Sweet Home: Is Sang-wook Dead or Alive?

The Netflix K-drama, ‘Sweet Home,’ set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans who succumb to their dark desires turn into monsters, ends its first season with a bleak image of our heroes’ fate. Many of the Green Home survivors, whom we follow throughout the season, such as Yu-ri, Pyeon Sang-wook, and Eun-hyeok, end up in fatal situations, while others are forced to surrender to the military. Likewise, the protagonist, Cha Hyun-su, a rare case with the ability to contain his monstrous side, also relinquishes his freedom. As the season ends, Hyun-su is carried off to the research lab in a military truck.

However, most intriguingly, the man who is driving the truck appears to be none other than Sang-wook, Hyun-su’s neighbor who died in the same episode. Considering the man’s doomed fate and juxtaposing heavy presence in the second season, viewers must be wondering if the character has returned from the dead. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Sang-wook and Jung Ui-myeong’s Disguise

In the season one finale, Sang-wook tries to save Yu-ri’s life by escaping the Green Home apartment to alleviate the woman’s asthma attack. However, at the time, the building was under Ui-myeong’s attack, who refused to let people leave for fear that they might run into the military. As a result, when Hyun-su attempts to allow the duo to leave despite Ui-myeong’s wishes, the latter opens fire at the survivors.

In the carnage that follows, both Yu-ri and Sang-wook become incredibly injured. They spend their last moments together in the car they were planning to use for their escape and die by each other’s side in a pool of their own blood. Throughout the season, we watched Sang-wook, a caring man with jagged edges, put his life in danger to deal violent justice. Thus, such a solemn death brought on by his need to protect someone plays into the character’s sentimental value.

Yet, moments after his death, when the survivors turn themselves over to the military for their survival, Sang-wook seems to make a reappearance. Despite everything Ui-myeong tells Hyun-su about the military, the boy surrenders to them, consenting to be experimented on by scientists in search of a cure or an antidote. As such, the season finale finds Hyun-su in the back of a military truck driven to his destination by Sang-wook.

However, the man in question isn’t actually Sang-wook. Throughout the show, Sang-wook carried recognizable burn marks on his face and body. As a child, Sang-wook’s father died in a house fire, from which Sang-wook managed to escape. The instance becomes a defining factor in his life and not only due to the scars it leaves behind. Instead, his father’s death and the subsequent lack of punishment for the perpetrator cemented Sang-wook’s lack of faith in the justice system.

As a result, the man ended up a ruthless contract killer and found his way to the Green Home apartment. Since his scars occupy such a pivotal significance in his character, their disappearance is a natural call for suspicions. Therefore, it’s easy to recognize a stark difference in the character when Sang-wook seemingly returns from the dead without his burns marks.

As it turns out, the man is actually Ui-myeong, who possesses Sang-wook’s dead body. Ui-myeong, a special infectee like Hyun-su, also has the ability to contain the monster within him. However, his powers as a slime monster, when in use, allow him to possess any dead body.

As season two begins and Hyun-su finds himself face-to-face with his old neighbor, he instantly recognizes the farce for what it is and calls Ui-myeong out on it. Consequently, as the rest of the story unfolds, Hyun-su and the audience remain privy to the fact that even
though Ui-myeong might be wearing Sang-wook’s face, he is not the man himself.

Furthermore, Ui-myeong’s actions while possessing Sang-wook’s body should erase any doubt about his identity. Plagued by his own past, Ui-myeong retains his penchant for violence in the second season and uses his monstrous form to wreak havoc multiple times throughout the story.

In the end, Sang-wook remains dead for all intentions and purposes. However, since the exact nature of Ui-myeong’s powers is yet unknown, even to the man himself, no one can say for sure what the future might hold for them.

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