If last week’s episodes of “Why Her?” were all about Gong Chan (Hwang In Yeop), this week is all about Soo Jae (Seo Hyun Jin). We’re drawing closer to the end, and tensions are ramping up with the discovery of the body of Gong Chan’s stepsister. The bad guys scramble to cover their tracks, while Choi Tae Guk (Heo Joon Ho) continues to hold more cards than anyone imagined. Soo Jae is determined to correct her wrongs from 10 years ago. But what if that quest for justice takes more from her than she ever thought possible?
Warning: mention of sexual assault and spoilers for episodes 13-14 below.
1. Soo Jae’s secret is out in the open
After Choi Yoon Sang (Bae In Hyuk) exposes to Gong Chan that Soo Jae abandoned him, Soo Jae fully expects recrimination. She’s bewildered and tearful when Gong Chan stands by her side instead, and he even yells at Yoon Sang for hurting Soo Jae by secretly having her overhear their call. Yoon Sang leaves in a huff, unable to understand Gong Chan’s naiveté (same). And Soo Jae and Gong Chan finally have a long-awaited honest discussion.
Soo Jae tries to use this as an excuse to push Gong Chan away from her, but he’s not having it. He finds the whiteboard with his list of suspects and sees that she has added to it. Touched, he refuses to let her draw away, and they share a hug. But Soo Jae’s troubles aren’t over yet. Her rift with Gong Chan is healed, but she’ll have to return to the past and the interconnected series of events that forever altered her life and those of Gong Chan, Kang Eun Seo (Han Sun Hwa), and Jeon Na Jung (Hwang Ji Ah). And what she finds there is horrifying.
2. The man she once imagined a future with is guilty of sexual assault
Hearing Director Baek (Kim Chang Wan) tell her what happened to Kang Eun Seo is a blow to the gut. Not only was Choi Joo Wan (Ji Seung Hyun) the person who drugged Eun Seo, but he also drove her and his friends to Han Seong Beom’s (Lee Kyung Young‘s) villa and raped her with them while they were all abusing drugs. The fact that this man, only a few years later, would go on to seduce Soo Jae is horrifying. He really just went on with his life like nothing changed. Like his father, Joo Wan doesn’t understand remorse or accountability.
The great thing about “Why Her?” is that the bad guys never border on caricature. They’re all three-dimensional human beings who always place their own self-interest over everyone and everything. Choi Tae Guk likes yogurt drinks in the sauna, assemblyman Lee In Soo (Jo Young Jin, father of one of Joo Wan’s rapist friends) dances to aespa’s “Next Level” in a campaign ad, and even Director Baek subtly pushed Gong Chan to attend law school. These are likable traits in people who’ve done horrific things, and it’s mind-boggling to see how easy they vacillate between humanity and depravity. So it’s not surprising that Soo Jae ended up falling for Joo Wan because how could she have known? Joo Wan comes off as a braggart unworthy of his position but not as an ice-cold murder-rapist. Still, it’s one more nail in the coffin of Soo Jae’s mental health as this fight starts to seriously drain her. But she isn’t the only one who’s about to have a nasty shock.
3. His son, her daughter
When Soo Jae glides into Choi Tae Guk’s office, she doesn’t expect the figurative bomb that’s about to go off within it. She smoothly informs him that his son and his friends didn’t just kill Jeon Na Jung that night, they also raped a woman. The real reason Na Jung was killed was to cover that crime up. It’s obvious that Choi Tae Guk didn’t know about Eun Seo, and we have the pleasure of seeing him rattled as his son’s vile past (once again) threatens to shake up everything he’s worked for. But instead of backing down, he fires back with the only thing he can think of to shock Soo Jae into silence.
Jae Yi (Han Joo Hyun) is her daughter.
Soo Jae freezes in shock, quickly putting together what Choi Tae Guk must have done to her. Her world teeters, collapses, but she can’t afford for him to see how much he’s destroyed her with those five words. He once again asks her to marry Joo Wan, promising to help her rise to the top. But honestly, who would believe him at this point. A shaken, disgusted Soo Jae leaves after tearing into him, and Choi Tae Guk realizes that he really isn’t going to be able to control her. Soo Jae slaps Joo Wan on her way out, and for good reason. The man knew that he was selfishly separating his child from her birth mother, and he didn’t care a whit. Soo Jae’s so much in shock that she refuses to believe that Jae Yi could be her child at first because it really would be so cruel. But a visit to the child with Joo Wan’s soon-to-be-ex-wife confirms the truth. Even the ex-wife sadly says that she knew the truth the second she saw the two of them posing for a picture together and the way Jae Yi clutched Soo Jae’s hand.
Soo Jae’s DNA test comes back positive as well. Realizing what was done to her, Soo Jae seems to go eerily numb. She visits her wastrel family and almost seems to bid them farewell, acting kinder to them than she has in 10 years. Seo Hyun Jin really sells how dead Soo Jae looks inside. So much of her life has been a lie. From her guilt at Gong Chan’s imprisonment, to her horrible mistake in falling for Joo Wan, to her child being taken from her while she was lied to about having a stillbirth, to realizing that despite it all, she did everything for Tae Guk and Co. while they lied to her face. It’s enough to drive anyone off the deep end. So when Soo Jae begins her counterattack, it isn’t with the appearance of someone who wants to survive this battle but of someone who has every intention of taking everyone down with her in death.
4. Soo Jae hits back
Choi Tae Guk doesn’t expect Soo Jae to immediately show up with a counteroffer the next day. She demands custody of Jae Yi in return for not revealing to the world just what Choi Tae Guk did to her. She has plenty of leverage to demand this as she and the members of the Legal Clinic have been leaking every bit of dirt that Choi Tae Guk’s friends are involved in to the press. The body at the construction site is positively identified as Na Jung’s, and people are talking about how strange it is that Gong Chan was arrested and how the man who was later convicted as the murderer conveniently died in prison just as the body was found. Then there’s the fact that Soo Jae knows the identity of the girl his son drugged and raped, but Choi Tae Guk doesn’t. Choi Tae Guk still refuses to sign the deal, but Soo Jae brings up a massive kicker.
Remember Park So Young (Hong Ji Yoon) from the start of the show? The one who was found to be pregnant at the time of her death? Well, Soo Jae finally knows who the father is. And it isn’t the lecherous Lee In Soo or Han Seong Beom; it’s Choi Tae Guk himself. Oh wow. So not only was Choi Tae Guk a pro at ripping babies from their mother, he also killed his much younger mistress and their unborn child because he can. She has the paternity tests to prove it. Choi Tae Guk knows he’s lost this one. Soo Jae has too much ammo at the moment. He has no choice but to agree to the deal.
The linchpin here is Jae Yi. So long as Soo Jae has custody of her, she’ll limit her attacks, or so she says at least. She’s clearly trying to remove a bargaining chip from Choi Tae Guk’s hands. But what happens if the linchpin vanishes?
5. Jae Yi’s death
Just because it’s foreshadowed that Jae Yi is incapable of understanding how to cross the street doesn’t mean that the Bus of Doom killing her makes any sense. This was honestly a cheap move by a show that hasn’t used any thus far. The motivation here is to clearly push Soo Jae into utter insanity and give her nothing left to lose in this last fight, but there are plenty of other ways that could have been executed. Instead, Soo Jae backs out yet again on dinner with Gong Chan, leaving him to rack up absurd taxi fees chasing after her. She barely tells him where she’s going and still hasn’t told him about Jae Yi.
The kid in question has run away from home after Joo Wan’s ex-wife made the mistake of telling a six-year-old child that she was going to abandon her and run off to New York (who does that??). Naturally, this results in Joo Wan (who is someone capable of being a concerned parent while also raping girls) and Soo Jae running around looking for her. Soo Jae finds her and continues to bond with the little girl and demonstrates that she wouldn’t cut her off from the only mother she knows.
It’s clear that Soo Jae would make a great mom, and Jae Yi evidently likes her too. Which is why it’s such a cheap moment when Jae Yi waves goodbye to Soo Jae and walks into oncoming traffic, gets hit by a bus, and dies. We leave Soo Jae with her sobbing in the OR, holding her daughter’s dead body.
Seo Hyun Jin really sells Soo Jae’s agony, and it’s hard not to feel for her. It feels like she’s being punished several times over for that decision she made 10 years ago to join hands with Choi Tae Guk and ditch Gong Chan.
We’re entering the final week now, and it’s really unclear as to how all of this will be wrapped up. Right now, the truth isn’t even close to coming out. The preview showed a snafu at Director Baek’s character hearing as Minister of Justice, and Yoon Se Pil (Choi Young Joon) uncovers a hidden room in his excavation of the villa where Eun Seo was raped, which holds an ominous amount of garbage bags. Soo Jae also seems to be getting a lot of negative attention next week with Choi Tae Guk trying to have her disbarred. With all this in play, it seems like “Why Her?” won’t lack for material as it hurtles to the end. Bring it on, finale!
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Shalini_A is a long time Asian-drama addict. When not watching dramas, she works as a lawyer, fangirls over Ji Sung, and attempts to write the greatest fantasy romance of all time. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and feel free to ask her anything!
Currently Watching: “Why Her?,” “Link,” “Doctor Lawyer,” “Alchemy of Souls,” “Insider,” “Jinxed at First,” and “Café Minamdang.”
Looking Forward to: “Adamas,” “Island,” “Little Women,” “Big Mouth,” “Chaebol’s Youngest Son,” “Carter,” “Queen of the Scene,” and “Black Knight.”
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