This episode is all about big revelations, as we’re hit with some major confessions from those characters we’ve been dying to hear from most. But with a courtroom filled with emotional high schoolers, it’s not easy to decipher whether these confessions are the truth, or merely another string of lies. Who can we really trust in this trial? What can we trust? Whether it’s with rumors or with testimonies, we’re only left with what little light they give us to guide us through So-woo’s dark past. And what a fascinating past it’s revealing itself to be.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Three months earlier.
So-woo had stayed over at Ji-hoon’s, pacing the room and complaining about being bored while Ji-hoon diligently studied for exams. Plopping onto the bed, So-woo had sighed that Ji-hoon didn’t have to work so hard since he could do anything he wanted. “Well, right now, I want to study,” Ji-hoon had said, “but I can’t. Because of someone.”
So-woo had pointed out Ji-hoon’s bookshelf, noting that he’d already read everything there. So Ji-hoon had suggested So-woo venture into his father’s office to find something new to read. So-woo innocently asked if it was really okay to go there before grabbing Ji-hoon in a headlock, resulting in laughter from both friends.
Leaving Ji-hoon to study, So-woo had quietly entered Kyung-moon’s office to scan the bookshelves. As he picked out one book (For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway) with interest, a key had fallen out and onto the floor. Unable to help himself, he’d used the key to open up one of Kyung-moon’s desk drawers. Inside, he’d found a folder of documents for the Jeongguk Foundation. To his shock, So-woo had discovered it was a list of students under special management.
Uh oh. Right outside the apartment, Kyung-moon had arrived and was coming up the elevator. Just as he stepped into the apartment, Kyung-moon had caught So-woo stepping out of his office. Kyung-moon had put on a smile and asked if So-woo was reading in there, but before So-woo could answer, Ji-hoon pulled him away to get ready for dinner. Once the boys were gone, Kyung-moon’s gaze turned toward his office.
Kyung-moon had walked into the office and scanned the room, as if sensing that something was off. And meanwhile, So-woo had sat in the kitchen, looking through the pictures of the documents he’d taken on his phone.
We return to the present, during the second day of the trial. Judge Min-seok makes his introduction and has everyone seated, but Seo-yeon freezes, her eyes locking with Joo-ri’s across the courtroom. When Joo-ri quietly turns away and leaves the room, Seo-yeon impulsively runs after her, while everyone gawks in confusion.
Seo-yeon bursts out into the hallway, and is disappointed to find it empty until Joo-ri’s small voice comes from behind her. Joo-ri trudges over and says that Seo-yeon overreacted by running out, since she only came to take one last look at the school.
“I believe you,” Seo-yeon says, taking Joo-ri aback.
Seo-yeon continues that that was probably what Joo-ri wanted all along. Rather than to punish Woo-hyuk or protect herself, Seo-yeon claims, Joo-ri merely wanted someone to believe what she said. “I’m sorry I realized that so late,” Seo-yeon says in apology. She thanks Joo-ri for coming to see the trial and hopes that she can leave this place and forget everything that happened.
Paranoid, Joo-ri assumes Seo-yeon is saying all this just to feel better. And for that, she calls Seo-yeon selfish. However, Joo-ri says, she’s decided to testify today before she leaves.
The club comes together to discuss how to handle their new witness, with Seo-yeon wanting to keep Woo-hyuk out of the courtroom for Joo-ri’s safety. As expected, when Woo-hyuk hears this news from Ji-hoon, he doesn’t take it all that well.
When Woo-hyuk yells that Joo-ri should just say it all to his face instead of behind his back, Ji-hoon reminds him that he can’t yell like that here. Woo-hyuk doesn’t know what else to do when he’s so angry, prompting Ji-hoon to say that it’s not anger Woo-hyuk is feeling – it’s hurt.
Woo-hyuk tells him to quit acting like he knows everything, so Ji-hoon stops there and gives him an ultimatum: either he can sit in the trial and hold back, or avoid it altogether. Woo-hyuk makes his choice by staying in the classroom, though not without one last huff of frustration.
With Woo-hyuk now absent, Min-seok calls in Joo-ri as the next witness. To Joo-ri’s total discomfort, all eyes are on her as she slowly makes her way to the stand and sits down. As Seo-yeon approaches her, Joo-ri lowers her gaze, saying that everyone’s staring at her. Seo-yeon tells her to relax since everyone’s just trying to pay attention. Seo-yeon: “You’re an important witness.”
Even so, Joo-ri still doesn’t feel comfortable showing everyone her face. Ji-hoon jumps up to explain that excluding Woo-hyuk for her testimony doesn’t damage the trial, but excluding Joo-ri’s face would, since it implies she has something to hide. Joo-ri retorts that that’s not the case.
From her spot with the other jurors, Hye-rin mocks Joo-ri for acting like this when she’s pretty much a nobody at this school. This leads to a few more nasty comments from the crowd, teasing her for trying to get attention when no one knows her.
Joo-ri jumps to her feet. “It’s impossible that you don’t know me. Don’t lie,” she says. She calls all her classmates out on constantly making fun of her online, only to pretend that they don’t know her when they actually want something out of her. So she finally admits that she was the one who witnessed the incident, not Cho-rong. But she explains that she only lied because no one would’ve listened or believed her if she’d come out as the witness. “Because I’m Lee Joo-ri,” she finishes.
Seo-yeon firmly states that they’re doing this trial so everyone can finally listen and believe Joo-ri. Speaking directly to Joo-ri as both a prosecutor and a friend, Seo-yeon promises to get through this questioning as thoroughly as possible so that no one can doubt her. Now looking as if she finally trusts in what Seo-yeon is saying, Joo-ri agrees to begin and takes her oath.
Joo-ri starts off by stating what happened that night. She reveals that she’d been wandering around near the school and had noticed what looked like a person standing on the school’s roof. When she went over to get a better look at what was going on, she saw Woo-hyuk and two other boys (who she’d assumed were Sung-min and Dong-hyun) forcing So-woo onto the ledge. When asked what happened after that, Joo-ri says that Woo-hyuk pushed So-woo over. Tearing up, Joo-ri admits that she couldn’t believe what she saw herself, and it only occurred to her the day after that she could’ve saved So-woo somehow.
Seo-yeon submits two pieces of evidence to back up Joo-ri’s story: Joo-ri’s written statement about the noise she heard on the ledge, and the video of Seo-yeon testing out the noise on the ledge herself. As the video plays out, everyone gasps, while Seo-yeon’s dad has to restrain Mom from freaking out. Either way, Seo-yeon continues that the sound is only made when someone is stepping on it, proving that So-woo must’ve been in the spot Joo-ri talked about.
Seo-yeon ends her questioning and lets Ji-hoon take the floor. To everyone’s surprise, Ji-hoon’s first question is, “Is your testimony true?” Joo-ri doesn’t understand what he’s getting at, so he changes the question and asks if what she witnessed was something she saw directly, or something she thinks she saw and only hopes to be true. Seo-yeon and Min-seok both start to protest, but Ji-hoon asks again if Joo-ri’s testimony is true. Just when I was starting to believe Joo-ri, she takes this long pause with a faraway look in her eyes…
“It’s true,” Joo-ri finally answers. Ji-hoon calmly thanks her for her response and ends his cross-examination there.
Min-seok calls for a recess, but as everyone hurriedly files out, Joo-ri is stuck in place, Ji-hoon’s question still hanging over her head. Seo-yeon and Teacher Kim come up to her, but before they can say a word, Joo-ri bolts up and heads out.
Joo-ri escapes to the girls’ bathroom, where she lets herself sob freely. The prosecution team and Teacher Kim sadly listen to Joo-ri’s cries out in the hall. Seo-yeon steps forward to go in, but Teacher Kim stops her, saying that Joo-ri is simply emotional since it’s the first time she said what she needed to say. So Teacher Kim suggests they give Joo-ri some time alone.
Outside, Joon-young is lost in thought as Seung-hyun rambles about how well-prepared the prosecution team was and how he should’ve switched sides. Joon-young points out that the noise on the ledge doesn’t confirm it was So-woo in that spot – it could’ve been someone else, or even Joo-ri herself.
Joon-young heads inside to confront Ji-hoon about his suspicion, but Ji-hoon stops him short. Ji-hoon knows what Joon-young is thinking, but he chose not to bring it up because it could’ve been part of a painful memory for Joo-ri. Joon-young is surprised by Ji-hoon’s concern, making Ji-hoon admit that while it might not seem like it, this trial is genuinely tough on him too.
Once the recess is over, the principal makes his appearance to testify, and he answers all of Ji-hoon’s introductory questions with a mocking politeness, as if attempting to play along with the students’ set up. He interrupts Ji-hoon mid-sentence and stands up to announce that he isn’t here to testify – he’s here to set some things straight.
The principal brings up the fight in the science lab and the fact that Seo-yeon called the aftermath unjust. To counter that, he says that the school tried to find witnesses for the case, but no one ever stepped up. That makes Seo-yeon’s blood run cold.
The principal goes on to say that the school violence committee followed every regulation to a T, so they are absolutely not to blame. Ji-hoon argues that’s not exactly true. For one, having Woo-hyuk’s father attend So-woo’s committee meeting was completely against the rules, as parents of the attacker or the victim are not allowed to join.
The principal keeps trying to bring it back to how So-woo gave up any chance to explain himself, and for a second, it looks like Ji-hoon might break. Ji-hoon quickly pulls himself together and states that it was reasons like Woo-hyuk’s father attending as a committee member that proves the school deprived So-woo of a chance to explain anything.
As evidence, Ji-hoon pulls up the school website’s posts the day after the fight to insist that the students do know what goes on in the school and have things to say about it, but after so many years of seeing these things happen, they gave up trying to rectify any of it.
The principal doesn’t see what any of this has to do with today’s case, but Ji-hoon replies that the unfair treatment So-woo went through could’ve worsened his depression, thus leading to his death. The principal is silent, now out of excuses, so Ji-hoon thanks him and ends his questioning. Damn, the boy is good.
Seo-yeon doesn’t even get a chance to cross-examine since the principal storms out. The principal barges back into the school’s office where Kyung-moon is watching the trial and begins rattling on about how ridiculous the students, Ji-hoon in particular, are acting. To the principal’s surprise, Kyung-moon’s immediate reaction is a dry laugh.
Min-seok declares another recess, so the prosecution team returns to the clubroom. There they find Seo-yeon’s mom laying out various lunchboxes for the group, which they thank her for. Mom urges the girls to eat, but calls Seo-yeon out to talk for a moment.
Seo-yeon’s smile falters when she realizes her mom is actually quite angry. Still thinking about the video shown as evidence, Mom scolds her for investigating the roof so dangerously. Seo-yeon tries to soften her up with some aegyo, but Mom is serious – she doesn’t know what she’d do if Seo-yeon got hurt. So she tells Seo-yeon that if there’s ever more investigating that needs to be done, then as her mother, she will tie a rope around her waist and walk about the ledge herself. Ha, such an awesome parent.
Detective Oh catches Seo-yeon’s dad before he leaves for an urgent matter, curious about what his daughter thinks of Ji-hoon. They both agree that he’s extremely smart, with Detective Oh even saying that he always seems as if he’s moving the pieces of a chessboard while watching from above. Detective Oh suddenly gets a call from the station and something makes her recall Reporter Park’s remarks about the new Sentinel. And then her mind drifts back to Ji-hoon working the court.
With the trial back in session, the next witness hobbles in on crutches: Dong-hyun. Woo-hyuk goes berserk at the sight of his (ex-)friend, and Dong-hyun recoils as three students have to hold Woo-hyuk back. Min-seok quickly restores order and calls Seo-yeon and Ji-hoon out.
Min-seok asks Seo-yeon why she brought Dong-hyun back when he already testified, and she explains that Dong-hyun wanted to come, since he had more to say. Min-seok then turns to Ji-hoon and reminds him that the defense tested the school administration, so they’re on thin ice now. He suggests that they all be careful.
Back on the floor, Seo-yeon faces Dong-hyun and confirms his alibi for the night of So-woo’s death, with photographs as proof. However, Dong-hyun shouts that the false alibi isn’t what they should be talking about. “Choi Woo-hyuk told me,” Dong-hyun says. And in flashback, we see Woo-hyuk actually saying it in front of Dong-hyun and Sung-min: “Lee So-woo? I killed him.”
Ji-hoon jumps up to object just as Woo-hyuk jumps up to lunge at Dong-hyun. As Woo-hyuk is once again restrained, every student in the crowd takes out their phone to record the scene.
Seo-yeon and the girls retreat to the clubroom, all of them shaken from Dong-hyun’s confession. Though Seo-yeon looks the most frightened, she reminds them that nothing is for certain yet. Meanwhile, Ji-hoon leaves in a hurry, telling Joon-young to cover for him in case he doesn’t return in time.
The principal gets a call that Woo-hyuk’s father is coming to pick his son up, to his and Kyung-moon’s relief. The principal voices that he believes Woo-hyuk didn’t kill So-woo, but at this point, he is worried Woo-hyuk could get a guilty verdict. Kyung-moon looks up at the principal. “Whether he’s guilty or not isn’t important,” he says. “This trial has a different objective.”
It turns out that Ji-hoon’s destination was a restaurant that Sung-min works at. He asks Sung-min to attend the trial since he’s the defendant’s best friend, but Sung-min insists that he wants nothing to do with Woo-hyuk anymore. Ji-hoon figures that Sung-min must be exactly like Dong-hyun, which finally gets some emotion out of Sung-min. Sung-min angrily spits out that Ji-hoon is more like Dong-hyun – secretly hoarding thoughts and hiding something suspicious. Well, he’s got a point there.
Sung-min starts to walk away, repeating that Woo-hyuk means nothing to him. Ji-hoon whirls around and grabs hold of him by the collar, telling him to stop living like crap by being friendly with Woo-hyuk when he has power and acting like a stranger when he doesn’t. Furious, Sung-min punches Ji-hoon in the face, knocking him over. But Ji-hoon jumps back up and tackles Sung-min until they’re both struggling on the ground.
Seo-yeon continues the questioning process with Dong-hyun, telling him to elaborate on his confession. On the day of So-woo’s memorial service, Dong-hyun says, Woo-hyuk and Sung-min surprised him on the roof while he was on his phone. Woo-hyuk and Sung-min were in a rather playful mood, but Dong-hyun wasn’t having it. And that’s when Woo-hyuk admitted that he’d been the one who killed So-woo.
But that wasn’t where Dong-hyun’s suspicion had started. Dong-hyun reveals the one missing piece from the fight by mentioning that So-woo had pissed Woo-hyuk off by calling him nothing but a bug — basically, he called him less than human. According to Dong-hyun, Woo-hyuk had been so angry after So-woo’s remark that he’d said he would kill him.
Hye-rin stands from the jury box and chides Dong-hyun for exaggerating Woo-hyuk’s tendency to blurt out threats like that. She demands to be given permission to act as both a juror and a witness, but Min-seok has her taken out for creating a fuss. Once Hye-rin is gone, Seo-yeon closes her questioning by stating all the evidence against Woo-hyuk. With so much against him, the crowd wonders if the case is already solved.
Ji-hoon and Sung-min are pretty scraped up from their fight, but at least for now, they’re talking again. Ji-hoon says that he knows that Dong-hyun asked for a lot of money to settle for his accident, and that Woo-hyuk was worried about his friend’s debt. Softening up, Sung-min mutters that Woo-hyuk should’ve worried about himself first. Aww.
Sung-min is surprised Woo-hyuk would even reveal such information to his attorney, and Ji-hoon replies that Woo-hyuk is really lonely, especially now that Sung-min isn’t talking to him. But now, Ji-hoon says, Woo-hyuk needs Sung-min more than ever after Dong-hyun’s testimony. Since Sung-min was the only other one present during the murder “confession,” he could turn things around. Trusting in Ji-hoon’s confidence, Sung-min makes him promise to make sure Woo-hyuk comes out innocent. Ji-hoon agrees that he will.
Ji-hoon doesn’t make it in time to cross-examine Dong-hyun, so as promised, Joon-young takes his place. Though he’s more soft-spoken than Ji-hoon, Joon-young gets straight to the point and asks Dong-hyun if he likes Woo-hyuk as a person and as a friend. Irritated, Dong-hyun repeats over and over that he hates Woo-hyuk. Joon-young just nods and turns to face to jury.
With the witness’s strong bias towards the defendant, Joon-young states, they can’t trust his testimony. Very nicely done.
As soon as Ji-hoon returns with Sung-min in tow, he hears how the cross-examination went and praises Joon-young. And then Ji-hoon turns to Sung-min so that they can prepare for his turn at the stand.
Once on the floor as attorney and witness, Ji-hoon asks Sung-min how he interpreted Woo-hyuk’s confession that day. When Sung-min says it was only a joke, he gets some scoffs from the crowd. However, he knows for a fact that it was a joke because after Dong-hyun paled, Woo-hyuk and Sung-min had turned away and laughed in a rather innocent way.
Sung-min also reveals that Dong-hyun was pretty easy to scare and that Dong-hyun hadn’t been friends with Woo-hyuk for too long, so Dong-hyun’s testimony wasn’t entirely valid.
Ji-hoon asks about the science lab fight next, and Sung-min repeats what Hye-rin had said about Woo-hyuk always threatening to kill someone when he was severely pissed off. According to Sung-min, it didn’t really mean anything. In fact, Woo-hyuk had forgotten about the fight a few days later.
Ji-hoon moves on to the reason behind the fight, but beyond the dirty look So-woo gave Woo-hyuk, Sung-min has no idea. Or rather, he had no idea. Not until he asked So-woo himself sometime after the fight. Ji-hoon is clearly hearing this for the first time, and we hear a little desperation in his voice as he asks how they met and what they talked about. “He was just… strange,” Sung-min remembers.
Flashback to Sung-min finding So-woo sitting in front of a convenience store. Sung-min had warned So-woo to run off since they were in Woo-hyuk’s neighborhood, and he’d started to walk away before turning back to ask about the fight. “I just shot a flare so they could come find me,” So-woo had said cryptically. He’d continued that he’d had someone he wanted to meet.
Ji-hoon asks who this person is, but Sung-min has no idea. He just knows that because of the fight, So-woo got to meet that person. Kyung-moon walks in right then, thinking back to his meeting with So-woo in the school’s office from the very beginning.
I loved this episode and all the small storylines within testimonies that it delivered. Starting with our first testimony with Joo-ri, I have to say that after all the trouble Seo-yeon and friends had gone through to believe her witness statement, I’m still puzzled by Joo-ri’s motivations, as well as her state of mind. Seeing her breakdown in the bathroom solidified my belief that Joo-ri believes what she saw. But as always, Ji-hoon did make a good point – there is a big possibility that she imagined the entire thing. Perhaps as a way for her mind to reject what actually happened?
Maybe Joo-ri knows a little more than we’ve seen, and she’s just too frightened to let it out into the open. Surely, her fear can’t just be for Woo-hyuk. While the guy can be scary when he’s angry (I’m sure he would’ve pummeled Dong-hyun if he hadn’t been restrained), Joo-ri’s erratic behavior thus far must have been triggered by something else. Something much worse.
So I think with that said, we can kind of, sort of eliminate the idea that Woo-hyuk is a murderer. Of course, with this show, I don’t think anything is for certain until we see it with our own eyes rather than through the eyes of an unreliable character. Even so, I can’t imagine Woo-hyuk being So-woo’s killer now that we’ve heard from both Dong-hyun and Sung-min. Just as I believe Joo-ri believes what she saw, I also believe that Dong-hyun believes what he heard. Now that we’ve gotten a little more background on Woo-hyuk, Sung-min, and Dong-hyun, I’m starting to see the mechanics of their friendship, which definitely helped with the way I viewed the trial for the rest of the episode.
It’s really all thanks to Ji-hoon that I’m able to look at this case with total objectivity. His character is so good at catching the smallest possibilities and the sneakiest lies that everyone in this trial and everyone watching at home could miss. Since he’s someone who obviously knows much more than anyone else, I’ve had the urge to follow his lead and lean in on every word he says, assuming that he’d eventually lead me to the big picture. But that last scene actually threw me. For a while, I’d forgotten that there is something Ji-hoon doesn’t know: whatever happened between his father and his best friend. So the fact that our brilliant attorney may not actually have the big picture to give actually scares me a little. Will we ever fully uncover So-woo’s past?