True Beauty Lies Within
Episode 13 of True Beauty begins with the truth about Ju-Kyung finally spreading around school. Distraught and upset, she’s grabbed by the bullies and taken into the bathroom. They want to know exactly how she seduced Soo-Ho and start wiping off the make-up from Ju-Kyung’s face.
Thankfully Soo-Ho stops them but it’s too much for Ju-Kyung and she hurries away. It’s here Seo-Joon learns the truth about Ju-Kyung’s appearance, seeing the original video of her being bulled and marches off purposefully.
Seo-Joon heads to Yongpa High and confronts Sae-Mi over what happened with Ju-Kyung. She admits it wasn’t her that spread the video and hints that it’s someone from their class. Of course, we know the real culprit is Soo-Jin.
Seo-Joon figures it out too and marches back to school, dragging Soo-Jin outside and calling the girl a piece of trash. She refuses to delete the video, prompting Seo-Joon to tell her she’s only destroyed herself, not Ju-Kyung, by doing this.
As news of Ju-Kyung’s identity spreads across school, Ju-Young loses his temper and begins beating down one of the boys watching the video. That is, until Ga Woon arrives and tells him to head outside to cool off. She calls him a good boy but reminds him that violence is never the answer. She hands over a plaster to patch up his hand and walks away.
As the situation in class escalates, Joon-Woo questions whether he’s the reason all of this is happening. Given it’s on the eve of Ju-Kyung finding out about him and Hee-Kyung, he suspects this may b the reason why. Well, the other teachers certainly aren’t shy about voicing their opinions, teasing him about dating. Thanks to this pressure, later that evening he rings Hee-Kyung and breaks up with her, telling her to wait a year until everything settles down. After saying goodbye, he runs off.
Ju-Kyung eventually heads home after spending all day by herself and refuses to speak to Soo-Ho, who waits by her door. Well, things take a turn for the worst when she heads inside.
Her parents confront her about the beauty course and ask how she’s affording this. It’s here Ju-Kyung reveals she has a job and tells her not to get involved in the course. After ripping up the registration card, Hyun-Sook demands she get a refund.
Meanwhile, Soo-Ho learns the truth about his Father and how he was shielding him from what happened with Se-Yeon. As he walks away, Soo-Ho receives a message from him asking to meet as he’s leaving the country soon.
At school, Joon-Woo learns the truth about why Ju-Kyung wasn’t in school the previous day. It wasn’t because of his relationship, it’s of course because of the online video.
Joon-Woo arrives in class and tells his students just how disappointed he is of them. He mentions Ju-Kyung’s pain and how she’s suffering, leading the class to descend into guilty silence. Not long after, Seo-Joon heads off to track down the webmaster responsible for posting the video. He finds the freshman and demands she delete it. It seems to work too, although the damage has already been done.
At school, Joon-Woo brings Ju-Kyung’s Mother in and shows her the video of her daughter being bullied. It’s the first time Hyun-Sook is seeing this and she’s understandably shocked. At the same time, Ju-Kyung shows up at Soo-Jin’s house and confronts her about the video. Soo-Jin nonchalantly tells her to run away since she’s so good at that, shutting the door in the girl’s face.
When Ju-Kyung heads home, Hyun-Sook throws her arms around Ju-Kyung and demands to know who was bullying her, now knowing the truth about what happened in the past. The whole family is supportive, doing their best to try and build Ju-Kyung’s shattered confidence back up again. In fact, Hyun-Sook even brings her to a plastic surgery clinic just to break the news that she looks just as pretty with makeup on.
Later that evening, Ju-Kyung hides out at Prince Comics where Soo-Ho arrives to see her. After making her laugh a little, Soo-Ho holds the girl in his arms and tells her he missed her. They have a nice evening together, interspersed by Seo-Joon’s worried texts to Soo-Ho trying to make sure Ju-Kyung is okay. Well, Soo-Ho even leaves a really cheesy video message for her, taking cues from Yoo Tae-Hoon to try and cheer Ju-Kyung up.
On the back of this, Soo-Ho rings his Father and learns he’s going to be in the US for a bit. He gives Soo-Ho the option of living with him in America but he refuses. Instead, Soo-Ho asks him to buy something delicious when he returns to Korea again. It seems like this father/son relationship may actually heal after all!
At school, Ju-Kyung shows up again with no makeup on and wearing her glasses. Well… maybe a bit of makeup as her spots are gone. She shows up in class and smiles warmly, greeting her friends as they all ask if she’s okay. Soo-A meanwhile, runs away.
Ju-Kyung’s newfound confidence sees her arrive in the hallway and admit to everyone she’s dating Soo-Ho. This is eventually confirmed when Soo-Ho shows up and hugs her.
During the epilogue, we cut back in time to Ju-Kyung as a child as she’s rejected by the other girls in the neighbourhood. They did so outside the comic store, sending her inside where she met Soo-Ho for the first time.
The Episode Review
True Beauty returns with a definitive episode that shows Ju-Kyung finally gaining the confidence to embrace her true face and self. Thanks partly to Joon-Woo’s encouraging words, Ju-Kyung gains the courage to come back to school and not be bullied by everyone. It’s certainly a triumphant return and seeing her square up to all the girls and stop them from bad mouthing Soo-Ho is a nice touch, one backed up by Soo-Ho arriving and hugging her.
The various other subplots continue to tick along too, although the show really centers on the themes of beauty and exactly where the true meaning of this lies. Of course, this is solely from within with looks secondary to personality.
That’s not the case in high school though, with a hierarchical world that can be very lonely and destructive at the bottom. As someone who was bullied for 5 years and contemplated suicide numerous times, I can completely empathize with Ju-Kyung’s struggles and growing from that experience, becoming a better person and gaining the confidence to stand up for yourself, is ultimately more beautiful than a pretty face.