Things wrap up for our characters with this final episode. Though it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine, there’s no denying that our attorneys and Hanbada team have grown throughout this journey. The clients and lawsuits and cases may come and go, but the love and friendships and second family that Young-woo has gained as an attorney will be there forever.
Note: Ahhh, it’s been a few months since my last recap project so writing this little thank you note feels so familiar but also so new. I just want to thank everyone who’s joined and followed me in my recaps for this drama. ‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo’ was quite an extraordinary experience in terms of both watching and recapping and as tiring as recapping all the legal jargon and law stuff might have been, the drama was still a fun watch overall. I’m not too sure what my next recap project will be, but hopefully I’ll be back sooner than later. Until then, stay safe everyone!
Extraordinary Attorney Woo Episode 16: Case 16 – Though Unusual and Peculiar
The episode starts off with Attorney Tae’s son, Choi Sang-hyeon, waking up for breakfast. He’s quite an expert in computer science, coding, and cybersecurity as indicated by all the items in his bedroom. It turns out his favorite food is gimbap just like Young-woo and he prepares to eat the food while overhearing the news play on the TV in the living room. His mom, Attorney Tae, and an employee from Taesan watch the TV news report about the class-action lawsuit against Raon which Attorney Tae isn’t so happy about. They need to spin the story around so that Taesan is perceived more positively. Ridden with guilt, Sang-hyeon admits to his mom that he did it. He was the hacker who hacked into Raon’s server. He was behind all of this.
In a private conversation with Sang-hyun, Attorney Tae reassures her son that she’ll take care of everything. But Sang-hyun is still worried. He’s afraid to turn himself into the police by himself, but he knows it’s the right thing to do. Attorney Tae grows frustrated and she takes her anger out on her son. How could he think of doing such a thing when her confirmation hearing is right around the corner? She has bigger things to worry about. It’s not as if she’s ever asked much of Sang-hyun. But what about Attorney Tae? It’s not as if she’s so innocent either. She’s also done plenty of stuff in her life, including giving birth to Young-woo. Sang-hyun is well aware of who Young-woo is and how she’s related to his mom. Attorney Tae grows speechless at Sang-hyun’s knowledge of Young-woo. She has nothing to say.
In a meeting with Attorney Jang, our three junior attorneys are pressured to apologize and reflect for their actions. CEO Han shortly joins the group in the meeting and announces her involvement in the upcoming class-action lawsuit against Taesan. Since they won the last lawsuit against the KCC, they can use that to their advantage for this next lawsuit. CEO Han praises Attorney Jang for his hard work with the lawsuit, unbeknownst that it was really Young-woo (and Soo-yeon and Min-woo) who carried the majority of the workload. Your time will come, you three. Meanwhile, with Mr. Bae still unconscious, the Board of Directors for Raon decide to place Mr. Kim as an independent CEO of Raon in the meantime. They still have another lawsuit on their hand so they need to move urgently. In a meeting with the Board of Directors, Mr. Kim vows to do his best to take care of the company.
Soo-yeon and Min-woo make a trip to the hospital to visit Attorney Jung. He has on a face sheet mask in preparation for a visit from ex-wife, Ji-su. Soo-yeon and Min-woo points out how pretty and dewy Attorney Jung looks as Attorney Jung brushes his hair with a comb and removes his face mask. Eventually, Ji-su arrives at the hospital room so Soo-yeon and Min-woo leave early. Alone with his ex-wife, Attorney Jung suggests that they go on a trip to Jeju Island. Just like the old times. Ji-su is up for the trip, but she’s afraid that things will be the same. She was always second to work for Attorney Jung, what will change after the trip? Would he be willing to quit Hanbada? Though Attorney Jung has never put much thought into it, he isn’t opposed to the idea. He’s willing to do it if it seems fitting. All for Ji-su.
Min-woo meets with Attorney Tae to discuss about the personal mission that he received from her in regards to getting Young-woo to quit Hanbada. Things aren’t looking so great for Young-woo at the moment so now would be the right time to get Young-woo to quit. Min-woo admits that he wasn’t able to accomplish the mission by himself. It’ll be up to Attorney Tae to finish the job. When asked why he couldn’t get it done, Min-woo simply admits that he wants to live like a fool from now on (wow Soo-yeon, what have you done to this man?).
And so Taesan is persistent in getting Young-woo to work for them. An employee from Taesan stakes out in front of Young-woo’s house and approaches her with a packet about Taesan’s branch in Boston. Jun-ho is also there and he steps in to protect Young-woo from the stranger. He also listens in as the Taesan employee speaks about the benefits Young-woo and Dad would receive if they were to move to Boston. All expenses would be paid for, Young-woo would receive twice the salary she’s currently making, and she’ll also receive support from a counselor who specializes in autism spectrum disorder. The employee encourages Young-woo to contact him before leaving the two alone. As for Jun-ho, he’s confused and overwhelmed with the information so he refrains himself from saying what it was that he wanted to tell Young-woo. He had a whole speech planned out in his head, but that’ll have to wait for another time (noooo).
When Young-woo enters the house, she has a serious talk with Dad about their situation. He reveals how CEO Han is planning to reveal to the press about Young-woo and Attorney Tae’s relationship which means Young-woo will be bombarded with questions and attention. To combat that, they could follow CEO Han’s suggestion about moving to the countryside on paid leave. That’s when Young-woo shows Dad the packet that she just received about Taesan’s branch in Boston. That too could be a potential option as Dad points out. Regardless, it seems as if moving away to the United States might be the best solution at this point. Young-woo can’t quite comprehend why she has to hide when she’s never been affiliated with Attorney Tae her entire life. Dad can only apologize to his daughter. He’s sorry for the decisions he’s made that has lead up to this moment.
During the first day of the trial, the courtroom is packed with the former Raon users involved with the lawsuit against Raon. The attorney for the plaintiffs highlight all of Raon’s wrongdoings, including their irresponsibility in not protecting the data of their users as well as their reactions to the data breach. It’s clear that things aren’t looking so good for Raon so far. After the trial, Young-woo receives a surprise visit in her office from none other than her brother, Sang-hyun. It’s their first time meeting, but Sang-hyun already feels quite comfortable around her. He admits that he was the one who hacked into the Raon server. It was CEO Kim who was behind the entire thing. He was the one who wanted Sang-hyun to hack the Raon server so that Mr. Bae wouldn’t be so caught up in the business and instead devote time to their original goals like software development and security. At first, Sang-hyun didn’t think the consequences were going to be too severe, but after seeing how Mr. Bae is, he felt the need to speak up about the situation.
Attorney Tae is quite a powerful figure with a lot of influence so the only person he could go to is Young-woo who he refers to as noona. Sang-hyun reveals how he’s heard of the rumors surrounding his mom giving birth to a child before meeting his dad and confirmed his suspicions about Young-woo after hacking into his mom’s phone and computer. So how exactly does Sang-hyun want Young-woo to help him? He’s recorded a video of himself admitting to the hacking; maybe they could use that as evidence in court. But since Young-woo is representing Mr. Kim, it wouldn’t make sense for her to use the video as evidence. Sang-hyun seems a bit discouraged and disappointed. He realizes and witnesses for himself just how much influence and power his mom has.
Young-woo visits Attorney Jung at the hospital for some advice and guidance. She vaguely explains the situation to him involving Sang-hyun and Mr. Kim and wants to know what she should do. Should she reveal the truth and achieve social justice or act in the interest of her client? Though Attorney Jung doesn’t have an answer for Young-woo specifically, he speaks on his own personal experience. He’s always been an attorney who had his client’s interests in mind, but Young-woo isn’t just any ordinary attorney. She’s her own attorney. She should follow her mind and heart and do what she thinks is right.
Our Hanbada team watch the clip of Sang-hyun confessing to the hacking in a meeting and discuss whether or not they should use the video. While Min-woo and Attorney Jang think the video would do more harm than good to their client, Soo-yeon and Young-woo feel as though revealing the truth is important. CEO Han sees where both sides are coming from: they should protect their client but she also feels as if the video is powerful. How can Attorney Tae run for Minister of Justice when her son hacked into Raon’s servers and stole the personal data of 40 million users? Plus, Taesan is representing these users in the lawsuit which could be seen as deceitful and also put Taesan in a bad spotlight. So all that’s left is to determine the order in which they protect their clients’s interest and reveal the truth. But Young-woo reaches an epiphany and a clip of a whale pops up on the screen. What if they do both at the same time?
Hanbada is representing Raon the corporation, not CEO Kim. When Sang-hyun stole the personal data, he encrypted it so that CEO Kim could not use or access it. Therefore, the damage to the personal data breach has not occurred yet. So with that, CEO Han steps outside to make a phone call to Reporter Lee. She wants him to hold onto the article about Attorney Tae giving birth to Young-woo out of wedlock for just a little bit longer. She has something else up her sleeve involving Young-woo. CEO Han breaks the news to Young-woo and asks her not to go on that paid vacation she heard about from Dad. There’s something that CEO Han wants her to do. Uh-oh.
And so the video of Sang-hyun’s confession is played in an almost empty courtroom in the next court hearing to protect Sang-hyun’s identity given that he is a minor. CEO Kim was unprepared for the video and is shocked upon watching the video. But that’s not the end of it. Just then, they receive news that he’s been dismissed as CEO of Raon. Mr. Bae is conscious and awake and even though he’s still sick from the poison, he attends an emergency meeting with his Board of Directors in regards to Mr. Kim’s situation. He’ll do whatever he has to do to take Mr. Kim down if he really was the person behind the hacking.
The Taesan attorneys in the courtroom argue that the video cannot be accepted as evidence since there’s no knowing whether Sang-hyun is telling the truth or not. The commotion in the courtroom intensifies, but the presiding judge calms everyone down with a few decisions. The court cannot recognize just yet the change in Raon’s CEO so Hanbada should apply for the correction of the party represented. The presiding judge also reminds Mr. Kim that the trial isn’t to prove his innocence. And third, the court cannot accept Sang-hyun’s video as evidence since it’s not credible and Sang-hyun isn’t in the courtroom for cross-examination. The only thing left is to do is to get Sang-hyun to testify in court which Hanbada will have to do on their end.
So Young-woo reaches out to Sang-hyun to get him to testify. But as expected, Sang-hyun will be unable to do so. He’s being sent away to the United States by Attorney Tae to prevent him from testifying. CEO Han then concludes that they’ll have no choice but to leave it to public opinion. They’ll leak the video to the press, stir up public opinion, and pressure the police into conducting an investigation which will summon Sang-hyun back to the country. With Attorney Tae’s hearing quickly approaching, they would have to leak the video before the hearing.
But Young-woo isn’t a big fan of the idea. Sang-hyun is genuinely apologetic for his actions and wrongdoings and wishes to turn himself into the police; he shouldn’t be perceived as a kid who tried to flee the country. Young-woo pitches that she’ll try to meet with Attorney Tae in an effort to get Sang-hyun to testify. She’ll do the convincing. CEO Han is up for the challenge and she gives Young-woo the green light.
Jun-ho joins Young-woo and drives her to the National Assembly where Attorney Tae is located for her confirmation hearing. On the drive there, they reach out to Attorney Tae’s assistant and plead to have an opportunity to talk with Attorney Tae. She’s quite busy so it doesn’t seem like the chances are that great. It also doesn’t help that Young-woo and Jun-ho are stuck in traffic and there’s only about 30 minutes left until the confirmation hearing. But Jun-ho utilizes that time in traffic to finally talk to Young-woo about what’s been on his mind. Their relationship reminds him of an unrequited love between a cat and their owner. Cats can sometimes make their owners feel lonely, but they also make them happy. Whether it’s things like going on dates or holding hands for less than 57 seconds or hearing Young-woo gush about whales, Jun-ho is happy with Young-woo. Therefore, he doesn’t want to break up with her.
The heart-warming moment is cut short when Attorney Tae’s assistant calls Jun-ho back. They agree to meet at one of the gates near the building so the two hurry over to the agreed destination. Before exiting the car, Young-woo communicates with Jun-ho on her response to his confession. Jun-ho’s comment about having an unrequited love for cats is inappropriate. Why? Because cats love their owners too (EEEEEEEEK!!). So with that, Young-woo also wishes that she and Jun-ho not break up. Young-woo then rushes out of the car, but she gives a slight smile to Jun-ho before meeting with Attorney Tae’s assistant. Jun-ho is relieved to know that he and Young-woo feel the same way about each other and are on the same page. They will get their happy ending after all.
Young-woo eventually reunites with Attorney Tae and the two have some alone time before the confirmation hearing. Young-woo shares how she feels as if she’s a narwhal in an ocean full of belugas. It’s not easy for her to adjust and there are also a lot of whales that hate her too. But Young-woo is okay with it. Even though her life can be unusual and peculiar, she also knows that it’s valuable and beautiful. Attorney Tae excuses herself after listening to Young-woo, but stops once Young-woo pleads for Sang-hyun’s return to the country. Sang-hyun believes his mom is a good mother. She scolds him when he does something wrong and punishes him accordingly. Attorney Tae shouldn’t betray her own child’s beliefs just for her own benefit. She should let Sang-hyun confess to his wrongdoings. Young-woo adds,
You weren’t a good mother to me, but at the very least, please be a good mother to Sang-hyeon.
Attorney Tae remains silent upon hearing Young-woo’s confession and she’s called to attend her confirmation hearing. Though Attorney Tae doesn’t let Young-woo see it, she’s clearly affected by what Young-woo expressed. Young-woo herself has tears in her eyes upon revealing her honest feelings to Attorney Tae. She’s overwhelmed with emotions. And so, Attorney Tae proceeds to her confirmation hearing and recites the oath as part of the process.
Sang-hyun is eventually allowed to testify as a witness during the lawsuit. However, there are three conditions that Team Hanbada must abide by in order for it to happen. They are to not ask any questions about Attorney Tae, they cannot create a hostile environment for Sang-hyun, and only Young-woo can question Sang-hyun. CEO Han agrees to the conditions as outlined by the opposing attorneys and all is set in stone. So at the next court hearing, Sang-hyun is brought in to testify as a witness. Attorney Tae is also present in the courtroom to watch the questioning.
Young-woo goes up to question Sang-hyun and asks him about his involvement with the hacking. He explains how Mr. Kim persuaded him into doing it and also adds that the personal data of the users were encrypted so there’s no way Mr. Kim could have accessed the data. So why does Sang-hyun want to come clean even though he’s aware that he could be legally punished? Sang-hyun admits that he wants to own up to his mistakes. He did something bad. He hurt Mr. Bae and the users of Raon. With that, Young-woo concludes her questioning and everyone, including Attorney Tae, watches in silence.
After the court hearing, Attorney Tae addresses the media outside and apologizes on behalf of her son and herself. Sang-hyun will participate in all police investigations and will be punished accordingly. Meanwhile, she will step down as a candidate for the Minister of Justice and continue to fulfill her role as a mother to Sang-hyun. Young-woo, Min-woo, and Soo-yeon watch nearby as Attorney Tae speaks to the crowd. CEO Han also observes the situation while sitting in her car. She admits that she let Attorney Tae off easy this time around.
And so the class-action lawsuit against Raon is dismissed which means it’s a win for our Hanbada team. They all gather at Min-sik’s restaurant for some food and are soon joined by Attorney Jung and Ji-su. Everyone’s happy and everything’s going well and Attorney Jung is proud of Young-woo, Soo-yeon, and Min-woo for their hard work with the Raon trial. Young-woo then brings up Attorney Jung’s return to Hanbada. Is he returning? When will he return? With Ji-su by his side, Attorney Jung simply answers that he’ll need some more time to think about it. But wait, do our young attorneys enjoy working at Hanbada? Young-woo gives it a thought and admits that she does. Even if Attorney Jung wasn’t working at Hanbada, she would still enjoy working at the law firm. Everyone smiles upon hearing Young-woo’s response and they all celebrate by cheering and eating the delicious food. They’re all one big family.
It’s another day of work so Young-woo heads downstairs to Dad’s gimbap shop for some breakfast. She’s unsure as to how she’s feeling that morning; it’s a new feeling she’s never experienced before. The reason for this is because her contract with Hanbada has been renewed. She’s now a full-time attorney at the company. Dad is overwhelmed and happy at the news and Young-woo still has to figure out what these new emotions for her are. Regardless, she and Dad repeat the same routine as they do every morning: gimbap for Young-woo in her bag, Young-woo’s headphones on her ears, and Young-woo trotting to the subway station. Dad watches as Young-woo heads out for work. She’s all grown-up.
On the subway ride to work, Young-woo listens to the whale sounds playing through her headphones and she imagines a huge sperm whale traveling with her as well. But this time, there’s a group of dolphins and a male orca swimming along with the sperm whale. This time, Young-woo isn’t alone. Young-woo eventually reaches her work building and she decides to tackle the day by going through the revolving door. Using the ‘one-two-three’ technique that Jun-ho taught her, she travels through the revolving door and successfully makes it onto the other side. Woohoo! And just like that first day at work, there’s someone who greets Young-woo in the lobby right by the revolving door. It’s none other than Jun-ho. He happily chants her name upon seeing her and the two stand across from each other at the revolving door like how they’ve done many times before.
Upon reaching the lobby successfully, Young-woo finally realizes what it is that she’s feeling. It’s a sense of fulfillment. This was the new emotion that she was trying to figure out the entire morning. Young-woo smiles upon reaching this realization and Jun-ho smiles along with her. The two share the beautiful moment together and express a sense of fulfillment through the smiles on their faces. One can only hope that they feel this sense of fulfillment individually and together for a very very long time.
And we’re dooooone! I’m such a sucker for dramas where things turn full circle as we saw with the ending to this episode. It gets me every single time and it makes me so feel so full and warm and fuzzy because it reminds you of just how much our characters have grown and in this case, that’d be our main character, Young-woo. With the ending scene, we are reminded of the first time she rode on that subway train to work and then we are introduced to what would be the next chapter in her life. Young-woo started off as a contract rookie attorney to transforming into a full-time employee with plenty of experience and memories in between. Perhaps the most telling part was the imaginary whale not floating alone this time; there were other dolphins and a male orca that also joined the whale. Just like Dad mentioned in his last scene with Young-woo, Young-woo truly has grown up in front of our eyes.
I’m glad that we got a nice, happy, warm ending for all of our characters and that things tied pretty much neatly for everyone. Even if the pacing or the execution of things didn’t sit well with me all the time, I’m glad that we got to see what happened to everyone. In regards to this episode, it was nice to see Attorney Tae apologize and reflect on herself by stepping down as a candidate and seeing Sang-hyun take responsibility for his actions. It was nice seeing our Hanbada team win one more case that involved our three young attorneys with Soo-yeon and Min-woo definitely stepping outside of their comfort zones. Though the drama has shown us how close the Hanbada team has gotten over time, you can really tell just how close they were in the more recent episodes. Whether it was visiting Attorney Jung at the hospital or eating at Min-sik’s restaurant, these were great examples of how close they’ve all gotten to one another. It was also heartwarming to see even Min-sik and Dong Geu-ra-mi as extended family of the Hanbada team. They’re all best friends and second family to one another.
To speak on the endings for our individual characters, I think I liked for the most part how things wrapped up for each of them. I liked how open-ended Attorney Jung’s story was. A part of me does want him to return to Hanbada, but another part of me also likes that he’s taking a break for now and considering what his next steps are. He realizes that work is important, but so is his relationship with Ji-su and he’s going to figure out how to balance out the two if there is such a way. He realizes the mistake he committed in the past and doesn’t want to repeat them again. We all know just how crucial and essential Attorney Jung was as the senior attorney and mentor to our Hanbada team and there was no one better for that position. But at the same time, I think I’d be okay if Attorney Jung decides not to return to Hanbada immediately. Through his mentorship and guidance, our young attorneys have grown and learned so much to the point where they can now even handle other attorneys like Attorney Jang or handle cases like the Raon case by themselves. That’s not to say that they won’t need Attorney Jung as they still clearly do; Young-woo visited Attorney Jung a few times at the hospital because she seeked his advice and support. But they’re also growing in their own ways both with or without Attorney Jung there.
Onto Soo-yeon and Min-woo, I’m still not 100% on board with their relationship and I don’t know if I ever will be fully on board their ship in all honesty. I like them better apart than I like them together and I still think there needs to be this redemption arc for Min-woo before I can root for the two as a couple. Min-woo have said and done quite a few shady and disrespectful things that I haven’t forgotten about (or forgiven him for) and I wished the drama explored this. Do I think Min-woo deserves a redemption arc? No, not really. But would I be opened to one? Sure. It wouldn’t hurt to see him own up to his past actions and comments and show a little bit of remorse or guilt.
I think one can make the argument that this is just who he is so he’s not going to change, but at the same time, he’s just gotta be a better person. Just because he didn’t fully accomplish his personal mission of getting Young-woo to quit Hanbada doesn’t mean that he’s automatically just this new, nice, great person now. Just because he’s a fool for Soo-yeon now which has transformed his behavior doesn’t mean that all the things he did in the past has been miraculously forgiven. In all honesty, I’m actually a bit surprised that the drama didn’t lean in the direction of a redemption arc for Min-woo as I was pretty certain the drama was going to go that route with the way that it set Min-woo up to be this internal Hanbada villain in the first half. Instead, it seemed to have replaced that sub-plot with a romantic storyline with Soo-yeon. I wasn’t the biggest fan of either options, but if I had to choose, I would have gone with the former.
Before I move on to talk about Young-woo and Jun-ho’s relationship, I’d like to spend some time to talk about Jun-ho alone as a character first. Throughout the duration of the drama, there were probably some people who wanted more information on Jun-ho and his background. Outside of Young-woo, who is he? What does he do? What’s his family background? How did he end up in Hanbada? All that we knew and saw of Jun-ho was primarily that of his romantic relationship with Young-woo which could have disappointed those who may have wanted to know more about Jun-ho. We also learned that he has knowledge and experience in working with people with disabilities. I honestly lean more on the side of being okay that we didn’t get to see more of Jun-ho. I was okay with the fact that his role primarily revolved around a romantic relationship with Young-woo. I was okay that the drama didn’t really have too much on his character. I was okay that he was the least multi-dimensional out of everyone in Hanbada. I was okay that he was primarily Young-woo’s love interest and centered around Young-woo.
Jun-ho is such an interesting character simply for the fact that he’s technically the male lead in the drama given that he’s Young-woo’s love interest, but he’s also a supporting character. Male leads in K-dramaland are usually not the supporting characters; they usually have a backstory that involves mommy or daddy issues or some kind of trauma from when they were younger. But in this case with Jun-ho, he just sort of showed up in Young-woo’s life and the two developed this adorable but raw relationship with each other and things transpired from there. It just goes to show that you don’t always need your male leads and the female lead’s love interest to have this super interesting or complicated backstory. I liked that ‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo’ kept things simple with Jun-ho. His purpose was really to serve as Young-woo’s love interest so that the drama could show us what romantic relationships are like for people with autism. I don’t think Jun-ho was ever really supposed to be more or do more than that and I think the drama made this quite clear from the beginning. It was already rare enough to see a character like Jun-ho who respects, loves, support, and cares for the female lead in a healthy way (which explains why everyone was gushing and swooning over him), but it was also rare to see male leads like Jun-ho who the drama doesn’t really explore all that much. It’s rare but because it’s rare, it’s refreshing in that sense. I liked what the drama did with Jun-ho.
Because Jun-ho primarily centered around Young-woo, I also liked how their relationship progressed throughout the drama. Although I was a bigger fan of the phase where they were getting to know each other (like the sunset confession or the whale picture scene), I also liked the phase when they were a couple and were doing all the cute, puppy stuff. I still think their first kissing scene has got to be one of the most heart-fluttering, nerve-wracking, and raw kissing scenes that I’ve ever seen in K-dramaland. It definitely ranks up there in terms of kiss scenes for me because of how realistic and simple it was. I also thought it was cute when they held hands for a few seconds or the way they would walk home together after work (which, now that I think about it, Dad never got to meet Jun-ho. LOL. Maybe that’ll be for season two).
And then of course, the drama had to end the episode by showing Young-woo and Jun-ho stand in front of the revolving door which is exactly how they first met and how everything started in episode one. Again, I’m such a sucker for these types of connections and full circle themes, but this one with Young-woo and Jun-ho especially got to me. Not only does making it through the revolving door signify just how much Young-woo has grown individually, but reuniting with Jun-ho after making it through demonstrates what his impact in her life has been. He was the one who taught her the technique and she managed to get through the revolving door by herself using that technique. And then it was after the amazing accomplishment that she finally understood what emotion it was she was feeling. Jun-ho and Young-woo are such great compliments to each other and it was such a pleasure to watch the two love and grow over the course of this drama. That revolving door will forever be iconic.
However, if there’s one thing I wished the drama could have devoted just a little bit more time into in regards to Young-woo and Jun-ho’s relationship, it would definitely be the break-up. It wasn’t even so much the break-up itself that I had an issue with. In my recap for episode 14 where the break-up happened, I talked about how I understood why Young-woo wanted to break up. Rather, it was in the way the drama felt rushed to make it happen. The drama had done a wonderful job of building up Young-woo and Jun-ho’s relationship (rightfully so) and gave us some cute, fluffy moments between the two when they finally became a couple. But then the drama sort of got carried away with all the other hundred things happening that it gave us this break-up 14 episodes into the drama. And thankfully, the break-up actually had valid reasons behind it and Young-woo and Jun-ho wasn’t breaking up just for the sake of breaking up.
But because the drama rushed into having our two leads break up, that meant it didn’t have as much time to explore how they each felt about it. Sure, we got insight into Young-woo’s reasons as to why she initiated it and we saw Jun-ho express his worries to Soo-yeon and Min-woo over some drinks, but I think I would have also liked to see Young-woo and Jun-ho themselves talk about the issues. We know that communication is something that they both need to get better at and I think it would have been nice to see the two talk things out when they broke up. Young-woo opened up to Jun-ho and explained to him why she wanted to break up. But then what happened after? Could they have talked things out a bit more? I would have liked to see Young-woo and Jun-ho keep on trying to make things work. I get that break-ups are hard and it made sense that the two sort of avoided and stayed away from each other during that time. But it would have also been nice to see the two talk things out even if the first few attempts weren’t all that successful. Their break-up sort of felt like a one-and-done deal when really the drama could have spent a bit more time in showing us the complexity and nuances to it. I know time was running out so the drama couldn’t really do all that much more which is why we got our make-up scene between the two in the last 30 minutes of the final episode. But just like some other storylines in the drama, I think it could have tapped into the break-up (and make-up moment) a little bit more similar to like how it had done in the beginning phase of their relationship.
Reflecting on this final episode, a part of me wishes we could have gotten to see more of Attorney Tae with Young-woo. It’s not so much the bonding part between the two that I wanted, but I guess I would have liked to see more from Attorney Tae’s perspective and how she felt about Young-woo. I guess we sort of got our answer from her in the way that she was willing to drive Young-woo and Dad out of the country for her own benefit so she probably didn’t care for Young-woo as much as I would have liked her to, but I think there was still some potential there to tap into.
Nonetheless, it was nice to see this episode dive into that relationship between Attorney Tae and Young-woo (even if it was barely in the last 25 minutes). Young-woo never received the love from Attorney Tae and she never had a mother figure in her life, but she still grew up so strong and smart and brilliant. She used this experience to express her honest thoughts to Attorney Tae and the comment about how Attorney Tae was never a good mother to her but could be a good mother to Sang-hyun absolutely broke my heart. I don’t think Young-woo is jealous of Sang-hyun nor does she want Attorney Tae in her life. She’s okay with not having a mother figure or Attorney Tae around. Even if it’s not to her, Young-woo knows that Attorney Tae is a mother to Sang-hyun and, therefore, should not ruin the relationship that she has with her son. This is just another example of how much Young-woo has grown and how strong she is. I think it could be easy for Young-woo to cave in and yearn for her mother’s love – in which she might have internally in the past – but she doesn’t let it change who she is nor does she let it impact her too much. Young-woo appreciates her life for what it is and understands that it has shaped and molded her to become who she is in the present.
Taking a step back to reflect on the drama overall, I thought it was so interesting how the first half compared to the second half and how the former was a bit more strict on its formula of procedural cases while the second half focused more on our characters and their lives. While I was definitely a bigger fan of the second strategy where you shape the drama around the characters and not the cases, there was a story or lesson to be told with each court case which I appreciated. You could sort of tell that the drama was beginning to fizz out with the court cases and emphasized a bit more on our characters towards the end of the drama. While court cases and lawsuits can be fun, interesting, and entertaining, learning more about our characters and watching them bond and transform into a second family in and out of the Hanbada walls is much more meaningful. Though ‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo’ may not have changed my mind on how I feel about procedural dramas (it’s just not for me), I’m glad the drama kept us busy and occupied with the relationship building aspect of it all.
Similar to other dramas that I’ve watched and recapped from beginning to end, I always ask myself whether this drama is one that I would re-watch or whether I have an emotional attachment to the drama. Surprisingly, I didn’t find myself too sad upon nearing the end of the final episode. A part of it is because there’s talks of a season two so that’s reassuring news, but I think it’s also because ‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo’ gifted us with so many beautiful moments and memories that I was okay with letting go. The drama had wrapped things up pretty well that I didn’t feel any lingering emotions or regrets or dissatisfaction with anything. Are there a few things I wished the drama could have done better or explored more? Absolutely. There always is in every drama that I watch. But I like that the final episode remained heartwarming and comforting and relaxing until the very end.
It was relieving to know that Young-woo and Dad didn’t need to leave the country like how the drama had been leading us to think so. It was relieving to see Young-woo and Jun-ho make up, get on the same page, and get back together. It was relieving to see our Hanbada and Hairy Pub team spend time together even after the Jeju Island trip. I appreciate that episode 16 wasn’t a stressful watch. It’s always bittersweet when you catch the final episode to a drama that you watched from the very beginning, but I wasn’t torn saying goodbye to our ‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo’ characters. There’s comfort in knowing that this is not the end for our characters, but rather, just the beginning.
There’s no denying just how transformational, popular, and inspirational this drama has been and the amount of success and attention that it garnered with every passing week. It was instrumental in the way that it shed light on autism spectrum disorder and centered its story around a female character with autism. ‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo’ was special and courageous for telling stories that were unique and unfamiliar in K-dramaland. Through the cases in each of the episodes and the stories of our characters, this drama touched many people’s hearts and changed many people’s lives. I think the same can be said to even the cast members as I’m confident it’s a project that they’ll look back upon with warm feelings and positive thoughts. As Young-woo noted in this final episode, there is meaning to life as life is valuable and beautiful. ‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo’ reminded us of that with every passing episode.