As we reach the halfway point of Hyena, this Korean drama starts to step it up a bit and begins adding some key characterisation for both Geum-Ja and Hee-Jae. I’ve commented before about how good these two are as a couple but this episode in particular perfectly encapsulates just why they’re so electric when they share the screen. While there isn’t much in terms of an actual legal case to deal with, the drama surrounding this is where the episode shines, making it the best of the bunch thus far.
Following their big win, episode 8 of Hyena begins with Hee-Jae and Geum-Ja given a round of applause before being introduced to a new lawyer – Ms. Kim. She used to work at the law firm but after a hiatus now she’s back. Geum-Ja questions Ji-Eun around whether she would defect over to Ms. Kim’s group but she remains defiant and loyal.
Yoo-Mi arrives to see Geum-Ja but her office is off limits. Ji-Eun restrains her with force until Geum-Ja opens her door and begrudgingly lets her inside. After talking about Hee-Jae and her calculated way of getting what she needs from him, Yoo-Mi mentions being in trouble with loan sharks and asks for help.
Meanwhile, Mr Na continues to scheme and tries to get rid of Geum-Ja. As he sits and discusses the company, Hee-Jae and Geum-Ja continue to avoid any romantic feelings, with Geum-Ja talking to Song and telling him they haven’t had a team meal yet. Song admits to being impressed after their recent case and encourages them to head out.
Ms Kim cuts the conversation short though, as she turns up and questions Song’s commitment to hiring Geum-Ja and how much he cares. While they talk about the past, Geum-Ja shows Ji-Eun the money before she mentions Yoo-Mi phoning constantly, begging Geum-Ja to do something about it.
At the team dinner, they all sit and eat together before the conversation turns to that of relationships. Given the history between Geum-Ja and Hee-Jae, this meal takes a turn for the worst, as Hee-Jae mentions the launderette and how someone ruined his life there. Just as things become heated, Geum-Ja receives a call, causing her to leave as Hee-Jae continues to drink.
Geum-Ja’s contact, Joo-Ho, meets with her and she hands over an envelope, telling him to hold onto this money for the time being. As they drink, he tells Geum-Ja that “he” has been released on early bail. As we cut back in time we see what happened to her and Joo-Ho in the past, with the latter telling her he won’t let anyone near her no matter what. This “he” they spoke of earlier happens to Geum-Ja’s father, who murdered her Mother under the influence of alcohol.
This is what sparked her desire to begin practicing law in order to arrest her alcoholic father. In order to do so, she puts the knife in his hand and plunges that into her own stomach.
Hee-Jae heads up to the bar and meets Geum-Ja not long after, taking Joo-Ho’s seat. He admits to missing her but also that he’s nosy and wants to know more. In a drunken stupor, he tells her he wants to work out when she was sincere with him – until she tells him she was never sincere the whole time they knew each other. Geum-Ja goes on to give him advice; maintain his dignity and find a nice woman to settle down with.
Just before he leaves, he admits that it annoys him more when she isn’t around and after paying each other compliments, Hee-Jae leaves while Geum-Ja comments on how bitter the soju tastes that night.
In the morning, Geum-Ja suffers from a nasty hangover but Yoo-Mi arrives not long after and pleads with her to look into her case. Sighing heavily, Geum-Ja eventually agrees to follow her to the loan-shark’s hide-out. There, she presents the CEO, Gang Sang-Sik, with a stack of evidence against him. She tells him to go by the law or she’ll introduce the big boss to the prosecutor. Although she can’t get rid of the issues against him, she does encourage him to get an accountant to take the fall while dropping the interest rate for Yoo-Mi. Biting back his obvious displeasure, he caves and agrees to her terms.
Geum-Ja receives a visit from a raggedy guest and as she heads in, she realizes that her Father is waiting for her. As they talk, he mentions how he’s found God and it’s made him a new man. Unable to listen to this any longer, she bitterly shouts at him and tells him to leave. Hee-Jae arrives with alcohol and sits with her. He tells Geum-Ja she’s good at using him but for tonight, he’ll let it slide. She tells him the night never happened and upon agreement, the two embrace and begin kissing where the episode ends.
Although Ms. Kim returning to the office is a bit underwhelming and there isn’t a lot of her character being revealed just yet, the other elements involving Geum-Ja’s past and Hee-Jae’s feelings really blossom here. In terms of characterisation, Hyena has always done a good job with its characters and this episode is no exception. There’s plenty left to dissect in this one though and next week’s double bill looks like it could be a really dramatic one too. For now though, Hyena bows out its Saturday episode with a really strong dose of drama and plenty of questions hanging over this one going forward.