Jae-i Will Need To Rebuild Her Life After Choosing Herself At the End of ‘Hierarchy’

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 9, 2024
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Who does Jae-i end up with at the end of Hierarchy?
Hierarchy | Image via Netflix

Jae-i is one of the most important characters in Hierarchy, and her personal arc touches on many of the most crucial themes that the Netflix series explores. She’s embroiled in a love triangle that threatens to become a square now and again, but at the end of Season 1 Jae-i does not end up with either of her potential suitors and instead chooses to track down her mother and work on herself.

Who is Jae-i?

Jae-i is one of the wealthy students at Jooshin Academy and is one-half of the school’s “it” couple alongside Ri-an. However, at the start of Season 1, she returns to school after a three-month trip to the US.

Because she has an extremely abusive and powerful father who banished her birth mother, Jae-i has lived in a state of perpetual fear over being similarly disappeared. This makes her a reactive character throughout much of the first season and her passivity causes her to feel guilt over what happened to In-han.

What did Jae-i break up with Ri-an?

Throughout Season 1 we learn what happened between Jae-i and Ri-an to cause Jae-i to isolate herself and push him away.

Jae-i was being blackmailed by Ju-won, who had acquired a video of her having sex with Ri-an from Jae-i’s younger brother. She was pregnant with Ri-an’s child when she went to the U.S. with the intention of having an abortion, but even after deciding against it she suffered a miscarriage which is what caused her to push Ri-an away. She wanted to keep the sad truth from him and deal with it herself.

This and the guilt over failing to intervene in what happened to In-ha caused Jae-i to push everyone away.

Who does Jae-i end up with?

After returning to Jooshin, Jae-i gets embroiled in a love triangle with Ri-an and Kang Ha, whom she bonds with because of In-ha. Kang Ha quickly develops feelings for Jae-i which she seems to reciprocate on some level, but Jae-i ends up with neither of them, instead choosing to work on herself and find her mother.

Jae-i officially breaks up with Ri-an, but tells him the truth about why. She wants to work on herself, and she wants him to work on himself without her, but she can see them getting back together in the future when they have both grown up a little on their own terms. Ultimately she wants them both to be happy, first apart, and then maybe together somewhere down the line.

However, Jae-i also confirms to Kang Ha that she has feelings for him. If a second season arrives and Jae-i returns, it’s very likely that this romantic subplot would pick up from where we left it.

Will Jae-i be in Hierarchy Season 2?

Despite the post-credits scene clearly teasing Season 2, it’s worth remembering that Netflix has not officially renewed the series. However, if it does happen, it is very likely that Jae-i will return.

The love triangle subplot is fairly integral to the school dynamics and has been left mostly unresolved. It’d also be interesting to see how Jae-i’s relationship with her mother develops now that she has had the courage to risk the ire of her controlling father. With Jae-i’s personal awakening, she has also become less passive, and would likely force herself into a greater role when it comes to unraveling the latest murder.

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