'True Beauty' Episode 2: Seo-jun and Su-ho's rivalry steps away from comics, here are 5 reasons why we love it
'True Beauty' Episode 2 sees Seo-jun and Su-ho's animosity come to the fore while Ju-kyung deals with the fact that Su-ho seems to know her secret. The plot however differs from a lot from the comics
Spoilers for 'True Beauty'
'True Beauty' Episode 2 begins with Ju-kyung (Moon Ga-young) being shocked out of her wits when she comes face to face with one of her classmates from Seobam High, the new school that she had transferred to and he is Su-ho (Cha Eun-woo). Of course, she is not aware of the fact that he saved her the night she had tried to jump to her death while he is not aware that the girl he saved is his new classmate Ju-kyung. He hears the comic book store owner call her Ju-bal and assumes that that is the name of the girl he saved. Now, the show veers away from the comic in many different ways and so far we love most of the changes that have been made to the narrative and here are the top five.
1. Su-ho and Seo-jun's animosity seems a lot more vicious
Su-ho and Seo-jun's (Hwang In-yeop) animosity as readers of comics would already be aware of is because of their best friend killed himself. This best friend had tried to become an idol and that is how he had met Seo-jun. The two of them had trained together before the friend had decided to go on a reality show. However, as a result of this, he gets trolled and cyberbullied by the public and after he reaches the dark pit of depression, he ends up taking his own life. The one person he had tried to get in touch with him at that point had been Su-ho, who for reasons of his own was unable to pick the call. So Seo-jun blames Su-ho for their friend's death and Su-ho also blames himself. He also struggles with it mentally and all of this is revealed in the later episodes. So what the show got right for the intensity of the hatred that is present between Su-ho and Seo-jun. The comics seem pale in comparison as we also saw the two former friends reconcile very quickly with Ju-kyung's help.
2. Ju-kyung's journey from self-hate to acceptance
One of the things that the comic had failed in, was to express how being bullied for her looks had pressurized Ju-kyung's mentally. The transformation from Ju-kyung who was viewed with hatred before makeup and the adoration that she experienced after makeup made her obsessed about how she would look through another person's eyes. The comic seemed quite one-dimensional even at times because of this. Later, when Ju-kyung begins dating Seo-jun she worried too much about what people would see when they saw the two of them as a couple more than enjoying the relationship that she was in. However, the show does a fantastic job of expressing the fact that makeup is not something that would fix all of your problems, but it can definitely be used to make you feel better. The flashes back and forth between the past and present of Ju-kyung shows how Ju-kyung had been bullied by her peers. The fact that students in her new school would accept her at all surprises her and so she is still clumsy when it comes to acceptance. These tiny details are things that the show captures better than the comics. The biggest nod to the affect of bullying on mental health comes with Ju-kyung standing on the ledge of the terrace contemplating suicide.
3. Su-ho's mental struggle
Similar to Ju-kyung's mental health, Su-ho's mental health is also not spotlighted too well in the comic. The days before his reconciliation with Seo-jun does explain the pain that he had experienced after his friend's death but the gravity of it all is translated much better in the show. Take for instance, the scene where Su-ho and his father face each other for a fun session of sparring. It is clear that Su-ho is not happy with his father but the why is answered scene after scene, transition after transition as he thinks back to all the times that his father had disappointed him. The cumulative trauma is also what makes Su-ho a prickly person and it explains certain aspects of his character much better.
4. Soo-jin's character lift
The comic also pandered to tropes that one would consider sexist in today's time and one such trope was that of Soo-jin's (Park Yoo-Na) character. Both in the comic and the show, the character of Soo-jin is introduced as a pretty highschool girl in Ju-kyung's new school. In the comics, she is narcissistic, extremely manipulative and attention-seeking. She shows fake concern and her friendship within the comics is completely fake. However, in the show, Soo-jin, as of now seems to be a nice young girl who has befriended Soo-jin. In fact, when a pervert tries to sneak in pictures of Ju-kyung in an indecent manner, Soo-jin beats him up and even hands him over to the cops. This proves that friends who may fall in love with the same guy, do not have to be a 'vamp'.
5. And finally, Ju-kyung's class teacher at Seobam High
In the comic, Ju-kyung's class teacher is someone that Ju-kyung crushes on because of his sweet nature. However, turns out in the show they used a guest star -- Lee Tae-ri -- for this subplot. So Ju-kyung's class teacher ends up having an important role and also he is well-known for his cheesy comments and expressions among his students. He also seems to have a subplot that would couple him up with Ju-kyung's older sister and we cannot wait to see how that plays out. In the comic, the two of them break up. Will that be the fate of the characters on the show as well?
'True Beauty' episodes will air on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10.30 pm on tvN in Seoul and can be streamed on Viki in the US.