As we delve into the second-half of the show, investigation into Sun-ho’s fall uncovers more leads and suspects who worked to hush the incident up. We finally delve into the confrontation between Sun-ho and Joon-seok and Da-hee’s role in it—which is my worst fear come true. As Sun-ho punches Joon-seok repeatedly, asking him to tell the truth about assaulting Da-hee, Joon-seok vehemently denies the accusations. With Joon-seok’s backstory, few are likely to believe his denial. And it seems his mother is one of them, going by her reaction to hearing this conversation’s recording.
If his cryptic questions to his wife weren’t hints enough, Joon-seok’s dad finally admits that he’s known what the mother and son have been up to. Now, there’s very little I would agree on with Joon-seok’s mom, but her indignation at her husband pretending not to know anything as she lost her mind didn’t seem misplaced. I came very close to feeling sorry for her when both father and son blamed her for the mess they’re in. All this while, Eun-joo has justified her actions in the name of protecting her son but the two men in her life seem to have no empathy for her predicament. She’s the only one who genuinely feels guilty of the crime she committed, and being blamed on top of that must be incredibly lonely.
I guess this is why despite the somewhat slower pace, this show has managed to keep my interest—it’s a solid psychological exploration into the minds of everyone involved—a mother who commits a crime for her son, a son who has lost his humanity too soon, and a father who believes his social status makes him invaluable to society. Sometimes, one among these morally bankrupt characters displays an inclination to do the right thing but the other one manages to steer her/him back to darkness.
Joon-seok’s dad is under the impression that he has a pretty good handle on everything, refusing to even entertain the possibility that his son is in the wrong. It’s just his luck that police have begun staking the one guy involved in covering everything up—Security Guard Shin Dae-gil. Granted, it’s for a completely different case but the detective is the same. Surely it can’t be that long till the common link between the two is discovered? I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Every episode I’m surprised by how much further Sun-ho’s parents are getting into this investigation compared to the police. Moo-jin manages to secure the tteokbokki cart owner’s testimony about seeing Eun-joo’s car all on his own while In-ha takes a more straightforward approach by confronting Eun-joo. Their confrontation scene was fascinating in many ways. It’s almost admirable how composed Eun-joo manages to look around In-ha when she’s pretty much shaking with anxiety 24×7. The two women’s friendship during high school doesn’t seem too different from their sons’—In-ha recounts how Eun-joo treated her the way we’ve seen Joon-seok treat Sun-ho. At one point, In-ha asks her friend if she can sleep at night and Eun-joo’s mask cracks for a split second. I’ll admit, I felt a pang of sadness for her. The sympathy she’s been hoping to find in her husband and son comes from the unlikeliest source for her and I can’t imagine how haunting that must be.
In-ha reading Sun-ho’s highlighted passages from The Catcher In The Rye unexpectedly reflected several themes from the show. From lines that spoke of adults being morally corrupt and to the narrator’s dream of protecting kids, everything was edited beautifully in a montage that reflected how Sun-ho was trying to protect Dong-hee and Da-hee in a similar way.
Despite its darker themes the show manages to throw in one or two light moments in every episode. This time, we had Joon-ha and Teacher Lee establish an unexpected friendship, one that I think is here to stay. Moo-jin goes out of his way to care for the ‘Dong’ siblings now that they’ve opened their hearts to him. It warms my heart to watch the siblings accept kindness and protection from Moo-jin and in Dong-hee’s case, Teacher Lee, who won me over by standing up for her. Along with occasional Su-ho moments, these two are the only bright spots in this show and I need someone to protect them from this cruel, cruel world.
All at once, several cracks are developing in what once looked like a wrought-iron lock on the mystery of Sun-ho’s fall. From the detective involved with the case showing initiative and questioning Eun-joo, Ki-chan and Sung-jae’s parents being incapable of working together to Moo-jin beginning to suspect Security Guard Shin’s role in the cover up—the cracks seem to be building up slowly and in different places. I just hope the final explosion is enough to take down everyone guilty of making Sun-ho’s family suffer.
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- Beautiful World Review: Episodes 1 & 2
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- Beautiful World Review: Episode 8
- Beautiful World Review: Episode 9
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