“Yangtze River Dolphin” tackles gender equality and more besides in another fine episode.
This recap of Extraordinary Attorney Woo season 1, episode 12, “Yangtze River Dolphin”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on yesterday’s episode by clicking these words.
You’ve probably heard the words “gender equality” and “patriarchy” more in the last couple of years than in the rest of your life combined, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that a show concerned with relevant social issues would land on the subject eventually.
Extraordinary Attorney Woo season 1, episode 12 recap
Of course, Extraordinary Attorney Woo always makes a point of tackling its subjects in a novel, interesting, and even-handed way, and “Yangtze River Dolphin” is no exception in that regard. It’s kick-started by two women filing a lawsuit after their employer tries to strongarm them into quitting through a policy cleared biased against female employees, but it covers a lot of ground beyond that, including furthering some core relationships (especially between Young-woo and Jun-ho).
As ever the details of the case really fade into the background so that the messages and themes they raise can come to the forefront. There’s something to be said about the prevalence of gender inequality and the stubbornness of prejudicial policies and those who enforce them; likewise, the difficulty of navigating a society built on these things, and of openly challenging those who benefit from their perpetuation.
There’s a tendency within legal dramas to have the success of our “heroes” dovetail with the right moral outcome. Extraordinary Attorney Woo avoids this pitfall and is better for doing so.
But the show continues to be arguably a better love story than a legal drama anyway. There’s more confusion between Young-woo and Jun-ho here as Gwang-ho’s insistence on meeting Jun-ho prompts Young-woo to consider the status of their relationship. Without an official label, are they really dating? And if they aren’t really dating, can she really introduce him to her father? It’s a confusing situation for Jun-ho. Whether or not he has the patience to deal with all this will determine how strong their romantic connection really is.
There’s also a subplot about Myung-seok potentially being in danger because of a previous case, and a late, dark turn regarding his health. The former point is an interesting one to raise and highlights how those who fight for justice do so at risk and cost to themselves. It’s a worthwhile theme, with the whole coughing up blood thing a worrying note to end on. What will next week’s episodes have in store for us? Time will tell.