and bright. Unfortunately, Jeong-hun’s case was just not one of those days.

I think we’re getting to witness the impact that the discrimination that Young-woo faces has on her co-workers, in particular Jun-ho and Attorney Jung. Attorney Jung has definitely grown since his first interaction with Young-woo and he’s now someone who wants and needs Young-woo to be on his team. Sure, it might not have been the smartest of him to assume that Young-woo knew how to communicate with Jeong-hun or how he recruited her to work on the case with him simply because she and Jeong-hun both have autism. But then again, that’s another message that the drama was trying to convey. And it was through this assumption and conversation where Young-woo clarified that she didn’t know how to communicate with Jeong-hun just because he’s also on the spectrum. Attorney Jung has done a lot of learning and there’s still lots of learning left to do, but it’s obvious that he cares for Young-woo and will stand up for her.

Whether it was Jeong-hun’s dad or the prosecutor, at his office or in the courtroom, Attorney Jung stepped up as a leader to defend his team member. And people’s opinions about this behavior may vary. Some people may like it while some others might see it as some kind of “savior” or “hero” complex where he acts like he needs to save Young-woo and she’s incapable of standing up for herself. At this point in the drama, I don’t think it’s gotten to that point just yet (and I hope it doesn’t lean that way or if it does, there’s a reason behind it). I like that Attorney Jung is advocating for Young-woo because 1) it shows evidence of his growth and development because you’re certain that he wouldn’t have done these things in the beginning of the drama and 2) it shows that he’s practicing allyship with Young-woo who is still insecure about herself and well aware of the the stigma that is associated with autism and the discrimination that she experiences. Young-woo is capable of standing up for herself and being loud and proud as we saw in episode one, but it’s also nice to see that she has people on her side who support her and care for her amongst a sea of people who don’t. Young-woo’s not alone in this journey and fight and Attorney Jung is there by her side.

Along with Attorney Jung, Jun-ho is also affected by the way that Young-woo is treated and judged by others and I would even argue that the impact hits him much harder than it does for Attorney Jung. He’s such a wholesome character and you can tell that his feelings and care for Young-woo come from a genuine place. His actions are with good intentions and he sincerely cares about Young-woo. The way that he apologized for his college friend’s demeaning comments and then was even conflicted on how to apologize to Young-woo. Or how it kept on bothering him. To add onto that, the way he checked in with Young-woo after the whole courtroom situation only to be confronted with the truth a while after that yes, his college friend’s comments were indeed hurtful.

Through his relationship with Young-woo, the thing I find the most comforting is seeing Jun-ho put in effort and time to communicate with Young-woo. Like Dad mentioned, communication is key and it’s not gonna happen right away. Jun-ho experienced that for himself when he created boundaries with Young-woo only to find that she didn’t have much to say to him outside of the boundaries that they agreed on. But he still puts in the effort and he honors and respects those boundaries and they have great conversations about whales when it is lunch time where they’re eating together. Whales is Young-woo’s love language and Jun-ho has learned that. Young-woo likes whales and Jun-ho is building a connection and relationship with her through that. It’s uncertain as to if and when Young-woo will open up and talk about anything outside of whales and work to Jun-ho, but what we do know is that it will take time. It won’t be an overnight process. In the process of getting to know Young-woo and forming this dynamic relationship with her, Jun-ho might be a little lonely. But it won’t be like that forever.

The episode was such a wake-up call in shedding light on the type of discrimination that people with autism face. From the hate comments by the netizens to the idea that Jeong-hun just plead insanity to Young-woo’s honest truth about the treatment of people with autism 80 years later. The sentiment is still there and not much has changed. And as we have seen with all the episodes so far, it’s difficult for Young-woo to separate her professional life from her personal life or to create boundaries between what’s personal and work. Things that happen at work creep into her personal life and it’s not easy for her to go from work to home and vice versa. In episode two, we saw Young-woo ponder over the concept of independency and marriage as a result of the court case that Hanbada was working on. In this episode, we witness in a much more straight-forward and blunt fashion the discrimination that Young-woo faces as someone with autism. We also witnessed her consult with Dad on an effective approach to connecting with someone with autism. Her work also affects her personal life and it goes to prove just how complex things are for Young-woo. But it also proves just how much of a warrior she is. Through work and the cases, she learns so much more about herself. In the process of being an attorney, she’s also learning how to defend herself.

Moving on to the format and structure of the drama itself, I’m still uncertain as to how I feel about the procedural aspect of it all. A part of me doesn’t mind that each episode presents a different case and I like that each case is its own story with its own message. I do wish that maybe each case would be extended and spread out into two episodes though so that we’ll be given more moments between the characters and more time to be presented the nuances in each case. You sometimes feel like the cases are rushed because you only have an hour to work with so you can’t really show all that much that happens in between.

And while I find that the pacing of each episode has been fine given how procedural it is, I wouldn’t mind something slower paced. Something more slice of life? Something that shows the day-to-day life of Young-woo? Maybe more Young-woo with Dad? I’m curious about their relationship, their dynamic, their stories, Young-woo’s upbringing and how Dad raised her. It was nice to see Dad use his own personal experience and tie it back to the case, but I would also just like to see simple, stand-alone Dad with Young-woo moments so that we’ll be given a better glimpse into their life. The same argument can be applied to Young-woo and Jun-ho who have such an interesting dynamic with each other. While their connection primarily ties to work, I would like to see a different side of their relationship that shows more.

As you can obviously tell, I have so many thoughts from this episode alone and it was a much more thought-provoking watch. The episode was not shy in being honest and realistic about how society treats people with autism and there were a few times where it was frustrating and upsetting to watch. But by evoking these types of emotions out of you, the drama is clear on what it aims to do: bring about awareness and emphasis on the discrimination and treatment that people with autism face on a daily basis. The first part is awareness and recognition. Hopefully, the next step afterward is action and change.

Extra

Similar to ‘Alchemy of Souls’, I put together an edit for Jun-ho and Young-woo because I love them both so so much and they make me so happy. I’m very much interested in their dynamic and may even write another post about their relationship later on. But this edit will have to do in the meantime. Out of all the edits I’ve made, this has to be one of my favorites and one of my most meaningful and cherished ones yet. There’s just something about this edit that warms my heart and I’m quite content with the outcome (after many nights of stress and confusion of course). Hope you enjoy!

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