Divorce Attorney Shin – K-drama Episode 2 Recap & Review

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Episode 2 of Divorce Attorney Shin starts with Lee Seo-jin’s day in court. Sung-han does well to coach his client, encouraging her to stay strong and do what’s right for Hyeon-u, determined to win the court case for his sake. In court, Sung-han brings up Hyeon-u and discusses who the boy wants to live with, believing he should get a say in this too.

The reason he hasn’t been asked is simple – Hyeon-u would choose his mum. He reveals to Sung-han is confidence that he saw her several nights barefoot out on the balcony just staring ominously into the distance. He was scared and her pain transposed onto him too. Sung-han has a great way with kids and manages to get Hyeon-u to trust him. Furthermore, the young boy allows him to have his journal too. In court, Sung-han uses this and points out excerpts that clearly show that he’s unhappy because he’s living with his dad, Kang Hee-sub.

We already know Hee-sub is a nasty piece of work given what we saw last episode but Sung-han gets a chance to question the man in court about his behaviour. Sung-han brings up the sex tape and knows that Hyeon-u was shown it by him. It’s certainly not appropriate to show his son this, let alone a third grader. In doing so, it also allows Hee-sub to show his true self, who snaps and begins cursing and claiming that he deserves to see Seo-jin for exactly why she is.

Seo-jin is beside herself with grief and pain, realizing that the one person she was trying to shield from the pain is hurting just as much as she is. But even in knowing what his mum has done, he still wants to live with her. After slapping her husband and breaking down crying, Seo-jin is taken to the hospital where she ends up with an IV drip.

Outside, Sung-han catches up with her and encourages the former SDJ to cook a good meal for her son. She’s won the case and she has full custody of little Hyeon-u. As the pair sit together that night and eat, Seo-jin drops to her knees and begs for forgiveness. Her son hugs her and the pair patch up their differences.

Sung-han returns to his big apartment alone afterwards. He drowns his sorrow in alcohol and prepares to do another karaoke session. However, the doorbell goes, snapping him out of this. It’s Hyeong-geun and Jeong-sik of course! The single karaoke session turns into a three-man sesh and they even have a microphone too, in a hilarious segment.

The next day we meet Park Ae-ran, a cleaner who quizzes Sung-han about whether a divorce is expensive. She appears to be the next client he’ll be dealing with. She’s working to the bone, doing everything she can to try and eke out a living. Her lazy husband, Byeong-cheol, isn’t much help and her mother-in-law belittles her all the time. Even worse, the old woman also takes out her bitterness on their kids, Mi-yeong and Mi-So.

Ae-ran’s divorce woes rattle around in her head as a possible escape, but right now it starts with an exhausting 4am alarm. She shuffles out her room and speaks to her mother-in-law, who actually happens to still be awake. She suggests they rent out the unit upstairs. This also means that both girls would need to be sharing a room while her mother-in-law moves in with them properly.

Sung-han heads off to see his old buddies from his music days, ending his visit by looking reflectively at the grand piano downstairs. When he returns to the office, Seo-jin is there and she has a bottle of wine to thank him for helping her gain custody of Hyeon-u. He’s pretty brazen, pointing out that they mostly won the case because of him.

The thing is, Seo-jin had every intention of divorcing her husband before this incident occurred. She felt indebted to him for a long time but after her brother died, she got scared and stayed. Then “life happened” and she ended up caught in this situation.

As she mentions this, something triggers in Sung-han’s past, as we see flickers of something that looks like a car accident and potentially someone dead too. It’s unclear what this is right now but it seems to be similarly linked to those grapes, which he’s been colouring in on his calendar periodically after cases. He thoughtfully retorts that he’s only got one more left to go. Seo-jin leaves after calling Sung-han “Mr Competent”, which only strokes his ego further.

Ae-ran despairs with her husband over the situation they’re dealing with and urges him to talk to her. He weakly tells Ae-ran he will.

That night though, it all spills over in a family argument – and it’s not good. Byeong-cheol’s company went under in the past, leaving him jobless while Ae-ran was forced to work hard to try and make up for the financial shortfall.

Byeong-cheol’s mum kicked the previous tenants out the flat they’re currently staying in, which gives the woman motivation to do whatever she wants and talk down to them. When her mother-in-law starts beating Mi-so, Ae-ran has had enough. She walks purposefully over the living room and decides to beat her mother-in law. She’s absolutely livid and needs to be restrained.

As the episode closes out, we cut across to Sung-han one more time as he starts playing a piano, lost in the music and taken back to his days when he played.

The Episode Review

We’re two episodes in and we already have a good deal of filler to work through – which is never a good sign. The show wraps up the Seo-jin case in a relatively short amount of time and then flits between setting up a new case with Ae-ran and allowing some slice of life banter to play out with the characters.

The tonal shifts are awkwardly handled, for now at least, while the editing leaves a lot to be desired. The piano session at the end is fine but did it really need to go on for quite that long? Likewise, did we really need all that time with Sung-han sitting alone, pouring himself a glass, eating canned food and then getting into the karaoke?

Hopefully these issues are ironed out later on as there’s definitely enough here to rally behind and enjoy.

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