True Beauty returns with Soo-Ho kissing Ju-Kyung at the start of episode 9 until she suddenly pulls away. She believes it may be a trick and wonders whether he’s just taking pity on her.
Soo-Ho reassures her that he’s not, but it’s clear Ju-Kyung is struggling to comprehend this. A nervous Soo-Ho puts the necklace on her though, a symbolic act to show they’re together now. Ju-Kyung suddenly blurts out that she dreams of him all the time. As she rushes off, Soo-Ho can’t help but smile.
When Ju-Kyung returns to camp, she calls out for Soo-Jin but suddenly realizes she’s not wearing make-up. Soo-Jin is understanding though and listens as she discusses how different it was for her to suddenly begin wearing make-up. Soo-Jin smiles warmly and tells Ju-Kyung not to be swayed by what others think. She offers to hide Ju-Kyung, taking her back to her tent.
While everyone else sleeps, Soo-Ho and Ju-Kyung begin exchanging text messages to one another while thinking back over their kiss.
At school the next day, Soo-Ho tries to give Ju-Kyung some strawberry juice but she regrets it and tells him to leave. In fact, this continues throughout the day as Ju-Kyung tries to keep their relationship a secret. She even sends a message reading “incinerator”, which happens to be where they’re to meet.
In secret, Ju-Kyung admits that she could get in trouble with the bullies who are vying for Soo-Ho’s affection. For now, she wants to keep things quiet. She also struggles to call him her boyfriend.
Well, they are technically a couple now. They head out together and begin eating food. However, Ju-Kyung’s schoolmates suddenly show up. Soo-Ho hides his face under the table and manages to avoid being caught.
After eating, Ju-Kyung notices that the celebrity, Selena, is out giving a talk. After winning a prize, she bumps into the girl in the bathroom. Selena tells Ju-Kyung she’s using the wrong tone of lipstick and gives the girl some useful tips to take with her going forward.
As she leaves, Selena turns around and tells Ju-Kyung she should keep working hard. An ecstatic Ju-Kyung heads home but inadvertently pulls her hand away when Soo-Ho tries to hold it. Poor Soo-Ho!
At the bus stop in the morning, Ju-Kyung falls asleep on Seo-Joon’s shoulder. He eventually wakes her up though and she quizzes him over why he’s not riding his bike to school. It turns out he actually stopped riding it thanks to Ju-Kyung’s comments several episodes ago. Seo-Joon keeps this quiet though and eventually winds up running to school.
At school, Ju-Kyung and Soo-Ho continue to pretend they’re not dating. Unfortunately Ju-Kyung sends a picture of her and Soo-Ho together to Hyun-Kyu by mistake, prompting her to hurry out and try to delete the message from his phone before he sees it. Well, she manages to do it but Seo-Joon takes a peek and sees the picture of them together.
That evening, Soo-Ho and Ju-Kyung head back to Prince Comics. Only, Go-Woon is actually there instead making it off limits to them.
Elsewhere, a jealous Im Hee-Kyung barges in on Lee Ye-Rim and Joon-Woo out for drinks that evening. An embarrassed Joon-Woo takes Hee-Kyung outside, especially when she calls herself his girlfriend. He pulls away and eventually walks off.
At school the next day, Soo-Jin spies the necklace around Ju-Kyung’s neck and realizes that she’s dating Soo-Ho. She’s obviously not happy, while Ju-Kyung continues to try and bag herself a part time job. However, she finds it difficult to get a big break.
While at the mall, she runs into Seo-Joon who happens to be doing a big photo shoot. Ju-Kyung tags along but she’s encouraged to get involved and have her photos taken too. In fact, they have them taken as a couple and the photographer eventually snaps some of them together on the sofa.
Afterwards, the pair head out for food together where Ju-Kyung admits she wants to get involved in make-up as a career. While talking to Seo-Joon, she misses a call from Soo-Ho but does admit that she’s dating him.
Soo-Jin meanwhile, heads out for dinner with her parents. It’s a quick encounter, one that sees Soo-Ho there too. On the way home he rings Ju-Kyung but this is short-lived given he bumps into Ju-Kyung’s father, acting like a bird and catching food out the air. He’s out of money and doesn’t seem to have anywhere to go.
Soo-Ho takes him back to his apartment and allows the man to shower and sleep for the night. It turns out they’re both fans of Son Heung-Min and tune in to watch Tottenham in the middle of the night. Unfortunately this late night causes Soo-Ho to run late for school.
After getting dressed and preparing to go, Im Jae-Pil stays behind to do the washing up. He waves goodbye to Soo-Ho which reminds the boy of his Father.
At school, Soo-Ho takes Ju-Kyung away from Seo-Joon, who happens to help out Ju-Kyung and has her working as a dish washer. It’s hard work but she does do a pretty good job – until she gets scolding coffee across her arm. When Seo-Joon finds out she’s hurt, he races up to the coffee shop to see Ju0Kyung. Only, when he gets there she’s already left.
Instead, it turns out she’s learning karate with Soo-Ho. While they grow closer together, with Soo-Ho saving her as “girlfriend” in his phone, Soo-Jin struggles to concentrate, phoning Soo-Ho and getting through to his voicemail. When she heads out, she sees Soo-Ho and Ju-Kyung together across the street and struggles to control her emotions.
Soo-Ho invites Ju-Kyung up to his apartment and gives her some clothes to wear. Afterwards, Soo-ho plucks up the courage to open up his studio again, the same one he and Se-Yeon shared when he was alive.
Midway through talking, Ju-Kyung’s stomach growls which sends Soo-Ho out to pick up a takeaway which is delivered to them.
As they sit together and watch a scary movie, it turns out Im Jae-Pil is still in the house after getting blind drunk on Soo-Ho’s alcohol. He’s hiding under the table and as he takes a peek outside, he sees Ju-Kyung and Soo-Ho together. Racing at them, Ju-Kyung hits him in the head with a lamp which knocks him out. Suddenly, she realizes it’s her Father. Oh no!
The Episode Review
With a longer episode this time around, True Beauty returns with Soo-Ho and Ju-Kyung doing their best to keep their relationship a secret. With Soo-Jin figuring it out on her own and Seo-Joon remaining the wildcard in all this, it remains to be seen quite how this is going to play out for the second half of the show.
There’s no question that this one is one of the better dramas of the year and the blend of comedy and romance is absolutely on-point right the way through the show. The humour is well timed and the changed dynamic between Hee-Kyung and Joon-Woo does well to take the conventional tropes of this genre and turn them upside down, with Hee-Kyung playing up the male lead in this partnership.
For the most part, True Beauty has been a really enjoyable show with plenty of drama, laughs and romance. If the second half is as strong as the first, we could be looking at one of the better Korean dramas of 2021.