Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of reunion. I know the separation was just two (one and a half technically) episodes long, but it felt as if the color had drained from the rest of the show in the absence of Jung-rok and Yoon-seo’s antics. And I’m so glad to have them back. In the end, it really was that simple—they just needed to communicate their needs. Yoon-seo has always been sure of what she values and Jung-rok, well-intentioned as he was, just needed to trust her and make that leap of faith.
Jung-rok seemed so determined to shut Yoon-seo out, despite her repeated attempts at showing up for him, that I was worried we wouldn’t get a reunion until next episode. Thank god Manager Oppa displayed some spine by fessing up to Yoon-seo about his involvement in her breakup. More than that, I think it was Yoon-seo’s little gestures—worrying about Jung-rok’s eating habits, leaving him little encouraging notes—that made him realize that their relationship could work despite her ambitions and the scrutiny upon her. Her quest to woo him after several dismissals must have taken a lot on her part but in the end, it paid off. After all, if Yoon-seo could make it work, there was no reason Jung-rok couldn’t.
I felt like I was watching not one, but two couples in the middle of a breakup—the second being CEO Yeon and Jung-rok. Everything from their massive showdown following Jung-rok’s resignation to CEO Yeon’s sulky tantrums, and Se-won trying to mediate between them like a couple therapist was dramatic. Part of that is just the usual CEO Yeon, but part of this is also their years-old friendship and professional relationship. Here and there in the show, there have been mentions of something CEO Yeon did for Jung-rok that he keeps bringing up to get the latter to obey. This time we get the whole story—Jung-rok had been at a similar career-threatening point before, even risking deregistration from the bar, but Yeon had stood by him.
I’ve always suspected that behind Jung-rok and CEO Yeon’s banter there would be a deep friendship, and I was right. As cautious and worried CEO Yeon is about his company, his priority was supporting his friend through a difficult time. Even prickly Jung-rok cracked a smile at this. Always Law Firm brightens up again after these two make up, and the entire office bands together to help Jung-rok iron out the details of the case, helping him confidently lead the trial.
We finally conclude the Im Yoon-hui case this week, by once again completely ignoring any mention of Park Soo-myeong being on the spectrum and turning what was a good exploration of domestic violence-related trauma into a villainous trope. The way this show developed this case left a sour taste in my mouth—not because a woman faking domestic abuse is impossible, but because media representations of women victims being believed and their charges taken seriously are already low. Giving a sensitive case like Im Yoon-hui’s this villainous (and statistically rare) twist comes across more as a stunt for shock value than anything else. And while I have appreciated the show’s forays into these cases in previous episodes, the writing in this one left irresponsible and left me frustrated.