Joseon Attorney: A Morality – K-drama Episode 14 Recap & Review

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Joseon Attorney: A Morality episode 14 begins with Han-soo visiting his sister in her prison cell and crying his heart out. Fate dealt him and Eun-soo a hard hand and he is having a difficult time coming to terms with what Je-se is doing to his family.

Eun-soo apologizes to him but Han-soo promises to save her. Eun-soo asks him to allow her to pay for her crimes as she is not being unfairly accused of adultery. Nonetheless, Han-soo insists that even though the King wants her dead, he will save her. What a tearful reunion!

Elsewhere, Ji-sun confronts his father and asks what he did to entice Eun-soo and why he used and abandoned her. Je-se tells him that he is not guilty of what happened to Han-soo’s dad. It was the Grand Queen Dowager who ordered his death to subdue the fury of the people and install a new king. Is this even true or is he playing mind games with Ji-sun?

Either way, he asks Ji-sun if he is ready to get revenge on the Royal family. Ji-sun tells him that he was hoping to forgive him but Je-se has relentlessly decided to hurt others so it will be hard.

After meeting his sister, Han-soo is fueled by fury and heads over to Je-se’s home. He is determined to kill Je-se but his guards and Dong-chi hold him back. Ji-sun is also present as Han-soo swears he will kill Je-se. It is at this point that Dong-chi learns that the adulterous woman arrested is Eun-soo. He tries to comfort Han-soo as he weeps in his arms.

Later that night, Yeon-joo informs the King that the woman he intends to kill is Han-soo’s long-lost sister. She tries to convince him to save Eun-soo and to find another way to punish Je-se but he refuses. The Princess cautions him about letting his personal feelings blind him but he points out that she is also emotionally compromised.

The next morning, the Royal Court discusses the case and Dae-han accuses Eun-soo of following in her father’s corrupted ways. As Eun-soo was a married woman who left her home and had affairs with multiple men she is guilty of adultery. Five men are brought forth and interrogated on their affair with Eun-soo.

Upon investigation, the officers discover that the men have a tattoo on their bodies to signify their loyalty to Eun-soo. Among the men, there is Im Sang-Ho who pays her a visit. Eun-soo approached him to get information on how to defeat Je-se, including ledgers but she was unable to find them when she snuck into Je-se’s room. Eun-soo questions if he lied to her and gets angry, grabbing firewood and burning his tattoo.

Im Sang-Ho was the one who grabbed Officer Kang’s letter the night the King died. Eun-soo thinks he is part of the guilty party that ordered her father’s death. Once Im Sang-Ho burns his tattoo, Eun-soo warns him that he has pushed his luck too far.

Ji-sun visits Han-soo and warns him not to act recklessly to save his sister. The Royal Court is eager to punish and he can’t reveal that he is her brother. Ji-sun volunteers to save Eun-soo and asks Han-soo to coach him on the laws he can use to defend Eun-soo in the next Royal Court. The situation is not ideal but Han-soo’s hands are tied and he has to trust Ji-sun.

In the meantime, Dong-chi visits Eun-soo and laments about her situation, however they can’t change the past. Dong-chi is dressed as a prison guard and stays behind to protect Eun-soo at Han-soo’s request. Han-soo is worried someone might kill his sister as she awaits her sentencing.

The following morning, the Royal Court resumes and Ji-sun tries to defend Eun-soo. He insists if she is to be punished, they should strictly follow the laws. If she is to die then all the men romantically involved with her should face the same fate. For every argument that Ji-sun brings up, Choi Soo-Yong counters it. It gets heated and the King is left to figure out which law he should use to punish Eun-soo.

Ji-sun returns and informs Han-soo that it looks bleak as the King insists on killing Eun-soo. He ponders on which law to use as if he chooses the wrong one, he will set a dangerous precedent. As he worries over this matter, Im Sang-Ho visits and claims he has an answer to his predicament.

Yeon-joo sees Im Sang-Ho leave the palace and worries over what he told the King. She tells Lady Hong that Im Sang-Ho is the cause of all tragedies since he grabbed the letter from her that day. Lady Hong promises to keep an eye on Im Sang-Ho.

It turns out she didn’t need to, Im Sang-Ho passes out near the palace gates and Choi Yoon takes him inside. Lady Hong calls a physician but he explains that Im Sang-Ho is hopeless. The moment he burnt the tattoo, the heat released the poison in the tattoo’s ink. Lady Hong quickly summons Han-soo and tells him that Im Sang-Ho gave the King an answer to his Eun-soo predicament.

We learn that Im Sang-Ho advised the King to punish Eun-soo according to Civil law instead of Criminal law. According to the Civil law, Eun-soo should be hanged but if he were to choose the Criminal law, Eun-soo will only be flogged, fined and exiled. Yeon-joo tries to beg the King to choose the Criminal law but he remains unmoved.

Yeon-joo tries to ask him not to cause more harm to the Kang family as she was only used by Je-se but the King insists he must teach Je-se a lesson. He knows his choice is wrong but is not willing to relent and let the chance to weaken Je-se leave.

Pushed against the wall, Han-soo goes to Je-se and begs him on his knees to save Eun-soo. Je-se asks what he will get in return so Han-soo promises to bring the ledgers Lord Choo gave Jo Cheol-Joo. He blackmails Jo Cheol-Joo to give him the ledger after all other means failed. After getting the ledgers, he takes them to Je-se who promises to save Eun-soo. Je-se leaves for the Ministry of Justice to see Eun-soo and the Princess hears of his visit. She quickly rushes to meet him.

Je-se meets with Eun-soo and offers to help her escape but she turns down his offer as it will only endanger Han-soo.  Je-se knew that she will turn him down and doesn’t necessarily care if she lives or die. On his way out, Je-se runs into Yeon-joo and the King. He informs the King that Han-soo begged him to save Eun-soo because he knew he was powerful enough to do so. The King is angered by Han-soo’s decision and pays him a visit.

He tells Han-soo that if he wanted to save his sister that much, he could have come to him instead of Je-se. Han-soo argues that the King had already set his mind but the King tells him, verdicts can be changed. He gives Han-soo a piece of clothing and asks him to be present during the sentencing. Han-soo realizes he made a mistake not trusting the King even though they are friends.

Morning rolls by and the men who were found guilty of adultery along with Eun-soo are sentenced to flogging and Eun-soo is sentenced to death by hanging. Han-soo breaks down as he reads the verdict, why did the King cruelly make him read it?

Later on, Yeon-joo sermons Eun-soo to her chambers while Han-soo plots with Jo Cheol-Joo how to save her before she is executed. Yeon-joo and Eun-soo talk for a while and Yeon-joo asks Eun-soo to allow her to help. She asks Eun-soo to dress as the Princess and escape but Eun-soo refuses. She doesn’t want Han-soo to be exiled as well.

It is at this point that we learn that Je-se asked the Princes to talk to Eun-soo and change her mind. The Princess was ready to take responsibility for everything.

After Ji-sun learns of his father’s deal with Yeon-joo, he rushes to stop Han-soo from acting recklessly. He finds Han-soo with Jo Cheol-Joo discussing how to save Eun-soo the day she is meant to be executed.

In the meantime, Eun-soo tells Yeon-joo that she is fine with dying as the King has made her a promise to punish Je-se. Eun-soo asks Yeon-joo for one last favour and Yeon-joo agrees. Eun-soo sends Yeon-joo to her house to pick up a package meant for Han-soo. The Princess leaves right away and promises to be quick.

Once Yeon-joo leaves, Eun-soo writes a letter to Hansoo and kills herself. In her letter, she reminisces about their good times as a family. She asks him to not hold her death as another grudge. She explains that she felt indebted to Je-se as she didn’t know he was the enemy. It was why she did what she did, she wanted to repay his kindness.

Dong-chi, Han-soo and Ji-sun find her clinging to her last breath in Yeon-joo’s room. Eun-soo says she is grateful that she got to see him but Han-soo calls for a physician as he hopes to save her. Eun-soo also thanks him for being there for her and passes away in his arms.

Han-soo is beside himself with sorrow as he wheels her body out of the palace. Yeon-joo returns and sees Han-soo weeping as he takes her body away and is also saddened.  Ji-sun is also in great pain as he saw Eun-soo as a sister.

Han-soo buries his sister at their old home in Cheongsam. Her death takes a heavy toll on him and Yeon-joo becomes greatly sick as well. It seems that Eun-soo’s death also hit Je-se as he pays tribute to her. He knew that Eun-soo will refuse to be saved and ordered her to kill herself to protect Han-soo from acting recklessly. Ultimately, Eun-soo wanted to save Han-soo.

Ji-sun is not pleased with the King, especially after he reinstates the officials who were caught in Eun-soo’s scandal. He calls out the toxic patriarchy displayed by the King’s decision and quits his job as a government officer.

After a few days, Yeon-joo finally gets a little better but everyone including Ji-sun is still going through it. Han-soo suffers the worst of it and tries to drink in an attempt to escape his pain. He ends up on a high wall, drunk and unstable. It looks like he is contemplating suicide.

The episode ends with Yeon-joo dressing up and meeting Ji-sun. She asks him to marry him.

The Episode Review

This was the most painful episode in this show. The scenes were heart-wrenching and a lot to digest. Seeing Han-soo mourn his sister was so painful to watch. Je-se is a horrible man and I hope he gets what he deserves. Is there a punishment fit enough for what he’s done to the Kang family?

I am not sure he is to be trusted about what he told Ji-sun. Did the Grand Queen Dowager really order the death of Officer Kang in order to reinstate King Lee Hyul? What did she have against the former King to force her to take such measures? I guess we will find out in the next episode.

I am appalled by the King’s decision especially when he reinstated the men but killed Eun-soo. The dominant ideology of patriarchy in his logic is sickening. I am glad Ji-sun resigned but it is too early to gauge whether it was wise or not.

We are two episodes away from the finale, when will Je-se be taken down?

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