Sweet Home 2 has, unfortunately, left many fans yearning for the captivating balance that made the first season a fantastic blend of horror and emotional resonance. The initial season effortlessly captured our attention with its masterful mix of spine-chilling moments and heartfelt emotions. Regrettably, Sweet Home 2, much like the underwhelming Peninsula (the Train to Busan sequel that we pretend doesn’t exist), falls short of establishing meaningful connections between its characters and the audience. In a somewhat ironic twist, the very aspect that the first season executed so brilliantly seems to be a missed opportunity in the second installment. The narrative introduces a slew of new characters into the mix, and although many fade into the background of our memories, Chief Ji stands out. Her character arc unfolds progressively throughout the show, adding a layer of intrigue, even if it may not be in a positive light. While Sweet Home 2 may not have lived up to the lofty expectations set by its predecessor, there’s hope that future episodes will live up to the first season, which was such a standout hit.
Chief Ji is introduced as a messiah for the people of the stadium. She and her husband are the saviors of the many who go on to spend one year in the stadium after the Prime Minister tries to slaughter all of them for simply existing. Ji comes across as a no-nonsense character to begin with. We don’t actually get to see what she’s done to command such widespread admiration from the survivors, but it’s safe to say that she has them under her control. They believe everything she says, and because she believes Eun-Yu killed her husband, so does the entirety of the stadium group. It’s interesting to see that even with a male counterpart who is a military man, i.e., Tak, somehow everyone cooperates with Ji and even trusts her more. Rarely do we get to see a female character who commands such trust, yet it all fades out when we see her changing.
Eun-Yu doesn’t like Ji, but it’s evident that she respects her. Just like everyone else, she doesn’t interfere with the chief’s work, and vice versa. However, the reason for her not telling Ji the truth about her husband is a bit underwhelming. Just because they have a mutual dislike for each other doesn’t mean Eun-Yu should be considered a walking murderer and be hated by the whole crowd. Additionally, even the other residents of Green Home are considered outcasts because of the claim that Eun-Yu killed the great husband of Chief Ji. For some reason, Chief Ji doesn’t torment Eun-Yu physically or verbally, not by herself at least, but through the rest of the residents of the stadium, who all support Ji blindly. It seems like she’s quite enjoying this queendom status she’s received, even though otherwise, she claims she’s only trying to keep things running smoothly.
I suppose you can’t say it’s a gendered thing because even Tak has his own vices by the end of the season; so to speak, all humans are monsters, but it may have been more fun to see Ji just successfully save the rest of the survivors and become a great leader. Instead, we go back to the motherly instincts of a woman. Yes, Ji’s actions are completely warranted. Her son was terminally ill; he turned into a monster, but she kept him alive and safe. Maybe she believed that he would become an MH (Lim’s term for half monsters—monster humans), but he probably doesn’t have the willpower. Through the series, we have learned a few things about the monsters and what happens within them. We know that the monster is the manifestation of the deepest desire of the human that was, but Hyun-Su claims that when a human changes to the monster form, they are suspended in a dream-like state where they are truly happy. This would obviously make it hard for anyone to get out of there, never mind a sick adolescent.
Ye-Seul is one of the survivors who calls Ji her mother, and Ji allows it for the most part. Maybe she liked the sound of it, or maybe at first, she just wanted to help out the young woman. Ye-Seul does care for Ji like a real mother, but Ji seems to be accepting it superficially. She’s uninterested in anything Ye-Seul does, really, and is probably just taking advantage of her trust in her. As the show progresses, Ji grows more frustrated and tired, almost as if she herself is becoming a monster of her own making. She even slaps Ye-Seul when she tries to break into her office. Ye-Seul only learns then that Ji may be hiding something, but of course, she doesn’t know the magnitude of it all.
When Ji notices that Jun-Il’s mother, the woman with cancer, gets cured of her cancer when she turns but manages to fight the monster within her, she is keen to let her out into the world. It’s not entirely clear why she’s so focused on freeing her until we figure out that she has been hiding her child for so long. It’s possible that Ji thought her son, too, would end up “normal” because the cancer and monster may cancel each other out. Do you get the math? Another claim is that anyone who follows Eun-Yu ends up dead or disappears. This is proved when Ji sends two men to follow her because they want to go out onto the field and live the fast life, you know? However, we can imagine that the others who have been missing were because Ji had been pushing people into her little basement room for her son, turning him further into a monster (yikes).
At the end of the series, Ji picks one of the Green Home residents, Seung-Won, to be a monster grub. Seung-Won is himself showing signs of turning, which Ji has already observed, so she thinks it’s okay to leave him with her son. The other theory about the old lady could be that Ji wanted to do the same with her, too. The monster Ji is hiding can also be another MH who can’t control himself as well as Hyun-Su can. As we learn by the end of the series, Hyun-Su also surrenders to the monster version of himself, so there’s no telling what can happen. Ji is just desperate to keep her son alive, so she will do anything, including essentially murdering humans, to make that happen.