The Last Performance
Is Ri-Eul guilty?
Episode 6 of The Sound of Magic begins with police being called down to the reservoir where a dead body has been found. The police are waiting for DNA test results to come in but it would appear, according to the dental records, that it’s Ha-Yoon. To make matters worse, her personal items have been found near the theme park as well.
Ha-Na heads to the police station to file a report of her abuse, sporting nasty bruises across her neck where Ri-Eul choked her out. Everything is starting to heat up now and it would appear that Ri-Eul is the guilty party here.
Ah-Yi heads down to the theme park where she finds Ri-Eul’s journal. She uncovers numerous schematics, and she manages to find a hidden compartment under the stage. Ri-Eul is there with his parrot, Bella, and he’s distraught. Bella is in a rough way and looks to be dying. Ah-Yi suggests taking her to see a vet but he refuses. Bella’s last wish is to die peacefully.
Ah-Yi points out that the police are going to raid the place shortly. Ri-Eul promises her that he wasn’t responsible for the mugging, and as he pleads with Ah-Yi to believe him, she’s not so sure anymore.
Who is the magician?
Above the stage, Ri-Eul allows the police to take him and he goes willingly. Ah-Yi is still in denial but the police have done their homework and tell Ah-Yi exactly who this man is. His real name is Ryu Min-Hyuk. He’s 30 and was born in Seoul.
Min-Hyuk is also a high school drop-out 10 years back and he went missing from a mental hospital he was held up in. 3 years ago he was actually being investigated twice as a suspect during a missing student case in Seongmi-Dong. He’s been in and out of the police station since. The penny drops. Ah-Yi realizes that Ri-Eul is not magical but really just a crazed maniac thinking that he can conjure magical spells.
Who is the pregnant woman? How is she connected with the magician?
Ah-Yi is determined to find out more and decides to contact that pregnant woman whom she gave her number to earlier in the season. But who is this pregnant woman? Well, it turns out her name is Jin-Soo and she went to high school with Min-Hyuk.
It’s been over 10 years since then but he was the top student back then. Even his siblings were brilliant as well. However, something changed during school. The overwhelming pressure of exams or the societal expectations thrust upon him by his parents; either way, it’s too much for Min-Hyuk who suffers from malnutrition and over studies, worried about letting his parents down.
A few days before the mock CSAT exam, Min-Hyuk has a mental breakdown on the roof. He sees butterflies and a field of yellow flowers. This vision takes him to the school roof, where he jumps off to the ground. He survives, and is subsequently taken to hospital. Jin-Soo admits this was the last time she saw him, at least for a while.
Min-Hyuk eventually recovered and was taken to a psychiatric hospital. Jin-Soo is adamant that he’s not the sort of person who would be violent and commit those atrocious acts of assault.
Where does Min-Hyuk run off to?
While the detectives mull over this exact same question, checking out the evidence, they look up and find Ri-Eul has gone from his seat in the interrogation room. Word reaches both Il-Deung and Ah-Yi who rush out to try and find him.
Jin-Soo’s words ring in Ah-Yi’s ears, realizing that Min-Hyuk ultimately never wanted to grow up but also didn’t meet the required standard to be an adult. The pressure was just too much for him.
As for Min-Hyuk, our great magician is actually back at the theme park again. The detectives arrive but he shrugs off their pleas for him getting treatment and an attorney. Instead, he decides to do magic for them.
What happens to Min-Hyuk?
At a stand-off, everything starts escalating until Ah-Yi steps up on stage and asks the detectives to give her a moment with Min-Hyuk.
In that moment, it suddenly starts snowing. The police are all completely shocked but they watch on as Ah-Yi steps up and begins singing with Min-Hyuk.
The song is about healing and seeing; in particular how Ah-Yi has accepted that he’s a real magician and has helped Ah-yi believe in magic. That’s been his goal all along, to help others like Ah-Yi look past their despair and unenviable pain. He wanted her to believe in something bigger than herself.
Just before Min-Hyuk is taken away, Ah-Yi asks Min-Hyuk if he believes in magic. Everything comes full circle, as Ah-Yi takes the large robe by her side, wraps it around him and allows Min-Hyuk to disappear before their very eyes.
Who killed Ha-Yoon?
With Ri-Eul/Min-Hyuk gone, Ah-Yi and Yoo-Yi pay their respects to Bella, who sadly passed away. The police though have found something from the cameras in the theme park. Two months back, they’ve uncovered footage of the real killer. Remember Doo-Sik? The man who abused Ah-Yi earlier in the season? Well, it turns out he’s the real killer!
What happened to Ha-Yoon?
Ha-Yoon used to work at the convenience store with Doo-Sik, who caught her stealing cigarettes and cash. Despicably, he tries to assault her but Ha-Yoon has the upper-hand. She actually recorded the whole thing.
Doo-Sik couldn’t let that slide and as such, killed the poor woman and dumped her body in the reservoir. He even admits to it in front of the police too, and given they have CCTV footage of him, he doesn’t really have a leg to stand out.
Doo-Sik attacked Min-Hyuk that night at the theme park too, with Min0Hyuk actually defending himself with a knife. He never stabbed him, he was trying to protect himself.
As for Doo-Sik, he took Min-Hyuk’s costume and framed the poor magician. All this time the real misdirection has been on us, the audience, given Min-Hyuk was innocent.
Interestingly, the footage from the CCTV they managed to obtain was actually from the time Min-Hyuk turned all the lights on and started the fireworks around the amusement park. Remember the Aladdin-esque ride on the Mery-Go-Round in episode 3? For those 4 minutes, it appears the “bright lights” were not faked after all. But is Min-Hyuk really magic?
What happens to Il-Deung at the end?
Following a fight earlier on in this finale, Il-Deung decides to drop out of the academy. He doesn’t want hand-outs or favours from the Dean, he wants to pursue this himself and tackle life head-on. This also sees him turn away from Ah-Yi too.
Does Ah-Yi keep the magic alive?
Speaking of which, Ah-Yi decides to change up who she’s messaging too. Instead of just sending texts to her mum, she decides to write letters to Min-Hyuk, her mum and to Bella equally. She’s become a “boring adult” but also writing to them all, using the “magic letterbox” to try and keep this magic alive.
If that wasn’t enough, Ah-Yi, decides to take up Min-Hyuk’s mantle and asks “do you believe in magic?” to the young children she does magic for.
Is there a post-credit sequence?
Yes, there is! Given the musical influences of the show, we get a theatre-esque performance, one final encore for all our characters as they take to the stage and sing and dance for the audience.
The Episode Review
The Sound of Magic bows out with an excellent final chapter, one that rounds out the whole story with a neat little bow and concludes this chapter on a high. The whole time we’ve been misdirected over who Ri-Eul/Min-Hyuk actually is and also whether magic is real in this show or not. By the end we’re no closer to finding out, but it’s interesting that this show takes on the same tone as something like Miracle on 34th Street.
The show itself constantly flits back and forth between this idea of Ri-Eul being this magician and actually being a master of deception, and by the end we’re none the wiser to either. Personally, I’d go for the latter, given his chatter about misdirection (which is partly directed toward us, dear readers!) and that pretty much everything could be explained through magic tricks. In-universe of course.
Did Ah-Yi really set off on a horse and travel across Seoul? Doubtful. Did Ri-Eul have a load of fireworks ready to set off to wow Ah-Yi? Probably, especially if there were some left over in storage.
Either way though, The Sound Of Magic goes deeper than that and ties it in with societal pressure, that idea of growing up and losing one’s innocence and sense of wonder through the grueling, unending tirade of work and pressure at school. All of this combines to make a show that seems simple and straightforward on the surface, but has layers of depth hidden underneath its glitzy surface.
Another first-rate K-Drama on Netflix this one, and given the network have completely cleaned house at the recent Baeksang Awards, it looks like they have another winner on their hands.