Episode 1 of Hellbound begins on November 10th. The time turns 1.20pm and ominous thumping sounds in the distance. Suddenly, the glass in a coffee shop shatters, bringing in monstrous shadowy creatures.
They chase an innocent bystander down the street, casing devastation in their wake. When these monstrous titans finally catch up with the man, he’s left a bloody mess. The trio of creatures lean forward, holding out their hands, and burn the man to a crisp. It’s a shocking, crazy opening to this k-drama.
We then cut to a police station, where the team are given a briefing over what happened. The victim’s name was Joo Myeonghun, and he lived nearby alone after being divorced for two years.
Kyung-Hoon shows up late to the meeting, shocked at the demonic creature being discussed. Interestingly, Jung Jin-Soo begins trending online, a guy who’s head of a new religion called The New Truth. And wouldn’t you know it, Kyung-Hoon and fellow detective Eun-Pyo are tasked with looking into them more,
Rumours are abound that they’re involved with a petty crime gang called Arrowhead too. They tend to use video footage to entice new members to join but The New Truth is a very secretive organization. Interestingly though, they’ve organized a gathering at the crime scene. This essentially works to kill two birds with one stone for our detective.
Kyung-Hoon shows up and after learning little from the crime scene itself, he encroaches on The New Truth’s meeting.
With plenty of video footage and photos, Jin-Soo steps up and informs this small crowd of the sobering reality around what’s happening. There are numerous victims cropping up all over the place – even in Japan – with similar injuries to those found on our burn victim.
These smoke creatures appear to be targeting sinners, if Jin-Soo is to be believed. Of course, this also benefits Jin-Soo, who jumps all over this and claims it’s a sign from God that they need to be more righteous.
In the middle of this investigation, Kyung-Hoon’s daughter Hee-Jung shows up. She greets Jin-Soo, as Kyung-Hoon is left in an awkward position. It turns out his daughter has been doing some voluntary work for The New Truth lately.
Kyung-Hoon’s first impression of Jin-Soo is one that’s immediately challenged, with Jin-Soo humble enough to ride public transport and allegedly staying grounded in his life.
Some of this seems to stem from his past. As they ride the train together, Jin-Soo discusses his childhood, including growing up in an orphanage until he turned 20. At that point, he was then able to leave.
Miserable in his own life though, Jin-Soo contemplated suicide. However, he wanted to do so in seclusion, so he travelled to the Tibetan plains. Interestingly, here he noticed these creatures out in the wilderness, turning an unsuspecting victim to a crisp.
Witnessing this singular moment gave Jin-Soo a purpose in life. He interpreted this as a sign from God, a need to spread His word for sinners to repent and everyone else to live a more righteous life.
As Kyung-Hoon walks with Jin-Soo, he scoffs at the idea of the lord and God himself. Jin-Soo is prepared for this though and brings up the subject of Kyung-Hoon’s wife. She was murdered in the past and it’s a black cloud that’s been hanging over this detective ever since.
Jin-Soo questions what he may be doing right now, whilst simultaneously shrugging off the “rumours” about New Truth being closely aligned to the Arrowhead gang.
While their chat doesn’t reveal much, it does force that itch Kyung-Hoon has to grow. He heads home and intends to figure out exactly what Jin-Soo may be hiding. This inevitably sees him head online to investigate Jin-Soo’s past.
Unfortunately, this also leads him down the rabbit hole regarding what happened to his wife. The culprit in question was released after six years in prison and that only further reinforces Jin-Soo’s words, asking him earlier whether the killer is actually remorseful or not.
We then cut to a woman called Park Jungja. She heads home to her children, who end up singing happy birthday to her. Only, a strange Prophetic face appears (later known as the Prophet Angel) and growls that Jung-Ja is bound for Hell in five days’ time.
At work the next day, Kyung-Hoon has his hands full. That previous evening Arrowhead attacked a novelist out in the streets. Armed with iron pipes and weapons, a group of kids arrived and beat him down, leaving the man a bloody mess. Now he shows up in the station, accompanied by his lawyer, Hye-Jin.
With some of the Arrowhead kids responsible in the station also, Eunpyo is tasked with talking to the kids while Kyung-Hoon tackles the victim and Hye-Jin. Visibly shaken, Jungja tells the others about her death omen and a visit to The New Truth. As they sit and listen, Jungja reveals that The New Truth want to film her descent to Hell. As we cut to Jin-Soo, he smirks.
The Episode Review
Hellbound gets off to a pretty good start here, introducing these strange creatures, adding plenty of intriguing questions and leaving the season itself open for plenty of drama to come.
The idea of this cult feels similar to the eerie atmosphere and ideas seen in fellow k-drama Save Me, while the mystery and investigation are enticing enough to really get involved in what’s happening and try to guess whether this is real or one big, elaborate hoax.
Are these really creatures from Hell or is there a larger plot going on involving the cult and Jin-Soo? He’s certainty no angel either (no pun intended!) and it’s clear there’s some pretty dark secrets brewing with this cult.
For now, we’ll have to wait and see what this has in store for us. One thing’s for sure though – Hellbound’s first episode gets off to a very engaging and interesting start.