What a thrilling episode before finale week! Joon-seok’s family’s crimes finally catch up with them, with evidence this time as the police get digging into Eun-joo and Oh Jin-pyo’s role in covering up Sun-ho’s accident. I’m hopeful that this family will pay for what they did. However, as with every wealthy and villainous family in K-dramaland, they won’t go down without one last fight.
I’ve been saying that this show set a new precedent as far as editing and layering of scenes is concerned and this episode proved it again. Dialogues of Sun-ho refusing to believe Joon-seok didn’t assault Da-hee and Joon-seok refusing to believe his mom didn’t cause Shin Dae-gil’s incident are layered over each other quite cleverly. Earlier, with Shin blackmailing Oh Jin-pyo, we had only heard half the recording but the complete version has everything from the thud from Sun-ho falling to Eun-joo asking Shin’s help. I won’t lie, that thud made me jump hard. As Sun-ho’s parents break down, I can’t imagine how it would be like to listen to the exact moment your child met with an accident.
I thought Oh Jin-pyo won’t be able to scheme his way out of this, but he somehow finds a way to pin the blame onto Eun-joo and a dead person, Shin. Despite all her guilt and anxiety, Eun-joo once again smoothly lies and takes all the blame in order to protect Joon-seok. Not only that, Oh Jin-pyo extracts himself from the case completely by asking his wife to lie and pretend he wasn’t involved. I, for one, am not surprised. Oh Jin-pyo was always going to throw his wife under the bus, but what’s sad about this situation is that Eun-joo knows what her husband is doing and is still willing to go through with his plan as long as Joon-seok is unharmed.
While it’s now out in the open that Sun-ho fell from the rooftop while fighting Joon-seok, there’s this tiny detail that needs clarification—did Joon-seok push him off or did he truly fall off accidentally? Joon-seok’s parents don’t seem to care about this detail, a fact that seems to pinch Joon-seok. When Joon-seok lashes out at his mother, calling out his parents’ hypocrisy by pointing out that it doesn’t matter if he is actually the culprit and his parents will cover up for him anyway, we get a glimpse into how much this kid wants to be a good person. As usual, it’s the adults ruining things. By granting their son invincibility, Joon-seok’s parents have made sure their son will never be happy or feel at peace again. And therein lies the greatest irony in this show.
When it becomes apparent that Joon-seok’s family will get away with a mere monetary penalty according to the law, In-ha and Moo-jin take matters into her own hand. They enlist Journalist Choi to write another article, this time using the recording from Sun-ho’s phone. I especially like how clear-headed Sun-ho’s parents are, instructing Journalist Choi to avoid mentioning Da-hee’s name in his article. They also ask him to steer clear of putting the blame on Joon-seok, who they insist still “has time,” and focusing on his parents instead. It’s remarkable how mindful of Joon-seok’s struggle they are, but I kind of agree with Journalist Choi’s point of view also—that perpetrators often need to go through the same pain in order to feel remorse or they don’t change at all.
The aftereffects of the article are extreme—Joon-seok faces severe hostility from his classmates, who all immediately turn on him and call him a murderer. Even Gi-chan and Sung-jae change their testimonies to implicate him. Only Dong-hee appears sympathetic to his predicament. When Joon-seok breaks down, thinking of happier times with Sun-ho, one can’t help but feel pity for this boy who still had a chance and was steered into darkness by his overprotective parents.
Now that the truth is out, we see a tortured Eun-joo make her way to In-ha’s doorstep to apologize, only to be met with a tight slap. I feel for this tormented woman but I can’t help but be satisfied by this slap, especially when In-ha asks how Eun-joo thought only of her son in front of a dying child. That really is what is at the root of all these dramas about mothers going to extreme lengths to protect their children from SKY Castle to this show.
Da-hee’s case seems to be getting murkier with every new reveal. It’s clear something happened with the girl, considering how bad her anxiety is, but it doesn’t seem like either Joon-seok or Sun-ho met with her on the day she got assaulted. On principle, I’m not comfortable with everyone taking the “maybe she lied” tone with this case so I hope she speaks up and sets the record straight. Even though we still have one last mystery to resolve, I’m hoping the next episode is a happy one since Sun-ho seems to have finally woken up. Shoutout to Ahn Nae-sang (The Light In Your Eyes) for his cameo as Sun-ho’s doctor!
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