I Hear Your Voice, episodes 5 to 8
I’m still enjoying “I Hear Your Voice,” but it’s beginning to feel a little unfulfilling to watch. The first quarter of this drama was satisfying and engaging. Now that it’s taken a much darker turn, I’m left wanting a lot more. There are many gaping holes of logic and it’s evident that the writers are trying to make the drama more than what it is — a romantic drama — by disguising it as a show about the law, and they just don’t have the breadth to do the law justice.
Hye-sung’s mother getting killed is a big one. The writers were ballsier than I anticipated, because I didn’t think they were going to kill a big-weight actress like Kim Hae-sook off. It would be such a big conflict, but they did it, so I do have to give them props for being bold.
But I have one huge gripe with it: it was too early in the story to plot a maneuver like that. If they wanted to drag Min Joon-gook out as a series-long villain — so, not just for funsies, for realsies — they needed to make their conflict a longer, slower burn. There are still 8 more episodes left! Sure, you can say that he’s going to be set free and then he’ll move on to Soo-ha and Hye-sung — our next big conflict — but the tension has dismantled substantially now, because from a story standpoint, there’s no way he’s going to kill either one of them. Killing Soo-ha or Hye-sung wouldn’t gel with the feel-good vibe that the writers have been going for, as evident in the uplifting and earnest lessons that the writers have been trying to hammer through their leads.
If this were any other drama — a la Mawang, Athena, City Hunter, or even Heartless City airing right now — I would be fearful of either one of our protagonists dying. But Min Joon-gook is not really built to be that kind of villain; he’s built as a tipping point.
And yes, killing off Hye-sung’s mother was a shocker that audiences probably didn’t foresee when they first heard about a quirky drama about a kid who could hear people’s voices, but “I Hear Your Voice” is ultimately about justice prevailing in a do-gooder manner. It isn’t about how the world can be unfair and how the worst of human tragedy often goes unsolved and without conclusion. This comes from the writers of Dream High, let’s not shit ourselves.
I would love to eat my words, but I just don’t think we’re going to get anything remotely as devastating as we’ve already gotten with the murder of Hye-sung’s mother. And with eight episodes left, I’m worried the remaining eight will be filled with more useless cases, because for a show about the law, the law parts of this show are its weakest, and frankly, it’s getting really distracting.
How can Lawyer Cha take this case? I’m sure there are minute differences between Korean law and American law, but the basic tenet of conflicts of interest are transferred across countries’ justice systems. He clearly has stakes in this case, and the fact that none of his coworkers or the judges involved know that he’s dating the coworker whose mother just got killed by the defendant is a huge writing annoyance to me. At this point, it’s aggravating that they’re trying to dumb down a real, systematic issue amongst those who practice the law in order to try to create conflict, romantic and otherwise.
Another thing is the newer and huger issue of Hye-sung conspiring with Do-yeon to falsify evidence. I’m not a lawyer, I’m not going to talk as if I’ve seen this first hand, but this is definitely one of those instances of law manipulation that I’m sure goes on behind the doors all the time.
So give the issue some fucking weight!
This is committing a crime, and the writing of these scenes is so unbelievably juvenile. All of a sudden, Hye-sung doesn’t care about the intricacies of the law, and voices concern for the victim only because she herself is the victim now, when mere hours ago, we were watching her ignore the victims she had to defend, in pursuit of a clean, mess-free trial. I’m not saying that people can’t be hypocrites, but there is no character movement in Hye-sung that indicates to us that she now realizes that the law is not concrete, that it’s subject to people’s hate and ugliness, and that she has to fight it with a new understanding of the circumstances she’s in.
She merely flip flops because the writers don’t want to take her through the journey the hard-won way. This continues when Do-yeon’s dad is involved all of a sudden, because they needed a judge to suggest they manipulate evidence. WHAT THE FUCK? So he was an enemy, and now that Hye-sung has gotten on her knees and apologized for an incident from a decade ago, he’s on their side now?? And we’re not given more than a few minutes worth of the characters’ hesitations upon hearing that the solution to winning this trial is to MANUFACTURE EVIDENCE and to get a witness to PERJURE on the stand?
I’m not annoyed with these scenarios because they’re unmoral. I watch and love “Breaking Bad.” I could watch people be unmoral all the livelong day. But if you’re going to have your characters conspire in a way that’s unmoral, give their immoralities some depth. Give us a strong, believable reason that our characters have no choice but to be unmoral. Make the immoralities a painful necessity. Make us feel guilty for agreeing with their immoralities, but to feel good when they succeed anyway, and to feel devastated when they don’t.
What “I Hear Your Voice” is is a cop-out. I can still continue to watch and enjoy “I Hear Your Voice” because I think Lee Jong-seok and Lee Bo-young are enjoyable as a romantic pairing, but the truth is that the writers are only haphazardly using the law in the most superficial way possible in order to advance their romantic storylines, and I ultimately won’t get the fulfilling storytelling that I want.