Hellbound ending explained: How can people survive the decree?

The lies promoted by the New Truth are quickly falling apart. **SPOILERS FOR HELLBOUND**

Hellbound

We don’t know about you but this is a new favourite.

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South Korean drama Hellbound presents one of the darkest dystopian futures we’ve seen for some time, depicting a world in which people can be murdered and banished to hell by seemingly demonic monsters at any moment.

Rising up amid the chaos is a sinister cult called The New Truth, which claims to have all the answers about living a pious life and avoiding an eternity of suffering and has thus developed a fanatic base of followers.

Some of these break off into dangerous sects who viciously attack anyone they deem to be sinful in the name of God, creating a society where most are constantly living in fear – whether from the demons or just their fellow citizens.

Fortunately, the Hellbound ending is somewhat optimistic in how it exposes the fraudulent nature of the New Truth and reveals the formidable force of the terrifying monsters aren’t as insurmountable as it initially appeared.

Read on for a spoiler-filled breakdown of the ending to Netflix‘s latest international hit, Hellbound.

Hellbound ending explained

Hellbound
Netflix

The second half of Hellbound unfolds primarily from the perspective of television producer Bae Young-jae, who is a sceptic of the New Truth and particularly dislikes the power they hold over the South Korean media.

He is thrown into an unfathomably horrible situation when his newborn baby receives a decree that they will soon die and be banished to hell, making them the very first infant to be given the grim warning.

Bae’s wife, Song So-hyun, is a believer in the New Truth’s narrative and initially believes her child must be a being of pure evil to have received the decree so early in their life, a thought that sends her close to madness.

On the other hand, Bae himself never loses faith that his baby is undeserving of its sentencing, seeking out sociology professor Gong Hyeong-joon – an early adversary of the New Truth – for an alternative explanation.

Gong takes Bae to see his associate, exiled lawyer Min Hye-jin, who once took on cases against the New Truth but has been in hiding for years from a violent sect of followers known as the Arrowhead.

Kim Shin-rok as Park Jeong-ja in Hellbound
Kim Shin-rok as Park Jeong-ja in Hellbound
Netflix

She is sorry to hear of Bae’s news, admitting there is nothing she can do to stop the monsters from arriving, but does pledge to protect the identity of himself and his wife as they too would surely be targeted by the Arrowhead.

Min then makes the request to broadcast the banishment of the infant to the world, as doing so would prove that the New Truth’s teachings are bogus, as a newborn baby could not possibly be sinful by their definition.

Bae consults his wife on the matter, but she remains inconsolable about the situation and takes their son to the New Truth headquarters the following day without him knowing.

Sure enough, the members show their true colours by attempting to kidnap the baby, knowing that their grip on power would be weakened if anyone ever found out it had received the decree.

Fortunately, Bae arrives with Min and her allies to save the day, with the former attorney demonstrating that she’s picked up some impressive martial arts skills during her time living underground. It’s pretty badass.

Hellbound
Bae and Song shortly after the birth of their child.
Netflix

Min, Bae and Song escape to a safe house where they plan to broadcast the baby’s final moments, unaware that the owner, Lee Dong-wook, is secretly a former member of the Arrowhead, who stepped back after receiving the decree himself.

Lee is taken aback to learn that his decreed time of death, which he hasn’t disclosed to anyone, is mere minutes after that of the baby’s, contacting the New Truth as he believes it must be a sign from God.

The high-ranking priests at the New Truth have no interest in his story, but entertain his delusion as they hope he will tell them the whereabouts of the baby – big mistake!

Not only does he refuse to tell them, but he also bursts into an insane fury, declaring himself the Messiah and attempting to kill Bae, Min, Song and the baby.

Hellbound
Lee in his streaming outfit as a prolific Arrowhead personality.
Netflix

A lengthy chase leads the group to the courtyard of an apartment block, where several residents leave their homes to see what’s going on, some of whom begin filming the action for social media.

When the time of the baby’s decree arrives, the fighting stops as the monsters appear to take the infant’s soul down to hell, but parents Bae and Song refuse to surrender to them.

After attempting to evade them, they accept their fate, huddling together with their child between them as they refuse to be separated from one another.

The demons complete their damnation as usual with a scolding bright light, leaving Bae and Song as charred corpses, but all is not lost as it initially appears.

Hellbound
The demonic monsters make short work of an unfortunate human in Hellbound.
Netflix

The baby has survived! This marks the first time that anyone on Earth has ever lived past their decreed time of death, posing the question of whether people can sacrifice themselves in someone’s place.

An unhinged Lee then attempts to kill the baby, but is himself sent to hell as prophesied.

What happens to the detective in Hellbound?

In the third episode of Hellbound season 1, Chairman Jeong Jin-soo, the leader of the New Truth Society, admits to detective Kyeong-hoon that he was marked for death 20 years before the events of the show, contradicting the New Truth’s teachings on how you have to be a sinner to receive a decree.

However, Kyeong-hoon decides to keep Jin-soo’s secret – and throw away his chance to bring down the New Truth Society – in order to shield everyone from the bleak reality that they have absolutely no control over their existence.

Kyeong-hoon’s huge decision allows the New Truth Society to continue gaining influence.

What happens in Hellbound’s end scenes?

Having found the fugitives via social media, the New Truth arrives with the police to attempt to restore order, but the cult’s authority has been eroded by the remarkable turn of events the locals have just witnessed.

They allow Min the time to escape with the infant, hopping into the back seat of a taxi driven by a kind man who assures her he is no ally of the New Truth or believer in the divine, adding: “There’s one thing I do know and that is that this world belongs to humans. And we should settle our matters ourselves.”

The main plot ends there, leaving plenty of room for another chapter to expand on the story, while a surprise epilogue scene strongly suggests the creative team are intent on returning for more Hellbound.

Kim Shin-rok in Hellbound
Park Jeong-ja ensured her young children were taken care of prior to her death.
Netflix

The final moments take us to the former home of Park Jeong-ja, a woman whose decreed death was broadcast to the world several years earlier, in a move that instantly established the New Truth as a dominant player in South Korean society.

In the time since, the abode has been turned into a religious museum by the cult, with a glass case placed over the spot Park was incinerated in order to keep it perfectly preserved.

Unbelievably, in a burst of light, Park’s physical body begins to reform in the exact space she was killed, ending Hellbound on an appropriately Biblical note: a resurrection!

Again, this creates a heck of a lot of questions, with no elaboration given on how – or why – Park has been able to come back from her grisly fate.

Presumably, this is a mystery that the writers hope to clear up in a second season, but there’s no word from Netflix just yet on whether the dark fantasy series has been renewed or cancelled.

Hellbound is available to stream on Netflix. 

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