Young-woo continues to learn and grow as an attorney at Hanbada – whether that’s through the cases she’s assigned to or the people she interacts with. However, this new case she is involved with teaches her lessons and puts her in situations she’s never faced with her previous cases. How do you determine between what is right from wrong? What do you do when your gut feelings contradict your work responsibilities? Some things are just learned the hard way and Young-woo experiences this for herself.
Extraordinary Attorney Woo Episode 5: Case 5 – Wild Card vs. Tactician
The episode starts off with a man presenting about his company’s latest product in a meeting with some investors – a cash cassette which will indicate honestly and truthfully if the number of bills placed inside matches with the number that the banker punches into the machine. The man talks highly about the product in order to appeal to his audience, but they’re not so impressed. They’ve seen similar products before from other companies such as Geumgang and Leaders. Even if his company, Ihwa ATM, has applied for model utility rights for the cassette, the similarities between the companies are too alarming to just overlook.
Young-woo grabs a water bottle from the refrigerator at the office and is shortly joined by Soo-yeon who has breaking news for her. Well, breaking for Young-woo that is. Soo-yeon shares that Young-woo’s been assigned to work on a case with Min-woo which he didn’t care to share with the attorney. As his nickname from his law school classmates would indicate, Min-woo can be quite the tactician. It seems as if Tactician Min-woo already has a few tactics up his sleeve.
And so Young-woo stops by Min-woo’s office to confront him about his actions; why didn’t he tell her they were assigned to a case together? But Min-woo remains cunning and passive. They have a meeting with their client in 5 minutes and Young-woo walks with Min-woo over to the meeting room with all the documents in her arms that she didn’t have a chance to look over yet.
Their client in this case is Ihwa ATM’s Director, Director Hwang Du-yong. He’s the same man who presented about his company’s cassette earlier in the episode. Introductions are exchanged and our Hanbada team give out their business cards to Director Hwang. It’s obvious that the meeting is quite exclusive. From chatting about military enlistments to giving a toast with the juice that Director Hwang gifted them, the men in the room become quickly acquainted. Jun-ho notices this when he enters the meeting room to hand out some documents to the group. He assists Young-woo in opening her juice bottle for her and watches for a bit as no one else in the room clinks their bottle with hers. It’s as if she’s invisible in all of this.
After some very friendly exchanges and banter, the meeting resumes with Director Hwang’s reasoning for the meeting: he wishes to file a sales ban injunction against Geumgang ATM. He claims that their rival company has been copying their products and technology for a while now including the cassette. But wait, what is a cassette? When asked by Attorney Jung what a cassette is, Young-woo struggles to answer and she rushes to search for the answer in the stack of documents laid out in front of her. However, Min-woo swoops in to answer the question by clarifying that it’s a container where cash is placed in. Director Hwang is clearly impressed with Min-woo and takes a good look at the attorney’s business card.
The meeting concludes early once Team Hanbada confirms that Ihwa’s application for the model utility rights for their cassette hasn’t been registered just yet. Once the meeting ends, Attorney Jung reminds Young-woo and Min-woo to stay on top of it with the case. It’s not until Attorney Jung leaves that Young-woo expresses her dissatisfaction with Min-woo. He should share all the materials with her beforehand so that she too is prepared, but Min-woo feels otherwise. They’re competitors within the law firm. They’re competing against each other. They’re both on one-year contracts and he wants his contract renewed just as much as Young-woo does with hers. With that, he also leaves the conference room. However, he makes sure to point out Young-woo’s business card that’s still left on the table. It seems like Min-woo won this round.
And so the trial for the court case begins. The legal team representing Geumgang ATM claims that Ihwa ATM’s application for the model utility rights for their cassette is false in action. They plagiarized the product from a similar product that was showcased at the annual Chicago International Engineering Fair known for its ATM machines. Ihwa saw the product and used it to develop their own security device. Comparisons in the design between the two products are shown in the courtroom and Young-woo studies the images carefully. She interjects the presentation and discusses the differences between the two products, but she quickly settles down upon realizing that there still isn’t enough to support Ihwa ATM’s sales ban injunction.
After some back and forth banter about the years that their respective cassettes were released, the hearing is adjourned. Geumgang released their cassette in 2021 while Ihwa applied for model utility rights in 2020. If they really want to debate about who copied who, the Geumgang CEO points out that another company named Leaders were the first ones to produce their own cassette in 2019. However, since Leaders has gone out of business and their cassettes are no longer in the market, there isn’t any more of their cassettes that they can compare to.
As people leave the courtroom, Young-woo utilizes the opportunity to grab Director Hwang’s attention with a question of her own: is what he’s telling the truth? Director Hwang, Attorney Jung, and Min-woo are all taken aback by the unexpected question and Director Hwang avoids answering the question by stepping out to take a phone call. Attorney Jung leaves as well so Young-woo is left alone with Min-woo once again. Young-woo feels that it’s more important to get down to the facts so that they know how to defend their client. However, Min-woo advises her to never interrogate their client in such a way again; they are employed by their clients and they can only defend their clients based on what they are told.
Min-woo and Young-woo take turns taking jabs at each other. He goes from calling her ‘Wild Card Woo Young-woo’ since her behavior with her cases has been quite unpredictable. Upset and frustrated, Young-woo lashes out on Min-woo and calls him ‘Tactician Min-woo’ which also gets him to react. However, their intense confrontation is interrupted by another intense confrontation happening just right outside of the courtroom doors. Director Hwang and the Geumgang CEO, CEO Oh, go at it against each other to Min-woo and Young-woo’s surprise. While watching, Min-woo questions whether Young-woo can determine who is the liar and who’s telling the truth. It’s not as easy as it seems, right?
Young-woo visits Dong Geu-ra-mi at her restaurant to learn more about lying and how to determine if someone is lying. While Dong Geu-ra-mi claims you can use the game “Cham-cham-cham” as a method, Young-woo believes it has to do something with an itchy nose and releasing a chemical called catecholamine. That’s what the books she’s read has said. But Dong Geu-ra-mi is simple and easy; along with the Cham-cham-cham game, you can also look into a person’s eyes to know. But as Young-woo points out, making eye contact with someone is one of the hardest things for people with autism to do so Dong Geu-ra-mi changes the method slightly. Look at the space in between a person’s eye brows. That is the sweet spot that will tell you all you need to know.
So they test out Dong Geu-ra-mi’s theory and take turns asking each other a question. Young-woo starts off first: is it true that she doesn’t want to lose against Min-woo? Of course, this peaks Dong Geu-ra-mi’s interest as she’s quite interested in Min-woo herself, but she also learns more about Young-woo’s feelings towards Min-woo. Young-woo think he’s annoying and a jerk. Lol. It’s obvious Young-woo does not want to lose against her rival. So it’s Dong Geu-ra-mi’s turn and she poses a question to Young-woo: is it true that Jun-ho likes Young-woo? I mean, they did go see the sunset together. So again, she asks the same question and Young-woo still doesn’t have an answer for the tricky-not-so-tricky question. She grows nervous at the thought of it. Hehe.
Speaking of Jun-ho, he plays some one-on-one basketball with housemate Min-woo. They take a short break so that Min-woo can answer a phone call and Jun-ho overhears the phone call conversation. While speaking to another attorney, Min-woo doesn’t have the greatest things to say about Young-woo. He expresses pity for Young-woo and claims that he’s shouldering more of the work since Young-woo has a “handicap.” He feels as if it’s his responsibility to only take on more.
With that, the phone call ends and Min-woo resumes to the basketball game with Jun-ho. But Jun-ho isn’t so happy with Min-woo after hearing parts of the conversation. He expresses his disappointment and anger with Min-woo by taking it out on him during the match. At one point, he shoves Min-woo onto the ground so Min-woo complains about playing fair. Min-woo sure is one to speak for himself about playing fair and Jun-ho walks away (GO JUN-HO!!).
Young-woo munches on her usual gimbap breakfast before heading out to work. An ahjumma walks into Dad’s restaurant and complains about the high prices of the gimbap so Young-woo utilizes the situation as an opportunity to test out her liar theory. With her little “Cham-cham-cham” hammer, she poses a question to Dad: does he think the customer was being rude? LOL. I like how Young-woo carries the little hammer with her. So cute and funny. The customer becomes offended by Young-woo’s question so Dad pretends to not know Young-woo and asks her to leave the restaurant. Young-woo catches onto the hint and leaves for work.
It’s another case which means another field trip! This time, Jun-ho and Young-woo drive over to visit Ihwa ATM’s office. On the drive there, Jun-ho gives out a few pointers on how to tell if a person’s lying by studying their body language. Their hands and legs are a giveaway and can say a lot about a person. Young-woo isn’t the most optimistic about this method so Jun-ho suggests that she just have a casual conversation with whoever it is she’s talking to. But Young-woo isn’t so sure about that either. It can be easy for people with autism to be fooled and it’s also difficult for them to lie. How will she be able to tell what intentions people have? They could also trick her. Young-woo comments:
People live in a world that is made up of me and you, but people with autism are more used to living in a world made up of only me.
I have to make a conscious effort at all times to not be fooled by lies.
Upon hearing Young-woo’s honest thoughts and feelings, Jun-ho remains grateful. It’s moments like these where he feels as if he understands Young-woo a lot better. So with that, they arrive at the company and do a little role playing in the car before heading in. Jun-ho will pretend to be Director Hwang and Young-woo will play detective and determine if he’s lying or not.
So with her little “Cham-cham-cham” hammer (a must need, to be honest), Young-woo asks Jun-ho a question that she’s quite familiar with already: true of false? Does Jun-ho like Young-woo? (EEEEK!!). Jun-ho freezes upon hearing the question and no words are spoken. The two sit in silence for a few seconds in the car and all they can do is stare at each other. Jun-ho finally breaks the tension by adding that it might be too difficult of a question for Director Hwang to answer (Jun-ho, you coward! Just tell her you like her!). The question remains a mystery, but I think we all know what the answer is (;
Min-woo is quite busy himself with his own meeting. He meets with a former employee from Leader – the first company in Korea to create their own cassette security device after attending the Chicago International Engineering Fair in 2019. The employee gives Min-woo the history and background information behind how their company went under and confirms that their products have indeed all been disposed. Their products no longer exist or are available on the market.
Back at Ihwa ATM’s company, Jun-ho and Young-woo enter the building to meet with Director Hwang. Young-woo reminds herself to look between the eyebrows and at the hands and legs. Butttt, things don’t always go according to plan. Upon meeting Director Hwang, they notice that he’s all covered up. He got into a car accident so his legs and arm are in a cast and the spot between his eyebrows are covered up (this part was so funny!). Since they’re there to talk about product development, Director Hwang introduces them to Manager Bae of their Research and Development team (omg it’s Mr. Nam from Vincenzo!!! I’m tearing up!).
They all sit down to discuss the timeline and development of the cassette. Young-woo throws a bunch of questions at Manager Bae and can’t help but notice just how nervous he looks. He avoids eye contact with them both, his palms are sweaty, his nose turns red, and he mumbles while answering the questions. At one point, Director Hwang shares that Manager Bae used to be a theater actor prior to his current position with the company, but Young-woo isn’t so entertained with the fun fact. Their conversation is cut short when Min-woo gives Director Hwang a phone call. They all learn from Min-woo that all products from Leader has been disposed so Geumgang won’t have any evidence to use to support their claim. Therefore, there’s nothing much to worry about.
But still, this isn’t enough for Young-woo. It’s important that they also gather enough evidence to substantiate that their claims are true. A way to go about doing that would be if Manager Bae was to testify as a witness and speak about the product development side of the cassette. Director Hwang isn’t so sure if Min-woo has agreed about this so he comes close to giving him another call. But since Young-woo doesn’t want to lose to Min-woo, she explains to both men that their case is a little different. If Manager Bae was to testify, he won’t be punished even if he was to commit perjury as he would go in as a reference witness.
But that’s not all. Young-woo even gives Manager Bae a few tips as to how to act in the courtroom: don’t hide your hands under the table and don’t rub the tip of your nose. The judge could catch onto those actions and sense that he’s lying. Since Manager Bae used to be a theater actor, she’s expecting him to be good at this. With that, Director Hwang is finally impressed with Young-woo for once.
In the next court hearing, Dong Geu-ra-mi shows up in the courtroom since, well, Min-woo is there after all. Young-woo begins the trial by questioning Manager Bae. Turns out he’s in theater mode as he answers the questions in a robotic and monotone way. Of course, Director Hwang and Min-woo catch onto Manager Bae’s strange behavior as the testimony continues. The Geumgang CEO can tell that Manager Bae is putting on a show but the judge isn’t having any of it. At one point in the testimony, Manager Bae’s nose turns red and he struggles to stop himself from scratching it. He breaks down into tears in the courtroom and attempts to appeal to the judge’s heart and emotions. His team is so small and they worked so hard to develop the cassette. How could they possibly think of stealing another company’s product?
CEO Oh once again interrupts in the courtroom, but the judge shuts him down when asked if he has any evidence that Ihwa ATM plagiarized the product. Although things are leaning towards Hanbada’s favor, CEO Oh vows to find the product even if it means looking through every junk shop in Korea. A decision on the injunction is eventually made and Director Hwang celebrates by visiting Young-woo’s office and gifting her with a sunflower picture frame. Like the sunflower implies, he hopes Young-woo will be able to make more money and generate more wealth.
But a letter from CEO Oh, is delivered to Young-woo and she rushes over to Attorney Jung’s office. When she fails to find him inside, she hurries over to Min-woo’s office and shares with him the letter instead. In the letter, CEO Oh details the history behind the cassette: just like he had been telling all along, the product was first exhibited at the fair in Chicago which Geumgang and Ihwa then used to create their own respective cassettes. Ihwa only applied for model utility rights because they wanted to monopolize the product. Why is Young-woo disregarding the truth?
Chaos ensues at the Geumgang company once news of the sales ban injunction spreads. Investors are furious and they demand for answers from CEO Oh himself. Things intensify and get dangerous within the company walls and CEO Oh notes that his business could go under with this decision. He concludes the letter by asking Young-woo a very important question:
Do you want to be a competent attorney who only wins in court? Or do you want to be an honorable attorney who reveals the truth?
Min-woo doesn’t think too much after reading the letter, but the content sticks with Young-woo. What if CEO Oh is telling the truth? Shouldn’t they do something about it? Maybe they can show the letter to Ihwa ATM and have them revoke their injunction ban. But Min-woo criticizes Young-woo. They already did what they did as attorneys and won their client’s case. Plus, why did she take on the case if she can’t trust their clients? Young-woo sure is Wild Card Woo Young-woo.
Of course, this doesn’t sit well with Young-woo and she calls Min-woo ‘Tactician Min-woo’ once again. But this time, he has a comeback for it and he throws the nickname back at Young-woo. Isn’t she the tactician? Wasn’t she the one with tactics up her sleeve preparing Manager Bae for his witness testimony? It was as if Min-woo was watching an American TV show with the way that Manager Bae was acting and putting on a show. Young-woo is speechless with the comments and she discovers the same sunflower picture frame hanging in Min-woo’s office. She eventually exits the room and catches up with Attorney Jung outside of her office. But she retreats and admits that she no longer has anything to talk to him about. Young-woo disappears into her office, tucks the letter back inside the envelope, and places it inside her desk.
Young-woo joins Soo-yeon for dinner since there’s gimbap being served. They chat for a bit about the case and Young-woo’s relationship with Min-woo. Since they’ve been calling each other nicknames, Soo-yeon’s also interested in one herself. What should her nickname be? To Soo-yeon’s surprise, Young-woo expresses her appreciation to her law school classmate for looking out for her back in law school and helping her along the way. To Young-woo, Soo-yeon is bright, warm, kind, and sweet. Young-woo’s nickname for Soo-yeon shall be Spring Sunshine Soo-yeon. Soo-yeon is speechless with Young-woo’s comments and their dinner is interrupted by a sudden visit from Min-woo. Geumgang has filed for an appeal with the injunction and has demanded for an on-site verification since they’ve discovered some evidence.
So the Hanbada team meet at a bank along with the judge and Geumgang’s team. Using one of the ATM machines by Leader, they compare the cassette in that machine to the one made by Ihwa ATM as evidence that Ihwa committed plagiarism and should have their injunction against Geumgang revoked. When the meeting concludes, everyone goes about their own way. It seems as if the injunction will be revoked and Ihwa ATM’s model utility rights application won’t be registered either. But Director Hwang doesn’t seem too concerned about it. He’s already secured most of the contracts with his banks so he still won in the end even if he technically lost the trial. With that, he thanks the Hanbada team for their work and bids farewell.
However, Young-woo isn’t feeling so great. She glances at CEO Oh one last time before heading back to the office. She finds herself in the kitchen area once again and organizes the water bottles in the refrigerator to process her emotions. Jun-ho discovers Young-woo at the office so he sparks up a conversation with her. Young-woo can’t help but express herself in that moment. She confides in Jun-ho on how she feels about the entire case. She admits her faults, mistakes, and shortcomings. She knows that she played an active role in helping Ihwa ATM achieve their end goal which was to fulfill their contracts. And maybe the worst part of it all is that she was well aware of all of this yet she didn’t do anything to stop it.
She then faces Jun-ho and recalls their meeting with Manager Bae. She knew that he was lying based on his body language and behavior. Manager Bae was a lie in and of itself and in the end, it wasn’t he who fooled Young-woo. It was Young-woo herself. She fooled herself by pretending like she didn’t know anything when she did. Her drive to win was more important than being truthful. With tears in her eyes and a trembling voice, Young-woo admits that she’s ashamed of herself. She drops her head down and Jun-ho watches as Young-woo cries. He reaches out his hand, but he stops himself halfway through. There’s nothing he can say or do in this moment except be with her. But perhaps, his presence alone is enough and the two soak in this heartbreaking moment together (this probably has to be my FAVORITE scene so far in the drama).
When Young-woo returns to her office, she replaces the sunflower picture with the letter from CEO Oh instead. She tapes the letter up on her wall and takes a good look at it. As mentioned in the letter, this shall serve as a reminder for Young-woo on what type of attorney she strives to be and it’s clear that she wants to be an honorable attorney who always reveals the truth.
CEO Tae of Hanbada’s rival, Taesan Law Firm, receives a visit from an administrator from the Blue House. She’s one of the final candidates for the Department of Justice and she hands over some paperwork to him during this verification process. It seems as if things are treading along, but there is something on the administrator’s mind. They can’t ignore public opinion during the verification process and there’s something about CEO Tae that they would need to confirm first. She’s been associated with rumors about having a child out of wedlock and the administrator wants to hear the truth from CEO Tae first before moving forward. CEO Tae is quite baffled and refutes the rumors. She answers that she does not have any illegitimate children and smiles nervously at the administrator afterwards. Where is the Cham-cham-cham toy hammer when you need it?
Wow, just wow! It’s funny because before watching episode 5, I was reflecting on the past 4 episodes and contemplated on which of the episodes was my favorite so far. However, I couldn’t really come to a conclusion and my instincts weren’t leaning more towards one episode than the other. However, I think it’s safe to say that with this newest episode, I have found that winner. Episode 5 is my favorite episode so far in the drama.
Episode 5 is one of those episodes where you learn new things once you go back and rewatch it. That was definitely the case with me and there were certain things that I noticed my second time around that I didn’t with my first watch. It’s also one of those episodes where you can go back and watch it a third time, fourth time, even fifth around time. There were a few things that this episode did that played to its strengths. First being the case and the fact that Team Hanbada’s client lost the case which was a different watch than we’ve seen with the previous cases. As amazing, talented, and intelligent as our attorneys are, there are going to be cases where they lose no matter how much work they put in. It goes to show that not everything always work in your favor and it also wouldn’t have been right if Ihwa ATM won the case given that they weren’t being truthful the entire time. In addition to the results of the case, I also liked that the case itself wasn’t flashy or amped up for dramatic purposes. It was a simple, basic court case and we saw the usual things that our Hanbada team did with the court trials. However, this case was so much more impactful on Young-woo even as standard as it was. I think that’s why I liked this episode even more.
This case was a wake-up call with full of lessons for Young-woo along the way. Episode 5 was very Young-woo centered and focused which I absolutely loved and want to see more of. She experienced so many conflicting thoughts as she worked on this case and was placed in new situations or moments where she was uncertain as to how to act or respond. Her client is lying about their timeline and development of their cassette which she didn’t feel so great about, but she did her job as an attorney in prepping them to win in court. She felt so much guilt knowing that she played a role in the whole thing and she knew that she shouldn’t have done it but she did. Young-woo learned these lessons the hard way and didn’t feel all that great about it in the end. She was ashamed, she felt guilty, she knew that what she did wasn’t right. And the hard part was that she was aware of all of this, but didn’t do anything about it. In fact, she was a part of the issue by perpetuating the behavior and allowing it.
It hit Young-woo so much harder because she knew deep down that this just wasn’t who she was as a person. She knew that she was better than that. This case taught Young-woo that being honest and truthful is more important to her than winning. To Young-woo, it’s not always going to be about winning. Yes, she will still have to defend her clients as an attorney, but there are ways to go about it that does not require lying or guilt. Young-woo continues to grow and develop right in front of our eyes and every time she faces another situation where she’s at a crossroad, she can look up at that letter from CEO Oh and be reminded of her values, her beliefs, and where she stands. She’s an attorney, but she’s not just like any other attorney. She’s an honest, rightful, and extraordinary attorney.
I appreciate that the episode remained honest and realistic as well. If this drama wanted to, it could have had Young-woo meet with the Geumgang CEO, apologize to him about the case, talk about the letter, they resolve any resentment that CEO Oh has towards her, and we would have been fed all that feel-good stuff. But instead, we still got the feel-good stuff — just presented to us in a different way. We didn’t see any apologies, any forgiveness, any sweet conversations between Young-woo and CEO Oh, none of that typical stuff. Instead, we got to see Young-woo be honest with herself on what she did, admit that what she did was wrong, and strive to become a much more honest and honorable attorney in the future. Would I have liked to see Young-woo chat with CEO Oh about his letter? Sure. And maybe through that conversation, Young-woo could have expressed just how impactful and eye-opening his letter was to her.
But the drama chose to go a different route and still show us just how meaningful the letter was to Young-woo. She hung it up on her wall in her office as a reminder that from that moment on, she’s going to listen to herself, her heart, and her gut instincts. She’s going to use this case as a helpful reminder as an attorney that next time, it’s about doing what’s right than about who’s winning. That is what being an attorney is about for Young-woo. That is the type of attorney that Young-woo already is and continues to strive to be.
The scene at the office where Young-woo broke down into tears in front of Jun-ho definitely has to be my favorite scene so far out of the entire drama for so many reasons. We’ve seen moments in the past where Young-woo felt vulnerable, guilty, and heavily impacted by the cases that she was assigned. Whether it was the funeral in the first episode or the case with Jeong-hun in episode 3, Young-woo is constantly battling in the workplace because she understands how her autism affects the way others perceive her or how it affects the work that she does.
But for her to cry it out, break down into tears, and be so so vulnerable in that moment with Jun-ho was so heartbreaking and yet so telling about 1) the type of person that Young-woo is and 2) how far she’s come. She’s had to endure and go through so much as an attorney. It was already challenging enough to get adjusted to the social and professional environment in the law firm as someone with autism. Then she has to try to constantly prove herself and in this case, she had to prove herself by competing against Min-woo when they should have been working together instead.
To Young-woo, it’s as if she’s always in this constant battle of trying to win. It’s not even so much about winning the court cases for her clients. There’s that too. But for Young-woo, it’s also about winning her clients over, about winning the confidence of her Hanbada team, about winning in general. She always in this constant state of having to prove herself which eventually took a toll on her in this episode. She so desperately wanted to win Director Hwang’s trust as well as win this competition against Min-woo that she did something she knew was wrong and shouldn’t have done. It became too much for Young-woo and the guilt ate her up. In the end, she remained too strong for too long and she cried her heart out. She was disappointed in herself.
And I liked that we’re shown this more vulnerable side of Young-woo because it proves just how much she cares about her job as an attorney and also who she is as an attorney. It’s one thing to do your job as an attorney and it’s also another thing to be an attorney who is honest, truthful, and honorable. Min-woo is one and Young-woo is the other. She just doesn’t want to be an attorney; she aims to be one who doesn’t resort to tricks, deception, and lies to win. Young-woo’s going to continue to speak out when something is wrong even if it’s against her clients. She’s going to do what is right and fair.
I’m also enjoying the little dive that the drama is exploring with Soo-yeon and Young-woo’s friendship. It’s quite an interesting one as we assumed Soo-yeon didn’t have the most fond feelings towards Young-woo with the way that she spoke about her in the earlier episodes, but it’s clear now that Soo-yeon is warming up to her. And maybe Soo-yeon has always warmed up to Young-woo but expressed that warmth through “tough love.” Regardless, I’m liking where their friendship is going and how things are shaping up between our two female characters.
I also liked how chill and nonchalant Young-woo spoke about Soo-yeon during the cafeteria scene. Young-woo is an honest person and she was completely honest with Soo-yeon on how grateful she was to her law school classmate. To Young-woo, she speaks with such sincerity and honesty and gives compliments that she genuinely means. There were no filters in that conversation and she told it like how it was. As relaxed as Young-woo was in that moment, Soo-yeon definitely did not expect it. She wasn’t aware that this was how Young-woo had felt about her all along. It was so interesting to see the difference in reactions between the complimenter (Young-woo) and the complimented (Soo-yeon). I like that the complimenting came so easy for Young-woo and as if it was no big deal for her. Jun-ho and Soo-yeon are rare gems in Young-woo’s life so she has no hesitation in expressing gratitude and appreciation for them when the time is fitting.
We all know by now just how genuine and caring Young-woo and Jun-ho’s relationship is, but it feels like every episode outdoes itself in terms of revealing more layers to their relationship. In this episode, we got glimpses of Young-woo sharing more about herself to Jun-ho that wasn’t just about whales and work. They’ve now transitioned to talking about additional things pertaining to Young-woo and what life is like for her as someone with autism. We see Young-woo slowly opening up to Jun-ho more and more; we see her becoming more and more comfortable around him to the point where he’s now sort of a safe haven and space for her.
Young-woo broke down in front of him in the office kitchen and shared just how disappointed and ashamed she was in herself. She felt comfortable enough around him to not only confide in him verbally how she felt about everything, but also to express herself emotionally. It’s clear that Jun-ho wants to support her and comfort her, but they aren’t at that level yet. It’s also unclear as to how Young-woo herself wants to be comforted + comforted by Jun-ho. That’s another layer to their relationship that Young-woo will share at a later time if she wishes to, but it’s comforting to know that Young-woo has someone in the workplace who is there for her. As we have seen, work can be stressful, lonely, demanding, and overwhelming. Young-woo has had her dad all her life, but she also now has someone else who genuinely cares for her that she can go to for support.
I like that a few months into her career as an attorney, there are still so many growing pains as well as lessons that Young-woo is learning. I like that the drama doesn’t shy away in showing us the challenges and struggles that Young-woo faces in and outside of the courtroom. She’s not perfect, she doesn’t have everything figured out, she isn’t always the most prepared with her cases, and she doesn’t have the greatest relationships with her co-workers (Min-woo). Sometimes, there are little demons inside of her that are harder to control like the urge to win over Min-woo as we saw in this episode. But I say all of this to say that it’s okay.
This drama is about showing us Young-woo’s growth in her journey with Hanbada. Maybe one day, she and Min-woo might find themselves in a much more stable and less competitive dynamic. Maybe one day, she and Min-woo might have nicknames for each other that isn’t so pessimistic and hurtful. And even if that day never comes, that’s okay too. Young-woo is already so strong and smart and bright and well aware of who she is as a person and what she can do. But at the same time, there is still so much potential for her to grow and develop. It’s not always going to be easy for Young-woo, but she will eventually figure it out. She always does. At the end of the day, it’s about Young-woo and who she wants to be – not what others think about her or how others tell her to be. At the end of the day, it’s about Young-woo staying true to herself. And as Young-woo learned for herself in this episode, the truth will always prevails in the end.