Divorce Attorney Shin Season 1 Episode 2 Recap – who is Park Ae-ran?

By Nathan Sartain
Published: March 6, 2023 (Last updated: March 19, 2024)
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A solid second installment continues the opener’s momentum.

We recap the Netflix K-Drama series Divorce Attorney Shin Season 1 Episode 2, which contains spoilers.

Already settling into a comfortable groove, Divorce Attorney Shin episode two picks up right where we left off. It doesn’t necessarily sustain the same drama as the season opener. Still, adding the greatly unhappy Ae-ran is interesting, and the rawness of some of these depictions is a real positive. Add that to the well-timed scenes of humor, which can often break the tension, and this seems to have the makings of a very solid show.

Divorce Attorney Shin Season 1 Episode 2 Recap

The Custody Battle

We begin with the trial for Hyeon-u’s custody, which we see has taken a lot of effort from Seo-jin to push through with. But the DJ is persistent, partly because of Sung-han’s timely reminder that she is fighting this battle to ensure her son doesn’t “live in pain.” Additionally, Seo-jin is now being encouraged to demand an “exact division of property” now that the case is out of mediation.

In court, Sung-han debates Hee-sub’s point on Hyeon-u having no interest in living with his mother. This is because the attorney has gotten the youngster to confide in him about this and has heard an explanation of his fear of Seo-jin dying (Hyeon-u would watch her stand on her apartment balcony, knowing she was in pain). As an aside, the boy is also aware Sung-han knows why he threw his father’s phone away – it was due to him seeing something “painful” on there, which is hinted at being his mother’s sex tape – and quietly seems to appreciate the comfort he’s afforded from perhaps the singular dependable adult in his life.

READ: Divorce Attorney Shin Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

Presenting Hyeon-u’s journal, Sung-han shows the court notes, which prove the youngster’s unhappiness with living with his father and being away from his mother. Following this, Attorney Shin accepts his opposition’s viewpoint that he is reading from the diary of an “unstable child” before turning his attention to questioning Hee-sub. It’s a brilliant tactical move, as Sung-han seamlessly receives an admission that Hyeon-u was shown his mother’s sex tape, which in turn causes the façade of the young boy’s manipulative father to disintegrate. Though this revelation comes with other consequences, too, given it infuriates Seo-jin to the point she strikes her ex-husband across the face twice, then collapses.

Once awake, Seo-jin asks to be taken to her son, who she now has been granted sole custody of. Here, the DJ cooks a meal for Hyeon-u, shares the news that he’ll be staying with her (as well as that his father is temporarily staying in a hotel), and emotionally receives the forgiveness of her child.

After a night of alcohol-aided reflection on the case he’s just won, and his past late-night studies, Sung-han is joined by Hyeong-geun and Jeong-sik. Together, the trio are in high spirits, passing the time with banter, booze, and highly passionate singing. There are a couple of nuggets mentioned in this scene, too; Sung-han had studied music in Germany, and Hyeong-geun needs to finalize a divorce of his own.

Park Ae-ran’s unhappy life

At work, a timid-sounding cleaner, Park Ae-ran, asks Sung-han about the price of a divorce and is subsequently told how it varies on a case-by-case basis. This woman is an incredibly hard worker who does all the “cleaning and maintenance” tasks for the buildings owned by her landlady mother-in-law and part-time jobs. Yet in time, we’re properly shown just how draining Ae-ran’s life is. She’s disrespected by her older relative, made to prioritize everyone above herself, and is often unjustifiably insulted on topics like her weight.

This has gotten on top of Ae-ran, who is at the very least desperate to have her husband, Seo Byeong-cheol, ensure his mother lays off their children. “I work my butt off and put up with her insults every day because I deserve it,” the tired cleaner explains, believing she is the only one who should be subjected to such abuse.

In the early hours, Ae-ran is woken up by the sound of her elderly in-law preparing food. It’s not the only thing the pensioner is working on; however, as she tells her daughter-in-law, she wants to rent out the upstairs unit, then move into a room in their house to help with the struggling family’s mortgage payments. This feeds into the unhappiness the worn-down breadwinner feels, and Ae-ran now seems to be considering her options.

Seo-jin thanks Sung-han, abstract details reveal themselves

After meeting a former piano student, which causes Sung-han to reminisce about his past mildly, Attorney Shin returns to work, where Seo-jin greets him. She’s there to thank the man responsible for her getting custody of her son (he doesn’t disagree with this sentiment, either) with a bottle of wine, though the conversation does take a sober turn. When quizzed, Seo-jin says she married Hee-sub due to his apparent love for her but admits it was also partly down to the indebted feeling she held from her now ex-husband’s bailout for her gambling addict brother. Furthermore, the DJ only stayed with Hyeon-u’s father for so long because her troubled sibling had died in a car accident, which caused a sense of fear.

Interestingly, this chat draws Sung-han into an abstract recollection of “deep sorrow,” which on-screen looks like it has something to do with the death of someone close to him. Soon, however, the attorney snaps out of it, allowing him to hear Hyeon-u is doing well living with his mother and joke about his high level of competence.

As Sung-han talks about wanting to “kill” someone he will seemingly confront once finished with his grape-coloring challenge, Yoo-seok is asked to “coax” Attorney Shin. The person making this request is ominous with her words and seems to hint at two children, Ha-yul and Gi-yeong, being involved in whatever is occurring with the former musician.

Divorce Attorney Shin Season 1 Episode 2 Ending Explained

When Mi-so is struck by her grandmother for being against the elder – who bitterly brings up how she should have made her in-laws homeless – moving into their home, Ae-ran takes a stand. She returns the physical punishment to the older woman, taking out years of resentment as she slaps her back before being pulled away.

To finish the proceedings, we watch Attorney Shin play the piano he spotted on a walk. It’s slow at first, as if he’s nervous, but soon Sung-han is swept up in the music, transporting himself back to his former life. When he returns to the present, and we see his expression, the episode ends.

What did you think of the K-Drama Divorce Attorney Shin Season 1 Episode 2? Comment below.

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