Of all the directions I was expecting this show to take, a sexual assault allegation against Sun-ho was way, way down on my list. This completely flips the narrative of Sun-ho’s story from victim to possible predator. Da-hee’s parents accusations aren’t gentle, and I wouldn’t expect them to be, but it’s still a surprise hearing them say they were satisfied when they heard Sun-ho was in a coma. In-ha looks like she’s in shock.
During his outburst at Sun-ho’s parents, Da-hee’s dad makes some shocking comments about how his daughter’s life is over because of the supposedly sexual assault incident. I know this is hardly the show’s priority, but I can’t go without discussing how harmful that attitude is. Assault or rape doesn’t mean a woman’s life is over, especially a teenager like Da-hee. The words that have so far been alluded to Joon-seok—devil and monster—are used for Sun-ho by Da-hee’s parents. No matter how much Moo-jin and In-ha try to get some facts, Da-hee’s parents only have curses for them.
Since Sun-ho’s incident, Eun-joo and her son have stood together only because she believed Joon-seok’s words and that it was an accident. After hearing the recording, however, she seems to be finding it difficult to believe her son anymore. She ends up being cold towards him and pushing him away. In-ha’s words must have made a dent in Eun-joo’s mind because she’s beginning to wonder if what she did really was for Joon-seok’s sake.
As Joon-seok grows distant from his mother, even making the choice to go to England by himself, his father seems happy to have his son leave Eun-joo’s shadow. In addition to throwing Eun-joo under the bus for their current predicament, the father and son are trying to abandon her as well. The more she gets blamed, the more she seems to lose her grasp on sanity.
Her drunken rant is an interesting insight into her life besides Joon-seok. It tells us that she’s lived by suppressing herself in order to please her husband. “I’m not a doll to make you look good,” she tells him, alluding to knowing about the ‘other women’ he sees. Joon-seok’s horrified expression at seeing his parents fight almost made me feel sorry for the kid. This scene is in direct contrast to In-ha and Moo-jin thanking each other for their support and just serves to highlight how differently Sun-ho and Joon-seok have grown up.
As far as unlikely friendships go, I’m happy that Teacher Lee and Joon-ha seem to be getting closer. Su-ho and Dong-hee have become a solid team already, and it warms my heart to see how much love Sun-ho’s family gives to Dong-hee. It’s to the extent that even Dong-soo notices that she’s become much more cheerful and confident now that she has people on her side. After their horrific encounter with Da-hee’s mom, I was glad to see the girls catch a break over dinner with Joon-ha and Teacher Lee.
As Sun-ho’s parents, Moo-jin and In-ha don’t immediately believe the accusations made by Da-hee’s parents. Being a woman, In-ha entertains the possibility that the allegation might be true because Da-hee doesn’t have a reason to lie but Moo-jin is firmly in the ‘she’s lying’ camp. Ideally, mom is right in being open to the possibility that Sun-ho might be wrong but as viewers who’ve followed Sun-ho and Joon-seok’s backstories, it’s difficult to maintain that stance. For the first time, we see In-ha act like every other moms on this show when she seems more worried about her son being branded a criminal than finding out the truth.
It is exactly this hypocrisy that Moo-jin points out and reminds her of their goal to uncover the truth, no matter how uncomfortable. In-ha struggles to dig into this corner of her son’s life and ultimately, it is Su-ho’s innocent belief in her brother’s unfailing goodness that clears her mind and brings her back on track.
Moojin puts into perspective how much he misses his son when Teacher Lee asks if he had a hard time because of the comments on the article and his response is that none of it will matter when his son wakes up and calls his name. Reader, I cried. The journalist and the detective on Sun-ho’s case blame each other for botching up the case, but I was glad to see that in the end, they both agreed to be cautious in order not to hurt Sun-ho’s family.
Another thing I was glad for in this episode was for Gi-chan to get a taste of his own medicine when Joon-seok treats him like he treated Sun-ho. Back then, Ki-chan had bullied Sun-ho similarly but seems to regret it now. With his arc still being given screen time, I wonder if he will eventually land some evidence to prove Joon-seok’s lies. With In-ha and Moo-jin retracing Sun-ho’s steps on the day of Da-hee’s assault and proving his innocence, I’m genuinely left stumped as to why the poor girl had to lie and implicate Sun-ho for her assault.
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- Beautiful World Review: Episodes 1 & 2
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- Beautiful World Review: Episode 16 (Final)