We continue with our second part to the Jeju Island case and wrap things up with both the trial as well as the overall business trip. So much has happened on the trip and while there were some moments that were relieving and satisfying, there were also other experiences that were the opposite. This Jeju Island field trip was quite a wake-up call for our characters.
Extraordinary Attorney Woo Episode 14: Case 14 – The Blue Night of Jeju Pt. 2
After falling down in the courtroom, Attorney Jung is hospitalized and diagnosed with stomach cancer. The rest of the group surround him in his hospital room and grow concerned about his condition, but the senior attorney attempts to reassure them that he’s fine. There’s nothing that sounds appetizing for Attorney Jung so Young-woo suggests that they bring him some meat noodles from his favorite Jeju restaurant, Haengbok Noodles. Though the restaurant might be closed, maybe they can find the owner of the restaurant who cooked the dish. So with that, our group embark on their own special little mission on the island: to find the owner behind Attorney Jung’s favorite meat noodle dish. To make things a little bit more efficient, they split up into teams: Soo-yeon will be with Min-woo while Young-woo, Jun-ho, Dong Geu-ra-mi, and Min-sik form their own team.
The 4-member team head over to Haengun Noodles to question the whereabouts of the owner of Haengbok Noodles. However, the Haengun Noodles owner who greets the team inside of the restaurant, only has great things to say about his restaurant. Apparently, Haengbok Noodles named their restaurant after them and fell behind because they couldn’t keep up with the competition. Similar sentiments are expressed by an elderly grandma who is questioned by Soo-yeon and Min-woo. She shares that Haengbok Noodles was a family-owned restaurant, but they couldn’t keep up with the trend. Haengun Noodles became popular thanks to influencers and TV screen time. No one really knows what happened to them ever since.
Jun-ho decides to dedicate some extra time into the investigation and returns to Haengun Noodles later on that night. One of the cooks from the restaurant caught his attention and he trails after the man to get a word in with him. Eventually, Jun-ho secretly follows the man to none other than Haengbok Noodles where he observes the man feeding a feral cat. They sit down to chat and the man explains the story behind Haengbok Noodles’s closing. Unlike what they heard earlier, Haengbok Noodles was the original restaurant and the man used to work there. But the owner of Haengun Noodles recruited him to work as a cook and that’s how the restaurant got popular. Eventually, Haengbok Noodles ran out of business due to the competition. When the cook asked where the Haengbook Noodles owner would go once his restaurant closed, the owner simply responded that he’d go to a place where the mountains and waters are nice.
Our group reconvene back at their vacation house to converse about the situation. A place where the mountains and waters are nice? Young-woo theorizes that the owner could potentially be located at the Mountain Water Nursing Home; she recalls seeing a few mail envelopes from them hanging outside of the restaurant during their visit. So with that, Jun-ho and Young-woo visit the nursing home in hopes of meeting the owner. But they’re not so lucky. The owner’s mom is in the nursing home and he only visits once a month. The owner already visited his mom the day before. After exiting the nursing home, Young-woo receives a phone call from Attorney Jung. She indirectly gives away to him how they’re searching for the owner of Haengbok Noodles so Attorney Jung has to remind her to stay focused on their trial. That’s what they’re in Jeju for. Haha.
So during the next court hearing, the Abbot is brought in as a witness. When questioned by his defense attorney, he shares that Hwangjisa was actually opposed to the construction of the local highway that runs through the Hanbaek mountain, but they were overruled by the government. As a result, they collected cultural heritage admission fees in hopes that it would deter people away from visiting the temple or crossing through that part of the area. During Young-woo’s questioning, she asks for a budget breakdown of how Hwangjisa utilizes the money from the admission fees. But the Abbot doesn’t have a clear answer to her question. She also brings up the traffic delay complaints that comes about as a result of collecting the fees at the ticket booth, but the Abbot doesn’t find it as big of an issue. Why should Hwangjisa have to come up with a solution when they’re just doing their work?
Attorney Jung’s ex-wife, Ji-su, visits him at the hospital in Jeju Island. It seems as if nothing has changed even after their divorce as he’s reluctant to leave the island due to work. Just as the two are discussing his surgery appointments, they receive a surprise visit from Young-woo who urgently talks to Attorney Jung about their trial. It seems as if their argument is lacking and she needs guidance and support on what to do next. While the two catch up on the case, Ji-su watches them quietly from the side of the room. Eventually, she walks out of the room in frustration and has a talk with Young-woo after. Watching Young-woo and Attorney Jung talk about work reminds Ji-su of why she divorced him. He was always focused on work. He cared more about work than he did about her. In their relationship, she felt lonely and she wasn’t happy. That’s why they broke up.
So this gets Young-woo thinking and she chats with Dad on the phone afterwards. She’s curious as to what Dad would think if she were to bring Jun-ho home to introduce him to Dad. To Dad, the two most important things would be if Jun-ho is capable of making his daughter happy as well as his ability to take care of Young-woo. Young-woo is confident that Jun-ho is both of those things, but she’s uncertain about herself. Can she make him happy? Does she make him feel lonely in their relationship? (Oh nooo, I’m going to cry).
In their next attempt to search for some dolphins, the doubt and insecurity continues to pile on Young-woo and she suggests that she and Jun-ho break up. They shouldn’t date anymore. Jun-ho has a difficult time processing the unexpected comment. Is it because they’re out on a date instead of supporting Attorney Jung? Or is it because they haven’t spotted any dolphins yet? Jun-ho can’t quite seem to comprehend why or where this idea of breaking up came from. If the reason is because of the dolphins, then there must be something behind it. Just like the Abbot mentioned, there’s more than what meets the eye. What you see isn’t everything. Upon hearing that comment, Young-woo reaches an epiphany and she realizes what her next argument in court could be. She’s reminded of work and she rambles on about public property and legal justification, completely unaware of how Jun-ho is feeling. Excited about the update, Young-woo rushes off and leaves Jun-ho behind. She has to tell Attorney Jung about this.
Hurt and upset, Jun-ho shouts out if he’s just a joke to Young-woo. Is she kidding? Is he just a joke to her? Does she not take him seriously? Young-woo’s shocked by his reaction nor does she have anything else to say other than to apologize. She bows to him before walking away and Jun-ho trails behind shortly afterwards. Maybe the most heartbreaking moment in all of this is the appearance of a dolphin jumping out of the water just right after the two fought. Talk about bad timing 😦
In the next court hearing, Young-woo adds in the argument about the local highway serving as public property. Because it was public property, Mr. Kim could not have performed the act of visiting the cultural heritage. The presiding judge nods her head upon listening to Young-woo and the rest of the courtroom is impressed with her argument. After the court hearing, the group head back to their vacation house. Young-woo decides to take Team Hairy Pub’s cool, fun car instead. The atmosphere turns awkward as they sense that something is off between Young-woo and Jun-ho since she doesn’t want to take the van. Young-woo shares with Dong Geu-ra-mi and Min-sik that she brought up the idea about breaking up.
Jun-ho pours out all his feelings and emotions over some drinks with Soo-yeon and Min-woo. He vents to them about his break-up with Young-woo. Min-woo assumes that it must have been because he put too much pressure on her; he did take her to visit his sister and brother-in-law on this business trip. But Min-woo also adds that maybe this break-up isn’t such a bad thing as Young-woo is someone Jun-ho would not have been able to handle (ugh). Soo-yeon and Jun-ho aren’t so sure what Min-woo means by this comment, but he doesn’t elaborate any further. He avoids the topic by throwing out the alcohol in Soo-yeon’s shot cup as there’s a bug inside of it. Oh boy. Meanwhile, Young-woo hangs out with Min-sik and Dong Geu-ra-mi at karaoke. While the two sing a song about heartbreak and break-ups, Young-woo sits quietly with her headphones over her ears. She’s reminded of her break-up upon reading the lyrics to the song that Min-sik is singing.
After Min-woo drops Jun-ho off into their bedroom at the vacation house, Soo-yeon and Min-woo have a talk outside on the balcony. She’s been confused and bothered by Min-woo’s kind actions of lately as she’s not used to it; it’s so out of character for him and she doesn’t like it. Why does he keep doing all these things for her? Why is he acting like this? Min-woo fools around and jokes that she must have a crush on him. When she freezes and begins to have hiccups, Min-woo panics. Wait, how come she isn’t denying it? Does she actually like him? Dong Geu-ra-mi, Min-sik, and Young-woo arrive to the house and discover the two attorneys out on the balcony. Dong Geu-ra-mi is bummed at the sight and requests to go back to the karaoke place again. She just got rejected from Min-woo despite not really having made many advances towards him, haha. And so back to the karaoke place the trio goes.
The next morning, Attorney Jung is discharged from the hospital and Jun-ho is there to assist him. The rest of the group is back at the house waiting for Attorney Jung so that they can all go to Hwangjisa together. While helping prep Attorney Jung’s belongings, Jun-ho asks him about Ji-su. Attorney Jung answers that she’s on a flight back to Seoul, but he also adds that he had a dream about her. To sum it up, Attorney Jung advises Jun-ho that if he was to ever find someone who he likes, he should hold onto them and not let them go. EEEEEK. JUN-HO, YOU HEARD THE MAN! Meanwhile, Soo-yeon and Min-woo agree to not be awkward around each other. They will return to their old ways where they were comfortable around each other. So while the two attorneys resolve their situation, there’s still the love triangle with Dong Geu-ra-mi that Min-woo needs to resolve. If going to a deserted island, who would he bring with him? Her or Soo-yeon? Thankfully, Min-sik arrives just in time to take Dong Geu-ra-mi away. Haha. Min-woo was just trying to use the restroom.
And so our group take the local highway to visit Hwangjisa. On the way there, they pass by the ticket booth where the cultural heritage admission fees was collected and as expected, it’s been closed down. Thanks to Young-woo, they won the trial and now the road is considered free passage for everyone. But the results to the trial doesn’t make Young-woo happy and the monks at Hwangjisa aren’t all that happy either. When the group reunites with the Abbot, Attorney Jung proposes a follow-up idea to assist with Hwangjisa’s self-management that will be beneficial to them. They’ll get the government relations team at Hanbada involved to assist with the process so that Hwangjisa can become an organization that is in control of their own self-management. The Abbot is pleased with the information and he likes the idea. It seems as if all is well between the two sides.
While walking to the temple cafeteria for lunch, the Abbot has a private conversation with Attorney Jung about his health. Attorney Jung admits that he hasn’t been feeling all that well still so the Abbot suggests that Attorney Jung pray to their almighty being. He even shows him how to pray. Young-woo approaches Attorney Jung a few seconds later and praises him for the offer he made to the Abbot regarding Hwangjisa’s self-management. It was the first time she thought he was cool. LOL. And it seems as if all the time spent on this case was well worth it. So with that, the group munch on some noodles at the cafeteria together. It’s delicious and Attorney Jung even notes how similar the noodles taste to the ones at Haengbok Noodles.
That’s when Young-woo reaches another epiphany and a clip of a dolphin shows up on the screen. The owner of Haengbok Noodles mentioned that he would go to a place where the mountains and water were nice. Hwangjisa is located on Hanbaek mountain while there’s a mineral spring located at the temple. Therefore, the owner of Haengbok Noodles must be working at this cafeteria! Young-woo runs out of the cafeteria and to the back where the chef is located. The rest of the group follow after her and just as she suspected, the owner of Haengbok Noodles is there. He is the one who cooked the noodles for them to eat just right now. They finally found the owner at last!
Since they’ve found the owner of Haengbok Noodles, maybe he can open up his restaurant once again. But it’s obvious that the owner is a bit uncertain about the idea nor is he confident about it. But thanks to our smart attorneys, they reassure the owner that they can help him open up his restaurant again. They elaborate by listening out certain laws and methods that they can use to help him so that he’ll be protected this time around. And they’ll also assist him in with his lawsuit against Haengun Noodles. Attorney Jung can only watch in awe and joy as his junior attorneys explain to the owner what they can do for him. They truly have learned from the best.
So the owner of Haengbok Noodles re-opens his restaurant and cooks Attorney Jung’s favorite meat noodles for the group on their last day on Jeju Island. The richness of the broth and the taste of the meat noodles is still the same and the group enjoys the delicious food. While everyone else munches on the noodles, Young-woo has her special gimbap with her. Gimbap makes Young-woo happy, but watching Attorney Jung enjoy the meat noodles that he craved so strongly for also makes her just as content. Her stomach and heart is full.
Our group board the airplane for their flight back to Seoul. Soo-yeon switches seats with Jun-ho and she’s seated next to Young-woo on the plane. Attorney Jung remains with Min-sik and Dong Geu-ra-mi while Jun-ho is with Min-woo. During the flight, Min-woo and Soo-yeon take peeks at each other while Young-woo also glances at Jun-ho a few times. So much has changed on this trip and it’s obvious that it’s different from how the trip started and how it concluded. So many things happened in between – some great and some not-so-great. It’s a bittersweet feeling.
Back at Hanbada, CEO Han watches a news report on Attorney Tae regarding her upcoming confirmation hearing as part of her run for the Ministry of Justice. She then holds a meeting with Reporter Lee (the one who’s been digging up details on Attorney Tae) and the two sit down to chat about Attorney Tae. Reporter Lee suspects that Young-woo is Attorney Tae’s daughter to which CEO Han confirms the news. Young-woo is indeed Attorney Tae’s daughter. Reporter Lee’s interest grows even more and he has a ton of questions. Does Attorney Tae know that? Can he speak with Young-woo and ask her questions? But CEO Han advises that Reporter Lee holds off on questioning Young-woo until he puts up an article about Attorney Tae and Young-woo right before Attorney Tae’s confirmation hearing. That way, it’ll throw her off and she won’t be able to refute the news. So with that, CEO Han has decided that this will be the one time where she will “use” Young-woo to get at Attorney Tae. CEO Han is ready for war.
Aww, I like this shift in focus on Attorney Jung and the drama giving us some context and background on his story and his life. We sort of now understand how he got so good at his job which unfortunately came at the cost of his own marriage, but it’s also a moment in his life that he’s learned from and wishes to communicate the importance of with others. I sensed that the drama was going to give our other characters (outside of Young-woo) more screen time when the drama suddenly transitioned to suddenly focusing on Soo-yeon. Then when we got the clip of Attorney Jung coughing up blood in his office late that one night, I knew that the drama was setting up some time to transition to Attorney Jung for the next few episodes. I think it’s so interesting that we even got some more information on Min-woo himself as seen in episode 13 with his phone call to his dad. Would I have liked the character background and information on Attorney Jung, Soo-yeon, and Min-woo a little bit earlier in the drama? Definitely. I think that would have helped with us getting to know our characters a little bit better so that the drama could have then devoted additional time to other sub-plots. But I guess it’s better late than never and it was interesting to watch Attorney Jung’s story unfold in front of our eyes.
In all honesty, I’m not so sure how I feel about the Jeju Island trip in the grand scheme of things. When you merely look at it as a two-part series, I liked it for what it was and all the things that happened. I think there were plenty of lessons and messages conveyed in the two episodes and the drama gave us plenty of progress in regards to Young-woo and Jun-ho’s relationship, Attorney Jung’s life, and heck, we even got to see more Dong Geu-ra-mi and Min-sik outside of their restaurant walls which was a nice change in scenery.
But when I step back and think about episodes 13 and 14 and the whole Jeju Island trip, there does seem to be this disconnect between these two episodes and the flow of the overall drama. It’s not even so much the legal aspect of it because we still got our usual procedural case that we get in every episode, but it was rather everything else outside of the courtroom. I feel as if the drama has been quite experimental and maybe I even dare say ambitious with all that it’s been exploring in the second half of the drama. It’s great because it gives us so much more to watch other than just all the court trial and laws and legal stuff, but that also means that it doesn’t devote as much time to sub-plots that it introduced us to. I was waiting for more updates on Min-woo’s personal mission by Attorney Tae to get Young-woo to quit Hanbada or I wanted to see more on Attorney Tae’s proposal to Dad on sending him and Young-woo off to Boston where Young-woo would work at Taesan’s branch there. It’s as if the drama introduced huge ideas and sub-plots to us that could be a huge game changer so you’re scared and afraid and overwhelmed. But then the drama sort of just let it linger for a few seconds and spent a few minutes on it only to move on to something new.
An example of something new that the drama explored was Soo-yeon and Min-woo’s relationship which I definitely did not expect. And I honestly don’t really care for it? There was no need for it to be a thing in the first place, but it also feels as if the drama has run out of things for the two attorneys to do so it decided to just loop the two together. Soo-yeon and Min-woo really never saw each other that way so their relationship development did throw me off a bit with just all that we got of them in episodes 13 and 14. I think I was even a bit more confused because there wasn’t really this subtle build-up between the two leading up to all their interactions in episodes 13 and 14. The pacing was a bit off to me and I’m still a bit confused on why the drama decided to go this route. If the drama wanted to dive into a Soo-yeon and Min-woo romantic relationship, I would have preferred for the drama to explore the possibility of a Min-woo redemption arc first before pairing him up with Soo-yeon. I can’t root for their relationship after just knowing what Min-woo is like and after all that we saw him do or say. And what happened to Min-woo’s redemption arc anyways? With two episodes left, is he not going to get one? Or will he get one that will be rushed? Are we just expected to root for him and Soo-yeon’s relationship if it potentially grows and becomes a thing?
While the Jeju Island trip was fun, I think the thing that I enjoyed the most was watching yet the drama peel another layer to Young-woo and Jun-ho’s relationship. So far, we’ve seen all the cute, puppy, fluffy stuff with the kisses and hand-holding and lunch dates, but I also love seeing these other sides to their relationship that aren’t as pretty and cute. I love seeing the two navigate these situations and how they overcome these challenges that arise in their relationship. In episode 12, we saw the two argue over Young-woo’s comment about them not dating or how Jun-ho was a bit upset because he felt as if he was the only one being accommodating in their relationship. In episodes 13 and 14, we watched as the two navigated meeting Jun-ho’s sister and brother-in-law which then caused Young-woo to grow insecure in her own relationship. Jun-ho makes her happy and he takes good care of her, but what does she do for him? Does she make him happy? Does she make him feel lonely? Their past arguments only reminded her of these doubts, but Jun-ho’s sister’s comments about her didn’t help either. I can see why Young-woo felt the way that she did and even if I’m not the biggest fan of the pacing (I wished we could have gotten just a little bit more time devoted to hearing more from both Young-woo and Jun-ho’s side), I can understand why they broke up. I get it.
Did I want a break-up this late into the drama in episode 14? Absolutely not. But do I understand why Young-woo and Jun-ho broke up? Definitely. Relationships are hard and Young-woo is well aware of how her role as a person with autism plays in it. She feels as if she’s a burden to Jun-ho although Jun-ho doesn’t feel that way and never will. He loves her for who she is and cares about her so much. As much as I don’t want our two whale besties to break up, I can’t blame Young-woo and I even sympathize with her to an extent. This is her first relationship; she’s going to experience emotions, thoughts, and feelings that she’s never felt before. In that sense, she’s also going to experience challenges and issues in her relationship with Jun-ho that she’s never gone through before and, therefore, won’t be familiar with resolving. The same can be applied to Jun-ho who has probably never felt this way for anyone else before. There’s still so much about each other that they have yet to learn or there’s still things in their relationship that they need to improve on or get better at. No relationship is perfect; no one is perfect. This applies to Young-woo and Jun-ho’s relationship.
But as we saw with Attorney Jung’s conversation with Jun-ho at the hospital, there’s still hope for the two. Attorney Jung faced the consequences of choosing work over love and it’s something that he regrets. If he could turn back time, he would do things differently a second time. Hopefully, Jun-ho and Young-woo don’t repeat the same mistakes. Because as we saw and learned in episodes 13 and 14, work is important but so is love.