The mystery of the dead foster child is solved, Chief Moon shows scraps of decency, and Koo Dong-Chi and Han Yeol-Moo start reckoning with their shared past.
If you’re watching “P&P” (forgive me, Jane Austen!), what do you think so far? I’m cautiously hooked. Is it going to disappoint down the road? The ending of episode 4 left me a little worried. How high are they going to amp up the drama here?
But I think the writer and director have shown they know what they’re doing—so far. And the actors know what they’re doing—even relatively minor characters in the legal office are more than pulling their weight. I’m still recovering from having watched more than half of “My Lovable Girl,” in which bad acting wreaks havoc on the universe, or at least on handsome star Rain, who deserves better. That show gave me a new appreciation for good acting (oh, and writing, directing, etc.) in K-dramas so I’ll keep singing the praises of the hard-working folks in “P&P.” Praise, too, to the hard-working subbers who bring out an English version on the same day as the Seoul broadcast. Even when the first draft of the subs is rough, it’s better than my Korean. (And click here to catch up on episode 1 or episodes 2 and 3.)
Uncapping “Pride and Prejudice” Episode 4
We return right where we left off, with Dong-Chi brooding over the Missing Child poster for Han Yeol-Moo’s little brother Byul. He returns home to the boarding house and looks through his books for that scrap of paper that fascinated Yeol-Moo when she discovered it in his bag four years before. (I suspect she moved into this particular boarding house so she could rifle through his personal belongings to find it—is that a creepy stalker thing or a plucky determination thing?) He considers knocking on her door, but decides not to.
The next day at work, however, he goes out on a limb for her at the morning meeting. When Chief Moon humiliates her, Dong-Chi tells Moon he can’t discipline her—that’s Dong-Chi’s right as her supervisor. Unless that word hierarchy doesn’t mean what I think it means, Dong-Chi’s argument doesn’t carry much weight. What makes more of an impression on Moon is that Dong-Chi is defying him.
I’m glad I don’t work in this office, but I love watching the office dramatics as Moon tells everyone to clear out so he can talk to Dong-Chi. For a moment we see everyone in the hallway react in their own idiosyncratic ways. Prosecutor Lee admonishes Yeol-Moo to stop causing trouble. The other woman in the office (has anyone caught her name?) puts her arm around Yeol-Moo, who looks stunned. And Prosecutor Yoo chooses this moment to arrive late. He appears tempted to interrupt Moon and Dong-Chi just to cause trouble.
Inside the office, Dong-Chi and Moon battle it out in urbane conversation. Moon has age and guile on his side, but Dong-Chi has done his homework and figured out Moon’s political motivations for pushing along Yeol-Moo’s accidental death case. Dong-Chi is starting to look not just like a smart prosecutor, but also a good politician. He uses his investigative super-powers to figure out what his superiors are up to and outmaneuver them, a skill that will be useful with Chief Moon.
He gets permission from Moon for Yeol-Moo to continue investigating her case for one more day. And when he returns to their shared office, he has another gift for her as well: the scrap of paper she’s looking for. How does he know that when she stayed overnight in the office, she was ransacking his possessions searching for it? Somehow he knows. Putting it in her hand he asks, “Does that change anything? What am I to you now?”
She doesn’t answer, in characteristic fashion. Her silence is frustrating, but she usually does respond, just a bit late, like an introvert who has to make plans before talking. But she will answer in memorable fashion at the end of the episode.
Meanwhile, Kang-Soo is processing the release of the mysterious Jung. More evidence has accumulated to suggest he’s Kang-Soo’s father, but this is the first scene where we see an emotional connection that goes beyond the brotherly teasing we’ve seen up till now. Jung is furious that Kang-Soo borrowed money to secure his release, while Kang-Soo wants Jung to take his help in order to avoid having a criminal record.
As Jung is on his way out of the building, Chief Moon is lying in wait for him and joins him in the elevator. The cryptic conversation that follows reveals little except that they know each other. It also confirms earlier hints that Chief Moon has taken dirty money of some kind. If it comes to a showdown between these two, I’m not sure who I’m going to root for. Jung appears at least to be “an honest villain,” as Shakespeare said.
Yeol-Moo pursues her case. She obtains important evidence from an interview with the dead girl’s mute brother, while Dong-Chi discovers clues in CCTV tapes. The fact that the deceased child used sign language leads to a poignant moment when the team discovers a recording of her signing “Help me” to a police camera. Again, something is revealed through silence, not speech. It’s a fascinating thematic current for a show about the law, which depends after all on words.
We learn a few more scraps of information about Yeol-Moo’s late brother Byul, as her work with the young boy reminds her of her past. We learn that she was the last family member to see him alive, and that her mother blames her for his disappearance.
The day’s efforts result in evidence that the girl’s caretaker abused her and caused her death. Dong-Chi provides evidence that he’s a mensch by prompting Yeol-Moo to make the arrest—her first. And we learn that Chief Moo secretly helped out, too, despite his original criticism of Yeol-Moo’s handling the case. (Talk about erratic!)
With this mystery wrapped up, Yeol-Moo heads home. Her mother has found her new address, having learned it indirectly from Dong-Chi. In a short, painful argument between Yeol-Moo and her mother, we learn that her mother is especially emotionally unstable when kids are concerned. She has been accused of abducting or trying to abduct other people’s children. Yeol-Moo doesn’t spare much sympathy for her mother, but we can see that it’s a frustrating situation and that her anger is accompanied by love as well.
In the final scene, it’s night and the house is quiet. Yeol-Moo and Dong-Chi talk.
“You got good grades,” she says.
She shows him the other fragment of his grade report, the one she has carried for years with its message written on the back. (His scrap had his name on it; her scrap is mostly numbers.) Dong-Chi’s hands suddenly start shaking as he takes the other half of the wrinkled paper. When he turns over the scrap and sees the words, “Please help me,” he grows more upset.
Thank God, for once the credits roll without any pop music, because after that scene, even silence was rattling my nerves. Two episodes in a row where Prosecutor Koo is almost in tears in the last scene—how can my heart handle this? I don’t for a second believe he killed her brother, but he knows something that’s upsetting him. Does he know the person who killed Byul? Does he have an “erratic,” possibly murderous, family member? We don’t know anything about his family, after all.
And how does he even know who Byul is, given that he was a teenager when Byul was abducted? Why does he carry around a file on Byul? What significance does that fragment of an old document have for him? And if the subject is this upsetting to him, how did he spend the whole day calmly going about his business? Who the heck is this guy?
On the other side of the equation, what evidence does Yeol-Moo have? Why does she think he’s responsible? She’s not an idiot and she’s had a long time to think about this. What has she deduced?
And how many episodes before we can see Choi Jin-Hyuk smile again?