In episode 3 of School Tales the Series season 1, Aim just wants to be beautiful like her classmate, Dao. And when she searches for ways to become pretty overnight, her computer screen actually responds to her.
She can become beautiful in an instant, it says, if she agrees to “waive all conditions.” And if she reveals what she did, she will lose everything–including her beauty.
In moments, a pink potion is delivered to Aim’s door, which she drinks. The next day, everyone is staring at her, taking pictures with her, and asking how she became so pretty overnight.
The only person who isn’t enthralled is Dao, who wants to be the prettiest girl in school (and have the most followers on social media).
Dao quickly notices that something is off about Aim. She won’t tell anyone her beauty secret (although, rumor has it that it’s a ghost remedy). And she seems to have a strange fascination with blood and dead animals.
Dao is committed to finding out Aim’s secret, so much so that she moves in next door to her classmate. The closer she gets to her secret, however, the more acne appears on her face. Aim warns her off, too. She can’t know her secret.
By threatening Aim with evidence she’s collected about her (she’s eating dead kittens, for one), Dao eventually convinces her–not to tell her–but to show her some things about her curse. Aim takes her back to her room, convinced that Dao will change her mind once she learns just a few things.
But Dao insists she will do anything to be more beautiful, even eat dead animals. Aim shares that she didn’t read the conditions of this curse before drinking the potion, and she shakily points to where she’s keeping the rest of the pink liquid.
When Dao turns to look for the potion, Aim collapses and starts coughing. Dao finds it and drinks it immediately. Aim’s face reverts back to the way it was before, right as her head is severed from its body.
Dao is thrilled to be prettier again, until she turns to notice a shadowy tentacle-like body attached to Aim’s head. The “flesh spirit” informs her that she just drank their saliva.
They are not going to eat her right away; her body has to rot first. So, from now on, Dao’s nose will tell her what she can and can’t eat.
Just then, the pregnant landlord comes by and knocks on the door. “I smell a baby,” Dao says. The landlord opens the door to be greeted by an ominous red light.
The Episode Review
Directed by Songsak Mongkolthong, episode 3 of School Tales the Series has an intriguing, if simple, message to share about beauty ideals.
The “flesh spirit” is an allusion to the beauty industry. Most people who wear makeup are familiar with the promise that specific products can provide that “magic fix,” when they often do long term damage (in this episode, the spirit causes actual “rot”) and in turn make you more dependent on the short term fix from the products.
It’s an interesting premise, if a bit cliché in its execution. In the end, however, “Beautiful” doesn’t quite hit enough frightening notes to make it a satisfying horror story; and its commentary isn’t solid enough to save it.