“Becoming an adult” throws the magician’s intentions into further doubt amidst personal revelations.
This recap of The Sound of Magic season 1, episode 4, “Becoming an adult”, contains spoilers.
One of the key questions that has hovered around The Sound of Magic thus far has been the authenticity of Ri-eul. Is he really magic? Is this really a fantastical show, or just one steeped in metaphor that’s about to take a dark turn? While “Becoming an adult” doesn’t comprehensively answer either question, it does suggest we’re heading in the right direction, making for the most compelling installment thus far – in my opinion – that does a decent job of deepening the tone while also delivering on some pretty solid character work for both Ah-yi and Il-deung.
The Sound of Magic season 1, episode 4 recap
Speaking of Ah-yi, she’s unsure of what to do about the discovery made in the previous episode of her arrangement with Il-deung, though since the Dean is unable to speak to her parents, it’s all just awkward and uncertain. For now, anyway.
Why wouldn’t a person in this position start putting their faith in magic? This is what belief is, essentially – an answer for the essentially unanswerable. Belief in a thing makes that thing real, in a sense. But Ha-na, who just can’t leave Ah-yi alone, is determined to prove that Ri-eul is a fraud by setting up hidden cameras. She’s caught in the act, but one recording device is left behind, crucially without Ri-eul’s knowledge.
Having finally met Ah-yi’s father here in “Becoming an adult”, it’s easy to sympathize with her. He’s a self-serving grifter who only briefly reappears in her life just to steal from her and give her more empty promises. She’s understandably had enough of her entire predicament, and her being honest with the Dean resulting in a spin that sees Il-deung receiving a prize for helping students in need only solidifies the idea that she has nobody to really turn to, and that honesty isn’t always the best policy.
Often in Korean drama, educational attainment is hugely valued, frequently to the detriment of those who feel like academic success is their only option. Ah-yi sees things that way and is acutely aware that Il-deung doesn’t have to given his extreme privilege and the influence of his parents. The undercurrent of classism hasn’t been subtle in The Sound of Magic, but it’s a welcome theme nonetheless, and I do like how it informs Ah-yi’s relationship with Il-deung. The focus on the latter shows us more of his home life, and his side of the story feels almost like the work of a different writer.
Anyway, what all this is building towards elsewhere is the “big reveal” about Ri-eul, although it’s admittedly more of a suggestion than an actual reveal. You can feel things building earlier when Ah-yi spots blood on his sleeve, but it seems like we’re moving more towards Ri-eul’s authenticity with sequences of Ah-yi visiting her own past via “time magic”. That’s until Ha-na, who secretly filmed the magician, hands the flash drive recording over to Ah-yi and Il-deung and implores them both to watch it. In the footage, Ri-eul asserts his supposed credentials at knifepoint. Uh-oh.