Ju-won In ‘Hierarchy’ K-Drama: Did The Principal’s Son Die In Post-Credits Scene?

It’s often talked about how schools are like microcosms of society. They teach us how to deal with the real world! I recently watched another Korean series called Pyramid Game, and it really showed how some kids get better privileges, whether it’s because they’re rich or because they’re good at academics. No matter the reason, some get more advantages than others. This same theme is super clear in the new Netflix Korean series Hierarchy. The hierarchy is so vivid! The rich kids have the upper hand, and the scholarship kids are always at their mercy. The principal of Jooshin High School knows about all the torment and humiliation but stays silent. Why? Because she believes that it’s thanks to the school’s owner, the Jooshin Group, and the other wealthy families, that the scholarship kids even have a chance to study there. They might get to study abroad later, so she’ll do anything to protect the school’s image. But her son, Nam Ju-won, just can’t tolerate it! Even though he’s shy, he can’t stand how he and the other scholarship kids are treated. They’re always being oppressed. Ju-won did so many things to stand up against the bullies and get justice. But in the end, we see him end up dead. What happened to this poor kid? I have some speculations and can’t wait to share them with you all!

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Spoilers Ahead


What happened to Nam Ju-won? 

As we got introduced to all the characters in the series, we met a new scholarship kid named Kang Ha. He joined the school to take revenge for what happened to his poor brother, Han. So, what happened? Han was bullied and humiliated by the rich kids because he dared to be friends with Jeong Jae-i, the daughter of the owner of the famous Jaeyul Group. She was actually the girlfriend of Kim Ri-an, the son of the owner of the school, the Jooshin Group. These rich kids are like the royalty of the school, and the fact that In Han, a poor scholarship kid, tried to be friends with Jeong Jae-i was just too much for them. So, he became their target and was constantly bullied, humiliated, and tortured. And guess what? He wasn’t the only one. Many other scholarship kids were humiliated too. There was even a separate classroom for them, while the rich kids had their own specialized classroom. The distinction was clear—rich kids wore red ties, and poor kids wore blue ties. The divide was everywhere! The principal knew all about it and even supported it because she wanted to protect the school’s reputation, keep her job, and secure her son Ju-won’s future. But for how long?

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Ju-won ended up dead, just like In Han, when he was about to expose the school’s nasty behavior and class distinctions. It’s so sad to see how those who dared to stand against the bullying got beaten up. But why was Ju-won killed? Well, there were a lot of reasons. For one, he was a scholarship kid himself. When he saw how Han was being humiliated, he gave him a pen with a hidden camera to record all the misbehavior by the rich kids. He wanted to expose everything to save Han and all the other tormented kids. Even after In Han died, Ju-won’s thirst for justice never left him. We saw him as a rule-follower, an A student, shy, and obedient. But deep down, he was determined to bring justice to In-Han, as he was his friend. In the end, Kang Ha and Jeong Jae-i found out that Ju-won was behind all the threats and leaked videos. Ju-won threatened Jeong Jae-i because he believed Kim Ri-an killed In Han out of jealousy.

Ju-won knew his mother, the principal, had access to the students’ personal clouds, and he used that to leak all the secret videos, including the scandalous teacher-student relationship between Ms. Han and Lee Woo-jin. Ju-won wasn’t remorseful when the school’s bullying and the murder of In Han went public, ruining the school’s reputation and costing his mother her job. He was tired of being a victim, just like the other scholarship kids, and seeing his mother sacrifice her dignity to maintain false respect. But why did he end up dead? Even though only two people knew about Ju-won’s involvement in the video leaks—Kang Ha and Jeong Jae-i—I don’t think Jeong Jae-i would kill him. She realized she was part of the problem—that her high status and privilege made her an oppressor. So, did Kang Ha kill him? Probably. Kang Ha never wanted Jeong Jae-i’s videos to go viral or news of her pregnancy to spread. But it happened because of Ju-won, and maybe that’s why Kang Ha was angry and killed him. Kang Ha believed Ju-won was the reason Jeong Jae-i’s secrets got exposed, leading to her banishment from her family and school. She had to move abroad for studies and couldn’t live a happy, normal life. Kang Ha had a major crush on her and couldn’t tolerate seeing her humiliated. So, he couldn’t let Ju-won go unpunished. We saw them working together to bring down the rich kids at first, but Kang Ha never wanted to harm Jeong Jae-i. And maybe that was the reason behind the murder. 

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What will be the repercussions of this murder? 

The school’s reputation was already on red alert! The police, press, media, and public all knew about the class distinctions in the school. Before, it was the death of the previous scholarship kid, In Than, and now with Ju-won’s death, there is a real chance that the owner of the school could get arrested for allowing these behaviors in a place like a school. If the Jooshin Group’s reputation was on the line, then their son, Kim Ri-an, wouldn’t go unpunished either! Maybe that’s why Kang Ha threatened Kim Ri-an at the end. He wanted to show that Kim Ri-an would be dragged down, even if he hadn’t done anything directly. Kang Ha believed that Kim Ri-an’s past actions made him guilty, and that was how Kang Ha would get his justice—by having the royal kid of the school arrested. He thought this would end the class distinction in the classroom and bring justice for In Than’s murder and all the bullying and humiliation.

Kang Ha probably believed this was the way to take revenge for all the humiliation Jeong Jae-i faced as well. He wanted to put an end to the unfair treatment and make sure everyone paid for their actions! But if he had really done this, don’t you think he was just as wrong? While he tried to end the class distinction and bring justice for In Han’s murder and the humiliation Jeong Jae-i faced, his methods showcased the very cruelty and unfairness he was fighting against. Seeking revenge by threatening and possibly harming others only continued the cycle of pain and violence. In trying to fight the bullies, he risked becoming one himself.

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Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka, a devoted movie enthusiast, embarked on her cinematic journey since childhood, captivated by the enchanting world of the Harry Potter series. This early passion ignited her love for movies, providing an escape into the magical realms of cinema. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in media science, combining her academic pursuits with her unwavering passion for the silver screen.

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