Hellbound Netflix Monsters
Hellbound Netflix Monsters

Netflix's "Hellbound" from writer Choi Kyu-sok and "Train to Busan" director Yeon Sang-ho to deliver an addictive six episodes that raise some thought-provoking questions about justice of both the cosmic and earthbound variety. The series already has the makings of another smash-hit K-drama for Netflix.

You may have some questions of your own about what just happened, what the hell are you trying to tell me...And If you’ve already seen director Yeon Sang-ho’s latest project, you’re probably wondering what you just watched.

The season ends with an added wrinkle, one that’s just as much up to interpretation as anything that comes before. Hellbound, a fantasy series about the effects of supernatural events on modern society, ends by raising more questions than it answers.

What Happens To Those Burned By Monster?

Hellbound may feature a supernatural agent and use religious trappings to tell its story, but it's ultimately more concerned about people on Earth and how their actions help forge a just or unjust world. The characters deal with seeming acts of God, but what's scarier than any CG monsters from Hell is the human capacity for exploiting tragedies and perpetrating injustices in the name of justice.

In trying to impose a higher explanation on random events, Jin-soo wound up generating a worse kind of social chaos. That's something that is all too relevant in a year when conspiracy-filled beliefs have gained enough of a foothold to fuel insurrections. Maybe the monsters are just symbolic of the forces unleashed by the mob mentality when they take on a life of their own and go beyond anyone's control.

The final twist of "Hellbound" resets everything we think we know, as a museum display with the remains of Park Jungja (Kim Shin-rock), the second victim we ever met, becomes the site of her resurrection. She was a mother of two and it was never quite clear what her sin was, but if those who suffered eternal "damnation" are capable of coming back to life, and if a baby can be spared the fate of certain death, perhaps everything's not so hopeless, after all. In the face of existential terror, "Hellbound" offers a surprising glimpse of hope at the end and puts the onus on human beings to create a better world.

Hellbound provides no concrete explanation for why certain people receive decrees nor for the origins of the supernatural creatures that carry out these decrees. The New Truth Society, the foundations of which were formed by Chairman Jung Jin-soo’s (Yoo Ah-in) well-crafted lies, explains the phenomena as acts of God.

But as Professor Hyeong-jun (Lim Hyung-Guk) explains, Hellbound’s supernatural events happen randomly, and there’s no evidence that proves The New Truth’s claims that the events are God’s way of punishing sinners on earth. Apart from how they are the same shape and size as MCU’s the Hulk, not much else is known about the unstoppable creatures who appear out of nowhere and carry out Hellbound’s dreaded decrees.

What Happened to Dongwook?

What Happened to Dongwook?
What Happened to Dongwook?

Time to circle back to that betrayal. When Dongwook called the leaders of the New Truth and told them who he was sheltering, they told him that God had made a mistake. This baby was never supposed to die, and Dongwook’s demonstration, which was set to occur five minutes after the baby’s, was supposed to cover up God’s mistake. Ever the narcissist, Dongwook took that BS explanation at face value and embraced his new role as the messiah.

That’s why Dongwook tried to murder Young-jae. He didn’t want the other man to interfere with his destiny. As So-hyun ran from the creatures hellbent on killing her child, Young-jae was fighting Dongwook.

So what happened to Dongwook after this epic parental sacrifice? Five minutes after the baby’s demonstration, it was Dongwook’s time in the spotlight. And he was sent to hell in the most dramatic death scene all season. In the universe of this show, Dongwook is officially dead. Or is he…?

Who is the leader of Sodo?

With audiences reeling from the shocking twists and turns of Episode 3, the next episode begins after a significant time jump, as we switch focus from officer Jin and Chairman Jung to Bae Yeongjae (Park Jeong-min), a TV producer who we find working on documentaries about the New Truth. Through various circumstances, Bae meets sociology professor Gong Hyeongjun, who introduces bae to Sodo, an organization determined to stop the New Truth. They find and hide people who have received a decree, before the New Truth can get a hand on them and livestream their demise to further their religious agenda. Sodo is determined to do noble work, as they know the truth about Chairman Jung and want to give people, and especially their families, peace of mind away from the public eye.

Arrowhead thugs speculate that either Gong or Min is the leader of Sodo, but Gong gets murdered by Arrowhead, and Min claims she is merely a lawyer, so the truth is very much up in the air. If it is Min, this could give her an exciting role in a second season, but a new character could certainly be introduced to lead Sodo in the battle against New Earth. Learning who is behind the noble Sodo firm would certainly offer some exciting future opportunities for "Hellbound," as a figurehead for Sodo could provide an exciting rival for the Chairman, and it would be thrilling to see them face off.

Who are behind the white masks?

Hellbound's Biggest Questions and Explained
Hellbound White Masks

One of the strangest moments in "Hellbound" happens during the presentation of Park's hellbound demonstration. People are watching from all over the world to see the event, and the streets and buildings nearby are filled with people hoping to get a look at the proceedings, to confirm for their own eyes whether these Executioners are the real deal. Moments before the demonstration is set to take place, a group of mysterious people wearing white masks are brought in and given front row seats to the proceedings. They are referenced as important people, but then they aren't spoken of again until they re-appear in Episode 5 at another demonstration at the New Truth headquarters.

This leads to a big question "Hellbound" doesn't answer in Season One: Who exactly are these people? The Chairman himself is unmasked, and surely he is the most important person at New Truth. There are a few possibilities here: They could be government officials wishing to stay anonymous, they could be people who paid an exorbitantly high price to attend the event, or they could be part of some ritual the New Earth does that we are not yet privy to.

Hopefully, the truth is something a little more interesting — the masked people are the real folks pulling the strings at the New Truth, and the Chairman appears to answer to them. While we don't know for sure, hopefully, the identities of the masked audience members will be revealed at some point.

Why Did Park Jungja Come Back To Life?

Hellbound's Park Jungja
Hellbound's Park Jungja

Park Jungja’s decreed death was the first time for the world to witness a live broadcast of the supernatural event. Park Jungja’s fiery resurrection at the site of her demonstration in the finale could potentially contradict the doctrines of The New Truth Society. On the other hand, depending on what happens to Jungja or what she reveals about her experience before coming back to earth, her return might just provide The New Truth Society with some much-needed leverage.

Moreover, if Park Jungja survived the ordeal, this could mean that others who were similarly executed, like Chairman Jung Jin-soo, could also potentially return for Hellbound season 2.

Hellbound Trailer:

Did Youngjae and Sohyun’s Baby Die?

How Did Song So-Hyun And Bae Young-Jae’s Baby Toughie Survive Hellbound’s Demons?
How Did Song So-Hyun And Bae Young-Jae’s Baby Toughie Survive Hellbound’s Demons?

With the Streamer now convinced he is the messiah, he dons his old war paint and starts killing people with the plan of hiding the baby's death in the five-minute interval before his own. Meanwhile, So-hyun has decided that she is going to be there with the baby until the bitter end. In a moving scene, she talks about hearing the baby cry and explains to Hye-jin that she realized it needed help and wanted to live. "It's the first time that anyone has wanted my help so badly," she says.

In the end, Young-jae and So-hyun both sacrifice themselves to save the baby. They wrap their bodies around it, and it's still there between their charred remains after the Executors have run off into the portal to Hell. This is significant: it's the first time we've seen a life spared, and it only happened because of a selfless act of love from two parents, prioritizing their child's welfare over their own. Maybe if someone altruistic had stood up for the other adult victims, those people would have been spared, too.

The Executors still return to kill the Streamer, but the baby remains alive as a miracle. When the goons of the New Truth arrive, led by Yoo Ji (Ryu Kyung-soo), the people who have witnessed this miracle finally stand up to them, enabling Hye-jin to escape with the baby. An old man calls them "pathetic crooks," and Yoo Ji responds by savagely beating him, exposing their maliciousness for all to see and getting himself arrested in the process.

The emergence of these angels and creatures leads to the creation of a new cult. The New Truth Society believes that these beings are acting on God’s orders. So if you’re targeted by them, you are being punished for committing a sin against God. Pretty straightforward logic, right? Enter Bae Young-jae (Park Jeong-min) and Song So-hyun’s (Won Jin-ah) baby.

Like the others before them, the baby was visited by an angel. Young-bae begged So-hyun not to take their baby to the headquarters of the New Truth, but she didn’t listen. Desperate for answers and to save her baby, So-hyun took her child to the belly of the beast. That turned out t be a massive mistake. See, the religion of the New Truth depends on the belief that everyone who dies at the hands of these creatures has sinned. Since a newborn baby hasn’t had time to sin, that throws a wrench into this entire belief system.

Back to the cursed baby at hand. Young-jae, So-hyun, and babe escaped from the New Truth headquarters thanks to a distraction from a man on the verge of his demonstration (the name for when these monsters kill their targets) and Min Hye-jin (Kim Hyun-joo), an attorney who’s skeptical of this new religion. Min brought the couple to the house of a former New Truth member who was visited by an angel but has yet to die. Min convinced Young-jae and So-hyun to live stream what happens to their baby at their assigned time of death. This, she hopes, will end the New Truth once and for all.

But nothing is ever simple in this series. You know that former New Truth member who hid this family? That man was none other than Dongwook, the skull-faced streamer who was one of the first supporters of the Arrowhead and the New Truth.

Of course Dongwook sold out the baby he was sheltering to gain favor with his old friends. We’ll get back to his fight with Young-jae in a minute. The big drama in Episode 6 revolved around this baby’s designated time of death.

As the standoff was live-streamed, the creatures appeared to kill the child right on time. But So-hyun and Young-jae didn’t just stand back and watch the murder of their child. They protected the baby with their bodies. The result was just as depressing as anything else in this show. These dedicated parents burnt to death but saved the life of their kid.

In Hellbound‘s final moments, Min cradled the baby while in a cab. As she cried, the cab driver tells her that he doesn’t believe problems on Earth should be resolved by supernatural creatures. They should be resolved by people.

In an unexpected reveal that rivals both My Name and Squid Game’s shocking twists, newborn baby Toughie survives the decree when his parents sacrifice themselves by shielding Toughie from the demons using their bodies. While it’s unclear how this happened or if it can be replicated elsewhere, Toughie’s survival proves that Hellbound’s decrees and demons are not so unstoppable after all. While Toughie’s decree disproves The New Truth’s claims that only sinners are executed by the supernatural creatures, the baby’s survival threatens the very doctrines that keep The New Truth Society in power. This is why Min Hye-jin escapes with Toughie in tow.

Why haven't the Angels and Executioners been noticed before?

Episode 3 brings a number of revelations to the forefront of "Hellbound," perhaps the biggest being its reveal that Chairman of the New Truth Jung Jinsu is actually hellbound himself. Perhaps even more significantly, he received the decree from an angel twenty years earlier, which means that the Angels and Executioners have been around for at least two entire decades. Which leads to the question: if the Angels have been appearing for so long, why are they only just now being noticed?

According to the New Truth, it's something along the lines of contemporary society being less and less righteous than ever before, but that doesn't seem to add up. Since we aren't at all clear on what it means to live righteously, it's hard to say if this is accurate. There seem to be some vague references to Angels and Executioners previously appearing, but why have they been avoiding big cities until now? Is it because they want to be seen now, and they have a message for the world, and could the New Truth be correct?

Where exactly are the Angels and Executioners coming from?

The general concept of the Angels and Executioners is pretty straightforward. At some point, if you are chosen, a (truly terrifying) Angel will appear and decree that you have a certain amount of time left to live — this could be anywhere from a few seconds to multiple years. Then, when the time arrives, the Executioners will come (also terrifying, and as a trio) to kill you in distressingly brutal fashion in order to bound you to hell. There is a lot of time devoted to why these things keep happening, and it is largely a discussion of righteousness and sin. Nobody, however, is asking where, exactly, these things are coming from.

Sure, there's a reason for this, and that's because the New Earth has told everyone that the Angels and Executioners exact God's will, but there is no guarantee or any proof that this is actually the case. There's every chance that these creatures in "Hellbound" are actually agents of Satan, or some equally mythical explanation. There's even the possibility that they are man-made, though all signs point to some sort of supernatural answer. It's one of the many critiques of religion seen in "Hellbound," as it is clear that nobody really knows the answer, and the New Truth could be worshipping the devil for all they know. As frightening and fascinating as Angels and Executioners are, we hope the next season will shine some light on this major mystery.

The mysteries of Arrowhead

We learn about the Arrowheads from the streamer, who says that when God launches an arrow, the arrowheads should strike the target. They preach violence — but who is doing the preaching, and what is their actual connection to the New Truth? Are they a subdivision? This seems like the most likely option, but it's never really confirmed how they work together. That particular theory is upended somewhat when Deacon Yuji asks a coworker if he has connections to Arrowhead, which certainly seems to suggest that they are not officially linked to New Truth. Surely if they were, someone as high in the ranks as Deacon Yuji would be able to make contact himself.

"Hellbound" takes a lot of care in building a version of Seoul overwhelmed by Executioners, particularly when it comes to the New Truth. The Arrowhead organization, however, doesn't get nearly the same attention. It's clear they have a penchant for violence, and at one point they even storm the police office. Still, their intentions are murky, and the purpose of the organization even more so. Hopefully, a second season of "Hellbound" would take time to properly establish more specifics about the Arrowhead and how they differ from the New Truth.

Where Mob Justice Meets Self-Sacrifice?

In a series suffused with religious concepts, "Hellbound" makes a compelling statement about the way people twist religion to suit their own agenda. Instead of reacting with compassion, the New Truth and the Arrowhead assign their own divine motives to the misfortunes that befall strangers, as if the rain did not fall on the just and unjust alike. What's surprising is that the series is just as likely to have you thinking about Twitter and mob justice: the hypocritical human tendency to cast stones as if we were without sin and to make a public display of condemning people online.

The character of the Streamer, brought to life by Kim Do-yoon (who had a role in "Peninsula," the 2020 sequel to "Train to Busan") brings this theme into sharp focus. When we meet the Streamer in the first half of the series, he's in blacklight war paint, live-streaming rants that provoke his Arrowhead followers to deadly action. In the sixth episode, however, we learn that he, too, received the decree, and is now awaiting death in plainclothes.

Hye-jin brings Young-jae, his wife, Song So-hyun (Won Jin-ah), and their newborn to the Streamer's home to protect them from the New Truth, which will stop at nothing to conceal the baby's demonstration from the public, since it threatens the whole foundation of their religion. The Streamer can't understand why he himself is hellbound until he secretly phones the New Truth and they tell him what he wants to hear: namely, that God made a mistake condemning the baby and is going to use the Streamer's death five minutes later to cover it up. This appeals to his vanity and lays bare the hubris of the person who leads the rush to judgment.

Hellbound season 1 episode 6 culminates with several cliffhangers that set up the foundations for Hellbound season 2. Although Netflix is yet to announce if and when a second season will be made, Hellbound’s runaway success is bound to result in a follow-up, which will likely be released sometime in late 2022 or early 2023.
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