Balancing humor with insight into Young-woo’s life, “This Is Pengsoo” is another solid outing.
This recap of Extraordinary Attorney Woo season 1, episode 3, “This Is Pengsoo”, contains spoilers.
It’s called a spectrum for a reason, and “This Is Pengsoo” is at least in part dedicated to highlighting that fact within the context of this likable new drama. Opening with an autistic individual, Jeong-hun, presumably beating his brother, Sang-hun, to death, Young-woo is given the case primarily on the basis of her own autism so we can see the major discrepancies in these two personalities.
Extraordinary Attorney Woo season 1, episode 3 recap
This is a useful theme since so many people still know so little about autism. Jeong-hun has the mental age of a child, an especially severe case, but we can see the commonalities between him and Young-woo – he loves penguins while she likes whales, for instance, and both have lived a life of stunted communication, with their loved ones finding bonding with them and understanding them difficult.
It’s from Jeong-hun’s love of penguins that the episode gets its title, its humorous streak, and a potential means of bonding for Young-woo to exploit, but he’s so fragile that it proves fruitless.
Sang-hun, it turns out, was also struggling, having tried to commit suicide multiple times. Was witnessing one of these attempts what sent Jeong-hun into a frenzy?
What I find effective about Extraordinary Attorney Woo’s depiction of autism is how it contrasts an almost childlike mentality – Jeong-hun’s love of penguins and the Pengsoo song, for instance – with brutality and trauma; you can’t consider one without the other, which is pleasingly difficult to reconcile. What you see, primarily, is vulnerability, which is why it stings all the more – and visibly annoys Meong-seok – when Young-woo’s autism is used against her in court.
And despite Young-woo figuring out the real chain of events, including the fact that Jeong-hun actually tried to save his brother, not beat him, the idea that her autism would jeopardize the chances of a favorable outcome in the case causes her to be side-lined. And it subsequently causes her to hand in her resignation and remove her nametag from her office door.
We know, of course, that Young-woo isn’t done yet, but it’s important to showcase how her autism is used against her, rather than just allowing it to become a kind of superpower within the legal context. It’s hard to witness, but presumably, it’ll result in some major catharsis down the line.