True Beauty: Episode 2 Open Thread
Our heroine might be known as a goddess at her new school, but that doesn’t mean she can rest easy. Her makeup-less identity is soon on the line, and our heroine quickly learns the difficulties of keeping up two lives (and two faces).
EPISODE 2 WEECAP
When we left off at the end of Episode 1, Joo-kyung found her manhwa store and safe haven was not exactly safe for her anymore. Soo-ho’s presence there throws her off balance (in more ways than one), and she winds up falling on top of him for the second time. (Anyone want to keep a tally of falls and catches in this drama? I have a feeling it’s going to be epic!)
This particular fall is the best because it sets off some important recognition hijinks. Soo-ho clearly recognizes the girl from the rooftop, since both she and the situation are identical, and Joo-kyung recognizes Soo-ho as her cold, popular, and gorgeous classmate. While Soo-ho’s interest is clearly piqued (this girl not only saw right into his soul, but also shares his love of horror manhwa), for Joo-kyung this is just 100% disaster.
The drama is building such a fun construct here — Joo-kyung trying desperately to dodge him (expecting him to realize she’s the same “beauty” from school), and Soo-ho wondering why she doesn’t realize he’s her savior from the rooftop.
Joo-kyung is on hyper alert, and running into the bullies from her old school while makeup shopping sets her into even more of a panic. In fact, much of what we see of Joo-kyung is her scurrying around, trying to escape from potentially damaging situations. One of these puts her directly into the path of our second lead hero, HAN SEO-JOON (Hwang In-yub).
When we first meet Seo-joon he’s being a badass on his motorcycle, running away from thugs, and generally looking and behaving like a bad boy manhwa hero. Gosh, I love how this drama just feels like it jumped off the page — I’m not very familiar with the webtoon, but even as a newbie it’s easy to appreciate everything from the direction, to the framing of certain shots, to the overall aesthetic. The sets, in particular, blow my mind — whether it’s Joo-kyung’s bedroom or the manhwa shop, the level of detail and world-building impresses me at every turn.
Back to Seo-joon, though — Joo-kyung is shocked when he turns up at her school the next day, and we learn that he’s ex-besties with Soo-ho. The two have an epic face-off, and I’m betting it’s not the last time we will see these two butt heads. But for now, Seo-joon recognizes “pretty” Joo-kyung as his accidental helmet thief, and their relationship dynamic is off and running.
So is Joo-kyung’s dynamic with Soo-ho, though. They meet again at the manhwa shop, and this time Joo-kyung falls off a step stool and into Soo-ho’s arms (a great improvement from the prior belly flop). This is where the real misunderstandings and mis-identifications between Soo-ho and Joo-kyung get even more fun.
Joo-kyung is desperate to protect her identity, and agrees to give Soo-ho a prized manhwa if he will “keep her secret.” However, what that secret actually is, is much confused. Soo-ho, who still thinks they’re two different girls, believes Joo-kyung is embarrassed about her suicide attempt, and agrees to keep her secret in exchange for the manhwa. Joo-kyung, however, thinks Soo-ho has just agreed to hide the secret behind her makeup. She thinks she’s finally safe, but really, the hijinks are only just beginning.
With some nerd bonding and contract writing between them, Joo-kyung now feels totally comfortable to approach Soo-ho at school. She’s got a bag all ready to return the blazer that “pretty” Joo-kyung stained, and the manhwa that “ugly” Joo-kyung promised.
His cold response to her gets her thinking, and Joo-kyung is a smart girl. She quickly pieces together the misunderstanding between them, and just in the nick of time. Joo-kyung uses a hilarious “sanitary pad” excuse to take the incriminating bag back from Soo-ho before he puts two and two together. It’s such a great use of props here, that two mundane items being in the same bag actually conflate two very different identities into one. So fun!
Keeping up the charade of two (literal) faces is getting even more stressful for our girl, though. In addition to the constant humiliation at home (seriously, why!), Joo-kyung’s secret is constantly under threat.
I’m sure we’ll dig a lot more into the trouble this dual identity causes her, but the drama is already getting this theme across quite well, like when Joo-kyung leaves the house with only half of her makeup on. Which Joo-kyung is she? Which does the situation call for? Who does Soo-ho think he keeps meeting at the manhwa store? I don’t know how long our sweet Joo-kyung will be able to keep this up.
Sure enough, the cliffhanger at the end of Episode 2 lands a near-disaster for Joo-kyung’s hidden identity. An extravagant 100 days of dating anniversary turns into an accidental cake right in Joo-kyung’s face. More than the embarrassment of having this happen in front of all of her classmates, Joo-kyung goes into a panic of what will happen when all the cake (and her makeup) gets wiped away. She screeches for no one to touch her, and everyone seems to be locked in panic — until Soo-ho sweeps in in true hero fashion, covering her with his blazer.
I feel about this scene the way I do about the entire drama so far: it’s so silly, so cringe-tastic, and so absolutely FUN! With our first two episodes so colorful and strong, I have high hopes for the rest of this drama, and look forward to the ride.
- Premiere Watch: True Beauty, Hush, Mr. Queen
- High school romance and mishaps in new True Beauty teaser
- Moon Ga-young primps and preens for tvN’s True Beauty
- First script reading for tvN’s True Beauty with Moon Ga-young, Cha Eun-woo, Hwang In-yub
- Cha Eun-woo, Moon Ga-young youth rom-com drama in the works