Juvenile Justice – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review

Pureum Home For Girls

Episode 4 of Juvenile Justice starts with Eun-Seok sentencing Won-Sik to 200 hours community service and banning him from seeing Yu-Ri. Not only that, she also puts up a restraining order and reminds him that this can be changed or modified at any time. Oh, and she also tells him he needs alcoholism treatment too… which he needs to pay for himself.

With the Yu-Ri case resolved, a teary-eyed Yu-Ri stands with Eun-Seok outside, quizzing just why she’s doing this for her.

After instilling some words of wisdom, including being respectful to elders and smiling without a reason, she leaves. Interestingly though, Eun-Seok receives a message from Yu-Ji later that evening, telling her she’s going to try and be good from now on.

Tae-Ju’s stake in all this comes from the past and specifically the incident involving his father. He was actually arrested for attempted patricide, and after being released, worked incredibly hard to be part of the juvenile court.

Tae-Ju wanted to make sure other kids were as lucky as he was to escape that hell, which is thanks to a judge in the past who helped whip him into shape. However, he can’t even remember the man’s face.

After divulging these details to Eun-Seok during a drunken night at the Pojangmacha (a street stall bar), Eun-Seok sets her boundaries and reminds him not to open up about his personal life again. She doesn’t want to do the same thing and ultimately tells him to keep things work-related. Anything personal just makes her uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, Kang’s decision to join the National Assembly weighs heavily on his mind. He sentences a girl called Yeon-Ji to join the Pureum Home for Girls after fraudulently obtaining 60,000 won. With an alcoholic father, no income and forced to eke out a living, Kang decides to offer a lenient punishment because of this.

This facility is run by O Seon-Ja who happens to be a star lecturer and a pretty big deal. She’s designed a really effective program, something that helps rehabilitate these young ladies and get them back on their feet, away from crime. These sort of homes are generally family-run facilities, as they get very little government funding.

Kang tasks Tae-Ju and Eun-Seok to visit the foster home as part of their duties as juvenile judges. Eun-Seok naturally starts researching, learning Seon-Ja actually has 2 kids herself too. So essentially she’s looking after 10 kids by herself.

However, Yeong-Sil receives a troubling call, which she relays on to Eun-Seok and Tae-Ju. Suspicions of child abuse and embezzlement have been reported at Pureum.

Taking Kang and Eun-Seok aside, Tae-Ju relays on the news but Kang simply tells him to cover it up. Tae-Ju refuses, telling him that, regardless if they’re fake claims or not, they have a duty to look into this.

Kang is distracted by the Assemblyman messaging though, taking him away from the center. He waves away his responsibilities and urges Eun-Seok and Tae-Ju to continue their investigation like normal. Eun-Seok points out that kids are impatient and sooner or later, they’ll open up.

The kids are interviewed, one at a time, where they reveal the horrors of Pureun. Seon-Ja feeds them spoiled food, beats them and even forces them all to clean her house and the neighbours’ too. If they don’t complete chores they get no food. And in fact, the abuse is so bad that one of the girls is actually in hospital. Her name is Yu-Gyeong.

However, Seon-Ja has a very different side to this story. The girls misbehave, with one of them smashing a bowl of rice on the floor after trying in vain to bargain for smokes.

The work with the neighbours is not “slave labour” but infact, an opportunity to help the community see that these girls are not criminals and have just been led down a bad path. They know that nothing is permanent here and have tried to bend the rules. As for Yu-Gyeong? Well, she was actually abused and beaten by the group of girls. Seon-Ja had no part of this.

Eun-Seok isn’t done yet. She brings up the support fund of 50,000 won and how the expenses show Seon-Ja has spent 4.5 million won more than last year as a whole. But yet, none of the kids have gone on any excursions.

As a result, special investigators will be showing up at the Girls Home and they may even go so far as to take her licence away too. Before reporting this to Kang, Eun-Seok and Tae-Ju visit Yu-Gyeong in hospital. According to her, the extra money spent was actually for her to have surgery.

That night, Eun-Seok heads back to Pureum where she finds the place completely trashed. Seon-Ja collapsed after Eun-Seok left, rushed to the hospital.

One of her daughters, A-Reum, is there to greet Eun-Seok and she sheds light on how she told the girls to leave the place. A-Reum smashed the place up herself, angry at her mum for always putting the girls ahead of her own daughters.

Upon hearing this, Eun-Seok realizes that the person who called in the report of embezzlement originally was actually A-Reum.

The Episode Review

With a new case to deal with, Juvenile Justice continues to deliver gripping drama, this time turning the attention across to those on the front-lines trying to rehabilitate the girls after their sentencing.

Seeing the conflicting reports from both Seon-Ja and the girls helps to shed some light into how difficult it must be to actually run a center like this. Eun-Seok also learns late on just how much Seon-Ja has put into this center, placing it ahead of her own daughters and losing her husband in the process.

The interesting part of this is that it helps show and reinforce – like the whole season has to be honest – how there are two sides to every story.

With the girls on the run and the case unresolved, everything is left wide open for the next episode.

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You can read our full season review of Juvenile Justice here!
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