With less than a handful of episodes left, Hyena returns for one of its best episodes as we finally see Geum-Ja and Hee-Jae working together on the same page. It’s taken a while but the great juxtapositions here compared to earlier in the series make the wait worth it. With plenty left unresolved at the end and a solid hour of plot and character progression, the door is left wide open for this one going forward.
We begin episode 14 of Hyena with some flashbacks of the past as we see Gi-Hyeok drowning his sorrows in alcohol while Hee-Jae tells him to apologize. This catches us up with the disciplinary meeting as both Geum-Ja and Hee-Jae tell the board they didn’t share any information with each other despite their relationship.
Outside, both of them talk to one another about what they said to the board but they remain cagey and dance around the truth of admitting their feelings for one another. Soon though, the conversation turns to that of Song and they sit and discuss what to do about him.
Meanwhile, Jun-Ho is officially made the CEO of Issume but the confidence in hits new appointment causes the stocks to plummet as Hye-Won scoffs at the idea of sticking together as a family during this time. Song however, hides his smile as this appears to be playing out exactly as he wants.
Back at the office, Geum-Ja contemplates the possibility of a slush fund for Jung-Hwa and as she starts to draw up all the clues together, combining this idea with the phone records, she comes to the conclusion that room service at the hotel may well have fed the sleeping pills to Chan-Ho.
Geum-Ja is taken off the case though, leading Gi-Hyeok to be replaced as the leader of the team. As he tries to rally the less-than-enthusiastic group, Song phones Director Na and asks him to call a meeting surrounding the dismissal of the two lawyers. Despite everything they’ve been working on, Gi-Hyeok takes the easy option and tells them all to drop their work as they’re going to go with involuntary murder instead.
Hee-Jae visits his Father in hospital and tells him he’s going to be acting as his lawyer. As his legal aid, he implores his Father to admit what he’s done wrong to make sure he can’t be framed for anything worse. Back at the office, Geum-Ja finds a breakthrough and starts to piece everything together, presenting her evidence to Gi-Hyeok and the others regarding the phone records.
Unfortunately the entire group receive a text confirming some seriously bad news – she and Hee-Jae have been dismissed from the firm for violations in their case. This immediately causes Hee-Jae to phone Geum-Ja, where she tells him to stay confident and clear his desk with his head held high.
Torn between his commitment to Song and his friends, Hee-Jae speaks to the conflicted Gi-Hyeok in his office and gives him some advice surrounding the job. Hee-Jae continues to call Gi-Hyeok his friend and as he leaves his office, Gi-Hyeok joins Geum-Ja as they keep their heads held high and eyes forward, leaving their offices with dignity and grace. As his hand starts shaking, Geum-Ja notices Hee-Jae trying to remain calm so she holds his hand. It’s a small gesture but an important one to show how far their trust and respect have come over the weeks.
In the parking lot, Director Na sees them off before Song offers his final words from his car. Hee-Jae has the last laugh though as he bows and tells him his Father is recovering well and will be in court – where Song will attend as a witness.
With the plan starting to unravel, Hye-Won confronts her Father about the shares being bought by EON Finance and Kevin. As we soon see, this is exactly what Song wanted all along. As he sits with Kevin and enjoys dinner, Kim arrives and threatens him, calling Song a mutt and riling him up as she knows his game plan, especially given Chairman Ha is in hospital. After throwing a glass at her head and narrowly missing, Kim leaves after telling him she would have sued if it hit her.
Geum-Ja and Hee-Jae remain on the same page and head back to her apartment while the team arrive and show the duo the information they’ve worked together to find. Gi-Hyeok heads in to see Chan-Ho, giving him the alternate plea of pleading guilty. Chan-Ho is admittedly not happy about the new arrangement causing Gi-Hyeok to drop to his knees and ask him to trust the company.
The result of the Disciplinary Hearing comes in and the duo learn their licence will be suspended for 2 years from here on out. Heading into the old law office together, Geum-Ja and Hee-Jae get ready to start working on the Chan-Ho case while Chang-Wook joins them, having caused issues at the firm and asked too many questions.
At the court-house, Geum-Ja, Hee-Jae and the others walk in and sit in the gallery ready to watch Chan-Ho’s case play out. It doesn’t go well for Song&Kim and the Judge rules that he’s to be given 8 years in prison. In the aftermath of this, Hee-Jae and Geum-Ja show up and snatch Chan-Ho’s case from under Gi-Hyeok’s nose as Law Office Choong look to be on the up. As they leave the courthouse, the episode ends.
This episode in particular is a great example of how to deliver compelling characterisation in the long-term. The smart decision to bring Chan-Ho back into the mix during the latter periods of this drama has helped act as an anchor point to show just how far these characters have come over the weeks. Even Gi-Hyeok gets a good arc here and his confliction over his new role and loyalty to his friends is really well executed across the hour.
Personally, I think the drama could do with a bit more romance next week just to serve as a reward for sticking with this will they/won’t they issue but beyond that, it’s the juxtapositions this week that really serve to elevate this show. The retro and modern styles are the more obvious ones but Hee-Jae now finally embracing his true self without being stifled by those higher up is really satisfying to see.
Quite how this one will end however, remains to be seen.
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