The Love Triangle Returns
Episode 15 of True Beauty begins with Soo-Ho arriving to see his Father, who’s currently in a critical condition in hospital. He apologizes to Soo-Ho, doing his best to breathlessly say the words he’s been meaning to say for a while. He admits he wasn’t sure he’d get another chance, as Soo-Ho does his best to try and help him recover.
Time passes and Soo-Ho stays behind to make sure his Father is discharged from hospital. After hanging up on Ju-Kyung, promising he’ll head home soon, his Father has internal bleeding and is rushed into intensive care.
Thankfully Joo-Hun survives but his condition is still precarious. Ju-Kyung, unaware of what’s happening, heads to the airport to surprise Soo-Ho. Of course, he obviously doesn’t show up.
After the school break, Ju-Kyung returns to class and learns that Soo-Jin has dropped out to go and study abroad. While that’s going on, she messages Soo-Ho and is updated on his Father’s condition.
However, Ju-Kyung winds up sick too with an upset stomach and is taken into hospital. When she’s discharged and heads home, Ju-Kyung rings and lets Soo-Ho know that she’s finally got her license.
This news is shattered though by Soo-Ho deciding they should break up. He doesn’t know how long his Father is going to be sick for and believes this is for the best. Despite Ju-Kyung telling him she’s happy to wait, he refuses to let this occur and presses on with the break-up.
We then jump forward to Ju-Kyung’s college tests in 2021 as she inches closer to her dreams of going to college. She continues to message Soo-Ho during this time, letting him know about the snow and hoping that Soo-Ho is okay. This message we hear is the last one she sends though, as she eventually says goodbye to her lover.
Now we’re at the time jump forward (2 years to be precise) as Ju-Kyung works on-set at a beauty shoot while messaging Seo-Joon. This catches us up to the dinner date from last time too, as all our characters from school join together for a big dinner. Ju-Kyung collapses and passes out on the table though, eventually leading her to fall into Seo-Joon’s arms when he shows up.
Eventually though he takes her outside and tries his best to deal with her drunken antics. He eventually takes her home, thinking twice about kissing her in this state, where Seo-Joon stays over and joins the family for breakfast. After, they discuss the previous night as Seo-Joon outright admits that he likes her. Ju-Kyung is stunned and tries to work out exactly when he started to feel this way.
Well, before that though Ga-Woon receives confirmation that she’s been accepted for college and kisses Ju-Young on the cheek. Ju-Kyung notices this and given these two are best friends, she questions her own feelings toward Seo-Joon.
That evening, Ju-Kyung heads out for her dinner date with Seo-Joon. He admits to liking her for a long time and confirms that after three years, he needs to open up and tell the truth. Well, now that he has he asks her for three dates to try and win her over.
Meanwhile, Hee-Kyung prepares for her wedding as both he and Joon-Woo go dress shopping. Only, she’s clearly not invested in his tuxedo, especially when he wears the same one twice and she suspects it’s a different one. He feigns disappointment and walks away, preparing in secret to propose to her back home.
Elsewhere, Ju-Kyung heads out to Namsang to go and think, mulling over Soo-Ho’s words. However, when she arrives there she runs into Soo-Ho himself who’s looking out at the horizon.
He approaches Ju-Kyung, who asks outright why he’s back given he broke up with her. Soo-Ho admits that he’s missed her all this time but Ju-Kyung is unwilling to listen. Instead, she walks away. That is, until she clutches her stomach in pain and is taken to hospital.
Thankfully she’s okay, suffering from a case of constipation and serious embarrassment. Unable to look at Soo-Ho, she hurries away and avoids him, interrupting Hee-Kyung’s big wedding proposal at home in doing so.
After 3 years, Soo-Ho still has Ju-Kyung saved as “girlfriend” in his phone and he tries in vain to contact her. Seo-Joon soon learns that Soo-Ho is back, and that he met with Ju-Kyung.
The next day Soo-Ho decides to try and win Ju-Kyung over, waiting outside her house and showing up at the hairdressers where she’s working. This distracts Ju-Kyung all day, completely forgetting about her date with Seo-Joon.
He doesn’t seem to mind though and takes her out ice-skating where she falls and cuts her hand. When he tries to patch it up with a plaster, she can’t help but think about Soo-Ho…who continues to wait outside her house. Eventually he heads to Prince Comics and messages her “I’ll wait.”
Well, Seo-Joon heads back to Prince Comics where he drops off Ju-Kyung. As he hugs her goodbye, Soo-Ho appears and sees them both together.
The Episode Review
Anyone else getting horrible Start-Up PTSD? True Beauty jumps forward in time and in doing so, reverses a lot of the good will this show has brought with it over the weeks. This fluffy, lighthearted romcom excelled when it focused on ideas around beauty and how that ties into high school romance. Now that we’ve jumped forward, away from the hostilities of high school, the central theme doesn’t feel as effective as it once was.
To make matters worse, the tone here feels completely off with a lot of this episode taken up with heartache, angst and a return to the love triangle from before.
Much like Ji-Pyeong in Start-Up (apologies for anyone who hasn’t watched that show!) it’s take Seo-Joon 3 years to actually open up and admit his true feelings to Ju-Kyung. Things change, people change, and with both of these characters busy off doing other things, their vibe leans much closer to brother/sister than lovers.
Their dates were pretty uncomfortable and to be honest, don’t give off any sort of romantic vibes.
Although brief, a glimpse at Soo-Jin doing charity work makes for an intriguing finale to come and I do hope they actually give her a bit of a redeeming arc.
For me though, I’d personally like the show to end with Ju-Kyung choosing to reject both men – just like I predicted (wrongly, very, very wrongly,) Start-Up would do. Like Dal-Mi in that drama, Ju-Kyung’s empowering story of embracing her own identity would make a far more powerful message without the need for a man by her side.
Still, there’s enough here to like but hopefully the finale will wrap up this love triangle quickly so we can get back to those lighthearted tones that made the show so appealing to begin with!