Metro Team Reacts to the Finale of 'Extraordinary Attorney Woo'
Now that the first season has come to a close, we've got a lot of feelings!
Oh, how we've loved this light, healing legal K-drama starring Park Eun-bin, Kang Tae-oh, and Kang Ki-yong ever since it started dropping weekly episodes on Netflix!
Last week, audiences all over the world (us included) tuned in to the finale of Extraordinary Attorney Woo. If you’ve been tuning into our Metro K-Drama Round Ups, or reading any of our articles on its leads, you know how much we love this drama with all its fun quirks and moments.
Warning: major spoilers ahead!
We have been enthralled with this K-drama’s characters from the very first episode. Extraordinary Attorney Woo tells the story of Woo Young-woo (Park Eun-bin), an autistic young lawyer working at Hanbada, a large law firm. A genius, Attorney Woo has eidetic memory which makes her a brilliant lawyer as she is able to recall the laws (verbatim!) and use it to refute the opposing lawyer’s claims, as well as build strong arguments for her cases.
At work, she encounters Lee Jun-ho (Kang Tae-oh), a legal assistant at Hanbada, who shows genuine affection and care for Young-woo early on in the episodes. (He even lets her talk about whales, her favorite topic, at work!)
She is mentored by Kang Ki-young’s Jung Myung-seok, a senior attorney in Hanbada who helps Young-woo navigate the world of law, the politics between law firms, and the different sensitivities that must be factored in when it comes to dealing with clients.
The final episode of Extraordinary Attorney Woo centered on the RAO (an e-commerce platform and app) case which featured a major data leak due to a genius hacker. We found out that the hacker was Su-mi’s teenage son, Choi Sang-hyeon (Choi Hyun-jin), and we see him tell his mother the truth but she deals with it quietly instead of making it public… as she is in the running to become Minister of Law. He’s guilty, seeing how his actions have gravely affected the lives of others including the CEO of RAO slipping into a coma, and he goes to Young-woo for help, knowing she is his half-sister.
Armed with her brother’s video confession, Young-woo tries to use it in court but the judge will not accept it as evidence until he testifies. Realizing she needs to speak to Su-mi, Attorney Woo and Jun-ho visit her to appeal to her motherly instinct. She says to Su-mi that she may not have been a good mother to her, having abandoned her, but she appeals to her saying it’s not too late to keep being the good mother that Sang-hyeon believes her to be. Moments later, we see Hanbada get notified by Taesan (Su-mi’s law firm) that they will allow Sang-hyeon to testify (with a few terms considered, of course.)
Sang-hyeon testifies in court and Su-mi steps down from office. Young-woo and the other lawyers at Hanbada celebrate this win. Scenes later, we see Young-woo telling her father Woo Gwang-ho (Jeon Bae-soo) that she has her heart set on staying at Hanbada. The final scene is her arriving at the office building, through the revolving doors, and greeting Jun-ho with a smile.
On the panel for this discussion:
Grace Libero-Cruz: Metro.Style People Editor
Kate Paras: Metro.Style Beauty and Wellness Editor
Anna Rosete: Metro.Style Living Editor
Justin Convento: Metro.Style Culture Editor
And Leah Puyat: Metro.Style’s Resident K-Drama Expert
1. What are your feelings and reactions about the last episode?
Grace: I honestly didn’t expect much from this series in the beginning, but after the first episode, I was convinced it was one I’d like to see till the end. As a fan of legal K-dramas, I always get excited with the complexity and intricacy of each case tackled, and I think Extraordinary Attorney Woo presented fresh scenarios that really worked to the advantage of showcasing what Park Eun-bin’s Woo Young-woo character could bring to the table (like, how unique is that case about the wedding dress that slipped off, right?).
I do have to say, though, that as the series went on, I had some expectations that weren’t quite met. And come the finale, I was still looking for some plot developments that the production team may perhaps be reserving for season 2. So, the last episode for me was okay, but it didn’t quite feel as dramatic or compelling as the previous episodes. Still, I like the very last scene in the last episode where Woo Young-woo realizes a new emotion: “a sense of fulfillment.”
Kate: It was beautifully wrapped up, and it left me with a smile on my face. Since every episode tackles a new case, I felt like the issues were all resolved, both in their professional lives and personal. Though it leaves room for what the future holds for Woo Young-woo and her mom Tae Su-mi, I like that Tae Su-mi’s character was somewhat redeemed.
Anna: As much as Atty Woo discovered the importance of finding a “sense of fulfillment,” I wasn’t fulfilled. There was something to be desired… I guess that’s what Season 2 is for!
Justin: With all the speculation that there would be a season two (and I hope that’s true), I was worried we as an audience would be served a cliffhanger. For weeks, ever since Extraordinary Attorney Woo began airing, the episodes have been such a stress relief for me and I knew I’d be so sad to see the end and feel bitin. Thankfully, it was a happy and concrete ending, and we see Young-woo experience a feeling she hadn’t felt before: fulfillment.
Leah: A sense of fulfillment. Joy. Pride.
2. Favorite actor and performance from this series?
Grace: Definitely Park Eun-bin! A lawyer with autism spectrum disorder is a challenging and tricky role to take on, but she managed to deliver it well. I like that she really prepared for this role by reading books and even consulting professors so she won’t offend anyone with her portrayal. Of course, not everyone liked her acting, but I think she did a great job一from her facial expressions (I just loved the way her face would brighten up whenever she had a eureka moment) to her timing and movements, and especially with the way she delivered her lines (hey, it’s not easy to memorize lines as complex and filled with jargons as those in her script!).
Kate: It goes without saying that Park Eun-bin did a fantastic job as Attorney Woo, but I gradually fell in love with Kang Ki-yong’s character as Attorney Jung Myung-seok. His character made me reflect and really think about my mentors, who I want to be professionally, and who I want to be outside of my job. Kang Ki-yong did it in such a way that I felt his authority over his juniors, but there was that encouraging hand and the humility on his part.
Anna: Kang Ki Young, as his missing presence in ep 15 was tremendously felt. There was so much empathy in his character without being condescending to Park Eun-bin’s character. I also think Park Eun-bin did an excellent job.
Justin: Hands down, Park Eun-bin as Attorney Woo just completely knocked it out of the park. She treated the role so lightly and with sensitivity, shining a light on the struggles of those on the autism spectrum, while not making it her entire character’s identity. Because, beyond the autism, she is a beautiful, fun-loving, and kind person, and Eun-bin was able to portray this in her different scenes and moments throughout the show… even the smallest ones!
Another favorite of mine is Attorney Jung (played by Kang Ki-young) because, as he guides and nurtures his young team at Hanbada, he gives a calm, reassuring support to the characters, and acts somewhat as a father figure in a great way. He offers a few nuggets of wisdom that I resonated with. As someone who struggles with mental health, too, a quote by him struck me. He said, “Having a mental or physical disorder doesn’t mean they’re mentally unfit. It’s only if the incapacity of one’s ability to discern things and make decisions that they’re considered to be mentally unfit.” That was empowering for me, and to see how Attorney Woo also benefited from hearing that, remembering that we have control on how we react and relate to the world, was a powerful thing for me.
Leah: Of course the female lead, Woo Young-woo is one of those characters that come once in a lifetime. And Park Eun Bin imbued her character with so much warmth and complexity. I loved both her best friends too!
3. Favorite moments from the finale?
Grace: The last scene where she had to muster the courage to go through the revolving door again. In episode 1, Kang Tae-oh’s Lee Jun-ho helped her by teaching her to waltz her way through it. And in the last episode, Woo Young-woo was able to do it by herself. This just tied the first and last episodes seamlessly. It’s amazing how something as mundane as a revolving door can be so meaningful.
Kate: I love the part where Lee Jun-ho and Attorney Woo were in the car on the way to see Tae Su-mi, and he tells her that loving her is like loving a cat… and she ends the conversation by saying “cats love their owners too.” I think that was very, very touching. It was such a beautiful exchange of love for each other.
Anna: I feel like the scene where her dad confides in her is the role reversal that gave this arch its culmination. It’s also possible that this is where Atty Woo gathered her strength to pursue what she had to do in the finale.
Leah: I loved her train ride and all the dolphins and whales swimming outside the train ; it gave me a lift deep inside. And also when Atty Woo was pleading with her birth mother Atty Tae Su-mi to allow her son to testify and make amends for his crime. Atty Woo’s arguments were simple , straightforward and heartwarming, but also searing and gut wrenching
4. Favorite lines/quotes from the entire series?
Grace: This series had many lines that are heart-tugging, but I also laughed at this!
Choi Soo-yeon: “Why aren’t you bowing?”
Kwon Min-woo: “I’m Catholic. Why aren’t you bowing?”
Choi Soo-yeon: “I’m also Catholic.”
Kwon Min-woo: “What’s your baptismal name? Mine is Gabriel.”
Choi Soo-yeon: “Mine is Jennie.”
Kwon Min-woo: “What is Jennie. Are you the saint of BLACKPINK?”
Kate: “Do you like anybody? If you do, hold onto them. If something happens and you let go of them, go back and hold on tight.” - Attorney Jung Myung-seok
Anna: "Children have to play right now. Later is too late. It's too late after getting into university, after getting a job, after getting married... In a life full of anxiety, it'll be too late to find the only way to happiness." - Bang Gu-ppong
Leah: Oh so many. From the past episodes, I really liked, “don’t be blinded by what you see.” That really stayed with me. And “can’t you be brave like a fool?” Someone’s bravery may not make sense always; but there are moments that call for a lack of logic From the finale, I liked: "From now on, I want to live like a fool” from the tactician we love to hate Kwon Min Woo.
Justin: You know, the moments leading up to the finale, where Attorney Woo was struggling with how she saw herself in her relationship with Jun-ho (played by Kang Tae-oh), was something I could really relate to in my own personal life. In any relationship, long term or otherwise, you think of how one takes care of the other, and vice versa… if it’s love, if it’s “fair,” if the other is happy or not by having you in their lives. So, in the car, when Jun-ho said the following quote, I was hit in the feels. “When I eat lunch with you, and I listen to you talk about whales. When we carry out each agenda from your strange list of dates. When I hold hands with you for less than 57 seconds. When our teeth knock together as we kiss. When I see the sparkle in your eyes when you come up with a good idea. When I calm you down by hugging you tight when you’re feeling anxious. Those things make me happy. So let’s not break up.”
Love, like what Jun-ho has shown in this drama, is a choice to be brave. You let your feelings be known and you stick to that decision because it isn’t about “taking care” of the other person, but rather, love. And that’s what life is really supposed to be about, right?
5. What has set this show apart for you compared to other K-dramas? What has it been like to watch?
Grace: What sets it apart is, of course, the protagonist who is an attorney with autism spectrum disorder, and that is something you don't often come across with in K-dramas. The cases explored in the series were indeed "extraordinary," and I appreciated how the team behind it was able to flesh out fresh storylines from cases that were seemingly shallow on the surface. It was so easy to watch, and at the same time, it sparked that feeling of empathy. I like the balance of lighthearted and heart-wrenching moments. I definitely loved the hints of romance, too.
Kate: The only other mental health-related show I’ve watched is It’s Okay To Not Be Okay, but this is quite different from that. By watching this, I have learned that I still do not know a lot of things. I have learned to be open minded when it comes to dealing with many different kinds of people. We are not all the same, we have different challenges and problems, and at the end of the day, respect and having an open mind is important.
Anna: It’s been very convenient to watch because it felt like an anthology. Each episode centered on a different case or story, and it felt like a new show each time. While I was invested in it, I wasn’t too stressed watching it because of this neat structure.
Justin: It’s been healing and light for me to watch. I feel like it’s such a breath of fresh air, how the writer was able to give a platform to people who struggle with mental and physical disorders and show audiences, somehow, what it's like to deal with the rest of the “normal” world. You’re never alone, and it’s always good to remember that.
Leah: The deep compassion at the heart of it all, that wellspring of empathy for all the characters, the unfiltered humor.
6. Why watch this series, if they haven’t yet:
Grace: Watch it because it is indeed extraordinary. It's a legal drama but it's definitely much more than that. It's surprising in several ways. Park Eun-bin is amazing here, and I loved her chemistry with Kang Tae-oh.
Kate: It’s unlike any other drama out there. I wouldn’t even categorize it as a romance-themed show, perhaps it’s more of a humanity type of show. It tackles so much in every single episode. Every case they handle opens your eyes to the plight of many people in South Korea, that is most likely happening all over the world too. It encourages you to be selfless and to open your mind up to different kinds of people you may encounter, and to see them through the lens of respect. Sometimes, they might even amaze you.
Justin: It’s so light, cute, and heartwarming! I’d rate it a solid 8/10, strong start to finish, and gave me such a fresh perspective on life while I was watching it each week. Learned a lot through spending time with Woo Young-woo, and I wouldn’t trade that time for anything!
Anna: I loved it for its optimism. It showed that though life may be challenging, there are indeed wins while living it. Big or small wins and even losses make it worth living.
Leah: This series will make you more empathetic; while the cases will also test your ethics and moral standards; and your learning will span science and all the emotions on Young Woo’s emotions chart
What about you? What were your thoughts after finishing this journey of self-discovery with Attorney Woo Young-woo?
All photos courtesy of ENA and Netflix. GIFs sourced from Tenor and Tumblr.