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A Beautiful World: Episode 16 (Final)

In the end, everyone gets what they deserved whether that be a chance to repent and start anew or wallow in the destruction caused by their own hubris. While a tragedy befell one family, they didn’t let it destroy them, and instead, they persisted and even thrived. It’s time to drop the final curtain on this beautiful show and say one last goodbye.

 
EPISODE 16 RECAP: A Beautiful World

Sun-ho and Joon-suk give different accounts of the fall with Sun-ho calling it an accident and Joon-suk claiming it as intentional. Flashing back to that night, Sun-ho hit Joon-suk with his backpack, and when Joon-suk fought back, he pushed Sun-ho a little too far. Both stared at each other in shock as Sun-ho tumbled over the edge.

Though Joon-suk reached out to save him, he could only grab Sun-ho’s backpack which tore apart. Hearing a thud, Joon-suk numbly peered over the edge, and the sight of Sun-ho lying on the ground in a pool of blood sent him staggering backwards. Joon-suk shook his head, denying the reality of the situation as tears streamed down his face.

Detective Park remains skeptical of Joon-suk’s sudden confession and asks him for a more detailed testimony concerning Da-hee’s case. To his surprise, Joon-suk knows the exact date the assault happened, but before he can question him further, Moo-jin calls him with an update about Sun-ho.

When Detective Park passes along Joon-suk’s account of the night, Moo-jin refutes it, and he is certain that Sun-ho isn’t lying to cover for his friend. Armed with this new knowledge, Detective Park asks Joon-suk again if he pushed Sun-ho on purpose, and Joon-suk maintains his ruse, even taking the blame for fabricating the scene to look like a suicide.

Eun-joo and Jin-pyo arrive to pick up Joon-suk, and Detective Park tells them to come again tomorrow for a new statement. Jin-pyo pushes back against the detective’s request, arguing that Joon-suk made a false confession under stress. However, Joon-suk interjects and insists on taking responsibility for both Sun-ho’s and Da-hee’s incidents.

Jin-pyo angrily asks why he’s lying, but Joon-suk turns on him and asks how Jin-pyo is so certain about it. Their yelling match gets louder as Jin-pyo shouts at his son to just be honest, but refusing to back down, Joon-suk points out that Jin-pyo doesn’t tell the truth, either. Having enough of this defiance, Jin-pyo slaps Joon-suk, and looking stricken, Joon-suk storms out of the police station.

Eun-joo chases after Joon-suk immediately, but when Jin-pyo doesn’t follow suit, she wonders where he’s going instead. Jin-pyo tells her that he has a meeting, and the look she gives him clearly shows that she expected nothing less from him. While Eun-joo and the partner go looking for Joon-suk, Detective Park calls Da-hee’s father.

As Soo-ho and Dong-hee leave the hospital together, Dong-hee worries about Joon-suk, and the two agree to check the school’s rooftop just in case. On their way out, they notice a familiar figure in the lobby and happily greet Da-hee. They invite her upstairs to see Sun-ho, but Da-hee only apologizes before dashing off.

After learning about Da-hee’s visit, In-ha calls her and paces in the hall as the phone keeps ringing. When Da-hee finally picks up, In-ha pleads with her to just listen and not hang up. She simply wants to say something to her, and tells Da-hee, “It’s not your fault. You did nothing wrong, Da-hee. We don’t blame or resent you. It’s okay. Everything is okay.”

Hearing her words make Da-hee’s knees go weak, and she slumps to the ground sobbing. In-ha tells her not to worry since Sun-ho is doing better, and Da-hee repeatedly apologizes through her tears. In-ha offers to go to her, and she finds Da-hee sitting alone on a bench. Taking a seat next to Da-hee, In-ha gingerly brushes her hair out of her face and hugs her.

The search for Joon-suk continues as Teacher Lee and Joon-ha join in as well, but no one can find him. Overhearing the news about Joon-suk’s disappearance, Sun-ho has an idea about where he might be. As Joon-suk climbs the stairs up to a rooftop, Sun-ho tells Moo-jin that Joon-suk liked going up there to stare at the stars.

Joon-suk stands on the ledge of the roof, and though he looks out towards the city, his mind is elsewhere. Playing back his confrontation with Da-hee, Joon-suk asked why she lied to Sun-ho, and she told him that it was all his fault. Da-hee blamed Joon-suk for her predicament since she would have never met Jin-pyo if he showed up on time. Confused by what she meant, Joon-suk pressed her for details, but was unprepared for the truth.

Crying, Da-hee told Joon-suk that Jin-pyo told her to come and wait inside. She wanted to tell the truth afterwards, but Jin-pyo warned her that no one would believe her and threatened to kill her if she talked. Afraid of Jin-pyo, Da-hee begged Joon-suk to keep everything a secret.

Her pleas echo in his head, and Joon-suk closes his eyes as if to jump. He lurches forward when he hears his name being called, and Moo-jin spots Joon-suk standing precariously on the edge. He calls after Joon-suk again and gently tells him to come down. Cautiously making his way towards him, Moo-jin tells Joon-suk that they know the fall was an accident since Sun-ho told them.

Joon-suk finally turns around to face Moo-jin, and declares that everything is over. Moo-jin disagrees and reminds Joon-suk of what he told him before: Everyone makes mistakes, so what matters is how people act after that. Moo-jin asks Joon-suk to show him how he’ll live going forward from this mistake because only then will he be able to forgive Joon-suk.

His words slowly touch Joon-suk, but it isn’t until Moo-jin mentions Sun-ho and how Joon-suk hasn’t even apologized yet that sends the young boy into gut-wrenching sobs. Using this moment, Moo-jin closes the gap between them and pulls him away from danger. He hugs Joon-suk who cries into his shoulder, and he looks up to Moo-jin for guidance, asking what will happen now.

Before In-ha sends Da-hee home, she tells her to lift her head since she didn’t do anything wrong, and her words of assurance give Da-hee some confidence in herself. As Da-hee’s mother comes out to embrace her, she silently thanks In-ha for bringing her daughter back to her.

Moo-jin and Joon-suk come down from the apartment rooftop, and Eun-joo runs up to them in relief. Joon-suk breaks down in front of her, tearfully apologizing, and Eun-joo hugs him as she apologizes to him, too. Moo-jin watches them from a distance with a stern expression since he heard about Jin-pyo and Da-hee from Joon-suk on the rooftop.

Telling Moo-jin everything, Joon-suk blamed himself for what happened to Sun-ho and Da-hee, and even with all that burden he bore, he still worried about Eun-joo first. Though Joon-suk did commit a lot of wrongs that only he can fix, Moo-jin told him that Da-hee’s incident was not his fault or responsibility.

Rather, it was a problem for the adults to handle, and with a resolute expression, Moo-jin asks to speak with Eun-joo about Da-hee. After their conversation, Moo-jin returns to Sun-ho’s hospital room looking tired, and without any verbal exchange, he and In-ha both know what they need as soon as they see each other. The two of them embrace and find comfort in the silence.

Under a bridge where all shady businesses occur, Jin-pyo meets with Ki Deuk-chul and pays him handsomely in cash for the video footage of the hit-and-run scene as well as photos of Jin-pyo bribing the driver. As soon as he gets home, Jin-pyo checks the flash drive, but it only contains a clip from a nature documentary.

Eun-joo comes home without Joon-suk, and she tells Jin-pyo to leave their son alone for now since he thinks Jin-pyo incited the hit-and-run accident. Jin-pyo scoffs at Joon-suk for rebelling over such a paltry issue, but when he curses Joon-suk for being an idiot, Eun-joo slaps him—twice.

She tells Jin-pyo that while he didn’t bother to call Joon-suk even once, Moo-jin saved their son from committing suicide. Unperturbed by her implied accusation, Jin-pyo orders her to bring Joon-suk home tomorrow, but she disregards his command since Sun-ho already said that the fall was accidental. Just like he wanted, everything is over.

Eun-joo stands in the bathroom, lost in thought over what Moo-jin told her. Though he momentarily hesitated, Moo-jin decided to trust Eun-joo to do the right thing for Joon-suk this time around, and revealed everything to her. With the full knowledge of the truth, Eun-joo contemplates on what to do as she hides in the bathroom away from Jin-pyo’s prying eyes.

Moo-jin stirs awake when Sun-ho calls him but then jumps up from the couch at the sight of Sun-ho sitting up all by himself. He proudly swings his leg for his father to see, and Moo-jin excitedly hugs Sun-ho. Since good news is meant to be shared, Soo-ho runs to Dong-hee’s classroom, and the two of them jump around, ecstatic about Sun-ho’s improvement.

Their excitement attracts the other students who ask about Sun-ho and inquire about visiting. From afar, Ki-chan listens with a smile on his face, Sung-jae grimaces at the news, and Young-chul looks relieved to hear Sun-ho is doing better. As for Teacher Lee, he smiles at his students, but the sight of Joon-suk’s empty desk makes his face fall.

In-ha hurries to the hospital after hearing the news, and sees Sun-ho sitting in a wheelchair as part of his rehabilitation. She congratulates him on a job well done, but she and Moo-jin are soon called away to meet Da-hee’s father.

At the bakery, Da-hee’s father confesses to In-ha and Moo-jin that he assumed Sun-ho was the assailant and pressured Da-hee to answer. He realizes how wrong his actions were since he stopped her from reporting the incident to the police yet forced her to tell him who did it.

In-ha and Moo-jin forgive him and his family since they’re victims, too, but Da-hee’s father knows full well that he was still a perpetrator to them. He gets on his knees and apologizes profusely for what he did. Though Moo-jin tells him to get up, Da-hee’s father bows his head deeper and apologizes again.

Da-hee and her mother go to the police to give a report of the sexual assault, and unlike before, Da-hee has much more courage to tell others about what happened. Meanwhile, Reporter Choi greets Jin-pyo’s driver at a café and thanks him for meeting with him.

As Da-hee gives her account of the attack, the scene flashes back to the day of her birthday. Worried that Joon-suk might be sick, Da-hee stopped by his house, and at that moment, Jin-pyo also came home drunk. He told her to wait for Joon-suk in his room, even lying that Eun-joo was inside, and not suspecting a thing, Da-hee entered the house.

While waiting in his room, she put on lipstick and texted Joon-suk about Jin-pyo letting her in. Before she could send it, the door opened, and Jin-pyo crept inside. Realizing something was wrong, Da-hee excused herself, but as she passed him, Jin-pyo grabbed her arm.

Da-hee’s mother hugs her after her testimony, and Detective Park stands to the side, seething with rage over the horrors such a young girl faced. Returning to the station, Detective Park asks about the arrest warrant he requested, but unfortunately, the prosecutors still haven’t approved it because they lack “evidence.” He kicks over his garbage can in frustration, but all hope is not lost as Reporter Choi enters with a gift for the detective: Jin-pyo’s driver.

Eun-joo rummages through Jin-pyo’s desk for any evidence, but when she finds none, her eyes fall to his safe in the corner of the room. As she tries to figure out the passcode, Jin-pyo arrives, and he notices her missing presence. Just as he begins to suspect something, Eun-joo appears before him.

They converse as usual about Joon-suk and the police, but with the case over, there doesn’t seem to be much to discuss between them now. Out of the blue, Jin-pyo suggests a family vacation before Joon-suk leaves to study abroad, and Eun-joo agrees.

Joon-suk goes to the hospital, but can’t bring himself to go up and visit Sun-ho. He ends up at the convenience store where Dong-soo works, but a different part-timer is at the cash register. Joon-suk sighs and stands outside on the sidewalk by himself.

Dong-soo runs up to Moo-jin who’s been waiting for him, and he congratulates him on Sun-ho’s progress. Moo-jin points out that Sun-ho is Dong-soo’s younger brother after all, and Dong-soo chuckles at suddenly acquiring two brothers at once. Inside the restaurant, In-ha and Moo-jin treat the kids to meat, and when Dong-hee wishes for Sun-ho to join them next time, Soo-ho and Dong-soo tease her for only caring about him.

The only one not at dinner is Joon-ha who stayed behind at the hospital to watch Sun-ho. While getting water, she finds Ki-chan standing outside the room, and she pushes him inside to apologize in person. Ki-chan lowers his head for Sun-ho to hit him, and Sun-ho says that he’ll do it later when he has more strength. He offers Ki-chan ice-cream since they have his favorite, and Ki-chan sobs at this act of kindness. He promises to come again and runs out of the room in tears.

While Young-chul helps his mother at the convenience store, she asks him when he’ll visit Sun-ho. He says that Sun-ho probably doesn’t want to see him, and his mother doesn’t deny it since she wouldn’t want to see him either. However, she tells him that he should still apologize regardless and keep at it until Sun-ho is satisfied.

Sung-jae’s and Ki-chan’s mothers meet with In-ha at the bakery and are still as shameless and wily as ever. Instead of apologizing for their misdeeds, they call their situation a “misunderstanding,” and try to convince In-ha not to call for another School Violence Committee. In-ha admits to not even considering it before, but now that they mention it, she decides that it may be necessary.

Reporter Choi complains to the detectives for the lack of warrant because, apparently, the victim’s testimony and an eyewitness are still not enough “evidence.” As Reporter Choi derides the prosecutors for needing video proof, that very thing arrives on Detective Park’s phone. Ki Deuk-chul calls the detective, asking if he received his gift, and sends him his well wishes in getting rid of the trash.

The situation grows out of Jin-pyo’s control as even the school’s parents are petitioning for a retrial. Jin-pyo tells the worried vice principal that everything will die down, but Teacher Shin interrupts to say that they should open a new School Violence Committee. As Teach Shin stammers through his speech, Detective Park barges into the office with an arrest warrant for Jin-pyo.

A dour mood fills the faculty office after Jin-pyo’s arrest, and adding to the vice principal’s shock, Teacher Lee hands in his resignation letter. Teacher Shin shouts at Teacher Lee, asking why he should quit, and though he tries to convince him to reconsider, Teacher Lee ignores him and leaves the office.

Eun-joo stares at Jin-pyo’s safe and opens it since she already figured out the passcode during her previous attempt. Inside, she finds Sun-ho’s missing diary. Currently being interrogated, Jin-pyo continues acting high and mighty, denying both charges of murder and sexual assault. He gets up to leave, but Detective Park’s partner runs in with an arrest warrant and tells him to sit down.

Detective Park reveals additional evidence they have, and shows him a box that Eun-joo brought them. It contains Jin-pyo’s personal items from his safe, including his burner phone which proves that he kidnapped the guard’s son. Detective Park then goes through each evidence from the foundation’s embezzlement funds to Jin-pyo’s bribery of the higherups.

With the last one, Detective Park calls Jin-pyo a monster, and though the details are retained, the detective describes it as Jin-pyo’s blackmail against Da-hee. The haughty attitude now gone, Jin-pyo refuses to make a statement without his attorney, and Detective Park tells him that even if he hires all the top attorneys, his life is over.

In-ha meets with Eun-joo at a café, and Eun-joo tells her that she and Joon-suk are planning to move to the countryside after everything settles down. She shares her worries over Joon-suk as well as her own abilities to support him, and says that she sometimes wonders what In-ha would do in her situation. Eun-joo thinks that In-ha would have done things differently, but In-ha confesses to not being completely certain about that.

While she still needs time to understand and forgive Eun-joo, In-ha offers her a warm word of encouragement as one struggling parent to another. She tells her to stop wallowing in past mistakes, and reach out a warm and strong hand to hold Joon-suk when he stands at the edge.

As their conversation ends, Eun-joo hands over Sun-ho’s diary, explaining how she thought it would be better in Sun-ho’s hands rather than given to the police. Having read the notebook, Eun-joo says that Sun-ho is a pure kid, resembling In-ha and Moo-jin.

After tidying up Sun-ho’s hospital bed, Moo-jin texts Joon-suk, asking how he’s doing and updating him on Sun-ho’s progress. He asks about the books he sent, which were actually from Sun-ho, and he tells Joon-suk to take care of himself.

In-ha returns Sun-ho’s diary to him, but to Moo-jin’s surprise, the notebook was his poetry book where he wrote down poems he enjoyed. Having skimmed through it, In-ha asks about the poem he wrote down multiple times, but Sun-ho just smiles at her.

At school, the vice principal receives a notice of dismissal with the reason being his misconduct during Sun-ho’s case. Meanwhile, the principal approaches Teacher Lee and hands him back his letter of resignation. He tells the younger teacher to stay for another year and decide then to quit or not since there are still a lot of students who need him. Unable to go against the retiring principal’s wishes, Teacher Lee withdraws his resignation.

No longer strangers, Joon-suk visits Dong-soo at the convenience store and calls him hyung. He tells Dong-soo about his move to the countryside and gets his number before he goes. Dong-soo asks for his name, since he only knows him as the middle school kid, and Joon-suk introduces himself for the first time. Recognizing the name, Dong-soo shouts to Joon-suk that Sun-ho is going to be discharged soon, and Joon-suk stares at him speechless.

Soo-ho places a face mask on In-ha who’s sleeping on the couch, and Sun-ho comments on how mature she became. Soo-ho snaps back at him since she was always mature, and both Sun-ho and Moo-jin jokingly shush her to not wake In-ha. Unbeknownst to them, In-ha smiles to herself as she overhears her family talking and laughing together.

A much gloomier family reunion takes place between Eun-joo and Jin-pyo as she visits him in jail to inform him about the divorce papers. When she gets up to leave, Jin-pyo says that he won’t fall that easily, but in her eyes, he was already ruined a long time ago. Unlike him, she plans on living the rest of her life making up for her sins, and taking one last look at Jin-pyo, she tells him that the outfit suits him.

In-ha finally washes Sun-ho’s bloodstained uniform, signaling the end of that case, and at the hospital, Joon-suk musters up the courage to face Sun-ho in person. The air between them is still tense as Joon-suk thanks Sun-ho for the books and apologizes.

Before he leaves, Sun-ho hands him his poetry book and explains that the last one is his favorite. Joon-suk wonders if he’s giving him the notebook, but Sun-ho tells him that he expects Joon-suk to return it to him in person once he finishes.

Life resumes as normal with Joon-ha opening the bakery, and Moo-jin now preparing breakfast for the family. Soo-ho gets ready to leave for school, and like those days many moons ago, Sun-ho exits his room and joins them. Besides his limp, he looks just as he did before the accident, and Sun-ho heads off with Soo-ho while In-ha and Moo-jin stand in front of the entryway still smiling at the door long after they leave.

Joon-suk reads Sun-ho’s favorite poem, Become a Person who Produces Hope by Jeong Ho-seung, and Sun-ho narrates it in voiceover as different scenes play. Soo-ho and Dong-hee bring flowers to Da-hee who opens the gate to her house to let them in. As for Eun-joo and Joon-suk, they drive down to the countryside looking peaceful with this new change. While in Sun-ho’s home, Moo-jin and In-ha enjoy a quiet afternoon reading.

At times when everyone in the world is asleep,
when even dreams are asleep, confined in darkness,
become a person who walks regarding the stars,
not afraid of the dawn that has risen alone;
become a person who produces hope.

Tonight, too, with snow falling, no way of return
as winter’s night grows ever darker,
in a dark room with a guttering candle
near a workplace where the day’s work is done,
become a person loving sorrow;
become a person who produces hope.

If you live life loving this world of despair, that lacks even despair,
this world of sorrow, that lacks even sorrow, then spring snow falls.
Out in the snow, on encountering long-expected expectancy,
out in the snow, on encountering long-yearned-for yearning,
exclaim aloud, embrace and laugh;
exclaim aloud, rub cheeks and weep.

On becoming a person who walks regarding the stars,
on becoming a person who produces hope,
you who walk along paths across barley fields where spring snow falls,
everyone, come running, whole-heartedly
welcome dreams.
Welcome dreams.

As Sun-ho walks down a path inside a barley field, his surroundings change to his school hallway filled with other students. Sun-ho takes a few steps forward, but then stops in the middle of the hall and slowly turns around. Facing the camera, he gives one last smile.

 
COMMENTS

Jin-pyo’s world comes crashing down this final hour as the show reveals the depth of his depravity. Though some people predicted this outcome long before, I didn’t really see it coming until the truth became self-evident, so I guess a part of me still wanted to believe Jin-pyo wasn’t a complete monster as everybody called him. I was fooled by the hurt he showed when Eun-joo said he wasn’t human because as it turned out, he really wasn’t. Jin-pyo is a monster—the antithesis of our admirable heroes—and the show doesn’t sugarcoat his actions or excuse his behavior. There is no redemption for Jin-pyo at the end of the hour, and even in his last scene, Jin-pyo remains true to himself: a conceited, despicable man who may never repent for his crimes. His final remarks to Eun-joo reflect his selfish nature, and the show reveals that Jin-pyo truly did only care about himself and no one else throughout the entire show. He isn’t a misunderstood father with a warped sense of morality. He was simply a monster who perceived the world as beneath him, and ultimately, his corruption and distrust in humanity became his undoing.

The most satisfying part of Jin-pyo’s downfall for me is that he was the core cause of it. His crimes and behavior isolated himself from everyone in the world, and to Jin-pyo’s miscalculations, not everything can be bought with money. Ki Deuk-chul, despite being a criminal himself, was more humane than Jin-pyo, and he used Jin-pyo’s condescending attitude against him. Jin-pyo probably would have never predicted that Ki Deuk-chul would willingly hand over the evidence to the detectives after conning him once because, in Jin-pyo’s world, you hold onto blackmail in order to maintain your advantage in life. That’s why Jin-pyo kept all those self-damning evidence in his safe because those were his source of blackmail, which turned out to be a double-edged sword. In addition, his continuous abuse of his driver bit him in the butt, and though it’s already been sixteen episodes, I’m still impressed by the show’s creators’ abilities to foreshadow and weave story elements together. In the end, Jin-pyo trusted no one, but that also meant that no one trusted him either. Thus, when the time came, everyone turned their backs on him, including his own family.

Just as I wished for a couple of episodes ago, a part of Jin-pyo’s fall really did come from his dismissal of Moo-jin’s kindness and ability to trust. When his family needed a firm, guiding hand to help them off the ledge, it wasn’t Jin-pyo but Moo-jin who provided it for them. He was the one who found Joon-suk before he ended his life, and I can’t think of a more narratively appropriate character than Moo-jin to save Joon-suk in that moment. He was the first one to offer Joon-suk the chance to repent and become better, so when he tells Joon-suk to continue living as a way of atonement, his words feel sincere in that dire moment. He isn’t spouting fake promises to simply get Joon-suk off the edge but a genuine option for a brighter future. Joon-suk just experienced his entire world crumble and blamed himself for the misfortune that fell upon his friends, but when the world felt bleak and hopeless, Moo-jin reached out and showed him warmth. Though Jin-pyo scoffs at the idea of kindness and compassion, sometimes these things are stronger than violence and threats. Like the fable of the North Wind and the Sun, “gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail.”

The show also reveals Da-hee’s case in the last episode, and overall, I’m satisfied with the message they sent through her story. One issue touched upon briefly was the idea of the lying victim, and though Da-hee did make false accusations that could have destroyed innocent lives, the show never lets the mistakes she makes after the attack justify what happened to her. Even if she became a perpetrator in a different case related to Joon-suk and Sun-ho, she is still a victim of sexual assault, and her trauma doesn’t mean less just because she lashed out in the wrong way. However, the show also doesn’t let Da-hee and her family completely off the hook for their misdeeds. Da-hee apologizes for what she did and recognizes the hurt her lies caused. There were times when I couldn’t understand her actions, but now, I see that she’s just another child like all the other students. She made a terrible mistake, but still deserves a chance to repent, heal, and grow. No person, especially a child, should have to go through such an experience, but in reality, so many people do. In Da-hee’s case, she had no one to help her, and her parents only worsened the situation. More than Da-hee, I hold her parents responsible for the hurt inflicted on In-ha and Moo-jin by the false accusation, which is why I’m glad that both parents apologized for their actions. As Da-hee’s father mentioned, he and Da-hee’s mother were the ones who pushed Da-hee into a corner, forcing her to relive her trauma by confessing what happened yet denying her the opportunity to seek justice.

The main message conveyed to the audience through Da-hee was words of comfort to sexual assault victims: “It’s not your fault. You did nothing wrong.” As always, In-ha shows tremendous compassion to others, but particularly to children who act as mirrors reflecting the adults around them. While her words to Da-hee aren’t groundbreaking, they are something people seem to forget much too frequently, especially victims themselves. In a world that actively and indirectly tells sexual assault victims that they hold some responsibility for what happened, In-ha tells Da-hee that it wasn’t her fault. She doesn’t need to feel ashamed because the criminal is the one who attacked her. Sexual assault should never be excused, and nothing the victim does warrants an attack. Sometimes it’s these simple affirmations that make the biggest impact, and for Da-hee, In-ha’s warmth and forgiveness were all she needed to open up and slowly love herself again.

It’s finally time to say goodbye to this wonderful show. Most of the characters get a small moment in the last hour as they say farewell to the audience, and the show provides enough closure to let us know that the future still has hope. All four of Sun-ho’s bullies get a fitting ending with those who repented the most actually finding the courage to apologize in person to Sun-ho. While Sung-jae gets the least screen time, it reflects how he hasn’t changed, and as for Young-chul, the show implies that he regrets his actions but leaves it aptly open-ended since he’s still in the process of repenting. In Ki-chan’s case, he’s the first one to meet Sun-ho out of the four just as he was the first one to realize his mistake, and his response to Sun-ho’s kindness shows that Ki-chan is slowly becoming a better person, too. Lastly, there’s Joon-suk who works up the courage to meet Sun-ho after some gentle coaxing by Moo-jin and Dong-soo (another little moment showing how Dong-soo has matured and is following Moo-jin’s footsteps), and though their relationship is still broken, Sun-ho leaves room for their friendship to mend, which Joon-suk gladly accepts. The show doesn’t give a concrete end for any of its characters, leaving enough room for the future to hold multiple possibilities. Not all wrongs are forgiven because some wounds need time to heal, and not everyone has quite figured out how to move forward. Nevertheless, having seen these characters grow over these past weeks and months, I know that In-ha and Moo-jin’s family have changed people’s lives forever, and no matter what the future holds, they will get through it with love and compassion. Like Sun-ho’s smile at the end, the world may still be beautiful after all if there are still people who make hope.

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A beautiful ending for a beautiful drama. 👏👏👏

Throughout the show, I was impressed with the way the writer handled the development of all characters, even the tertiary ones, that made them humanly flawed and relatable. But personally, what this drama done exceptionally well is the way they told the bullies' story. I've watched and read my share of bullying stories, and most of the time, the redemption arc came out of nowhere and felt rushed. But here, we've seen Joon-seok wavered since the beginning, we knew about his stifling home and the vastly different teachings from his parents, we saw a glimpse of the innocent friendship he had with Seon-ho, we even followed him through his downward spiral. So when he tried to commit suicide in this eps, it didn't feel out of place. When he broke down in front of Moo-jin, scared and confused, and repeatedly said sorry, we knew it was coming. At that point, I was ready to forgive him and give him a second chance. He earned it, and with Eun-joo's new determination, I think he'll grow up into a decent adult.

The contrast between the 4 bullies were so well done. I love Gi-chan's gradual change and his small smile when he heard good news about Seon-ho. If Joon-seok represented kids who turned a new leaf after hitting the lowest point and facing a traumatic revelation, Gi-chan is a proof that sometimes a good environment can change people despite the continous bad influence they got from their parents. My favorite scene is probably him sobbing after Seon-ho told him that there's his favorite ice cream in the freezer (Seon-ho sure knows how to "kill with kindness"). I have a feeling that Gi-chan would be the one who steer his families to become better people.

And then we also have Young-chul, who showed that a parents' good influence will prevail eventually. I love how patiently her mom told him that he needed to apologize for what he did wrong and that he has to face the consequences to make up for it. I'm glad to know that here is another kid who has another chance to become a better person. Personally, it came as a surprise that Sung-jae is the one who hasn't change one bit (or dare I say, maybe gotten even worse?) by the end of the drama. Or maybe it just showed that cold indifference and ability to rationalize everything is the most dangerous characteristics to have after all.

Last but not least, I want to give a shout out to our good guys who have been a living example of the poem Seon-ho recited by the end of the drama. They are flawed people who also have to struggle against their less-than-savory thoughts, but they continued to be someone who give hope to others. They offered help, friendship, second chance, and forgiveness with genuine sincerity that simply amazed me. I especially love Dong-soo's non-dramatic reaction when he found out that the distressed kid he often saw is actually his kid sister's bully. I like to imagine that this will be another genuine friendship...

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....I like to imagine that this will be another genuine friendship Joon-seok has built for himself.

Wow, somehow this comment has turned into a long rambling essay. But ultimately, I just wanted to express how happy I am to discover this drama and that I'm glad it stays satisfying and meaningful until the very end.

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Beautiful drama. One of my most fav drama this year. Off the charts acting, meliticuously detail with alot of heart. Thank you crew and the cast.

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I loves this drama and i appreciate that it was recapped. While it was kinda slow in some part and some episode felt like there was no development, it was ultimately lovely and intricate. 8/10

I do have to say, however, that i wish joon seok and his mom had gotten a tad more punishment. I understand their torment was their punishment but the child almost died for crying out loud.

Also props to the amazing soundtrack and actingand cinematography!

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Thanks for the recaps ! I follow the drama only in words for now.

My only disappointment is that Eun-joo doesn't get enough legal punishment. I understand that Joon-suk needs his (reformed) mother, but what she did was too serious to let it pass. Altering the scene to look like suicide and leaving Sun-ho to die ? She gets it too easy.

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If you live life loving this world of despair, that lacks even despair, this world of sorrow, that lacks even sorrow, then spring snow falls.

Wanted to watch this for Nam Dareum but the plot was too slow for me. I ended up relying heavily on the recaps.

I like that ending (message) poem, but at the same time, it feels impossibly hopeful. *the ultimate pessimist in me talking* *coz I can't be that person who produces hope* 😪

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I might be the only person who find there is nothing slow about drama. Evey scene is count in every character evolusion, development. Every reveal always at the right time. I think everyone think is slow bcause it's hard to reach the bad guy and find evidence.

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I think I would have prefered that the story doesn't have a big villain. All his manipulations, secrets, etc felt a little bit too much for a story between midschool kids.

But I really like all the evolution of the characters, the warmness Seon Ho's family shared with everybody.

Joon Seok was a pitiful character. If he did wrong with Seon Ho, the fact that he could say why was very moving. He was jealous of Seon Ho and his family when his own home was like a prison. It's sad because Seon Ho and his mum doubted about him about awful crimes like rape and they were the most important persons in his life. By hidding what happened on the roof, his mum turned him into a criminal, when he was just a scared kid. For a young boy like him, the burden was too big so the suicide idea was not from nowhere. I'm happy that Moo Jin could reach him and stop him :)
I was kind of disapointed that Eun Jo was not punished, because of Seon Ho could die, she lied a lot times to the police, she sucks as a mother. And I would prefer that Joon Seok stays around with his new hyung to help him!

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Yess I agree to some degree Seon Ho also has to apolagize to Jeon Seok. Jeon Seok being a bully is right, and not only has to apoligized but suffer for what he did to Seon Ho. But Seon Ho jumping on conclussion too early about that led to a tragedy in that night. He is the one who initially start the fight has to take into consideration too.
I agree though, this drama doesn't need a big villain. All in all they blames Jin Pyo for all the main cause. It's one of my qualms, but understand why the writers do that.

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Beautiful drama.
Am I the only one who thinks SH should have apolagized to JS too for falsely accusing him of rape?
And I agree with other commentators EJ's punishment was way too light.

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Thank you for your hard work recapping this show! I loved it but couldn’t stand the stress watching it til I know how it’ll end.
- I love that we have a happy ending but it also makes me sad that in real life, bullying story doesn’t end like this. SOon ho could have died and the rest would get away with their crime (including Jin Pyo).
- It made sense now what Jin Pyo said about admitting smaller lies by telling some truth to cover up the biggest one that he committed.
- I love that in ha washed the bloody uniform by hands instead of throwing it away.
- Will Joon Seok ever find peace or will he be forever hunted even after moving? I just can’t forget/forgive how manipulative he was...and now he has to live with the fact that he’s the son of a monster. An new show can probably created about JS and his process to heal and make peace with what happened
- I’m not sure how Korean school work but why does one person have so much Power over the school just because he’s the president or the foundation?
- It’s sad the police couldn’t do much, everyone else pretty much moved the investigation a long by providing tips and evidence, they can’t even get a warrant arrest ...what did they actually do? It’s convenient that all the evidences they needed were delivered to them

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Thanks for excellent recap and commentary!!
There were a few things I didn't like (like Da-hee incident), but I wanted to see Joon-seok's matter resolved the most- poor kid. I'm glad how things turned out for him.

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This was a beautifully crafted and woven story with a huge heart. Moo-jin and In-ha are now my favorite parents in a drama. Their ability to communicate, care for their family and be compassionate is something to aspire to.

My only quibble is that it felt like an easy way out to have a stereotypical chaebol villain. I might've even laughed several times because the stock evil deeds seemed so out of place in an otherwise unique and contemplative drama.

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Guys does anyone know the other book with the little prince that seon ho gave to his friend? Please if you know the title answer me~

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@manargrisia0 It's The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Original title: Le Petit Prince

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