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Class of Lies: Episodes 15-16 Open Thread (Final)

Well that was certainly one heck of a finale, does anyone else feel wide-eyed and just a little awed? Class of Lies did something fresh with its school drama/legal thriller mashup, and has been occasionally uneven but it’s indisputably entertained at all times, and delivered on each of its promises by any means necessary.

It makes for some dark TV, but I can’t say I didn’t think it was weirdly perfect…

 
EPISODES 15-16 (FINAL) WEECAP

Beom-jin faces off with his dad, who is staggered by the revelation that his son is Soo-ah’s killer. Beom-jin isn’t a bit cowed. He reminds his dad of the time he’d told him to remember that wherever he was, to remember he was his father’s son. He flips that back on his dad and says that he should have remembered that he was Beom-jin’s father. As if their roles are reversed, he instructs his father on how to clean up the situation by eliminating Moo-hyuk.

I find this exchange so interesting in how much it diminishes Congressman Yoo and strips down their dynamic. Yoo might have believed that he had the natural upper hand, but Beom-jin is the one who understands better which strings to pull and how, even his own father’s.

Meanwhile, So-hyun recovers Soo-ah’s lost mail, and the envelope reveals a journal she’d kept, documenting everything that had happened since Lee Tae-seok recruited her, to the very day she died. So-hyun delivers this to Han-soo and he makes the difficult decision to reveal it.

Before he does so, he makes a sobering statement to the cameras urging them to remember one thing, before they judge Soo-ah: that she was a victim, and that those who should have protected her failed. It’s a heavy moment for us as viewers too, a PSA that these women who are judged so harshly by society are in fact casualties to power, and that the greater sin of those who exploit them is forgotten.

It’s sad and incredibly moving that Han-soo has really been the only one to cut through the lurid stories to remember Soo-ah as a friend, as someone he loved who wanted and deserved better than she got. Because there’s a tragedy at the heart of this story I had forgotten myself, and Moo-hyuk and the gang are not the only ones who needed that reminder.

With Prosecutor Cha back in action, Moo-hyuk goes on full-on offensive. In a press conference, he reveals all his findings about Soo-ah’s murder case, with the full story on Lee Tae-seok and his trafficking activities, to Congressman Yoo’s relationship with Soo-ah. In a final gambit, he names Beom-jin as Soo-ah’s murderer, though he’s well aware the evidence is still only circumstantial.

Beom-jin endures the whispers and the sideways looks of the other students in school, and is hounded by reporters outside. His grasp on himself becomes ever more tenuous. Ki-hoon hears Moo-hyuk’s revelation that Beom-jin is Soo-ah’s murderer, and damn, is it ever satisfying when he hunts Beom-jin down and sends him sprawling to the floor with a ferocious kick.

Ugh, that single tear that slips out of Ki-hoon says so much; it’s shame, sadness, repentance. He knows he was a POS, but he also regrets it. It took Soo-ah’s death for him to see himself, but I think his worst is behind him. This kid is going to turn out okay, I really believe that. ♥

Beom-jin is reduced to glowering in the dark in the now-empty Veritas lounge. How the mighty have fallen, huh. But he meets Moo-hyuk and crows that he’s won—Moo-hyuk has no proof, only conjecture, there’s no way he can win in court.

Moo-hyuk gives him this pitying look and tells him that he doesn’t understand. “Winning” doesn’t mean winning in court. Winning is never having to go to court at all, and he’s satisfied that the hell that is in his own head is far worse for Beom-jin than going to prison. Ain’t that the truth.

Congressman Yoo counters with a string of his own press conferences, but each one goes worse than the last. As a last resort, Yoo instructs the bent detective, DETECTIVE OH, to turn himself in and take the fall for him and Beom-jin. He makes a thinly veiled threat on the detective’s daughter if he doesn’t comply.

Detective Oh turns himself in as instructed, and makes a full confession. But at the very end, he adds that it was under instruction from Congressman Yoo. The prosecutor on the case is one of Yoo’s people and he tries to shut the detective up. Unfortunately for him, Prosecutor Cha and Moo-hyuk are on the other side of the glass, pretty pleased with the latest development.

It turns out that Moo-hyuk went to see the detective earlier, well aware that this would be Congressman Yoo’s chosen move. I really like how Moo-hyuk’s persuasion methods are never about emotional manipulation but pointing out facts—often ones that the other person already knows—and pointing out the merits and pitfalls of their various choices. It’s an extremely rational approach, and maybe that’s why he’s so successful.

He pointed out to Detective Lee that Yoo never left loose ends, and Oh would be no different. How could he come back to his daughter then? On the other hand, he could take Yoo down with him, and they would reduce his sentence in exchange for his testimony.

Well it’s all going wrong for Congressman Yoo. Not only does he lose the nomination to represent his party in the presidential elections, eventually he’s booted from the party altogether. We learn that Moo-hyuk also visited with Yoo’s rival, and he barely even had to do any convincing—he simply presented the evidence.

Moo-hyuk meets Attorney Lee Do-jin, and suggests he dissociate himself and his firm from Congressman Yoo if he wants to come out of the scandal clean. When the congressman comes to Lee to ask him to represent him, Lee goes along with it and asks him for the truth.

Yoo admits to the relationship with Soo-ah (and makes it sound like it wasn’t his fault), but denies murdering her. Lee Do-jin may be a man of questionable ethics, but Yoo’s confession clearly repulses him. In a crowning moment of just triumph, Prosecutor Cha and her team file in and arrest him.

They go to trial from there, and in yet another twist, the elder Yoo confesses to knowing Soo-ah, but merely that he was her guardian and she his ward BUT that Beom-jin misinterpreted their relationship and the subsequent cover-up was to hide his son’s crime. Ohhh, you didn’t! But he did. Wow. Now that’s a politician—still spinning the story to make himself the hero and throwing his own son under the bus. What a snake!

Beom-jin bursts into the courtroom, to prove on his own that he didn’t do it. Moo-hyuk plays hidden camera footage they uncovered that places him in Soo-ah’s house shortly before she was killed. But Beom-jin’s decisive testimony seems to be only to say, “I wasn’t there and didn’t do it.” Okay then?

Well, either way, Han-soo is cleared and the elder Yoo goes down. Literally, I think… as he’s taken away in the prison van, it makes a stop and the transporting officers look the other way while the other prisoners converge on the former congressman… Whoa. Dark.

Beom-jin wanders the streets, lost in his own head. He relives a memory… of murdering Soo-ah. Well wow. I mean, we were told this, but somehow, I was willing to believe until the last moment that it wasn’t him, that there would be one more twist. I’m almost more surprised that there isn’t.

Moo-hyuk finds him in the crowd and looks at him with a mixture of pity and revulsion. Beom-jin is totally broken now, and gibbers that he can be perfect again. Moo-hyuk leaves him with a promise to find the decisive evidence that Beom-jin killed Tae-ra, and tells him to wait for him in his personal hell until he does.

Then, he leaves him alone to his own madness… and one final twist, as someone jostles past him and sinks a syringe into his neck. Beom-jin writhes on the ground, scrabbling at his throat, and his black-clad assailant disappears into the night. WHOA.

And that… is that.

Han-soo returns to school and everything (almost) returns to normal. The school is like a school again, Ye-ri is friendless as she deserves, though Yoonah takes pity on her. Ki-hoon confronts Han-soo… and apologizes. Life goes on.

Does anyone feel… shaken and disturbed by how this went? That ending was SO DARK, a full-on tragedy, Macbeth-style. I actually think it’s brilliant, maybe the best of the entire show, but it’s definitely not where I thought we were going.

That said, all along, the show has never sugar-coated any of its ugliness, and has constantly turned away the narrative of people—especially young people—being innocent at heart. It creates an interesting gradient in how we are asked to interpret the relative evil of the many villains in this show (and there were many).

In a way, with the exception of a handful of characters, everyone’s a villain, or at best, an antihero in Moo-hyuk’s case. But each of them get a different trajectory based on their choices, and I like how that preserves their agency. They aren’t evil “just because,” but they each make decisions that take them on a road to better or worse. For example, Ki-hoon could represent redemption, and Detective Oh expiation.

On the opposite end, both Yoos, elder and younger, receive their just desserts. Its literary justice in a way I haven’t seen on-screen for a long, long time. And don’t get me wrong, it has been pretty delightful watching terrible people being terrible every week, but always with the desired endgame of them being served with their rightful endings, and I’d say that happened in a spectacular fashion.

There’s a lot that could be said about Beom-jin and his descent into self-destruction. I feel like it’s a cautionary tale to obsessive perfectionism (which in all honesty makes me feel a little attacked, haha). The way the veil dropped between father and son once all the cards were on the table was so revealing of the true state of their relationship the way Beom-jin sees it.

To Beom-jin, everyone exists as a prop to his ambition—an ambition that eclipses his father’s. His father might be a congressman, but Beom-jin, you got the sense, saw past the glamor of station and understood that true power was more subtle than that. His last few confrontations with Moo-hyuk after everything is out in the open were just electric, because Moo-hyuk sees through him.

Beom-jin’s curse was to be able to see too much and too far, and that left him trying to control courses that had never begun. It’s that very insight that brings him down in the end, and always would have, I think: He’s the kind of person whose ideals retain perfection so long as they’re untested.

Imagine that same boy rising to adulthood, where with the resources and tools of power at hand, the possibility of him doing either great good or great harm would be always be balanced on the edge of a knife. I don’t think, within the bounds of this fictional world at least, that he could have been “saved” after he began his fall. Not in sixteen episodes, anyway. He was ultimately too broken to continue to function in society.

I’ve had a couple of days to think about it, and now I’m sure about the identity of the boy in black. It’s definitely between Ki-hoon and Han-soo, and my money’s on Han-soo. Compared to Ki-hoon, he’s taller and more built, and although I closely analyzed the attacker’s figure, the clincher for me really is in what I know about their characters.

Han-soo loved the real Soo-ah, and he was the one hurt most by her death. Han-soo is a very black-and-white, physical kind of person, loyal and simple in the best way. He was willing to die for her, and it makes perfect sense that he was willing to take a life for her, too. I can easily see him as the kind of person who can take a secret like that to the grave: It’s justice for Soo-ah, and exactly what Beom-jin deserves. There’s so no internal conflict for him over that.

But as much as he deserves it, I can’t help feeling some pity for Beom-jin. If I had to pick the moment that he broke, I would say it was when he pushed Tae-ra from the roof. That destroyed something fundamental in him that killing Soo-ah didn’t.

I think he felt justified in killing Soo-ah, and therefore it didn’t cause him any cognitive dissonance, but Tae-ra’s murder… he wasn’t able to justify that to himself. It doesn’t make “sense” and that’s the point. Murder isn’t logical, nor is it an appropriate or proportional solution to his problems. It’s so fitting that his sanity, his soundness of mind—the thing he values above all else—should be the price he pays for the lie he tells himself, that he’s innocent of all wrongdoing. It’s exactly the worst hell he can be in, as Moo-hyuk so astutely calculates.

Moo-hyuk has had a really satisfying evolution too, and I love that his journey kind of comes full circle in the last scene, where he returns to the world of school and the kids he left. As much as not underestimating the kids has been his strength, I think he also needed to see with his own eyes how they were still vulnerable and in need of protection, not hardened criminals or miniature adults or unreasonable fools.

Even though some of the kids definitely were criminals, their capacity to change given the right support was something the show really gave thought to. Moo-hyuk’s preferred method might be slamming people with hard logic, but he needed to learn the value of compassion as well. The fact that he was able to develop a sense of sympathy he didn’t have before is a sign of his growth, and maybe he needed a crisis all along, to make him a better person than he was.

The obvious instrument for that has been So-hyun, but while I’ve enjoyed her presence in the team, I admit she’s often been irrelevant, or just a cog to move the plot forward. I think at times, the show had so many moving pieces that it couldn’t do justice to all of them, so inevitably some characters did end up being relegated to plot devices, even though they had more potential. People like Prosecutor Cha, the reporter, Yoon-ah, Ki-hoon, and plenty other among the cast of characters were rich for exploration, but time constraints obviously played a part in curtailing their stories.

The shift from school back to legal drama territory at the end also added to that somewhat, but nevertheless, I think each character was sent off rather magnificently. We got to see Won-seok play “Park Bo-gum,” and that closing scene where they all-out break the fourth wall was just pure joy (and PPL, lol). Not every show entertains to the utmost degree, but if I’m grinning my face off even after it threw its darkest moments at us, I’d say Class of Lies did a damn good job.

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Ok, so I REALLY enjoyed this show. It was a great summer blockbuster and I didn't feel bored watching any second of the show.

I think Yoon Kyun-Sang shines in these types of roles. I also appreciated the supporting cast. I mean the hacker/bromance friend dude? YES. I NEED to see them infiltrate the company. I loved Mr Gi's character development.

a tiny scrupule would be the teacher. she was supposed to be the voice of reason, but I felt her to be annoying and she was honestly in the way most of the time. (yes, she eventually came round which was her character development, but she was frankly boring and she didn't add much to the storyline).

Props to our villains. Yu Beom-Jin you creeped me out, dude. The other kids got what they deserved. Yes to the idol girl not becoming an idol. You sincerely didnt deserve it. And to the other boy for learning the error of his ways. and While i felt sad for Tae-ra, it didnt bother me TOO much as she was quite so nice as well.

Any theories on who killed Beom-Jin? My money would be on Tae-Ra's mom.

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I didn't think of her! But to my mind, it wouldn't have been an adult. I'm sticking with Han-soo! But man until I figured it out, I could not put the show to bed. I think we're *meant* to figure it out as well, it's not a tease, it's more like an ellipsis. A good show!

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Not my sweet Han-soo!!

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I refuse to believe it's Han Soo. He was the only uncorrupted kid throughout the whole story (besides that girl with the t-shirts). No. No. NO.

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You just made my day using the word scrupule.

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thank you for saying what i wanted to say! i wasn't going to watch it then a fellow beanie convinced me to try it.i got sucked right in and loved it all. the actors, the writing, the effects were all great. i wasn't a big fan of mr. tallness but i sure am now! he was perfect for this role. (Mr. yoon Kyun-sang) he is always a head taller than the others in the drama.

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I also thought it was her. She had the stakes, the means, and the entitlement to avenge her daughter. BJ wrote off her 18 years of hardwork grooming TR. She would never let him get away.

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I thought it was definitely Tae-Ra's mother.

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my friend said that the one who killed Beomjin is Taera's mom but Hansu is kinda make sense too. Im so happy with this drama afterall. still kinda sad about Taera death but its been a long time since i really satisfied by the ending

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Interesting - is there an on-the-record source that confirms that, or is it fan speculation? I didn't give a lot of thought to Tae-ra's mom and I've stayed away from spoiler discussions, but given both you and @JustMe think so, is it the prevalent theory? (Does TR's mom have a medical background by any chance?)

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Idk about it being a common theory, but that face Tae-Ra's mom made in ep15 when she saw the news about Beom-Jin said it all.

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@saya, my money is on Tae-ra's mother.. There's a scene where she watched the TV when MH had the press conference.. She's very shocked (who'd ever thought Beom-jin would kill her precious daughter when BJ acted like a good boyfriend). Even if she killed BJ, she must be hiring someone to do that....

Speculation on Han-soo is quite interesting though... Because he has a reason to kill him :(

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Taera is everything to her mom, just like Suah is everything to Hansu so both of them have enough reason to kill Beomjin but we wont know who exactly killed him.

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I also thought it was Tae-ra's mother. That was a professional hit, not an amateur murder. It makes sense that she would have the resources to hire a hitman.

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I assume Tae Ra's mom killed him. She had the money and the resources. Han Su is a good thought too, but idk how he would have pulled it off. However, I enjoyed the show. It was entertaining for what it was.

My only gripe with the show though, to be fair this applies to a great many dramas, is the treatment of rape. Ki Hoon is an attempted rapist and wasn't punished nearly enough for it. Kdramas in general treat rape lightly and need to work on it.

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I thought killing BJ was really out of left field, and couldn't figure where that came from at all. Especially the assassin style with the needle. Just seemed random, deserved but random. So this synopsis and the theories really help out. I vote for the mom. She too was evil, they showed her reaction to learning about who killed her daughter, and she would have had the ability to hire someone. It fits the evil parents theme. And HS just seems like a good person, just doesn't seem like he would do it. Plus, where would he get needle and whatever was in it? I vote for the mom

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I was disapointing by the end. They couldn't prove that YBJ killed the both girls, just that he was there. He wasn't punished by the law and death was a easy get out, too easy for me. For the murderer, I think it looks like a professional work, so an adult with money seems more likely than a teenager. If it's TR's mother, it's pretty "funny". She went from awful mother, possible cause of the suicide of her daughter, to innocent mother.
I think the drama was the best when MH was teaching. I'm sad they didn't add more scenes.

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I was kind of hoping that heart balloon with the map tied to it would turn up again and lead them to Beom-Jin, but I guess that would be farfetched.

I thought Beom Jin's killer was Tae Ra's mom, or somebody hired by her.
My second, and more evil guess, is somebody hired by Beom-Jin's own father.
No way can it be Han-Soo. He's turned over a new leaf and even if he were to kill Beom-Jin, which he wouldn't because he has been through hell-fire and is going to make it good as a P.E. teacher and live a good life for poor Soo-ah, it would be a more open, in your face way, not hiding behind a drug and a needle.
But I really think it's the mother, because there's not much other reason for us to have seen her reaction to hearing the accusation that it was Beom-Jin who killed her pretty doll, for whom she had made so many plans and skillful arrangements, and how dare Beom-Jin destroy her pretty doll and throw her plans into disarray?

Or...oh, I just thought of this one- what about the thug who got expelled and didn't get to come back, even though Beom-Jin promised him he'd bring him back to school? I like this one, and he fits the build in the sweat suit, and he has a personal ax to grind for the way Beom-Jim used him and deserted him. I just changed my mind, it's him, not the evil mother.

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I thought the balloon would lead to something. I thought there had to have been an adult with the little girl who was told to give the balloon to Tae Ra who would see the news and realize that the girl who died was the one that had gotten the balloon. (Do young children usually go out by themselves in the city at night?)

My first thought when Beom Jin was attacked was that it was something his father set up after he found out his son was a killer but before being sent to prison. It seemed like something he would do to protect himself when he still thought there was a chance of getting away with everything.

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This show unfolded in a fun and interesting way and it was fun to watch the kids as well as their parents be evil...

BUT WE NEED MORE KI-HOON!

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So, by the end of story, Jun-jae didn't come back to school and work for the loan sharks? Poor Joon-jae... I know he's a bully, but he needs to be given a second chance, like the serial gives second chance to Ki-hoon and Yeri.

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I think hoon-jae is a great candidate for the assassin, precisely because he realized Beom Jin's promise to get him back in school was a manipulative lie.

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the way it all ended, I feel, is so fitting for this show. how in the end, BJ didn't get indicted by court and how the rest of Veritas can still roam free. how we don't get to see what happens after the prisonmates attack YYK. how we never get the chance to know who killed BJ. this show never promised us justice - i mean, how could they when the premise is a lawyer faking multiple documents to teach at a school. yet, this show promised us the truth, and I was honestly so entertained the whole way finding it out with MH. I think the show was also pretty nuanced with characters like ABH and HS, but I guess my only gripe is the sort of "moral message" we got at the end. as aforementioned, the show never promised justice, and when it ended, evil was still ongoing (ie. the teachers acknowledging students were still going to fake specs). it was like their message was "evil will still continue". I also feel like characters like ABH (who we saw so much of in the first few episodes that I thought we would get a proper closure) and JSA also had a lot of depth that was unexplored. I thought they were saving it for the last episode to reveal some sort of grander theme/message, but, they didn't, and I guess I shouldn't be too disappointed in that, just that the potential was there. overall, this drama was really entertaining, had really impressive and tight writing, and amazing actors that tied the whole package together.

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do any of the kids get beat up :)

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reading the comments, i wouldn't be able to handle it lol

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I enjoyed this show til the end. The ending is appropriate because the law simply doesn’t serve justice the way we want. I was wondering if they would ruin the ending by some miraculous evidence. Thank goodness they didn’t.

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Also Congratulations to this drama for climbing from 1.8% to 4.8% in ratings. Very well done for an OCN drama (which generally don’t get high numbers as a niche cable channel).

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I think Tae Ra's mom hired someone to kill BJ. The murder was quick, and it looked professional. I don't think Han Soo could have pulled that off. He is usually really emotional. Plus they only showed us TR's mom seeing the news, but they didn't say what happened to her. They covered pretty much everyone except her. Plus I don't think they would leave TR's death just like that. The punishment for Soo Ha's death was already done.

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Just finished the last three episodes and I honestly don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight!!!

I had to cover the screen during beom-hin's final scene, I really have to commend Jun's acting, he looked like he was the devil's child.Absolutely terrifing!

I think a hitman was hired to take him out because they were so smooth and disappeared out of sight in seconds.Also I'm not sure where han soo would have the money to get something like that.

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thanks for the recap, i left this show but i think i will pick up again :-)

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Who kill Bom Jin??? Tae Ra’s Mother????

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@saya, thank you for the wonderful recap, analysis, review--and fabulous writing.

I'd forgotten this was an OCN drama. I love OCN. I need more OCN. Where can I find HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE?

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I'm enjoying this drama so much. It's really an addicting drama. Really love this drama more than Watcher. What a roller coaster ride. Though it's abit unwatchable when the focus start with the carricature teacher and parent. I also discover what a talent Choi Kyu Jin is. And discovering he is a 96 liner. Wow! I was surprise bcause his technique already look good. Just discover He is actually that kids in avenger social club?

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I think who killed yoo beom Jin is either TAERA's mom who hired someone to do it for her BCUZ THE WAY THAT KILLER INJECTED HIM WAS SO Smooth, or Son Joon Jae (the bully) bcuz he was promised him tht he would get him back to school

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Rather than Han soo, I thought that Tae Ra's mom order someone to kill Beom Jin. Well, I don't know the truth. But, I must appreciate the writer and the production staff worked on this drama, especially the creepy character of Beom Jin.

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I'm confused and maybe I missed something. Why did Beom Jin's dad cover up the murder and nailed it on Han Soo? I thought he knew Beom Jin did it, but it sounds like it's a surprise to him...

I wasn't a fan of the last min video find and the random killing. Made things a bit too neat.

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