I Hear Your Voice: First Impressions

I love it when an anticipated drama delivers. It’s fair to say that I really enjoyed the first two episodes. There’s nothing groundbreaking about it but it reminds me of why I love Korean dramas – they are full of heart.

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The show starts off by introducing our main character, Park Soo Ha. He walks into his high school class and can immediately tell that some of his classmates have chosen a girl they call “Double Nose” to be the victim of their prank. They’ve poured oil on the floor and glue on a mop. How can he tell? He reads minds. He immediately thwarts them by literally taking the fall for her. Then he beats up one of the bullies. How sweet is this guy? If I could read minds, God knows I’ll use it to become a poker champion.

After the fight, he walks outside and looks at the pendant on his phone and it takes him back to a day he was was merrily riding in a car with his father and got rammed by a truck. The driver got out and peered in, at which his father pleaded for help.

This doesn’t bring joy to the driver because he’d intended to kill them. Now he’s pissed that he has to do additional work. Soo Ha knows this because he’s suddenly begun to hear thoughts.

They are both hurt and he tries to beg his father to run away. But it’s impossible and the man returns with a metal pipe and bludgeons the man to death. How awful it must have been to witness that.

We are back in school and Soo Ha sits next to one of the pranksters – an orange-haired girl called Sung Bin. She obviously likes him and he knows she does because, well, he can read her thoughts. Sucks to be her. But I just love how he answers all the questions she thinks. They have cute chemistry and I already ship them. He says he’s got someone he likes but it’s not who she thinks it is (Double Nose) or who she hopes it is (herself). It’s a pretty woman called Jang Hye Sung.

What kind of woman is Hye Sung? She’s the kind of woman that when she’s walking past a bunch of playing kids and their ball rolls her way, instead of throwing it back to them, she throws it further away.

She’s the kind of lawyer who couldn’t care less about her cases and just makes her clients plead guilty. She can barely tell them apart and just reads a script that the judges have already memorized. She’s also the type of stingy woman who takes more than her fair share of  free, promotional items. I can’t blame her – we are barely out of the recession.

The next person we meet is Cha Kwan Woo. He meets Hye Sung at the examination for a public defender position. He’s an extremely talkative, geeky guy who can’t read people. They both wait in the room till someone informs them that they are in the wrong room and make a mad dash to the right place. Hye Sung doesn’t bother studying for the test because she figures it will be a cakewalk but when she sees the large number of candidates, she gets scared. She tries to listen in on other interviews to get a feel for it before her turn. But learns that other candidates make all the canned responses she’d planned on using. So when it’s her turn, she has no choice but to tell them the truth – she wants to become a public defender because she needs the money. She doesn’t have the grades to get a good job, got expelled and basically, with this job, she will make at least 3 times more than what she currently does. Is she really sure she couldn’t make something up on the spot? Isn’t this considered giving up?

They dismiss her because, hello, you’re supposed to pretend it’s your dream job, even if it’s a janitorial position. But just before she leaves, the head interviewer gets curious: why was she expelled?

Interesting. If she tells them, does it mean she gets the job? The guy says it could… if it makes a great impact but such a nosy person would say anything to get what they want. So she sits down and tells them a great story.

We go back in time to Hye Sung’s high school days. Her mom works in the home of one of her classmates, Do Yeon… a classmate she loathes. In fact, it doesn’t seem like she likes anyone.  After cheating during the examinations, Do Yeon places first in her class so her parents throw a party. Hye Sung and her mom are working when a classmate asks her to join them. They are setting off fireworks and one of the girls mistakenly sets it off in the direction of Do Yeon’s eye. The results aren’t good.

Scared, she does what some rich people do – she blames the maid. Hye Sung denies it vehemently and both her mother and Do Yeon’s father believe her. However, to save face, the father (who’s also a judge) tries to force her to admit to a crime she didn’t commit. Is this what he considers justice? She refuses and not only does he use his influence to get her expelled from school, he fires her mom. The father tries to alleviate his guilty by giving them severance pay but Hye Sung’s mother spends it on his book and has a bonfire.

The child actress is great and the chemistry with her mother was amazing so I regret that we won’t be seeing much of her. Some days later, while fighting, Do Yeon and Hye Sung hear a car crash. They rush to the scene and it’s Soo Ha’s dad’s murder.

Hye Sung takes a photo, the murderer is alerted of their presence as he’s about to kill the child too and chases after the girls. Luckily, the loud sound of police sirens saves them and he leaves telling them that if they rat him out, he will kill them. I’ve previously seen Jung Woong In in romantic comedies and never knew he could play such a cold-blooded murderer. He’s amazing.

While he gained the ability to read minds, Soo Ha lost the ability to speak. Since he’s mute and the police can’t get anything from him, they plan to rule the incident an accident so the child quickly writes down what happened.

Now they have an assailant who claims it was a car accident and a mute kid. But no other evidence. They don’t perform an autopsy because some smart person thought it made sense to cremate the body without a thorough investigation.  Regardless, Do Yeon and Hye Sung are witnesses who are scared out of their wits. However, as they are rivals, they dare each other to go to the authorities but when push comes to shove, Hye Sung is the only one who can. She barges into the courtroom.

The trial isn’t going well. Out of frustration, Soo Ha had revealed his ability to read minds and lost all credibility so Hye Sung’s sudden appearance is very welcome. However, the defense plays hardball since she didn’t appear earlier during the investigations. Hye Sung considers giving up till she sees the murderer smirking and produces evidence in the form of the photo she’d taken. This enrages the murderer who starts to choke her in court and leaves promising to kill her when he’s freed.

A few hours later, she sits outside the courthouse in tears. Soo Ha approaches her and thanks her for her help. She tells him to stuff it because she already regrets taking the decision. She still regrets it 10 years later. Why? Because the man has threatened to kill her when he gets a chance. How can she live knowing that? He crouches down and holds her and for the first time in weeks, he manages to speak. What does he say? He will protect her.

Without forgetting his promise, 10 years later, he’s a skilled fighter.

We are back to the present and as Hye Sung walks back from her interview, Soo Ha spots her and chases after her. But he doesn’t catch her. Then we learn that for 10 years, he’s been chasing after her. Always running when he caught a glimpse of her. Running after women he thought were her.

Episode 2 begins with a court case. Orange Hair is alone in class working on her nails. She hears someone fall and runs to the window to see who it is. It’s Double Nose and when people look up and see her, they assume she pushed her.

Hye Sung gets the job despite mixed opinions – her story shows courage but her track record as a lawyer is awful. Personally, I wouldn’t hire her. Surely, there were way better candidates.

Orange Hair gets called to the prosecutor’s office and she acts like a tough chick till Hye Sung’s nemesis, Do Yeon, pretends to be her friend and makes her confess to terrorizing Double Nose at school. Then shit gets very real. She’s officially accused of the crime.

News gets published in the paper and in school, Soo Ha’s classmate shows him a news clipping. He looks at it and is suddenly filled with  joy. Hey, I ship these two – he can’t be happy to see her go to jail! Luckily, that’s not why he’s elated.  Next to the article is Hye Sung’s picture which announces her new appointment as a public defender. Now he knows where to find her.

Unfortunately, the murderer also sees the announcement and will be out in a week. Or will he? Hye Sung spends her nights dreaming of him.

The rest of the episode is about Sung Bin’s case and Kwan Woo and Hye Sung working at the same office. He’s loud and talkative and she doesn’t want to talk to anyone. He makes nice with his work colleagues while she doesn’t so she doesn’t receive any affection from them.

She doesn’t believe any of her clients are innocent while he thinks all his clients are innocent. This leads to him embarrassing himself in the courtroom.

Hers leads to something more sinister. Sung Bin is her client and despite her protests, Hye Sung doesn’t believe her and just tells her to plead guilty. It’s what she’s always done and this case is no different for her.

After pressuring her to confess, she gives up and cries that she did it. Hye Sung leaves her feeling uneasy.

At the end of her first day at work, Soo Ha is waiting outside. He’s probably excited, imagining that the romance novel he’s written in his head over the years will finally be realized. He still thinks of her as that courageous person that stood up in court.

As her protector, he follows her home, prevents her from falling on the bus and even fixes her broken streetlight. But considering she’s extra careful about her safety because of the death threat, why doesn’t she notice Soo Ha following her?

Later that night, the thought of going to jail pushes Sung Bin  to consider suicide. Luckily for her, Soo Ha happens to be at the station as she prepares to jump in front of a train. He hears her thoughts and rushes to her rescue. She doesn’t see the point in living since nobody believes her (where are her parents?) but he insists that he does. Surely, this should make her fall in love even harder. But now isn’t the time for romance – the poor girl is fighting for her life.

He learns that his dream girl is her lawyer and finds it hard to believe she’s as scary as Orange describes her. He accompanies her to court the next day, she’s had a makeover and I can no longer call her Orange Hair. Drats. She should have kept the length.

In court, Hye Sung runs into her nemesis, Do Yeon, and discovers she’s the prosecutor. After seeing her, all she cares about is saving face. She tells Sung Bin to just admit to everything because if they go to trial and fail, it would be bad for her. Soo Ha can’t believe what he’s hearing and literally carries her over his shoulder to talk to her.

He tells her about Sung Bin’s innocence and suicide attempt. The feeling of guilt is fleeting and she quickly goes back to selfish lawyer mode. Without evidence, she has no choice but to plead guilty. And given how useful it was in court the first time around, you would think that Soo Ha would know better than to use his mind-reading skills as proof but he doesn’t. He tells her he knows she’s innocent because he read her mind. No one lies in their thoughts. I guess, unless one has a psychological problem.

Hye Sung rightfully thinks he’s full of shit but he proves it by saying everything she thinks of saying.

But as he knows from childhood, his ability can’t be used as evidence. But he doesn’t think it’s right. Doesn’t the truth count? Doesn’t it win in court? Hye Sung schools him. The truth doesn’t win in court; what wins in court is the truth. What a great line.

She walks away.

Soo Ha pulls out his journal filled with thoughts of her and throws it in the trash, thinking of the words he’d said to her 10 years earlier.

Then he retrieves it, still determined to keep to his word. She might not be the person he’d built up in his mind, but he will still protect her. What a guy!

Hye Sung returns to the courthouse and has another confrontation with Do Yeon who feels very confident that she’s won the  case. Soo Ha shows up and reads her mind. After she leaves, he asks Hye Sung about the fireworks incident. Apparently, Sung Bin’s behavior is reminiscent of hers 10 years ago.

Now it’s getting harder and harder to make her client plead guilty. She goes to court, looks over at Soo Ha and telepathically asks him one more time to reassure her that Sung Bin is innocent. Can she trust him on that? He nods.

She gets up and states that Sung Bin will plead not guilty to the charge of attempted murder.

***

As there are only so many hours in the day, I won’t be able to create long recaps. I’ll do short summaries and highlight the significant or favorite parts. As much as I like noona-dongsaeng relationships, I have a limit. When the difference is in the teens or one is a high school student, no thanks. But here, I root for Soo Ha. He’s the main character and I want him to get whatever he wants. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I want him to be with Hye Sung but I want whatever’s best for him. If it’s Hye Sung, I’ll be happy. But I’m not sure the drama will go there, though. It’s great that his fantasy image of her has been shattered so he can discover the real her.

Does it mean I no longer ship him with Sung Bin? Heck no. I fell in love with this show at their first scene.

The people at the public defender’s office are quite funny and I laughed when the lawyer shoved her off the elevator. Yoon Sang Hyun’s character didn’t really do much this week but it looks like he’ll get involved next week.

I like the mom (her chemistry with the young daughter was the best) and I’m sure Do Yeon’s dad will be making an appearance soon. I also hope the girl who accused Hye Sung shows up as one of her clients after being falsely accused herself.

All in all, a fun, sweet, cute show that I hope maintains its awesomeness throughout.

It looks like Sung Bin’s case will mirror the fireworks incident even more next week and I can’t wait. Till then!

6 Comments

  • I really really like this show. I don’t mind shipping these two, despite the age difference. I’m sure if they end up together, they’ll part at the end and then after a long separation, they will return to each other and be in love. But if they end up with age-appropriate partners, I’d be cool with that as well. Sung Bin is very sweet and i liked how she realized she was terrorizing Double Nose. So in some ways, I hope she understands her guilty part in the attempted suicide. . .even if she thought she was just having fun. I really like Cha Kwan Woo, though. What a sweet geek! Generally, the guy is the cold distant cynic…and the girl is the eager-to-please innocent. I like that the writers flipped that here. If our heroine ends up with Kwan Woo as a true love I’d be happy as well. But I think some other guy might pop up to challenge our youthful mindreader. Kwan Woo would be a good friend to our heroine though. Thanks for the first impressions.

  • samara says:

    In flower boy ramyun shop the main lead was a high student too so it wont be a first time if they become a couple in this drama

  • sandy says:

    actually I think hye sung is the main character and not the boy

  • anvesha says:

    Technically in the drama, their age difference is 7-8 years? I don’t mind this.. but their real life images make it difficult for me.. unlike other dramas where say Gong Yoo plays the student, I always see LJS as the high school student (lol), that’s why I’m not sure I ship the two. I want to but I don’t at the same time. I guess, I will be fine with either way.. as long as LJS is not heartbroken at the end.

  • Julia says:

    Hye Sung is not nice. I take a deep breath and remind myself not to be judgmental and remember that for our characters to have growth in the drama, they have to start off with some flaws. But my first reaction to her was not positive. Too sweet can be ineffectual doormat, boring and predictable. But too sour and grisly isn’t exactly appealing to add to the meal either. I pray it all balances out with the other characters.

    That’s why I was so glad to have So Ha who promised to protect Hye Sung while he’s barely taller than a blade of grass. Add the naïve, earnest, optimistic Kwan Woo who wants to help people. These are two such wonderful characters, that they make up for my lack of love towards Hye Sung.

    Hye Sung won’t be another Mi Do. She is smart, does the right thing when push comes to shove, and has a great Mom who must have taught her daughter well. Hey, if I can come to respect House as a character in spite of his rather questionable people skills, then I am sure Hye Sung has room to maneuver her way into my heart.

    Is Orange Hair a real character? I thought she was just around as set dressing and to wrap up one suicide/murder plot. I didn’t expect to see her in the future any more than I expected to see the girl who landed splat on the ground. I suppose giving So Ha a young friend to talk to would be useful for exposition.

    Looking forward to more to come.

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