A Beautiful World: Episode 13
Hate is a strong emotion that can fuel people to make choices they might regret, but because of its intensity, it can also be an attractive feeling that some people seek. However, just as hate can move people, so can fear and self-preservation. As some characters find themselves pushed further into a corner, they start to lash out, but our heroes steadily face the troubles thrown their way.
EPISODE 13 RECAP: People at the Edge of a Cliff
Over the phone, the guard promises to tell Moo-jin everything about that night, but a truck suddenly slams into him and drives away. Moo-jin repeatedly calls him to no avail and worries that something terrible might have happened. At the funeral home, Detective Park and his partner wait for the guard’s son to appear when a call from Moo-jin sends the detective in a panic, and he orders his partner to check for the guard inside.
The next morning, In-ha sits in Sun-ho’s hospital room, bothered by Eun-joo’s previous declaration that she would protect her son. Meanwhile, the detectives return to their office empty-handed, and Moo-jin arrives soon after to share his misgivings concerning the guard’s hit-and-run accident. Detective Park agrees with Moo-jin’s suspicions since the vehicle in question was a stolen truck that they found abandoned and wiped clean of any prints.
Though the detectives didn’t find anything in the guard’s apartment, Detective Park vows to find evidence and pleads with Moo-jin to not act emotionally. Moo-jin yells at the detective for repeating the same words over again, and for the first time, Detective Park apologizes to Moo-jin for his lax initial investigation which allowed this mess to grow.
Jin-pyo informs Eun-joo about Joon-suk’s departure to the UK next week, and Eun-joo protests about the suddenness of it all. However, she quiets downs after hearing about the guard’s death. Back at the station, the detectives watch the CCTV footage of the accident and spot an unknown car drive by the accident site. Having heard the news, Reporter Choi barges in cursing Jin-pyo, but Detective Park silences him since there are a lot of eyes and ears around them.
Unaware of Joon-suk listening to their conversation, Eun-joo asks Jin-pyo if the culprit was caught and wonders if Jin-pyo was involved in the “accident.” Jin-pyo tells her to stop imagining things and explains how he has a police informant. He warns her about the upcoming investigation into the guard’s death, but since the guard’s phone is missing, the detectives can only access the call history and sent messages.
Eun-joo asks how he knew the phone disappeared, and after a brief pause, he reminds her of his mole. She asks again if he really isn’t involved, and he tells her to believe him. After confirming with Eun-joo that she didn’t message the guard, Jin-pyo orders her to follow his instructions, but she looks terrified as the camera shakes, reflecting her precarious mental state.
In-ha comes home to find Soo-ho finishing her breakfast, and she asks for a hug before telling her the bad news. At school, Soo-ho places flowers on the guard’s desk and tells Dong-hee that the guard tried to hide something about Sun-ho’s accident.
Flashing back to earlier, In-ha told Soo-ho that the guard found the courage to confess before his death, and because of that, she decided not to hate him even if she couldn’t forgive him. In-ha wanted Soo-ho to do the same, but Soo-ho refused. In the present, Soo-ho prays for the guard, following In-ha’s wishes after all.
On their way to school, Young-chul slings his arm around Joon-suk, asking what happened last night, but Joon-suk brushes him away and warns him not to cross the line. The guard’s death is the latest news buzzing around the school, and Sung-jae worriedly tells Joon-suk about the rumors calling the connected accidents “Death Note.”
In the faculty office, the vice principal informs the teachers about the guard’s death and orders them to keep the students focused on their studies. Teacher Lee asks about the culprit behind the hit-and-run, but the vice principal scolds him for acting like a detective rather than an educator.
Joon-ha is incredulous at the idea of In-ha and Moo-jin attending the guard’s funeral after what he did to them, so In-ha tells her that it’s for Sun-ho’s sake. She hopes that emptying her heart of hate might give them a miracle because as time goes by, she worries that Sun-ho will never wake up. Unconvinced, Joon-ha tells her not to go, and storms out of the bakery.
Moo-jin visits the funeral home where the chief mourner is the guard’s cousin since his sister lives overseas and his son can’t be reached. After paying his respects, Moo-jin leaves the hall with a heavy heart, but then his face darkens at the sight of a memorial flower arrangement sent by Jin-pyo.
Moo-jin barges into Jin-pyo’s office, and grabbing his lapels, he bellows at Jin-pyo for killing the guard. The vice principal and Teacher Shin arrive outside the office and overhear their argument as Jin-pyo tells Moo-jin to visit a doctor since he seems crazy. Moo-jin punches him in response, and the vice principal throws Teacher Shin in between them to stop the fight.
Due to the tussle, Jin-pyo pushes their plans to visit the funeral to tomorrow, and Teacher Shin returns to the faculty office where he shares with Teacher Lee what happened. Confused by Moo-jin’s accusation, Teacher Shin muses out loud about the guard being the first witness and the possibility of finding Joon-suk at the scene of the accident. Realizing what he just implied, Teacher Shin waves aside his hunch and tries to convince himself that it can’t be true.
Moo-jin drops by the convenience store where Dong-soo works, and Dong-soo cheerily greets him until he sees the wound on his neck. Although he doesn’t condone violence, Moo-jin says that he better understands why Dong-soo fought before, and admits to fighting someone who wasn’t human. When Dong-soo wonders if he won, Moo-jin says that he lost the moment he fought, but Dong-soo disagrees: “I know you, teacher. If you fought, then there must have been a good reason. If that reason was just, then the just side always wins.”
In-ha visits the guard’s office, but before she can search around, Teacher Lee finds her. He’s glad to run into her since he had something to share, and once In-ha hears the news, she hurries to the hospital where Moo-jin is. After checking his injury, In-ha comments on how he should have beaten Jin-pyo more, but Moo-jin sighs, ashamed of his actions as well as his inability to retaliate meaningfully.
In-ha grabs Moo-jin and tells him that hope has no “last.” He’s the reason why she and Soo-ho are enduring, and if he needs to rest, he can lean on her. Moo-jin asks if they can just stand here for a moment, and they hold each other close as they lean in together. Soo-ho watches them from outside and smiles to herself.
Detective Park and his partner investigate the spy who was tailing the guard, and on paper, he’s just an owner of a used car dealership. They bring him in for questioning, but the spy pretends to be friends with the guard and has prepared answers for everything. Though the interrogation is fruitless, the guard’s call log gives them a lead.
Young-chul’s mother brings medicinal herbs for In-ha to the bakery and sighs over the guard’s sudden passing. She regrets not greeting him at the subway station when she saw him a few days after Sun-ho’s accident, and when Joon-ha asks for more details, she remembers the guard taking a bag out of a locker.
The detectives interview Jin-pyo and Eun-joo since their numbers appear on the guard’s call log, and Detective Park wonders why the guard first called Jin-pyo, the highest ranking person of the school. Logically, the guard should have called for an ambulance or even the principal, but Jin-pyo explains that he runs the school without hierarchies and gives his number to all the staff.
Joon-ha closes the bakery to investigate the subway station and calls In-ha to ask Detective Park for a warrant. Meanwhile, Detective Park continues his interview and asks Eun-joo why she called the guard numerous times. She lies about wanting to learn more about the accident, and thought it was more appropriate to ask the guard rather than In-ha.
Jin-pyo inquires about the reason for this interview, and Detective Park explains that the guard called Sun-ho’s parents before his death. Eun-joo is shocked by this news, and both detectives silently note her response. On their way out, they agree that Jin-pyo must have ordered the hit without Eun-joo knowing, and Detective Park receives a call from Moo-jin.
Once the detectives are gone, Eun-joo screams at Jin-pyo, rejecting his claims that the accident was a coincidence. She cries that there’s nothing left to protect since all of them are ruined, but Jin-pyo says that all they have to do is march forward. In a menacing voice, he warns her to stop whining and act like Joon-suk’s mother.
After school, Joon-suk tries rummaging through the guard’s desk and is found red-handed by Soo-ho. She blocks the exit and gives him one last chance to confess and repent. Joon-suk shoves her aside, and Soo-ho tells him that it’s a relief. She thanks him for being a jerk until the end since she doesn’t have to forgive him, and she bumps into him as she leaves.
Ki-chan sits alone in the classroom and texts the school counselor about his problems at school. He quickly hides his phone when Dong-hee enters to grab her bag, and on her way out, she advises Ki-chan to tell an adult about Joon-suk bullying him. He tells her to mind her own business, calling her “ghost,” but Dong-hee stands up for herself and tells him to call her by her name. She sighs in relief as soon as she steps out of the classroom and smiles with pride for speaking her mind.
Soo-ho drops off a letter for Da-hee, apologizing for her previous behavior, and she hopes that Da-hee and Sun-ho will get better soon so they can all eat lunch together. She asks Da-hee to smile like a blooming flower since if she smiles, Sun-ho will try harder to wake up. After reading the letter, Da-hee slumps on the stairs outside her house.
The detectives show In-ha and Moo-jin the CCTV footage of the guard taking out a bag from a locker, and rewinding back ninety minutes, they watch Eun-joo place the bag inside. According to Detective Park, they have enough evidence to bring Eun-joo in for questioning, but Moo-jin points out that she’ll just deny any involvement. He reassures them that they’re still investigating the guard’s last movements as well as the related culprits, but In-ha doesn’t hear anything as she stares blankly at the screen.
She remains silent through the entire ride home and slips into Sun-ho’s room with a downtrodden expression. Hearing from Moo-jin that the police found evidence, Joon-ha sits next to In-ha and wonders why she looks so upset. In-ha tells her that she was thinking about what she would have done in Eun-joo’s shoes because if she didn’t remind herself that she would have done the same, her fury would have consumed her and made her kill Eun-joo.
In-ha calls herself a hypocrite and admits to feeling frightened by her own rage. While she tries to control herself for Sun-ho’s sake, her heart changes every day. Joon-ha hugs In-ha as she breaks down into tears.
Jin-pyo arrives home to find Eun-joo gone, and he answers her phone which she left behind. Detective Park tells him that Eun-joo will need to stop by the station to be questioned, and if she refuses, they can send her a summons or pick her up personally—though the latter option might draw unwanted media attention. Jin-pyo asks if Detective Park is prepared to lose his job over this, but Detective Park says that he’s following protocol and hangs up.
Eun-joo stands on a bridge—the sounds around her muffled and the sights blurry. She leans over the edge, but suddenly hears Joon-suk calling her. Flashing back to an older memory, Joon-suk happily announced to Eun-joo about being in the same class as Sun-ho again and asked if he can go to his house before cram school. Eun-joo mentioned how Jin-pyo wanted him to take another private lesson, and Joon-suk reluctantly agreed. The memory brings Eun-joo to tears, and she returns to her car.
Saturday morning arrives, and In-ha wakes up Soo-ho who hurriedly gets out of bed. At the hospital, Moo-jin is surprised to find In-ha stop by but then Soo-ho, Dong-hee, and Dong-soo file in with a birthday cake. Having forgotten his birthday, Moo-jin thanks them for remembering and blows out the candles.
Eun-joo gets ready for her police interrogation, and Jin-pyo tells her to answer the questions as they practiced. At the station, Eun-joo explains the bag of money as a loan since the guard had a large debt and asked her for help. Detective Park asks why she gave it so secretly then, but Eun-joo claims that it was all the guard’s idea.
Moo-jin comforts In-ha, reminding her that the police are still finding evidence, and even if it’s slow going, they’ll eventually find an oasis. He suddenly remembers the guard using the same word and runs into Sun-ho’s room. He confirms with In-ha that the cactus was a gift from the guard and takes it out to the veranda. He empties the pot, and out falls a black bag. He opens it and finds Sun-ho’s phone inside.
The show continues to do an amazing job creating interesting characters that are dynamic yet consistent. One particular moment I loved was Dong-hee’s scene with Ki-chan. It took her a lot of effort to stand up to her old bully, and it was adorable to see how proud she was for speaking up. She’s learning to love herself, and at the same time, her love for others hasn’t diminished but grown as well. She saw Ki-chan struggling, and rather than ignore him or relish in his agony, she reaches out first and gives him advice because she understands his situation. She shows compassion to the person who showed her none, and through Dong-hee, the show reveals the possibility of growth and restoration. With school bullying, perpetrators need repentance and guidance, but more importantly, I think that victims need a space for healing. What the show does well is balance both these issues, and we see Dong-hee, a victim of school bullying, find a new purpose and joy in life. The change isn’t immediate nor will the scars from the past ever fully disappear, but Dong-hee now lives in the present and for the future. Victims don’t have to be defined as such for their entire life, and it’s beautiful to see Dong-hee live out that example.
Another character moment that I enjoyed was In-ha’s confession to Joon-ha. She admits to feeling angry towards Eun-joo to the point of wanting to kill her, but in her self-reflection, In-ha concludes that hate isn’t an emotion she wishes to harbor. I found this choice by the creators fascinating because so many stories about finding the truth and avenging loved ones are fueled by anger and hate even if the protagonists realize the error of their ways and choose a more righteous path near the end—resulting in the stereotypical and hasty redemption arcs (usually for undeserving villains) that are often tacked on to the final hour of dramas leaving viewers peeved. This director-writer combo, in particular, have created hate-fueled heroes hellbent on vengeance to their own demise, so the protagonists of this show contrast starkly with some of their earlier works (which are brilliant by the way—I highly recommend Resurrection and The Devil). However, In-ha isn’t self-righteous or an overly saintly person. She knows how difficult it is to forgive others and hates those who wronged her like everyone else. What makes her stand out, though, is that she doesn’t let these initial emotions define her and her actions. She is actually afraid of the intensity of her negative emotions and doesn’t try to justify these feelings, which is a rare trait in dramaland.
Writer Kim Ji-woo continues to amaze me with her ability to connect threads and use subtle details to show change and send a message. One example of this is In-ha and Moo-jin’s relationship which has grown throughout the show. In the beginning, Moo-jin played the role of support, providing his shoulder for In-ha to lean on, and this image was brought up multiple times. Not only did he physically give his shoulder to In-ha to cry on, but even Soo-ho knew this quality about him and mentioned how he didn’t need to shoulder everything by himself. Then in this episode, when Moo-jin faces another low-point, there’s a nice reversal of In-ha offering her shoulder to Moo-jin, revealing that both can play the role of support and are equal in their relationship. However, rather than have Moo-jin lean on her, the writer chooses to make Moo-jin stand side-by-side with In-ha and have them both lean on each other. It’s a brilliant moment to show their love but it also reflects how their relationship has matured through this tragic experience. They lift and support each other equally, and while their relationship has always been filled with love, I think their connection to each other has grown stronger.