TL;DR: We finally begin the trial!
Perhaps the most interesting things to come out of the first part of the trial are the further revelations we got about So-woo’s character. At the beginning of the drama, So-woo was the necessary sacrifice so that we could even have a plot. We saw him get beat up, we saw his intimidating meeting with the foundation lawyer, we saw how no one stood up for him—and then we saw him dead. And after that, we got little friendship montages from Ji-hoon and tantalizing hints about their background. It seemed pretty obvious that he was being set up as the poor, quiet victim of forces beyond his control.
And then his older brother showed up at the trial and confessed to everyone that he hated his brother. That So-woo was the kind of person who enjoyed provoking people and hurting them. That his brother believed that So-woo was the sort of person more likely to commit murder than to be a victim of it. And Woo-hyuk’s flashback indicates that the provoking part is true, at the very least, not that his pride would allow him to confess the way that So-woo insulted his intelligence and questioned his humanity.
I can’t tell what Ji-hoon made of So-woo’s brother’s testimony. Did he believe it? Has he seen that side of So-woo before? (Not the playful version of it that we got in the flashback at the hospital.) Does he know something else about the brother that makes him question his testimony? I don’t know. But one thing is very clear: we’re going to have to find out who So-woo really was before we can solve the mystery of his death.
I’ve got to say—I’m really impressed with Seo-yeon and company for putting on this trial. They’ve faced setbacks from the administration and their families, but they’re still going after it because the truth matters. Hye-rin, the only juror with a name, had no problem with yelling back at the disruptive parents and demanding to know if speaking the truth made her disrespectful. Then Min-seok followed it up with a lovely little speech about how studying for the college entrance exams really didn’t matter when one of their classmates died—and then he made good on his judge’s threat and had his own mom kicked out of the courtroom for causing a disruption.
Honestly? I love how seriously the kids are taking this trial. Even though they pointed out right at the start that nothing they did was legally binding, they’re doing everything they can to give this trial the proper solemnity. They gave Min-seok robes and a gavel and set up different areas for the prosecution, defense, witness, and jury. Hell, they even seem to have “official” court reporters taking down notes in addition to the camera crews. They provided opening statements, called witnesses, had cross-examinations, made objections, and argued over evidence. Seo-yeon even called out herself and the other students for their failure in coming to So-woo’s defense before, and that was beautiful.
They’re such little things taken individually, but when added up together, it all gives me hope that Seo-yeon—and everyone else—will follow the evidence, no matter where it leads. And they’ll do it out in the open, so everyone else can know the truth, too.
I love Seo-yeon’s mother and am slightly bitter that she still doesn’t seem to have a name. Have I just missed it? Here, just re-live her moment of glory in this episode:
I’m not completely happy letting Seo-yeon do this. I’ll welcome her with open arms if she says she’ll stop the trial even now. But that’s only when Seo-yeon stops of her own will. Not her quitting because of pressure that I or some other adults put on her, but when she comes to me after having tried everything and says, “Mom, I want to stop.” I believe parents are the ones who defuse the current [hardships] for their children, but the direction needs to be determined by the child. I’ve raised Seo-yeon that way, and she’ll continue to live that way.
Even though I still don’t trust Kyung-moon, I have to acknowledge his own good parenting. It was remarkably endearing to see that he knew something was wrong with Ji-hoon just by seeing his haphazard shoes (and then the clothes and the locked room). He figured out immediately that he was drunk, didn’t chew him out for it, made him food, and promised him hangover soup—even when he isn’t happy about Ji-hoon’s participation in the school trial or the fact that he got smashed. Both Kyung-moon and Seo-yeon’s mom get an A+ on the whole trusting-your-teens-to-forge-their-own-paths-and-being-ready-to-support-them-should-they-need-you thing. I’ll admit it, I’m going to be very sad if either of them let me down.
Seo-yeon posed an important question of this episode: How much can they see of one another? While she might have apologized for telling Ji-hoon to his face that he had too many secrets, the truth is, the kid has a mountain of them. Domestic violence in his childhood, a new father (does his father know that he knows?), his relationship to So-woo, why he was there the morning So-woo died, his motivations for the trial, etc.
But he also opens up his home to Joon-young when Joon-young leaves his home to escape his mom. Ji-hoon seems to have genuine regard for Seo-yeon and her quest for justice. He apparently was (at the very least) good friends with So-woo. The boy’s an enigma.
And he’s also the Jeong-guk Watchman, the self-proclaimed witness at the school. Why did he create that mantel? What drew him to be an observer, a critiquer, a moderator? What did he show Woo-hyuk while drunk that got Woo-hyuk to agree to attend the trial?
I don’t know. What I do know is that witnessing something—whether it’s So-woo’s death, societal ills, or other problems—is swiftly becoming an active thing in Solomon’s Perjury. The witnesses can’t be silent, passive observers anymore. They must step forward and testify to the public about what they’ve seen, and I hope that Ji-hoon will be one of them.
By the Numbers
- Slaps: 2
- Jurors left: 5
- Objections: 2
- Attempted slaps: 2
- Insurance policies: 6
- Alarms Seo-yeon slept through: 5
- Bechdel Test: 5 episodes passed