Extraordinary Attorney Woo, a K-Drama about an autistic lawyer, made multiple references to whales. The main character, Woo Young Woo, is a fanatic of whales.
While the drama brings up many different whales, the huge whale that Woo Young Woo often sees in her imagination is the huge, lonely whale.
During its airing, fans often brought up comparisons between BTS‘s famous song, “Whalien 52” and the drama’s whale motif.
BTS’ song Whalien 52 is a metaphor for their own artistry, their own loneliness, and the feeling that comes with talking but never being heard, questioned but never understood.
It is simultaneously being the loneliest whale in the world that sings too high to be heard and being an alien — Whalien 52.
— Fawzul Himaya Hareed
The “52” in the song title refers to the 52 hertz whale, a whale that has a special cry of 52 hertz. Thanks to the high frequency, other whales cannot hear it and it cannot communicate with other whales. The 52 hertz whale, also known as the Watkins whale, is currently the one and only confirmed whale to give out calls at that frequency.
Its inability to communicate with other whales is representative of both the lonely artistry and success of world-class stars like BTS and the neurodiverse lawyer.
The producers of the show actually hid a subtle reference to the 52 hertz whale in Extraordinary Attorney Woo. Her number is listed on her name card with the last 4 digits 5252.
But according to relatively recent research updates, the lonely whale might not be so lonely after all. Marine biologists have been reporting similar calls from another source since 2010. While biologists have yet to actually see another 52 hertz whale specimen apart from the original, they can confirm that they have been hearing not one, but two whale calls at that frequency.
Another documentary, The Loneliest: The Search For 52, launched in 2021. In the film, scientists hypothesize that the 52 hertz whale is a hybrid of a fin whale and blue whale. They also began picking up more than one 52 hertz calls.
While there may still only be one Watkins whale out there, it is for certain that other whales can also communicate at a similar frequency, even if rare. This goes to show that no matter how lonely you may think you are, there will always be someone out there for you! BTS has each other, and Woo Young Woo has found a confidante in Jun Ho and Soo Young.