Thoughts on SKY Castle Ep 14, aka The Cliffhanger that Caused Collective Jaw-dropping Everywhere


    Having read a few murder theories ranging from far-fetched to mildly believable, I thought it would be good to offer a different point of view. To me, it was obvious that Hye-na committed suicide. She jumped from the balcony all on her own.

    I drew this conclusion from her increasingly frantic state of mind. Hye-na has been shown to be clever, self-sufficient and mature beyond her years. Unfortunately, she’s also sly, wicked and manipulative. These traits make people forget that ultimately Hye-na is still a teenager and an underage orphan. She just lost her mother, who’s her one and only family member, so I won’t be surprised if she also lost her will to live. Strike one. Even Ye-seo admitted it herself “But Hye-na’s quite impressive. If it happened to me, I wouldn’t be able to live without you, mum”. And yet in a stroke of fateful timing, she found out about the existence of her father. She then decided to hold on to that one measly thread, doing everything in her power to find a new family for herself. That’s how she moved into the house, and in the process got jealous and greedy, and was pushing everyone’s buttons.

    Hye-na never intended for the truth about her father to be revealed so soon. Holding the secret means that she has bargaining power against Seo-jin for as long as possible (remember their deal?). She just wanted to toy with Ye-seo and made her miserable milking Woo-joo’s crush on her for all its worth. Yet she lost her cool in the spur of the moment and spilled the secret herself during their fight. You’ll notice that she was quite flustered afterwards. She may say to Seo-jin “You can deal with it however you want. It’s spilt milk” but she also realized that she just lost the upper hand. When Seo-jin confronted Hye-na later and she counter-threatened with SNS posting, it’s really just an empty threat. Seo-jin was like “Fine, let’s die together. We only need to get over the embarrassment but you, you will never make a life for yourself”, and Hye-na is smart enough to know this. She’s been putting on a façade of wickedness in order to stand toe-to-toe with Seo-jin but this is really a lop-sided fight between a child and an adult that she will never be able to win and she’s scared. Hye-na’s not a psychopath and all that stress must have further taken its toll on her mental health. Strike two.


      Nevertheless, she still has one last card. If her father Joon-sang can accept her, then all of this will be worth it. She may butt heads with Ye-seo all her life but at least she’ll have a place to call home, and people to call family. But from the preview it looks like Joon-sang can’t be bothered with her and even mocked her existence, whether or not he knows the whole truth or only speaking hypothetically. Strike three. Hye-na can’t help but feel resigned. Her lifeline just got cut off and it’s not surprising if she decided to take her own life. In her last moments, she was touching the bricks that made the building, and taking in the view from the tower, as if she was saying goodbye to things she never got to have. She took a deep breath full of resignation, as if readying herself, and when she fell, a single tear also fell from her eyes and that was so telling. This was such a sad ending for Hye-na, who deep inside is just a lonely kid trying to survive.

      I can’t help but look back to what Kim Joo-young said to Soo-im. She’s actually right in the sense that the tragedy’s roots are in the family itself. They could’ve made a different choice but their greed and arrogance just accelerate whatever hell on earth that she facilitated for them. What Teacher Kim did was create an environment where it was easy for the family to go into ruins, but had they realize it and made different choices, the tragedy may have been able to be prevented. What could the others in the house have done to soften Hye-na’s edges? Perhaps Hye-na need not die at all, but she would never know now. Her death will certainly shake the castle, and especially Seo-jin’s family who has to bear the brunt and deal with the aftermath.

      PS: I feel like Soo-im when writing this, furiously typing and brimming with self-righteousness, LOL.