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I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 13 to end

I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려

This review discusses the plot so, if you have not already watched these episodes, you may wish to delay reading this.

In this set of episodes of I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) for better or worse, everything is out in the open. Min Joon-Kook (Jung Woong-In) is officially alive, Park Soo-Ha (Lee Jong-Suk) has his memory and his mind-reading abilities back, Jang Hye-Sung (Lee Bo-Young) has decided to stay with Park and just be friends with Cha Kwan-Woo (Yoon Sang-Hyun). Cha has given up the idea of private practice and, after a hiccup, gets his job back as a private defender. So this leaves us with three core areas to work out. Min Joon-Kook was acting out of revenge when he killed Park’s father. It seems the father somehow was responsible for the death of Min Joon-Kook’s wife. Then we have the exact status of Seo Do-Yeon (Lee Da-Hee) whom, it now appears, was the daughter in the original Left Hand Case. And we wait for Min Joon-Kook himself to break cover and attack Park and one/both of the original witnesses.

Jang Hye-Sung (Lee Bo-Young)  and Seo Do-Yeon (Lee Da-Hee)

Jang Hye-Sung (Lee Bo-Young) and Seo Do-Yeon (Lee Da-Hee)

The theme for our age-mismatched couple is one of honesty. In the early days of their relationship. Park relentlessly criticised Jang for her lack of honesty yet, out of fear, he’s being less than honest with her. First, he conceals the fact he’s recovered his memory and abilities. Then he refuses to tell her about Min Joon-Kook’s motive for the original murder. This is somewhat ironic because Jang is busy debating whether to tell Seo Do-Yoon, she was adopted by the judge and his wife. Essentially, it comes down to a simple choice. Some think there are some truths it’s better to keep hidden. Others think it’s always better to tell the truth. In one sense, of course, this is academic to Park who can hear the thoughts of those around him and always knows the truth as the thoughts form in others’ minds. But that doesn’t mean he’s without fear. Obviously, until he provokes thought, he can’t know how the others will react. As a young and somewhat inexperienced man, this leaves him unexpectedly becalmed as his fears get the better of him. Jang feel socially awkward and slightly afraid of Park. Being seen holding his hand or being kissed by him in public is not something she’s wholly comfortable with, but despite the age problem and her lack of privacy, she does “like” him.

Park Soo-Ha (Lee Jong-Suk)

Park Soo-Ha (Lee Jong-Suk)

At this point, it’s appropriate to say how well the series began. Min Joon-Kook as played by Jung Woong-In is a wonderful character and the blend of smiling innocence and pure malevolence lights up the screen. Unfortunately, having been through all the initial excitement, he perforce disappears because he’s supposed to be dead. Even when the authorities realise their error and begin searching for him, he’s rarely on the screen. The plot must therefore find a new focus to maintain interest. It does its best with some of the backstory of both Shin Sang-Duk (Yun Ju-Sang) and Cha, but it fails dismally with the entire subplot surrounding the Left Hand Case. Those who read these reviews will know I hate coincidences. Well, this series goes above and beyond the call of duty in offending my sensibilities. The original father accused of killing his wife was represented by Shin in a trial before Judge Seo Dae-Seok (Jeong Dong-Hwan). After his conviction, his “dead” wife goes to Judge Seo and negotiates for him to adopt their baby. In due course, this daughter grows up to become the woman who will prosecute her natural father for the attempted murder of his dead wife. In the meantime, the wrongly convicted father finds himself sharing a prison cell with Min and tells him the story of the left hand. In due course, Min copies this case to frame Park.

Cha Kwan-Woo (Yoon Sang_Hyun) and Shin Sang-Duk (Yun Ju-Sang)

Cha Kwan-Woo (Yoon Sang_Hyun) and Shin Sang-Duk (Yun Ju-Sang)

Now I don’t know why the screen writers decided to conflate these two individually interesting stories in one series. Considering whether Judge Seo was wrong in failing to call in the police to arrest the dead wife would have been interesting as his “daughter” becomes involved in the case to prosecute her natural father for attempted murder. Although it’s thematically not unlike Prosecutor Princess, there’s a lot of mileage in mixed family situations like this. It’s also an opportunity to comment on the general reluctance in Korea ever to admit any kind of mistake. But to go through a shotgun marriage with a red hot story about Min Joon-Kook’s drive for revenge unbalances the sad emotions of adoptive vs. natural parents. The softer emotions also kill the tension as the deranged killer goes into hiding for whole episodes. So only when the Red Hand Case is more or less over do we come back for the big climax as Min Joon-Kook bursts back on to the screen with quite an elegant plot that’s entirely consistent with this character. We then have the final epilogue episode which spends the entire hour tying up all the loose ends.

Min Joon-Kook (Jung Woong-In)

Min Joon-Kook (Jung Woong-In)

This last set of episodes drags because the series was originally scheduled for a run of sixteen episodes but, when it proved such a success up to episode 10, the television channel insisted on two more. This slows everything down with far too many flashbacks. The trial sequences are padded out and there’s extra character dialogue that fails to add anything substantive to the plot. This shows up particularly in the last episode which works quite well on the stabbing, but is otherwise fairly redundant. So summing up, Jung Woong-In as Min Joon-Kook has been a revelation. This is a terrific performance from start to finish. Even the abandonment of the claimed justification for the murder spree and acceptance of responsibility is handled without sentimentality. He’s taken the first steps to reform.

In part this is due to Cha’s dogged determination to do the right thing. I’m not at all convinced this character is consistently plausible. As an ex-police officer he’s far too idealistic and gullible when he starts off as a defender. Yoon Sang-Hyun’s performance becomes more believable later in the series. As Seo Do-Yeon, Lee Da-Hee has the most difficult character arc which requires her to go from defensive arrogance to a more open approach to the notion of justice and an honest emotional engagement with her natural father. She does what’s written well, but it’s a major personality change. Yun Ju-Sang as Shin is the most interesting of the more minor characters. As a life-long public defender, he’s seen it all, but retained enough humanity to help the young defenders to find their own way. Similarly, Kim Hae-Sook as Eo Choon-Sim, Jang’s mother, is wonderfully salt-of-the-earth, consistent in her love for Jang and completely righteous in her view of the world. As to Jang Hye-Sung played by Lee Bo-Young, she was plagued by injustice in her early years, but blessed with enough self-belief to become a good lawyer when it matters. Her slow transformation into an adult prepared to relate more openly with those around her is done well. Her war with herself about whether she should “love” the young man is wholly convincing. This leaves us with Lee Jong-Suk as Park Soo-Ha. As a telepath, he’s wonderfully self-effacing, never overplaying his ability and smoothing his path through life. In some ways, he’s an arch manipulator who could have been villainous but, with his easy smile and insecurities, he comes over as more vulnerable. His slow loss of innocence makes the series work. So despite the loss of pace in later episodes and the uncomfortable matching of plot elements, I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 is a success.

For the reviews of the other episodes, see:
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 1 to 4
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 5 to 8
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 9 to 12.

I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 9 to 12

I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려

This review discusses the plot so, if you have not already watched these episodes, you may wish to delay reading this.

In this set of episodes in I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013), we see Min Joon-Kook (Jung Woong-In) released and welcomed back into the world by the church and charity workers he’s converted to his cause. Naturally, Park Soo-Ha (Lee Jong-Suk) now sets up for the kill. Ko Sung-Bin (Kim Ga-Eun) realises something bad is about to happen and calls Jang Hye-Sung (Lee Bo-Young). Jang and Cha Kwan-Woo (Yoon Sang_Hyun) then use the tracking device in her smartphone to find Park and, in a tense series of confrontations, Min Joon-Kook is quite badly beaten, Park is stabbed in the shoulder, and Jang is stabbed in the stomach. More importantly, while Jang is recovering in hospital, Cha finally receives the transcripts of the original trial and realises he’s been played for a sucker. He quits the job as Public Defender and goes to help his father run his food stall. Park disappears. Jang comes back to work but a crisis arises almost immediately. A fisherman finds a left hand floating in the dock where he’s somewhat improbably trying to catch something to eat. Fingerprints identify it as Min Joon-Kook’s hand. The police naturally think Park has killed the man and issue a national capture and detain warrant. As time passes, Jang reverts to her original tactics and drives everyone nuts by reciting the same basic script every time she appears in court to represent a defendant, often not even caring enough to change the sex or the details of her plea in mitigation. One year passes and Park is found working on a remote farm. He seems to have lost his memory. Naturally, Cha asks to come back to work to help defend Park. He hopes he can repay both of them for the catastrophe caused by the acquittal and release of Min Joon-Kook.

Min Joon-Kook (Jung Woong-In) showing his malevolent side

Min Joon-Kook (Jung Woong-In) showing his malevolent side

Since episode 10 is played from Park’s point of view, we must accept he has genuinely lost his memory and no longer has the mind reading ability. As soon as Jang is notified of his arrest, she runs to his side and is now back in full defender mode to secure his acquittal. Park promised her he would not kill Min Joon-Kook. She has faith in him. Unfortunately, the prosecution led by Prosecutor Seo Do-Yeon (Lee Da-Hee) has a mass of circumstantial evidence to “prove” Park guilty. So this trial turns into a replay of Shin Sang-Duk (Yun Ju-Sang), the chief public defender’s early failure — appropriately called the Left Hand Case, it was tried before the young Judge Seo Dae-Seok (Jeong Dong-Hwan), i.e. everything in this plot clicks together like clockwork. The trial itself is completely entrancing as different tactics are used by both prosecution and defence to sway the jury. The one element which has been worrying the defence is how the police came to find Park. When they realise the woman who made the call had accepted money from a man to make the call and so collect the reward, they decide to run the ultimate explanation for this case. It all hinges on the identity of the man with whom Min Joon-Kook shared his cell during his ten-year detention. Yes, it was the original losing defendant of the Left Hand Case.

Park Soo-Ha (Lee Jong-Suk)  and Jang Hye-Sung (Lee Bo-Young)

Park Soo-Ha (Lee Jong-Suk) and Jang Hye-Sung (Lee Bo-Young)

So the defence goes all out to sell the idea Min Joon-Kook is still alive and continuing to take revenge on Park. As you would expect, this proves a close-run argument which gets very personal when Seo Do-Yeon tells the jury that the two defence lawyers have personal interests in this case. Cha secured the acquittal of the man accused of murdering Jang’s mother. So Jang makes a controlled but emotional rebuttal in which she accepts the ideas of the presumption of innocence and a defence lawyer going all out to secure an acquittal. That’s what defence lawyers are supposed to do and that’s why they are going all out to get this defendant acquitted. Needless to say, Park is acquitted on a majority verdict and we then play the two sides of the triangle against the third. Cha asks Jang if she forgives him — she does — and whether they can date — she refuses. But Jang also tells Park they are not a couple and he should find a girl his own age — as if that’s ever going to work in a romantic drama like this.

Meanwhile, Cha has been to see Seo Do-Yeon and asked how how the person who claimed the reward for finding Park knew where he was. Frustrated by her loss, she goes to see this woman and is refused any sensible answers. But as she is leaving, we’re allowed the sight of a man wearing a black glove sitting behind the wheel of a truck. Yes, episode 12 shows the whole plot exposed as Park slowly gets his memory back, Cha continues to be a detective as well as a lawyer, and Seo Do-Yeon finally uses her brain and accepts Min Joon-Kook is still alive. However, instead of acting decisively and arresting everyone in sight at the fruit store, Seo Do-Yeon simply sends a summons to the lady who has claimed the reward. Not surprisingly, she’s dead within the day. However, the doughty prosecutor has seen this scenario before, i.e. surveillance camera dysfunctional an hour before the accident, so there’s now a national arrest warrant out for the rest of the missing dead body. Park’s acquittal stands because he didn’t kill no-one, and Cha’s hopes of ever persuading Jang to give up her toy boy have gone up in smoke. There’s also what may be an interesting subplot element building based on the original Left Hand Case, and the drunk Seo Do-Yeon finally tells everyone she was the second witness against Min Joon-Kook who failed to follow Jang into court to give evidence. That clears the air as far as everyone else is concerned but the two women are still in a state of denial. Overall, the series has begun to lose a little steam. We miss Jung Woong-In as Min Joon-Kook and Park’s trial scenes go on a touch too long. Nevertheless, I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 continues to impress.

For the reviews of the other episodes, see:
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 1 to 4
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 5 to 8
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 13 to end.

I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 5 to 8

I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려

This review discusses the plot so, if you have not already watched these episodes, you may wish to delay reading this.

In I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) the second case for us to enjoy is the classic involving identical twins. One stabs the owner of a shop during the robbery despite the efforts of the other to stop him. In the West, it doesn’t matter which twin actually held the knife, the law charges both as joint principals. In Korea, the judges have a discretion to invite the prosecutor to choose which one to charge as the principal, the other then being charged as the accessory. Since they both say they were holding the knife and there’s no way to tell them apart despite the video evidence from the store camera, this is a challenge for Prosecutor Seo Do-Yeon (Lee Da-Hee). Park Soo-Ha (Lee Jong-Suk) sits in court and hears both the accused thinking through the plan. The killing was, of course, premeditated, and they are running this defence because they think they can both get acquitted. Once she realizes the plan, Jang Hye-Sung (Lee Bo-Young) decides to co-operate with her enemy prosecutor to get justice for the victim’s wife. This is, of course, highly unethical and could get her struck off but there’s no obvious evidence of collusion in court so it’s difficult for Shin Sang-Duk (Yun Ju-Sang), the senior public defender, to do anything.

Shin Sang-Duk (Yun Ju-Sang) exchanges opinions with  Jang Hye-Sung (Lee Bo-Young) as Park Soo-Ha (Lee Jong-Suk) listens in

Shin Sang-Duk (Yun Ju-Sang) exchanges opinions with Jang Hye-Sung (Lee Bo-Young) as Park Soo-Ha (Lee Jong-Suk) listens in

Min Joon-Kook (Jung Woong-In) identifies Eo Choon-Sim (Kim Hae-Sook) as his victim’s mother and gets a job in her food shop. He’s completely cold-hearted and despite Eo Choon-Sim’s kindness, determines to kill her. Meanwhile Park Soo-Ha finds a private inquiry agent prepared to use smartphone technology to track down Min Joon-Kook. He does so but it’s too late to prevent the death of Eo Choon-Sim. There’s further development on the crime scene with Jang Hye-Sung allocated a case involving an elderly, slightly deaf man who’s accused of stealing free newspapers. Because the defendant insults Jang, the case is transferred to Cha Kwan-Woo (Yoon Sang_Hyun) who works to so impress the old guy he will see the benefit of Public Defenders and apologise to Jang. In the end, Park yet again acts as Jang’s conscience and persuades her to save the old man. The mechanism ultimately depends on Park’s ability to read minds and produces the right result for the old man but embarrasses Jang because Cha gives her a hug of thanks in open court and later asks her for a date.

Min Joon-Kook (Jung Woong-In) tells Cha Kwan-Woo (Yoon Sang_Hyun) how he failed to rescue his victim

Min Joon-Kook (Jung Woong-In) tells Cha Kwan-Woo (Yoon Sang_Hyun) how he failed to rescue his victim

At this point, the series moves into the darker territory we’ve been expecting as Min Joon-Kook first gently inserts himself into the shop and the life of Eo Choon-Sim, extracting every last piece of gossip and information he can about Jang. One feature of this is Eo’s continuing attempts to foster a relationship between Jang and Cha. This leads to the ultimately cruel way of manipulating the murder. He disables the camera outside the food shop and, when night falls, begins the slow process of killing Eo. During this, Jang telephones. It may sound corny to write it here, but this conversation between mother and daughter, and the subsequent exchange of view with Min Joon-Kook is very powerful. Anyway, everything is staged as an accident in a fire. He staggers out of the shop with the dead body over his shoulder, sustaining non-fatal burns on the way. Naturally, he asks for Cha to represent him. The way in which he manipulates Cha is delightfully devious and, of course, Cha secures an acquittal. Interestingly, Seo Do-Yeon breaks cover and, with the connivance of Judge Seo Dae-Seok (Jeong Dong-Hwan), they try to fix the trial. Unfortunately, Cha is equal to the task. This leaves Seo Do-Yeon exposed as having been the other witness to the original murder. More importantly, Cha finally receives the transcripts of the original trial and realises he’s been played for a sucker. He quits the job as Public Defender and goes to help his father run his food stall. This leaves Jang and Park in the direct firing line. So as the date of Min Joon-Kook’s release approaches, Park sets in motion a plan to kill Min Joon-Kook. This leaves everything set up with Jang apparently left on her own and the killer on the loose coming to get her.

Taking one step back, this is a wonderful series. Given the primary character interaction is between Jang and Park, we have the irony he’s the young and experienced man who can hear both what she says and thinks, while nominally she’s the worldly experienced woman who can only hear his voice. Yet despite her growing up with high ideals about justice, she’s actually lost the spark and it’s only when Park talks with her that she’s reminded what made her want to become a lawyer in the first place. She’s a better person than she thinks she is, and it takes the naive youngster’s criticism and help to force her to see something of the truth about herself. Lee Bo-Young’s performance as Jang Hye-Sung is particularly pleasing as we veer arbitrarily between the self-absorbed kid going through the motions as a lawyer and the intelligent woman who can produce a fine legal argument if she puts her mind to it and gains a little more self-confidence.

For the reviews of the other episodes, see:
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 1 to 4
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 9 to 12
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 13 to end.

I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 1 to 4

I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려

This review discusses the plot so, if you have not already watched these episodes, you may wish to delay reading this.

In I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) Jang Hye-Sung (Lee Bo-Young) is an underperforming young lawyer who can’t find work with a major firm so she applies for a job as a public defender. To get the job, she hypnotises the interview panel led by Kim Kong-Sook (Kim Kwang-Kyu) with an allegedly true story from her youth. Ten years earlier, she claims she was expelled from her school after being wrongly accused by Seo Do-Yeon (Lee Da-Hee), the daughter of Judge Seo Dae-Seok (Jeong Dong-Hwan). This also led to Eo Choon-Sim (Kim Hae-Sook) being fired from her job as the judge’s housekeeper. When there’s a confrontation between the two girls, they witness what first seems to be an accident but then turns into murder. Min Joon-Kook (Jung Woong-In) kills the driver and is about to kill the young nin-year-old boy Park Soo-Ha (Lee Jong-Suk) when Jang Hye-Sung takes a picture of him. The girls run away but, later, Jang Hye-Sung appears in court and gives evidence sufficient to send the driver to jail for ten years. Seo Do-Yeon was also supposed to give evidence, but she lost her nerve and did not go into the courtroom.

Eo Choon-Sim (Kim Hae-Sook)  and Jang Hye-Sung

Eo Choon-Sim (Kim Hae-Sook) and Jang Hye-Sung

On the day of the interview, Jang Hye-Sung meets Cha Kwan-Woo (Yoon Sang_Hyun). He started off as a policeman but has now qualified as a lawyer. Needless to say, they both get jobs. When a picture of Jang Hye-Sung appears in the newspaper, this reinforces Min Joon-Kook’s desire for revenge, and also shows Park Soo-Ha what his savior looks like. This may sound standard fare, but it’s made very entertaining because the now grown-up Park Soo-Ha is telepathic (probably brought on by the head injury in the crash when his father was killed). There’s a delightful sequence of him interrupting a school prank on a new girl joining their class. Anyway, to complete the set-up, Jang Hye-Sung’s first case is against Ko Sung-Bin (Kim Ga-Eun) one of the girls in Park Soo-Ha’s school.

There are strong parallels between this accusation and the one faced by our heroine at about the same age. Unfortunately, there’s no strong evidence the girl is innocent and our heroine takes the standard line which is strongly to advise her to plead guilty. However when Park Soo-Ha convinces our heroine not only that he can read thoughts, but also that his friend is innocent, she’s tempted to fight the case. What tips the balance is the appearance of Seo Do-Yeon as the prosecutor. The hostility between them crackles off the screen so battle is joined on what appears to be a perfectly circumstantial case. In this and the majority of other cases in this series, the panel of three judges is led by Kim Kong-Sook who heard the intial story about the two girls and the failure of one to give evidence against the killer. Unfortunately, when the “victim” is called to give evidence, she says she was pushed by the defendant. This demonstrates the rule a good lawyer never agrees to an unlisted witness unless she’s absolutely sure what the witness will say. It does no good that Park Soo-Ha knows the girl is lying. He can’t take the stand to prove he can hear the thoughts of those around him. Without evidence, there can be no rebuttal of the victim’s testimony.

Park Soo-Ha (Lee Jong-Suk) and Jang Hye-Sung (Lee Bo-Young)

Park Soo-Ha (Lee Jong-Suk) and Jang Hye-Sung (Lee Bo-Young)

This leads to a rather pleasing meeting between the two girls where the accused admits she was jealous of the younger girl’s success and apologises for bullying her. However, rather than allow the victim to change her testimony, Seo Do-Yeon threatens to prosecute for perjury. The first evidence was given under oath. If the victim recants, she’s admitting to lying under oath. Fortunately the senior defence lawyer is watching from the public seats and texts the authority for rebutting the threat. After the case is dismissed, Park Soo-Ha accuses Seo Do-Yeon of putting the desire to win above the desire to see justice done. The subtext is the competition between the two women also influenced the threat to invoke perjury even though the prosecutor should have known (probably did know) she had no grounds for doing so.

Cha Kwan-Woo (Yoon Sang_Hyun)

Cha Kwan-Woo (Yoon Sang_Hyun)

Meanwhile Min Joon-Kook has established himself as the model released prisoner. He’s volunteering at local church and charitable outlets to show he’s sincerely repented his past wrongdoings. And then he begins psychological warfare against Jang Hye-Sung, sending her enigmatic text messages. When she realises the messages are not from either Park Soo-Ha or Cha Kwan-Woo, she calls the number and is frightened when the phone rings in her apartment. The police are, of course, deeply sceptical that there’s anything to worry about. Even when they realise the relationship between the three, they are satisfied by the front presented by Min Joon-Kook, and take no action. This leads Park Soo-Ha to track down and attack him. Finally realising who Park Soo-Ha is (it was all ten years ago, after all), Jang Hye-Sung agrees to take legal responsibility for Park and they begin a more honest basis for their friendship. The problem now is how to get evidence of Min Joon-Kook’s real intentions.

So this gives us the basic relationship mess. For all her current faults, Park Soo-Ha and Cha Kwan-Woo both like Jang Hye-Sung. Obviously there’s a significant age gap between Jang and Park but that’s not stopping Park from jealousy and some level of despondency when he sees what might be a more natural fit between Jang and Cha. There’s also a love interest for Park from Ko Sung-Bin. the girl in his class at school. This romance is embedded in a case involving a vicious murderer who killed ten years ago and promised revenge when he was released. Except the whole series also has terrific moments of humour. The script and the quality of the acting sells laughter at unexpected moments. In short, this is a terrific opening set of episodes.

For reviews of the other episodes, see:
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 5 to 8
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 9 to 12
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 13 to end.

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 51 to 54

July 14, 2011 2 comments

This is a spoiler-rich discussion of what happens in these episodes so do not read this post if you want the experience of watching the serial unfold onscreen. Further, these episode numbers are based on the terrestrial broadcasts I have seen and not on downloaded or DVD episodes. It’s possible that these numbers do not match your experience.

At last, the restored Queen Inhyeon (Park Ha Sun) has decided to stop acting like wallpaper and to be more proactive, appointing Choi Dong Yi (Han Hyo Joo) to take control of the Surveillance Bureau. When Dong Yi forgives the Surveillance Bureau ladies does this confirm that her servant was returned unharmed? You will remember the villains spirited her away when searching Dong Yi’s apartment. Shame there’s been no mention of it. It will be interesting to see how the three react to their reprieve. Matron Yoo (Lim Seong-Min) was clearly enjoying herself under Queen Jang’s protection. It seems unlikely this brush with death will reform her. The two more naive girls, Si-Bi (Oh Eun-Ho) and Eun-Geum (Han Da-Min) may prove more open to the idea of a second chance. In historical context, I suspect clemency in this court will be interpreted as weakness. If people believe they will not face death for their crimes, the deterrent value of capital punishment has been lost — assuming “criminals” ever believe they are going to be caught, of course.

Dong Yi (Han Hyo Joo), Cha Jeon-Soo (Bae Su-Bin) and Ge Dwo Ra (Yeo Hyeon-Soo) — three childhood friends reunited

In the best New York style, the deposed Queen Jang (Lee So-Yeon) gets to do the perp walk as she’s thrown out of her “housing unit” with all the servants and lesser ladies getting to enjoy her humiliation. Yet all this does us move a major enemy from one royal residence to another inside the palace.

The King (Ji Jin Hee) has a pregnancy dream and discovers Dong Yi has a craving for porridge. During their incognito visit to a government site supposedly dedicated to feeding the poor, they discover willful abuse of authority and probable skimming of stores. The King is now in his element, dispensing immediate justice and banishing all those responsible to distant border postings. It’s good to see him more involved in the day-to-day running of the kingdom rather than merely depending on the reports of his officials.

Jang Hee-Jae (Kim Yu-Seok) is exiled. He’s not a happy bunny but, after sacrificing his wealth, he brings himself back into contention when the heat has died down. In the intervening period, our happy couple celebrate the birth of a son, and we have a new villain to enjoy. It’s the return to the capital of Jang Moo-Yul (Choi Jong-Hwan) who’s been working his way up the system, playing the part of an honest administrator. Even the King is pleased to see him and puts him in charge of the investigation into the outbreak of killings. Yes, the Geom-Gye or Sword Society has been resurrected and is once again the scourge of the nobility. Not surprisingly, Dong Yi, Cha Jeon-Soo (Bae Su-Bin) and Chief Seo Yong-Gi (Jeong Jin-Yeon) are greatly upset by this development. So Dong Yi talks the Queen into allowing her out of the palace and now she and Shim Woon Taek (Kim Dong-Yoon) are investigating the hand signs she remembers seeing as a child. They identify it as the Chinese way of counting but, at first, there’s no clue how numbers might be translated into language. Meanwhile, Jang Moo-Yul exploits his knowledge that Deputy Prime Minister Oh Tae-Suk (Jeong Dong-Hwan) ordered the death of his father under the cover of the Sword Society campaign. Now we see the deposed Queen Jang reasserting her position with the South faction using Jang Moo-Yul as her stalking horse.

Dong Yi discusses old times with the Sword Society

As an aside, I wonder about the use of language in this series. When I was growing up, I was bilingual in “English” and Geordie, the local dialect. This was essential to be able to fit into different social situations. So I assume Dong Yi is the same. Born and brought up as a commoner, she would have a pronounced accent and some dialect usages that would clearly mark her speech as low-born. Moving into the palace, she would then learn the different class-based vocabulary and syntax. I ask this because, if armed Geordie terrorists burst into my home and were about to kill me, the moment I opened my mouth they would know me as one of their own and not a southern toff. More importantly, if all but Ge Dwo Ra (Yeo Hyeon-Soo) are new recruits, how do the rank and file killers know about Dong Yi and membership of the old society? As an aside, Ge Dwo Ra gets to wear a unique hat that allows you to track him as he runs through the countryside or moves through a crowded city street. Great thinking by the leader of a secret organisation.

I’m also increasingly confused about geography. While we were mainly based inside the palace or in distant parts of the countryside, it didn’t matter if we had no idea of the scale of movement between different buildings or parts of town. But we now have Lady Jang and Dong Yi out visiting different houses and I have no idea how easy it is to get from one place to another or, even, which are within or outside the city walls.

Jeong Dong-Hwan as Oh Tae-suk is finally expendable

This all boils up to a great climax as the two sides jockey for position. Once Dong Yi cracks the code and identifies Oh Tae-Suk as behind the killings, they spook the veteran politician into giving himself away. Dong Yi also confronts Lady Jang and they both now recognise each other from the murderous events all those years ago. It’s now a race. The Jangs need to kill Oh Tae-Suk and frame the Sword Society. Chief Seo and Cho need to collect all the evidence and arrest Oh Tae-Suk. In the end, Ge Dwo Ra is seriously wounded when Oh Tae-Suk and his entourage are killed. He escapes to Sul-Hee (Kim Hye-Jin). Dong Yi rushes to his side. This is the Jang’s chance and, with the King incognito and encouraged to follow the investigation, he’s there when Dong Yi is “arrested” for aiding a murderer.

For more general discussions of the social and political context for the serial, see:
Dong Yi — the politics

Dong Yi — superstition and magic

Dong Yi — the minor characters

Dong Yi — final thoughts

Click here for the reviews of the narrative itself:

Dong Yi — the first 22 episodes;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 23 to 29;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 30 to 36;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 37 to 41;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 42 to 47;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 48 to 50;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 51 to 54;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 55 to 63;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 64 to 69;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 70 to the end.