Juvenile Justice – Season 1 Episode 5 Recap & Review

The Runaways

Episode 5 of Juvenile Justice starts with Eun-Seok out with A-Reum, desperate find the runaway girls. Seon-Ja is discharged from hospital and returns home, shocked at the devastation before her. When she finds out A-Reum is responsible, it’s an even tougher pill to swallow.

With Eun-Seok there with them, the phone suddenly starts ringing. It’s Min-Gyeong. She’s managed to get away from the girls under the pretense of getting snacks. Things are getting out of hands.

The other girls turned on her while heading for the train station, with bruises covering her face and hands. Eun-Seok and the others scramble to the hospital, learning what happened. Unfortunately with the night getting late and no clues to go on, Eun-Seok and Tae-Ju are forced to call it a night.

They report in to Kang in the morning though, letting him know what’s happened. Won-Jung is furious, demanding they clean this mess up and find the kids given they defied a direct order.

Thankfully, Yeon-Ji rings the center, claiming the other girls are too intense and she only pretended to hit Min-Gyeong.

Apparently the kids are taking it in turns to do shifts and forcing the others into prostitution to try and rustle up some money. A-Reum happens to be listening to this and immediately tells her mum, who in turn tells Eun-Seok and Tae-Ju.

Eun-Seok is livid, bashing A-Reum by telling her this is what happens when they kick kids out onto the street. Prostitution is the easiest way to make money, but of course it’s incredibly dangerous. Eun-Seok remains dead-set on bringing the kids back no matter what.

While out checking the motels, Mrs O finds Hye-Rim and Eun-Ji in the streets and urges them to come home. Instead, they turn and run.

Hye-Rim is eventually caught bur Yeon-Ji is locked inside a motel room with a client. Yeon-Ji doesn’t want to go through with this and even threatens to kill herself to try and stop him. Unfortunately, it doesn’t dissuade him.

In fact, he grabs Yeon-Ji round the throat and chokes her out, just as a returning Detective Ko kicks the door open and saves her life.

Yeon-Ji joins the other girls as they’re rounded up and taken away. A worried Mrs O watches on as Eun-Seok thanks Detective Ko for his help, especially on his day off.

As a result of what’s happened, Yeon-Ji is taken to a Juvenile classification home where she’ll receive therapy. The rest of the kids are to be interviewed by the police.

Yeong-Na is still missing though, but A-Reum knows where she is. The phone call Yeon-Ji made was actually intercepted by A-Reum who used Yeong-Na’s mother’s condition against her, threatening her and urging the girl to go home.

When Eun-Seok and Seon-A retrace her steps, they find Yeong-Na sitting on the steps outside. She found her mum but she didn’t want anything to do with her. In fact she looked away in disgust when Yeong-Na hammered on her door, bloodied knuckles staining the metal.

When her partner head out and saw the girl in an enraged state, he beat her down to the ground too.

Yeong-Na’a mum made up that she was terminally ill to give her an excuse to abandon her own daughter. It’s a shocking revelation and something that catches both women off-guard. Mrs O throws her arms around Yeong-Na, offering her comfort as the girl sobs.

Unfortunately most of these juvenile cases begin as a result of what’s happened at home, and this episode sadly proves as much through the runaway girls.

A-Reum is also dangerously on the verge of going off the rails too, typified by her rampage with the bat. She feels sidelined in favour of these girls, who actually all sickeningly toasted that night over Mrs O dying soon.

Eun-Seok encourages Mrs O to actually embrace her own daughter and show she’s happy and smiling, rather than carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.

That weight comes in the form of a miscarried child, which explains why she’s been so adamant on helping these troubled girls. Outside the juvenile center, she jumps on A-Reun, hugging her and trying to be more positive and loving toward her daughter

Off the back of this case, Kang thinks about getting rid of Pureum’s licence but decides to drop it for now. However, the circumstances surrounding the other women can’t be forgotten.

Eun-Seok eventually has to dish out the rulings for these girls, who all get lengthy sentences despite their troubled upbringings.

All legal guardians in attendance are to take up counselling sessions too. She urges them to visit their children, relaying part of the blame on the adults and their failure to give their children a good upbringing. As the girls are taken away, Seon-A stifles a cry and sighs heavily.

As the episode closes out, Won-Jung makes his choice and decides to do one more case before resigning for good. He’s going to take up the Assemblyman’s offer after all. But there’s a problem. Kang’s son rings and claims that there’s someone at the door.

Meanwhile, Eun-Sok heads home and is greeted by a strange man outside.

The Episode Review

Juvenile Justice returns with another solid episode, this time finishing up the girls at Pureum Care Home, with each of them given a tough sentence.

That’s perhaps unsurprising given Eun-Seok’s record in the court but there are some nice moments here where you can tell she’s reflecting on the empathy Seon-Ja is instilling with these kids and realizing she’s not so bad after all.

This case does a great job showing the dangers inherent for young girls and just how quickly things can go wrong. There’s a great effort to humanize every single character here too though, and that’s partly why the show works as well as it does.

Either way, with Eun-Seok’s past catching up to her and Kang in for quite a shock at home, 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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