4 Times Everything Goes Downhill For Hwang In Yeop In Episodes 11-12 Of “Why Her?”
“Why Her?” returns this week with an absolutely riveting pair of episodes as Gong Chan (Hwang In Yeop) gets his time to shine in the spotlight. It was revealed last week that the corpse found at the construction site was that of his stepsister Jeon Na Jung (Hwang Ji Ah) whom Gong Chan was accused of killing. This sends Gong Chan and his friends into a tailspin. When the person he was hoping to rely on through this crisis abandons him after finding the truth, Gong Chan is set adrift. But as it turns out, he is an even bigger victim than he first imagined, and the person whom he relied on the most may have been the biggest betrayer of all.
Here are four times things went awfully wrong for Gong Chan this week.
Warning: spoilers for episodes 11-12 below.
1. Soo Jae’s ugly secret
Oh Soo Jae’s (Seo Hyun Jin’s) reaction to finding out that Gong Chan is Kim Dong Gu (Yu Gene Woo) was uncalled for to begin with. Nothing excused the way she dropped him, acting like he deceived her. She knew he was hurting, knew that he’d tried to tell her the truth, and had even agreed not to run when he admitted to having a secret that he would soon tell her. That conversation they had on opposite sides of the river where Gong Chan pours his heart out as to why he deceived her is just heartbreaking. And instead of offering any sympathy, Soo Jae twists the knife deeper. It’s satisfying to see Gong Chan bitterly say that he was right to lie to her then when this would’ve been her reaction if he told the truth.
But when Soo Jae returns home to sob, we discover the real reason she’s been pushing Gong Chan away. He’s spent his entire life believing that she was the only one who believed him. What he doesn’t know is that she also purposefully lost his trial. As a young public defender, Soo Jae was just beginning her career. Director Baek Jin Ki (Kim Chang Wan) told her to lose the case so he could recommend her as a lawyer to then Chief Prosecutor Choi Tae Guk’s (Heo Joon Ho’s) law firm. Worse, Soo Jae’s wastrel mom and brothers had gotten themselves in trouble with the police, and only Choi Tae Guk could get them out. So, Soo Jae made her decision: to let an innocent man go to jail. The worst part here is that it’s so hypocritical of her to act like she’s hurting Gong Chan for his own good. Instead of being honest with him, she’s leaving him to shoulder this burden alone. Even her tears during that conversation across the river aren’t because of pain at their parting or any sympathy for what he’s been through and is going through. They’re tears of guilt because she was responsible for doing that to him. Soo Jae’s only thinking about herself here, and it’s the worst.
2. The truth is a dangerous thing
Unlike Soo Jae, Gong Chan’s done with hiding the truth. The next time Ji Soon Ok (Bae Hae Sun) comes around to the clinic to apologize for mistaking him for Kim Dong Gu, Gong Chan throws caution to the wind and admits that he is Kang Dong Gu and that Na Jung’s body has been found. Soon Ok almost collapses, especially when Gong Chan tearfully urges her to get a DNA test to prove that the corpse is his stepsister. He had tried to do it himself (after rummaging in Ji Soon Ok’s trash for anything that could be used as a comparing sample), but the police wouldn’t take him seriously.
The rest of the legal aid clinic members happen to overhear him and are startled at the truth, but to their credit, they don’t even treat him a bit differently. They give him all the time and space he needs to navigate his emotions. And that turns out to be just what Gong Chan needs. He visits the man in prison who admitted to killing Na Jung and quizzes him about where he disposed of the body. When the man laughs and says he threw it in the ocean, Gong Chan knows he’s lying. There’s no way a body thrown in the ocean could be found wrapped in a gunnysack, several feet under a construction site. The question is: who put him up to lying? And why? Little does he know that those answers are closer than he thinks, and it’s Soo Jae who has gotten to them first.
3. Baek Jin Ki’s betrayal
As predicted last week, everything that happened 10 years ago is connected. From Soo Jae being ferried off to America, to Choi Joo Wan (Ji Seung Hyun) begging his father on his knees to cover up the fact that he and his friends killed someone, to what happened to Kang Eun Seo (Han Sun Hwa) all ties to Gong Chan. Soo Jae puts two and two together upon watching Yoon Se Pil (Choi Young Joon) unveil a picture as a gift of goodwill to Hansu Group during the progression of their deal. She recognizes the picture as being the same one on Director Baek’s wall and realizes that Yoon Se Pil was the man engaged to Eun Seo. When Soo Jae’s doctor friend recognizes Na Jung’s name and mentions a woman named Eun Seo who was brought to the ER dressed in Na Jung’s clothes, Soo Jae knows the two are connected.
She visits the nursing home where Eun Seo now resides with Director Baek, and the truth comes out in an ugly rush. All Director Baek knows is that his daughter and her friends went to a club from which she vanished. No CCTV captured her, but he was able to find a blackbox video that showed her being kidnapped (after being roofied) by Joo Wan and his two equally entitled, vile friends. From then on, everything is conjecture, but the evidence speaks for itself. The men took Eun Seo to one of the Hansu Group CEO’s villas and sexually assaulted her so seriously that when she stumbled out of the house in the early hours of the morning, she was barely conscious. She collapses in front of Na Jung and begs for help, but the men, Joo Wan included, chase after her. She runs, only to be hit by a car. And Na Jung was the sole witness. From the tidbits we’ve seen of Joo Wan begging his father to cover it up, to Na Jung’s body, to the fact that Na Jung was also sexually assaulted, what must have happened next is a crime of horrendous proportions though we don’t know the details yet. But what’s most important for Soo Jae’s purposes is that this means Director Baek knew that Kim Dong Gu/Gong Chan was innocent at the time he asked her to lose the case on purpose. And he sat back and watched as Soo Jae did just that.
It feels a little like Soo Jae is trying to blame Director Baek for her own decisions here because though he isn’t by any means a good person for asking her to do that, it was still her decision to abandon Gong Chan. Moreover, he and Yoon Se Pil have a point that none of them had the power to go up against Choi Tae Guk (who was Chief Prosecutor then) and Hansu Group. Soo Jae, of all people, should understand the importance of powerless people biding their time when going up against powerful megalomaniacs. But in her own misplaced guilt, she condemns Director Baek as well.
Gong Chan only finds out a small portion of the truth upon continuously running into Director Baek. After Gong Chan was released, Director Baek secretly kept encouraging him to apply for law school by placing their brochure in Gong Chan’s mail box. He felt he owed it to both Gong Chan and Na Jung to right his wrong and get justice for everyone. But Gong Chan doesn’t want to hear it. All he sees is someone who was in the position to right a wrong back when it mattered and who didn’t do so. Unfortunately, Gong Chan is hampered here by the fact that he doesn’t have the full picture with respect to Choi Tae Guk and Joo Wan as well as Hansu Group’s involvement in this entire business, or he might have a slightly less black-and-white view of the situation. But there is someone trying to alert him to that full truth. If Gong Chan’s willing to hear it, that is.
4. Choi Yoon Sang trying to tell him the truth
To give Choi Yoon Sang (Bae In Hyuk) some credit, he recognizes a wrong when he sees one. Upon overhearing that Gong Chan is Kim Dong Gu, he does some digging of his own and quickly realizes what Soo Jae did to Gong Chan. What’s not so great is that he plans to out this secret, not out of loyalty or affection for Gong Chan but to hold it as a barrier between Soo Jae and Gong Chan, which is so not cool.
He arranges for former disgraced sexual predator professor Seo Joo Myung (Kim Young Pil) to butt into Soo Jae’s lecture and bring up the only case Soo Jae’s ever lost: Kim Dong Gu’s case. Soo Jae starts to argue that all the evidence pointed to Kim Dong Gu being innocent and rips into Seo Joo Myung for one-sidedly pursuing a theory that resulted in the incarceration of an innocent man for a year. But Seo Joo Myung laughs and says that it was Soo Jae’s job to argue for her client, and she failed. The police’s coerced and abusive interrogation, their lack of investigation, none of it matters more than the fact that Soo Jae failed. Recognizing that Soo Jae’s being put in the hot seat, Gong Chan defends her, but Yoon Sang cuts in, and Soo Jae knows that he knows the truth.
Gong Chan’s too worked up to notice. His case is being re-argued in front of him, and he’s near breaking point. The other members of the legal aid clinic are super sweet and say they’re here for him, but it’s clear that he’s on the verge of tears, especially when the lecture debate ends with Seo Joo Myung victorious. Afterwards, Yoon Sang corners him on the rooftop of his place to spit out the truth: Soo Jae failed him. She dropped the case to get a foot into Choi Tae Guk’s law firm and get her useless family out of jail. Gong Chan doesn’t know that Yoon Sang also has Soo Jae on the phone while he’s doing this, and she’s close to panic hearing her secret come out.
But in an act of either remarkable bravery or remarkable foolishness, Gong Chan says he doesn’t care, and that Soo Jae made the right decision if she picked her family over him; all he cares is that she believed him when no one else did. She was his reason for living and for surviving all these years. Soo Jae’s in tears listening to him and seems to come to some sort of resolution as the episode ends.
Wow. This was actually a pretty good pair of episodes. Next week shows Soo Jae on the warpath for justice even as Choi Tae Guk now knows that Gong Chan is Kim Dong Gu and has put his most loyal henchman on the duty of killing him. We see that Gong Chan was attacked in the past and left bleeding out to death as well so perhaps surgery accounts for his face looking different. Both Soo Jae and Gong Chan are reluctant to join hands with Yoon Se Pil and Director Baek all the way, but they appear to ally with them to take down their common enemy: Choi Tae Guk and his posse. With tensions at an all-time high and a few secrets still lurking in the background, next week promises to be just as tense. Here’s hoping Gong Chan continues to stay front and center and that he shows some emotion beyond always defending Soo Jae! It would’ve been great to see Yoon Sang’s reveal at least hurting him a bit. Character growth is important, Gong Chan!
Side note: Yoon Se Pil continues to look way too good. Here’s also hoping that he gets a happy ending because after 10 years of plotting revenge, he sure deserves it!
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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,” “Café Minamdang.”
Looking Forward to: “Adamas,” “Island,” “Little Women,” “Big Mouth,” “Chaebol’s Youngest Son,” “Carter,” “Queen of the Scene,” and “Black Knight.”