Joseon Attorney: A Morality – K-drama Episode 3 Recap & Review

Divorce Suit (Part 1)

Joseon Attorney: A Morality episode 3 starts with a young Yeon-joo remembering the night her father, the King, died. Interestingly, Yoo Je-se was the last person to see the King. The next morning, Yeon-joo and Lady Hong snuck into the room the King died in and stole a law book.

In the present day, Yeon-joo is trying to advise her brother, the regent King, how to gain more power and defeat Yoo Je-se. Yoo Je-se has been amassing more power and King Lee Hyul has been feeling incompetent because he even failed to help his sister with a small favour. Yeon-joo advises him to use the law as a sword and gives him the book she stole from the King’s room when she was young. She also asks him to fill the two recently empty positions in the government with his people. She acknowledges that the positions fell empty after Han-soo’s intervention.

Yeon-joo is hoping to use Han-soo to help the country and the people to bring forth the dream her dad once had. However, Lady Hong asks her to plan carefully how she will approach Han-soo. In the end, she decides to plead with him to hire her as an assistant. Han-soo wonders if she is lovesick and turns her down. She offers to provide a resting room, an office and food for him and Dong-Chi.

The situation at his current residence forces Han-soo to move to the merchant house but he still refuses to hire Yeon-joo. The next day, Han-soo opens his office at the merchant house and Yeon-joo brings him a client. Even though the case is outrageous, Han-soo helps the man and Yeon-joo is happy with him. She insists to be hired or she will charge Han-soo the normal rate for boarding a room at the merchant house.

Han-soo decides to test if she is qualified and gives her a challenge to make a pouch and figure out what she wants to put in it. He shows her his pouch and explains it is the reason he became an attorney. Yeon-joo and Lady Hong are surprised by the challenge and try to figure out his motives.

Lady Hong also shows Yeon-joo a letter from an anonymous man who they refer to as lord. He sent her tangerines and a letter informing her of his trip to Hanyang. Yeon-joo is excited to know the man is coming to Hanyang and believes he is a man of great wealth who helps the merchant house anonymously. Yeon-joo promises to write back but is distracted by what to do about Han-soo.

Speaking of Han-soo, he pays Park Je-soo a visit at his home but no one welcomes him in. Park Je-soo is currently trying to get back in the good graces of his masters. He recruits the help of one of his friends who he introduces to Jo Cheol-joo.

Meanwhile, Yoo Ji-sun arrives at the palace and is promoted to a level-two magistrate of Hanseongbu. Park Je-soo plans a lavish party to celebrate the occasion and get into Yoo Je-se’s graces. Han-soo sneaks into the party as a server and even contemplates poisoning the noblemen present. In the end, he decides to get his revenge only after finding out the reason why his family was framed and his dad killed.

In the meantime, Park Je-soo’s wife who is one of the nobles who supports the merchant house visits Hanyang and takes a room at the merchant house. Yeon-joo warmly welcomes her and Lady Hong suggests they ask her to help them make a pouch as they are both bad at sewing.  Yeon-joo runs to Park Je-soo’s wife’s room but doesn’t find her. She searches for her and finds her by the Han River contemplating suicide.

Elsewhere at the party, Yoo Je-se listens to the reports from the Hungu’s noble men and they strategize their next moves. They drink and eat while Han-soo listens in and has an epiphany about what Master Jang meant when he said he got orders from above. He also learns about Park Je-soo funding the party.

At the merchant’s house, Yeon-joo sees  Park Je-soo’s wife has bruises all over her shoulders and asks what happened. It turns out that Park Je-soo has been having an affair with a courtesan. He had the audacity to bring the mistress to his home the day his wife went to offer tribute for her father’s third-year death anniversary. The lady of the house returned home earlier than usual and overhead Park Je-soo admit that he knowingly gave her father sweet treats even though he was diabetic.

She got angry and kicked the courtesan out of her home and promised to sue Park Je-soo because she couldn’t forgive the part he played in her father’s death. She was willing to overlook the affair and the disrespect but she was done after hearing his confession. Upon hearing her plan to sue him, Park Je-soo beat her and threatened her with the law.

According to Joseon laws, a woman can’t sue her husband or asks for a divorce. She will be stoned or turned into an outcast as the community assumes she is the one at fault. To get away, the wife left for Hanyang and went to stay at the merchant’s house.

Yeon-joo is saddened by the lady’s plight and promises to help her by getting a lawyer for her case. She is also angry that Joseon law is discriminatory towards women.

At the party, Park Je-soo tries to win favour with Yoo Ji-sun by gifting him expensive honeyed ginseng made by his wife. Everyone is shocked by the move but Yoo Ji-sun gives the gift to Han-soo who is still pretending to be a server. Yoo-je-se is troubled by his son’s move to turn down the gift and later advises him to accept the power and do as he pleases.

The party ends after Yoo Je-se gifts everyone with precious white and blue potteries only used by the royals. On his way home, Park Je-soo confides in his friend his plan to take over his wife’s property and take up a new position in Pyongyanbu.

Han-soo returns to the merchant’s house and Dong-chi updates him on what he found out at the Royal Academy of Painting. Dong-chi tells him that there are rumours that Myung-wol will become Park Je-soo’s concubine. Han-soo tells him about the party and his belief that Yoo Ji-sun is just like his dad. He also thinks that Choo Young-woo is helping Park Je-soo retain a position in government and rise in the ranks. Dong-chi is worried that if Park Je-soo rises in the ranks and is sent to Pyongyanbu, he will become more influential. Unfortunately, Han-soo has no idea how to stop Park Je-soo’s promotion.

The next morning, Yeon-joo tries to convince Han-soo to take the divorce case but doesn’t mention whose wife she is. Han-soo tells her that the case will be impossible to win because Joseon doesn’t consent to a woman asking for a divorce. Only a man can ask for a divorce, a woman is sentenced to death or exiled to live in shame if she dares to think of a divorce. Either way, Han-soo refuses to take the case even though Yeon-joo consistently begs him. She even offered him money but he turned it down.

Yeon-joo recruits the help of Lady Hong to find out why Han-soo is not taking the case. Lady Hong initiates a drinking game with Dong-chi but he only gets drunk and doesn’t reveal anything about Han-soo. At the same time, Park Je-soo’s wife remains in her room remembering the abuse she faced at the hands of her husband.

Han-soo goes to see Myung-Wol and offers her pearls in return for some information on Park Je-soo. Myung-Wol is not sure if Je-soo will keep his word and leave his wife. She asks Han-soo if there is a way for a husband to steal his wife’s property. Han-soo gets the idea to make Je-soo request a divorce. He rushes to the merchant’s house to find Dong-chi and finds that he has already left. He notices the honeyed-ginseng they are having for lunch and asks where they got them.

Lady Hong tells him it is from the woman in the Gukhwa room. The one Yeon-joo has been begging him to help get a divorce from her husband. Han-soo is surprised that the answer was right under his nose. Before he can meet the lady, Yeon-joo comes rushing in and announces that the lady is missing. She is worried that the lady might have decided to commit suicide again. She gives Han-soo the pouch she has been making and tells him that she wants to put people’s tears inside and give them a smile instead. Han-soo is touched by her words.

Lady Hong asks the other servants to help locate the lady. They search the streets but no one has seen her. Dong-chi arrives and tells them that the lady has been arrested. Han-soo and Yeon-joo quickly visit her at the prison. Han-soo promises to take her case but tells her it won’t be easy. He notes that she will have to file for a divorce and the Lady is hesitant that she will be shunned.

Han-soo tells her she has to fight and win. He tells her to be prepared to risk one of her legs and appear to be in a deadly condition. Yeon-joo is against this and accuses him of planning to use underhand methods because all he cares about is winning. She scolds him harshly and fires him.

The Episode Review

It is clear that Lady Hong and Dong-chi have chemistry between them. I am looking forward to seeing how their relationship blossoms throughout the show.

It is great that Yeon-joo has such deep faith in justice and how the law is supposed to work but she is naive. She probably should have not fired Han-soo as he knows what he is talking about. How will she pull off getting another lawyer and saving the Lady? Which lawyer in Hanyang will bring up a lawsuit against a powerful man like Je-soo? She will have to hire Han-soo back in order to save the lady, that is the only way out.

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