Four Years Later
Episode 4 of Hellbound begins with a huge time jump; four years to be precise. The nation has fully embraced The New Truth, with Jeongchil pulling the strings and serving as the new leader of this cult.
The New Truth are a global sensation, with Priest Yoo-Ji helping to send the message out. Attending a meeting at a TV broadcast station, they show off the new promotional video pedaling their ideology.
Yoo-Ji’s suggestions to shake things up though rubs Producer Bae Young-Jae up the wrong way. He scoffs at the notion and calls out The New Truth for spreading fear and condemnation throughout Korea. He’s quickly shot down by his colleagues though, who berate him for questioning the cult.
Off the back of this unpleasant meeting, Young-Jae is forced to stay late and re-edit the documentary. That’s not great news, given his wife is in hospital and awaiting news on their child. He’s in intensive care at the moment and the couple are worried that the babe may not pull through.
That evening though, Young-Jae gets to work editing the film. Only, he notices his colleague Jun-Won with a business card on his desk for something called Sodo Quick Loan. On the back, the words ” Yangpyeong Fishing Spot” are scrawled.
Young-Jae decides to investigate later that evening, off the back of receiving a worried call from Jun-Won’s wife. En-route though, we cut to the hospital where Young-Jae’s child, the one in intensive care, is visited by the Prophet Angel and tells the baby he has 3 days to live.
Young-Jae is stopped by the Arrowhead thugs down by the lake, who seemingly play the role of police now. When he mentions shooting scenery, he’s allowed to drive on.
Young-Jae makes it to the fishing spot, where Jun-won’s car happens to be parked up. Jun-Won is down by the water, despairing. It turns out he actually received a decree and he’s bound for Hell. He wants this to be kept a secret from everyone, deciding to die in peace and spare his family the shame of being branded a family of sinners.
Sodo Law Firm are involved here too, agreeing to hide his body and keep this a secret. And just like that, the Hell creatures show and kill Jun-Won right in front of Young-Jae.
Producer Bae is eventually taken away after being injected with a syringe. He’s told to forget what he’s seen, as the death is covered up. However, the business card for Sodo Quick Loan remains by the side of the water. Interestingly though, their leader seems to be Hye-Jin, complete with a new haircut and a much more direct attitude.
That business card is spotted by priest Yoo-Ji in the morning, who snaps a photo of it while the other investigators there come up short, unable to find any evidence of Jun-Won.
Young-Jae heads back to the hospital, where he finds So-Hyun sobbing. She hasn’t been able to find any case related to newborns being sinners and she’s understandably distraught around this decree. When Young-Jae finds out, he’s crushed.
The Episode Review
There’s definitely something suspicious with The New Truth, but it’s surprising just how quickly Korea has seemed to buckle to their demands and embrace religious ideology. We haven’t seen anything from the police, government or any other top official since this has taken place and it seems like a pretty massive stretch just to accept this.
For a country with over 50% of its population not religious, it is a bit difficult to believe that The New Truth and Arrowhead now run the show. I do appreciate that these decrees are difficult to take but it also feels odd that public servants aren’t doing their jobs properly because of this.
It also doesn’t help that the time jump has essentially taken the wind out the proverbial sails with this show. We’re left to scramble to conclusions over what’s happened during these four years, with no mention of any of the events directly following Jin-Soo’s death.
Personally, I think Hellbound would have worked more effectively to see this, including push-back to a government mandated decree to follow The New Truth after the President is revealed to be massively religious and wholeheartedly believes in their ideology. After some pushback, people just comply to prevent an uprising, leading them closer to North Korean way of thinking.
The fact that everyone has just accepted this new, sleazy businessman as a leader over Jin-Soo on top of all of this just feels sloppy and with seemingly no one bothering to question the validity in all this, I just hope we get something in the final two episodes to justify this massive leap in logic.
Hellbound does still have some positives though, and the acting all round is pretty great. The visuals are decent and the ideas are certainly interesting. It’s just a shame that the execution leaves a lot to be desired here, with huge holes in the worldbuilding and logic of how everything slots together.