We begin episode 3 of True Beauty with Soo-Ho saving Ju-Kyung from her ordeal. As he walks away with her, he passes Seo-Joon and takes off to another bathroom where Ju-Kyung re-applies her make-up. She steps out and thanks Soo-Ho…but it’s actually Seo-Joon standing there instead.
Racing back to class, Ju-Kyung contemplates whether Soo-Ho knows what she looks like without make-up or not. Determined to find out, she grabs her brother who claims she’s committing fraud by changing her face.
For the rest of the day, Ju-Kyung struggles to concentrate. She keeps seeing Soo-Ho as a vampire and believes he’s going to get his revenge. Instead, he simply hands over her science text book.
It’s an exhausting day but when Ju-Kyung finally heads home she receives a call from Soo-Ho requesting she (Ju-Bal) show up at the comic store. With the lights flickering, Soo-Ho mentions how there’s a girl at school just like her. Ju-Kyung dances her way around the questions and eventually claims not to be the Ju-Kyung he knows.
Only, the jig is up and as her Mother shows at the comic store and calls out her name, Soo-Ho finally uncovers the truth. it turns out though he actually found out the truth way before then courtesy of her package in school.
At home, Ju-Kyung draws inspiration from her sister, of all people, and watches as she plays video games. She realizes not to give in to fear and to tackle everything head on.
This gives her renewed vigor as she calls out Soo-Ho on the school field. Eventually she begs him not to say anything…which he agrees to do so if she does everything he tells her to do.
In class, Ju-Kyung finds herself in familiar territory as she continues to run errands for Soo-Ho. However, she’s stopped in the hallway by Seo-Joon who demands she hand back his helmet. Only, it turns out her brother has actually sold it on a resale app.
Meanwhile, Hee-Kyung finds an opportune time to speak to the teacher she’s crushing over, Han Joon-Woo. As his car breaks down, he watches and admires Hee-Kyung’s handiwork as she changes a tire for him.
She’s incredibly forward, eventually taking his number and encouraging him to ask her out for a meal. As she leaves, Hee-Kyung smoothly tells him to think about the beginning.
Elsewhere, Soo-Jin receives a message from her Mother, asking to come home and have dinner with Mr Choi.
When Hyun-Sook heads home however, the kids are forced to sit opposite each other and repeat “I love you”. When Soo-Ho messages, Ju-Kyung is forced out to pick up a book for him. It’s a momentary visit and one that sees her not stick around to hear what he has to say.
The next day, Ju-Kyung writes a note for Seo-Joon telling him patience is a virtue…and that her brother sold the helmet on a resale app. Woops! Seo-Joon plays it off with his friends as a love letter though while Ju-Kyung heads back inside.
Given how sketchy Ju-Kyung has been acting lately, Soo-Jin starts to suspect something is up. When she sees her friend talking to Ju-Kyung on the stairs, she assumes that Seo-Joon is bullying Ju-Kyung and heads out to confront him.
Ju-Kyung is invited up to the rooftop to eat with Soo-Ho. Only, he doesn’t actually eat any of it until she encourages him to try the mixed up food. Ju-Kyung asks him for one final task to make sure she’s not in his debt anymore and that includes singing at the school talent show.
Instead of singing, Ju-Kyung instead shows up and starts dancing on stage… only it’s not actually the talent show competition. It’s a teacher’s meeting discussing which students will make it into university. Soo-Ho happens to be watching though and struggles to disguise his smile as Ju-Kyung shyly backs away in embarrassment.
At home, Ju-Kyung heads back and receives a small glimmer of hope when her brother drops off the motorcycle helmet. Afterwards, Ju-Kyung reflects on her dual life and notes how even she herself believes she’s ugly.
Anyway, Ju-Kyung heads off to the Comic Store to see Soo-Ho but bumps into a group of kids on the way. They bully her about her looks and tell the girl to look down at her feet.
Ju-Kyung is distraught but eventually shows up and hands Soo-Ho back his book. As she does, Ju-Kyung opens up about how she feels and eventually tells him not to mess around with her feelings.
After wrapping her up in his jacket, Soo-Ho eventually helps fix up her cut leg. Only, as he calls out Ju-Kyung’s name beforehand, Seo-Joon happens to overhear and watches all this take place from afar.
At school the next day, Seo-Joon confronts Soo-Ho and tells him he must be happy after killing his friend. He then hurries up to Ju-Kyung, sitting next to her and deciding to eat at the same table. Soo-Ho immediately takes offence to this though and grabs his former friend, ready to explode as the episode ends.
The Episode Review
True Beauty returns this week for a great dose of comedic drama. The themes around true beauty lying within continue to dominate large swathes of this show while the deepening ties between Soo-Ho and Ju-Kyung continues to be a central part of episode 3 in particular.
I really like that Soo-Ho has taken a fancy to Ju-Kyung’s real face and it’s a reflection of just how important personality is to a lasting and healthy relationship.
These themes around personality are especially true and relevant for Korea, where looks are scrutinized to such a degree that the country is plagued with an epidemic of young people having plastic surgery. Even worse, in some of the more extreme cases kids commit suicide too so it really is a tough old world out there.
Interestingly, the ending about Soo-Ho being responsible for “killing his friend” may just spice things up – could this be a direct result of bullying about looks?
True Beauty’s comedy continues to be a central part of why this show works as well as it does though. This week the humour feels much more balanced too and helps True Beauty to strike the right balance with its main protagonist.
As we gear up for the inevitable love triangle to come, this series looks set to be a promising prospect going into the new year!