Episode 3 of Hellbound starts with The New Truth making a big show of the Jungja incident. With her sat facing away from the crowd, the countdown takes place while the VIPs watch on. Reaching zero, the ground suddenly starts shaking and out from the door step those same shadowy, smoky creature we saw in the first episode.
Kyung-Hoon tries to fire his gun but it’s no good. Jungja is beaten to death, right there in front of all the cameras. And just like before, the trio reach out and burn the woman to a crisp.
This singular action sees EunPyo – and then numerous other people outside – drop to their knees and silently begin praying. Hye-Jin is stunned, while Kyung-Hoon is knocked clean out following a nasty punch from this creature.
When Kyung-Hoon awakens in hospital, he finds himself alone. The streets are eerily quiet too, while Jin-Soo is made a celebrity overnight. He’s become the most important person in Korea, and the local news networks start interviewing him. They ask about The New Truth and the “good work” they’re doing, as it seems like the whole country has been gripped in mass hysteria. Hye-Jin and Kyung-Hoon though, remain suspicious.
In fact, Kyung-Hoon checks through the CCTV footage from the previous night while this interview is going on. There, he notices his wife’s killer being dragged to the incinerator. The black hooded jacket he’s wearing just so happens to be in the background of Jin-Soo’s apartment. “I would like to welcome you all to the New World,” Jin-Soo says, signing off the interview as Kyung-Hoon is left seething with anger.
Does he go to the police though? Does he launch an investigation into the cult leader? Does he tell anyone about the jacket? No. No he does not. Instead, we get more Arrowhead misinformation.
The Arrowhead organization throw shade at Kyung-Hoon for firing on the Hell beasts and Hye-Jin for not bowing down and praying. This essentially makes the pair public enemies. Even worse, Hye-Jin’s office has been completely ransacked, with graffiti up on the walls and the whole office a complete mess.
Hye-Jin’s colleague Yeongho is left a bloody mess too. He rings Hye-Jin sobbing, scared and fearful for his life after being beaten down to a pulp by the Arrowhead thugs.
Unfortunately, Hye-Jin and her mum are next. Both of them are beaten down with pipes in the parking lot, and after smacking Hye-Jin’s mum with a pipe to the face they race away. Hye-Jin is hysterical, and struggles to control herself as she heads to hospital, hoping her mother will be okay.
The trouble is, the masses have been swayed by The New Truth. People point and whisper at Hye-Jin in the waiting room. Others shoot suspicious glances her way. Worried, and noticing her own name trending online, Hye-Jin heads deeper into the hospital and finds her mum just lying on a hospital bed, left completely untreated and ignored. When Hye-Jin heads in to check on her, she realizes, to her devastation, that she’s passed away.
Meanwhile, Kyung-Hoon goes on the hunt for his daughter, who has gone missing. Unfortunately, he’s grabbed by a whole gang of people out in the streets and is beaten down. That is, until Jin-Soo rings. He tells Kyung-Hoon in confidence that he’s with Hee-Jung and gives Kyung-Hoon an address to visit. And that place? A creepy, abandoned school. Hee-Jung isn’t actually there but Jin-Soo is.
As the pair talk, Jin-Soo riffs about the prophecy he received 20 years ago. Just like Jungja, he too saw the strange floating face. An angel, as he refers to it. “You will die at 10.30pm 20 years from now. And you are bound for Hell.” It rasped to him. And that time just so happens to be 10 minutes from now. Lucky that Kyung-Hoon made it there in time then, eh?
Something Kyung-Hoon figured out earlier in the episode is reinforced by Jin-Soo’s big reveal about his upcoming death – not all those who die are sinners. Jin-Soo, for example, is adamant that he hasn’t done anything to sin in his life. Only, that hasn’t stopped him from carrying out God’s plan.
In fact, Jin-Soo decided to set up The New Truth to try and do right by others, creating this cult to try and instil good in the world. With his time up, Jin-Soo reveals his petty side, admitting outright that he he wants others to feel the same fear he has for the last 20 years.
With Jin-Soo’s time coming to an end, he gives Kyung-Hoon a choice – he can either film Jin-Soo and cause mass panic across the world, or he can ignore it and go back to live the life Jin-Soo has created for them all. Well, Kyung-Hoon decides on the latter option and watches as these creatures show up and take Jin-Soo to Hell.
Kyung-Hoon eventually heads home to Hee-Jung, sobbing. Hee-Jung though hugs her father but her eyes are cold and emotionless.
Hye-Jin, having received some intel early on and acting off that, visits Jeongchil at his office. Only, it turns out he’s actually on-course to be the next leader of The New Truth. His first act though is to kill Hye-Jin. As she leaves his office, numerous thugs from Arrowhead show again and begin beating her down with pipes, leaving her for dead.
The Episode Review
Hellbound returns with an episode that just starts to fall apart from the seams, this time focusing more on Jin-Soo and what’s driven him to start The New Truth. It’s a fascinating concept in truth and the idea that these creatures can even come for someone who hasn’t actually sinned is pretty terrifying, especially for these characters.
And yet, Jin-Soo has managed to spin this into (what he perceives anyway) is a force for good. Then again, he also spoke about how he actively wanted to kill himself and isn’t suicide a sin in the Bible? Maybe he was targeted because of this, but why wait 20 years before dealing judgment?
Where Hellbound is at its strongest though is when it leans into the dangers of misinformation being spread online. Seeing the mobs start to turn on Hye-Jin and Kyung-Hoon just because they don’t support the same ideology is dangerous and certainly an unnerving sight.
Now, there are parts of this that really don’t work at all. I don’t know a lot about Korea but doing a bit of digging online, it seems like half the country is not religious. With that in mind, the decision to have the doctors and other public workers not even try to save Hye-Jin’s mum seems disingenuous and not at all accurate.
Likewise, I appreciate the hell creatures have shown up but given how technology and special effects have advanced, to see all these people not even question what’s happening and blindly following Jin-Soo just feels like quite a jump, especially for a country like Korea that – according to official stats – isn’t a heavily religious country to begin with. Maybe it’s just me but it gives off an air of unbelievability that’s difficult to shake.
The perfect example of this is the CCTV footage incriminating Jin-Soo. Why didn’t Kyung-Hoon take this to the station and show his superiors? Why not blow this case wide open and show the masses that this guy is a crook? Likewise, why didn’t he actually record Jin-Soo’s confession, just in case he needs it in the future? It may be a nitpick but it seems like an important part of this story.
Hopefully we’ll see this elaborated on more in the future but right now, Hellbound is in danger of throwing away the great work its done during the opening 3 episodes or so.