The Eighth Sense – Series Review & Ending Explained

The Eighth Sense is a Korean BL series about the emotional relationship between two university students. The main character has moved away from a small town to study in a big city. He befriends the campus heartthrob, who entices the protagonist to join the surfing club. As their bond deepens, his charming companion becomes increasingly restless. Beneath the confident swagger, he struggles with his deteriorating mental health.

With intelligent themes and profound emotions, The Eighth Sense redefines the meaning of excellence in BL dramas. The sophisticated narrative thoughtfully captures each protagonist's growth and struggles, including a nuanced portrayal of mental health experiences. The story is further enriched by sensitive acting, pulsating chemistry, and cinematic artistry. This outstanding work will be remembered as a masterpiece.

The Eighth Sense Summary

Title:

여덟 번째 감각

Series Info:

South Korea (2023)

Length:

6 hours

Total Episodes:

10 episodes

Genre:

School romance

About:

The Eighth Sense is a mature & interesting BL drama.

Plot

Jae Won and Ji Hyun are university students in the surf club.

Ji Hyun is an art student starting his first year of university in the city. This shy small-town boy is new to urban life, feeling like a fish out of water. He shares a dorm room with his childhood friend, Joon Pyo, who's loyal yet sheltered. The two don't venture much after arriving at the city. Joon Pyo stays in his room to play video games. Meanwhile, Jin Hyun's routine involves drawing and working part-time at a restaurant.

Despite receiving a full scholarship, Ji Hyun earns an extra income as a waiter. He has a friendly relationship with the owner, a sensible divorcee who treats her employee kindly. They often meet for drinks and chat about life after their shifts. Ji Hyun opens up and reveals his culture shock. She gives wise advice, encouraging him to live each day to the fullest without fear.

While working at the restaurant, Ji Hyun encounters two rowdy customers in a drunken fight. Jae Won and his friend Tae Hyung over a disagreement. Ji Hyun intervenes before the violence escalates. Fortunately, the pair overcomes their anger and makes up afterwards. Jae Won introduces himself and makes casual small talk. Jae Won reveals he's a senior student attending the same school. He recently returned after being discharged from the military.

Sensing Ji Hyun's loneliness, the chatty and charming Jae Won offer to be his friend. At school, Ji Hyun sees Jae Won on a promotional poster for the surfing club. He decides to join the extracurricular activity despite having no prior experience. Ji Hyun meets Yoon Won, the club president struggling to find employment post-graduation. He also encounters Eun Ji, Jae Won's beautiful ex-girlfriend. Despite their breakup, she wants to reconcile with him.

Ji Hyun goes on a field trip with the surfing club. He befriends Ae Ri and Bit Na, two freshman girls who are also new club members. During the lessons, Jae Won mentors Ji Hyun one-on-one. Despite his inexperience, Ji Hyun quickly picks up the sport and develops a passion for it. The pair becomes closer, forming an intimate connection. Jae Won, a campus heartthrob, displays a naturally confident demeanour. However, Ji Hyun discovers his new friend masks darker emotions beneath his bravado.

The Eighth Sense Trailer

The Eighth Sense Cast

Characters

Ji Hyun

Oh Jun Taek (오준택)

Ji Hyun is portrayed by the Korean actor Oh Jun Taek (오준택).

Ji Hyun is an art student starting his first year of university. He shares a dorm room with his childhood friend, Joon Pyo. Ji Hyun has moved away from a small town to study in a big city. However, the shy small-town boy feels culture shock and doesn't socialize with his peers. Ji Hyun works part-time as a restaurant waiter.

Oh Jun Taek

Oh Jun Taek (오준택) is a Korean actor. He is born on January 27, 2001.

Oh Jun Taek (오준택) is a Korean actor. He is born on January 27, 2001. His first BL project is the 2023 drama, The Eighth Sense.

Jae Won

Im Ji Sub (임지섭)

Jae Won is portrayed by the Korean actor Im Ji Sub (임지섭).

Jae Won is a business student in his final year of university. He recently completed serving in the military. Upon his return, Jae Won breaks up with his girlfriend, Eun Ji. However, she wants them to reconcile. Jae Won is the vice president of the school's surfing club. Despite being wealthy, he doesn't look forward to inheriting the family business.

Im Ji Sub

Im Ji Sub (임지섭) is a Korean actor. He is born on November 12, 1998.

Im Ji Sub (임지섭) is a Korean actor. He is born on November 12, 1998. His first BL project is the 2023 drama, The Eighth Sense.

Supporting Cast

Eun Ji is portrayed by the Korean actress Park Hae In (박해인).

Eun Ji

Park Hae In (박해인)

Tae Hyung is portrayed by the Korean actor Jang Young Joon (장영준).

Tae Hyung

Jang Young Joon (장영준)

Yoon Won is portrayed by the Korean actress Lee Mi Ra (이미라).

Yoon Won

Lee Mi Ra (이미라)

Joon Pyo is portrayed by the Korean actor Bang Jin Won (방진원).

Joon Pyo

Bang Jin Won (방진원)

Ae Ri is portrayed by the Korean actress Seo Ji An (서지안).

Ae Ri

Seo Ji An (서지안)

Ji Hyun's boss is portrayed by the Korean actress Jung Seo In (정서인).

Ji Hyun's boss

Jung Seo In (정서인)

Jae Won speaks to his therapist.

Jae Won's therapist

Bit Na is portrayed by the Korean actress Chae Soo Ah (채수아).

Bit Na

Chae Soo Ah (채수아)

Dong Joo is one of Jae Won's friends.

Dong Joo

Jae Won has a younger brother.

Jae Won's brother

Ji Hyun's professor is strict.

Ji Hyun's professor

Jae Won's professor has connections with his dad.

Jae Won's professor

Cast Highlights

  • Bit Na's actress (Chae Soo Ah) has a supporting role in the 2023 Korean school BL series Star Struck. She portrays the female love interest.

The Eighth Sense Review

Review

Drama Review Score: 9.5

A
Ji Hyun and Jae Won stare at each other in bed.

The Eighth Sense doesn't resemble a typical BL drama. Unlike the slew of interchangeable romantic comedies, this story exudes a sophisticated vibe. Drawing influences from LGBTQ+ media in the West, the series tackles gritty plots with intelligent themes. The BL genre often infantilizes the protagonists to create cute narratives with marketable pairings. In contrast, The Eighth Sense allows its characters to behave like authentic young adults who drink, smoke, party, and screw. They have realistic chats, relatable aspirations, and raw experiences.

Despite showing immense maturity, The Eighth Sense centres its plot on youth. The protagonist makes a tricky transition from adolescence to adulthood, facing challenges in his journey. He struggles to adjust to city life and shies away from socialization. Over time, Ji Hyun ventures out of his comfort zone, grows assertive, and liberates himself from insecurities. The Eighth Sense masterfully portrays his character arc in a triumphant display of storytelling prowess. The writing is brilliant yet subtle, alluding to its thematic ideas without spelling out everything to the viewers.

Another captivating plot is the depiction of mental health troubles. The series introduces Jae Won as a suave heartthrob who makes his love interest swoon. Yet, his confident demeanour masks a storm of inner turmoil. While the story highlights his trauma poignantly, it takes extreme care to convey the sensitive topic with dignity and respect. From therapy sessions to meaningful dialogue, The Eighth Sense destigmatizes seeking help for your mental wellness. This BL drama is commendable because it promotes thoughtful messages beyond just romance.

Unlike some melodramas, The Eighth Sense doesn't dwell on agony. Although several storylines are angsty, the series balances its heavy tone with lighthearted wit and snappy banter. The lively supporting cast brings much levity between solemn moments. Ae Ri, Joon Pyo, and many others have spunky personalities that will make you laugh. With that said, the antagonists seem like caricatures. Jae Won's ex-girlfriend and best friend create contrived conflicts for the sake of the plot. Nonetheless, each character is memorable and makes lasting impressions.

The Eighth Sense approaches its relationship drama compellingly. Thanks to the actors' chemistry, their encounters are dripping with sexual tension and sensual desire. Beyond physical affection, the characters build an emotional connection. We see them bonding, communicating, and understanding each other intimately. If I must nitpick, Ji Hyun and Jae Won are not among my favourite BL couples. As the series develops multiple complex storylines, several episodes are devoid of romance. The finale compensates by including plenty of tender moments & flirty exchanges.

Both leads (Oh Jun Taek and Im Ji Sub) handle their roles gracefully. They make their characters seem genuine, vulnerable, and effortlessly charming. In addition, the series exhibits a cinematic flair. Its artistic scene composition, symbolic use of colours, and majestic soundtrack produce a mesmerizing ambiance. From the spectacular visuals to the sentimental narrative, singing praises for this series leaves me breathless. The Eighth Sense is a masterpiece, redefining excellence in the BL genre. This stylish, sophisticated, and sensational love story resonates profoundly.

Summary

Profound story

The Eighth Sense presents an intelligent story with complex themes and authentic characters. Among its many meaningful messages, it depicts mental health experiences sensitively.

Emotional romance

The compelling relationship drama includes vivid sexual tension and undeniable chemistry. We also see the characters cultivate an emotional bond, from intimate chats to gentle encouragement.

Genuine acting

Both performers (Oh Jun Taek and Im Ji Sub) portray their roles with poise and dignity. They make their characters seem genuine, charming, and vulnerable. Plus, they share an excellent rapport.

Happy ending

The Eighth Sense has a happy ending where Jae Won overcomes his emotional struggles. The finale sends uplifting messages about growth and resilience. Also, it includes plenty of tender moments.

Cinematic artistry

This series displays a stunning cinematic flair. The stylish visuals accentuate mood & ambiance, while its conceptual use of colours emphasizes the story's themes. The music is also snazzy!

95%

The Eighth Sense is a masterful BL drama conveying a mature love story with sophisticated messages. It makes a profound impression with brilliant writing, genuine acting, and exquisite artistry.

The Eighth Sense Series Explained

Analysis

Journey

Ji Hyun left his rural town to study in a big city.

Ji Hyun is a small-town boy who grew up in the countryside. At age twenty, he departed his rural hometown to study in a big city. It's his first time leaving his family to live independently. Thankfully, his childhood friend Joon Pyo accompanies him. They can rely on each other for support instead of handling everything alone. Yet, Joon Pyo isn't with him all the time. Ji Hyun faces many solitary challenges as he navigates an unfamiliar world on a journey far away from home.

Upon his arrival, Ji Hyun discovers how sheltered he is. The first episode highlights his ignorance comically when he makes an unnecessary lengthy trip to go sightseeing somewhere nearby. "The Han River is super long! Do you think there's just one park?" His friend chastises him. Although this moment may be funny to the viewers, it highlights Ji Hyun's naivety and lack of worldly experience. From his confusion over the subway system to knowing nobody else on campus, Ji Hyun feels intimidated by his new home. He is uncomfortable about not fitting in.

The story illustrates Ji Hyun's situation through several visual cues. During the premiere, our protagonist walks through a tunnel with a backpack and a briefcase. The series paints a picture of a young voyager on a solo expedition. Later, the episode shows him sitting by the Han River, surrounded by the city landscape. Ji Hyun observes the view pensively. Behind him, we see a pedestrian bridge, a bus station, and a tall building. These modern architectural structures epitomize city life, juxtaposing the small-town boy with the overwhelming urban environment.

Ji Hyun observes his urban environment.

Introvert

Ji Hyun lights Jae Won's cigarette.

On top of being lost in the big city, Ji Hyun struggles due to his shy personality. Although Joon Pyo is also from the countryside, he adapts to his new environment comfortably. Between random hookups and gaming buddies, Joon Pyo fulfills his social needs. Unlike his outgoing roommate, Ji Hyun finds it hard to connect with others. Notice how he skipped orientation week, using work as an excuse to forgo the group bonding activities. Like an introvert, Ji Hyun avoids socialization whenever possible.

Ji Hyun meets Jae Won, a drunken customer at the restaurant. They would have remained strangers, but Jae Won initiates a casual conversation while asking for a cigarette. This university senior is suave, confident, and charming. As they exchange pleasantries, Jae Won can sense his companion's solitude. "Do you want me to be your friend?" He asks cheekily. This offer of friendship stuns Ji Hyun, who had felt alienated in the cold, desolate city. Yet, Jae Won reaches out to him and ignites a moment of warmth. His kindness makes Ji Hyun feel slightly less isolated.

Later, the leads meet on campus. Ji Hyun eats alone at the cafeteria after Joon Pyo blows off their lunch date. Jae Won recognizes him and comes over to say hello. "I promised to be your friend," he says with an inviting grin. Once again, Jae Won sees the lonely freshman, initiates a chat, and offers companionship. Although they only had a short exchange, Ji Hyun was moved by the camaraderie. Jae Won has repeatedly socialized with this introvert, reassuring him that he belongs in the community. Ji Hyun grows hopeful about making a new friend in the city.

New experiences

Ji Hyun takes surfing lessons from Jae Won.

Ji Hyun has considered joining the surf club due to Jae Won. The Eighth Sense showcases its wry humour when the president jokes, "You sign up because of how pretty Eun Ji looks in the poster, right?" In reality, Jin Hyun only focused on Jae Won and didn't even notice Eun Jin. The camera shows Jin Hyun's perspective as it zooms into Jae Won on the poster. This scenario only occurs in the BL universe, where the beautiful woman gets ignored without a second glance. *lol*

Yet, Ji Hyun hesitates with his registration. "That club is no place for hillbillies like us," Joon Pyo verbalizes his friend's inner concerns. Signing up for an extracurricular activity should be easy and effortless, but Ji Hyun struggles with his insecurities. He is self-conscious about his small-town background and faces potential ridicule over inexperience. Furthermore, he is painfully shy and feels uneasy with group socialization. Putting yourself out there is challenging, especially for an introvert. Ji Hyun doesn't dare to venture out of his comfort zone to try a new experience.

Ji Hyun's boss encourages him, "You should live each day to the fullest." Motivated by her words, Ji Hyun summons the courage to sign up for the surf club. He makes a momentous breakthrough by overcoming his anxieties. Later, Ji Hyun articulates his rationale. "Once I became an adult and moved to Seoul, I thought the world was a scary place. I'm trying not to be afraid anymore." The story turns a seemingly minor decision into a significant personal triumph. We celebrate Ji Hyun for conquering his fear of new environments and taking a brave step toward self-empowerment.

Connection

Ji Hyun and Jae Won listen to music with the same headphones.

Episode 1 concludes with the leads sitting on the bus and listening to the same music. Ji Hyun substitutes the wireless earbuds for wired devices, symbolizing a newfound connection with his love interest. I suppose you can enjoy songs together using wireless technology too, but it looks more ~iconic~ with a wire! The premiere leaves us optimistic about their budding relationship. This small-town boy is no longer isolated after meeting his new city friend.

Yet, Episode 2 begins by making us question the strength of their bond. Jae Won asks the freshman for his name, despite Ji Hyun already telling him earlier. After this exchange, Ji Hyun averts his gaze out the window with a hint of displeasure. The series doesn't explicitly state why he's upset. It trusts the viewers to follow the narrative closely and understand the protagonist's perspective. Jae Won was a smooth talker who insisted on being friends, yet he couldn't remember basic information like a name. Ji Hyun becomes sad and skeptical, wondering if their connection is one-sided.

Despite his forgetfulness, Jae Won compensates by behaving sincerely for the rest of the episode. He devotes his attention to the freshman, accompanies him everywhere, and gives private surf lessons. The cheeky senior teases Ji Hyun for joining the club because of him. Beneath the playful remark, Jae Won subtly acknowledges Ji Hyun wants to be friends. This introverted student seeks a social connection. Jae Won reciprocates by putting in the effort to bond with his companion. Easing Ji Hyun's doubts, Jae Won reassures him their relationship is mutual.

Social anxiety

Ji Hyun is awkward in a group setting.

Ji Hyun's field trip is his first adventure since arriving in the city. His eagerness shows in his meticulous preparation. He remembers to pack sunscreen, whereas the other club members don't even bring a toothbrush for the overnight trip. Ji Hyun also reveals his limited experiences. In the past, he has only swam in valleys, incomparable to surfing in the ocean. The story alludes to how Ji Hyun is like a fish in a small pond, suddenly thrusting himself into the boundless sea.

Despite taking the initiative to leave his comfort zone, Ji Hyun's social anxieties emerge in a group setting. He is quiet, nervous, and awkward around others. The series contrasts his timid behaviour with the two female recruits in the surf club. Ae Ri and Bit Na display lively charisma, evoking enthusiastic applause when introducing themselves to the club members. Yet, the bashful Ji Hyun receives a chilly reception from everyone. Their indifference confirms Ji Hyun's suspicion that he doesn't fit in. This wallflower struggles to adapt to his new environment.

Ji Hyun's social anxiety also manifests during dinner. The group is engaged in a rowdy chat, yet he barely says a word to anybody besides Jae Won. When they make a toast, the camera shows Ji Hyun in the centre of the screen. He is surrounded by blurry people and alcohol cups, almost concealing him from sight. This clever visual cue illustrates his inner turmoil. He is lost in a crowd, overpowered by everyone else's larger-than-life personalities. Ji Hyun represents the plight of introverts everywhere. He doesn't need to be in the water to be drowning in fear.

Companion

Jae Won helps Ji Hyun put on a wetsuit.

Nobody notices Ji Hyun is suffering except for Jae Won. The group perceives him as a socially awkward kid who never talks to anyone. Only Jae Won shows enough intuition to sense Ji Hyun's anxiety and helps the freshman feel at ease. As an older brother, Jae Won has developed an instinct to look after someone younger. He does his best to comfort and support Ji Hyun, guiding him through this scary new environment.

There are numerous examples of Jae Won's protectiveness:

When nobody responds to Ji Hyun's introduction, Jae Won is the first to clap, cheer, and create hype. He does so to make Ji Hyun feel more supported in the group.

Initially, Yoon Won planned to teach Ji Hyun surfing. Yet, Jae Won swaps responsibilities to ensure he becomes Ji Hyun's mentor instead. Jae Won wants to look after his buddy.

Sensing Ji Hyun's bashfulness in the communal shower, Jae Won exits hastily. He lets his younger companion wash up without feeling further self-consciousness.

During dinner, Tae Hyung asks the recruits where they live. Ae Ri and Bit Na reply cheerfully, creating a fun back-and-forth rapport with their seniors. Before they change topics, Jae Won interrupts the chat to ask Ji Hyun the same question. While everyone else has overlooked the quiet freshman, Ji Hyun makes a special effort to include him in the discussion.

After dinner, the group walks to the beach for the bonfire. Instead of joining the others, Jae Won matches Ji Hyun's pace to keep him company. They walk side-by-side behind the rest of the pack.

This surfing trip could have been such a distressing experience for Ji Hyun, the social outcast of the group. However, Jae Won welcomes the shy freshman and cares for him like a devoted guardian. Jae Won is Mr. Popular and has plenty of buddies around him. Yet, he chooses to stay by the unpopular kid's side to give him comfort, security, and reassurance. True to his Episode 1 promise, Jae Won remains a loyal friend to Ji Hyun. This support means the world to Ji Hyun, who cherishes Jae Won's kind-hearted companionship.

Adulthood

Ji Hyun drinks alcohol to signify his adulthood.

Another intriguing social dynamic emerges during the surfing trip. The series differentiates between the seniors and the freshmen. These university seniors fuss over using honorifics, demanding respect from their younger counterparts. The story references the characters' ages to highlight how young or old they are. It likes reminding us that Ji Hyun is barely an adult. Months ago, he was still an inexperienced high school kid. Despite being twenty years old, his childlike naivete remains.

University is a fascinating phase in life, representing the transition between adolescence and adulthood. Your age signifies you're officially an adult. Yet, your status as a student still carries the responsibilities of youth. Ji Hyun, a freshman, has just started maturing into an adult and seems overwhelmed. You tend to feel afraid during these formative years since you lack knowledge and experience. You fear the unknown. Ji Hyun's older mentors reassure him that he'll gain wisdom with age. As you grow older, you will feel more secure and worry less about your adolescent concerns.

The Eighth Sense uses several emblems to denote adulthood. One is alcohol. The students frequently drink to assert they are now old enough to do so. Another symbol is employment. The seniors worry about their careers before leaving school. Jae Won frets about becoming a photographer versus working for his dad's company. Likewise, Yoon Won stresses over not finding a job. Their troubles show adulthood isn't a miraculous phase where all your self-doubts disappear. While you may feel more confident with age, insecurities will resurface even as an adult.

Independence

Ji Hyun goes surfing by himself.

Despite Jae Won's support, Ji Hyun doesn't rely on his companion for personal growth. Our protagonist's journey of self-discovery isn't tied to his love interest. Part of adulthood means freeing himself from a guardian. Ji Hyun's most valuable lesson in Episode 3 is independence, signified by his decision to go surfing alone without close supervision. With the lessons taught by his adult mentor, Ji Hyun is ready to tackle the world individually.

The story highlights growing up and becoming independent isn't an easy journey. Ji Hyun struggles initially, such as putting on the wetsuit by himself. The camera also shows him walking barefoot on the rocky terrain, symbolizing his arduous path into adulthood. Once in the sea, Ji Hyun doesn't find success immediately. This rookie surfer falls into the water many times. Yet, he learns to stand firmly with two feet on the surfboard. Ji Hyun has figured out how to succeed without anyone's support. The young protagonist's autonomy is a celebration of his maturity.

Besides surfing, Ji Hyun also becomes braver and accepts new experiences. He agrees to hang out with Ae Ri and Bit Na. Previously, Ji Hyun was reluctant to socialize with others. This introvert skipped orientation week. Yet, Ji Hyun has made progress since the field trip. His willingness to try new activities is another hallmark of adulthood. Without Jae Won or Joon Pyo beside him, Ji Hyun could still mingle with these two girls and show off his charm. He feels more comfortable with himself, a promising sign of his transition from boyhood to manhood.

Ae Ri

Ji Hyun becomes friends with Ae Ri.

Ae Ri is the opposite of Ji Hyun in almost every aspect. This outgoing city girl from a wealthy suburb has no trouble dazzling others with her charisma. From party tricks to bubbly jokes, she is the centre of attention. Yet, her assertiveness intimidates Ji Hyun, who admits she makes him uncomfortable. Ae Ri represents everything that Ji Hyun is not. Being around her highlights his glaring inadequacies, making this sheltered introvert even more self-conscious.

At the bonfire, Ji Hyun protected Ae Ri from peer pressure and drank the alcohol on her behalf. Thankful for his chivalry, Ae Ri wants to be his friend. She invites him to hang out, but he avoids her and makes excuses to minimize their contact. "She seems nice. Why are you so rude to her?" Joon Pyo calls out his roommate's unsociable behaviour. The problem does not lie with her. Held back by his insecurities, Ji Hyun resists this friendly classmate trying to connect with him. For introverts, one-on-one socialization can be just as daunting as group events.

After Ji Hyun skips their scheduled meal, Ae Ri could have ceased this one-sided friendship. Thankfully, she's the bigger person and clears the air. As they communicate openly, Ji Hyun relaxes and recognizes her sincerity. "I just want to be your friend, I swear!" Ae Ri clarifies her intentions. Her sparkling personality wins him over. Ji Hyun opens up to Ae Ri, sharing cute platonic scenes. Ae Ri is a substantial figure in Ji Hyun's personal growth. She encourages him to be sociable. He makes a new friend on campus, proving people from different walks of life can get along amicably.

First Kiss

Ji Hyun and Jae Won share their first kiss.

While spending time together, an attraction has formed between the main characters. Their locker room scenes are dripping with sexual tension. As Jae Won helps a nearly naked Ji Hyun wear the wetsuit, it becomes a tender yet seductive ritual. Later, they meet in the showers. Jae Won urges his companion to get undressed, which prompts a nervous giggle from the childish BL fan inside me. He wants to see your wiener, hehe~ 🤭

Ji Hyun and Jae Won kiss at the start of Episode 3. An alcohol-infused evening causes both men to lose inhibition and submit to their desires. However, Jae Won's insecurities arise after the kiss. He starts avoiding his companion. From evading eye contact to switching bus seats, Jae Won's friendliness has morphed into aloofness. Ji Hyun is confused, especially after seeing Jae Won smooch Tae Hyung. Did he pick up the right romantic signals? Or was their first kiss simply a meaningless drunken encounter? Either way, Ji Hyun is hurt after getting the cold shoulder from his crush.

The story never clarifies Jae Won's reaction to the kiss, inviting the viewers to speculate. He could be insecure for multiple reasons. One, he feels awkward about mixing brotherly friendship with love. Two, he's self-conscious about exploiting a young, naive club member from his mentorship position. Three, their gender is a concern. ("I thought she was a lesbian," Bit Na describes Yoon Won. The series alludes to the gossip that same-sex attraction evokes.) And four, Jae Won isn't in the best mental space to couple up with anyone. He's still coping with emotional baggage.

Attraction

Ji Hyun and Jae Won chat outdoors.

Although Jae Won rejects his feelings initially, he comes to terms with his heart. Chatting with Yoon Won helps him make sense of his attraction"Friendship is similar to love," she states, highlighting the root of his confusion. Jae Won learns to differentiate between friendship and romance. He has a close rapport with the club president, yet they never kiss. With Yoon Won, their relationship is platonic. In contrast, Jae Won behaves differently around his love interest. He realizes his feelings toward Ji Hyun resemble desire.

Episode 3 ends with an iconic scene when Jae Won comes face-to-face with his attraction. As the leads stare fondly at each other, the series confirms their mutual feelings without requiring dialogue. Yet, Jae Won hesitates to proceed with a romance. In Episode 4, Jae Won drops hints that he wants to de-escalate any flirting. He says the country mouse and the city mouse were "just friends". He also tells his therapist about freeing himself from human relationships. Despite acknowledging his attraction, Jae Won is conflicted about pursuing Ji Hyun romantically.

However, Jae Won cannot deny his attachment to Ji Hyun. Episode 4 juxtaposes Jae Won's reactions to his two love interests at the library. He looks miserable around his ex-girlfriend Eun Ji. In contrast, he perks up and smiles genuinely over seeing Ji Hyun. A silly picture held by the freshman can make Jae Won laugh giddily. Ji Hyun gives him relief, whereas Eun Ji causes stress. At the end of Episode 4, Jae Won clasps Ji Hyun's hands and comes close to kissing him. Jae Won's affectionate gestures indicate he's receptive to nurturing their relationship.

Turmoil

A fun night at the bar turns ugly in Episode 5. Tae Hyung speaks snidely about Jae Won's family wealth, including a triggering remark about having no siblings. Considering his detailed research on Jae Won's dad, he should know his friend's brother died in an accident. His cruel statement seems deliberate. Tae Hyung may be so insensitive that he believes a relative's death isn't a big deal. The lucky bastard gets more inheritance! Jae Won is provoked and unravels, ripping open his emotional wounds.

The Eighth Sense depicts Jae Won's inner turmoil with a kaleidoscope of colours. Sitting under the bar's fluorescent lights, a new hue washes over him every few seconds. From indigo blue to crimson red, the rapid succession of dark, moody shades represents his psychological instability. Furthermore, the intense saturation doesn't portray our protagonist flatteringly. His face is drained of warm human colours, resulting in a monstrous appearance. Jae Won looks intimidating as his demons overtake his mental state.

Jae Won consumes excessive alcohol to drown his sorrows. Ji Hyun worries about his destructive behaviour. First, he places a hand on Jae Won's knee to soothe his emotions. The intimate gesture resembles how Jae Won touched Ji Hyun's leg during Episode 4 under different circumstances. Later, Ji Hyun offers a remedy to neutralize his drunkenness. The scene mirrors a similar exchange in Episode 2, except the roles are reversed. Previously, Jae Won comforted his companion to alleviate his distress. Ji Hyun returns the favour to help Jae Son overcome his turmoil.

Trauma

Jae Won is traumatized by the past.

Jae Won was struck by a family tragedy years ago. His beloved younger brother died in an accident under Jae Won's supervision. The series never depicts the event in a flashback or describes the death in graphic detail. Instead, it relies on the audience's empathy to decipher the protagonist's pain. We can imagine the traumatic circumstances where a young loved one dies helplessly before our eyes. Regardless of what happened, the situation must be gruesome and heartbreaking.

The Eighth Sense omits elaborating on the brother's tragedy for several reasons. Firstly, it avoids triggering viewers who have gone through similar experiences. We don't desire to see a child's death unfold on screen. Secondly, the story indicates trauma is private and personal. It isn't a public spectacle to garner sympathy. The victims carry the burden like a secret thorn inside their hearts. And thirdly, we can never understand how much Jae Won is suffering. We have a rough idea of his emotional struggles, but his precise anguish is indescribable.

The therapist mentions how Jae Won's trauma will never disappear. He must deal with the guilt, sorrow, and pain for the rest of his life. Often, Jae Won cannot cope. He uses medications for relief, but they aren't enough to mitigate his pain. Nothing cures his mental breakdowns. These slumps may be short or lengthy. They also occur suddenly, like a harmless evening with friends. Trauma is scary since it manifests without warning. You may take precautions to minimize trigger points, yet a quick interaction sends you to rock bottom. Trauma is raw, random, and recurrent.

Facade

Ji Hyun and Jae Won chat on the beach.

Jae Won isn't defined by his adolescent tragedy. He functions regularly most of the time, keeping his angst under control. When the main characters first met, Jae Won presented a facade of charm and confidence. There were subtle hints of his despair, but Ji Hyun didn't suspect anything unusual. Like many victims, Jae Won has learned to subdue his trauma over time. He tries to keep calm and carry on, concealing the personal pain from public display.

Despite suppressing his negative emotions, Jae Won is haunted by trauma. The remorse of not saving his brother's life gnaws at his conscience. Jae Won atones by behaving benevolently. He acts based on pleasing others than prioritizing his happiness. "That's your problem, pretending to be nice to everyone." Yoon Won joked, but her words shook him more than she could know. He puts up a front the most with his family. Jae Won doesn't want to defy his grieving parents. He drops his photography ambitions, becoming the dutiful son who inherits his dad's company.

In addition, Jae Won maintains a constant bravado. He acts smooth and charming to impress his peers. Yet, it's exhausting to try so hard around them. Jae Won also feels like a fraud, doubting the sincerity of his good deeds. His motivation for acting like Mr. Nice Guy comes from guilt and approval. "I get sick of myself for wearing a mask," Jae Won admits. He feels most comfortable around Ji Hyun since their relationship is a clean slate. There's little baggage or history between them. Jae Won can be the version of himself before he was traumatized.

Therapy

Jae Won talks to his therapist.

Jae Won visits his therapist regularly. She creates a safe space for her patient to express himself. He can talk, listen, or stare at the fishies in the aquarium. Although Jae Won doesn't always open up during their talks, he sometimes reveals his troubling thoughts. The Eighth Sense destigmatizes therapy and medication, presenting them as available resources for mental wellness. These treatments offer an outlet for Jae Won, allowing him to process his negativity instead of letting it manifest unhealthily. 

The series shatters our preconceived notions of therapy in the first episode. Jae Won's therapist exclaims in her opening scene, "For fuck's sake, just tell me what your worries are!" Her outburst may seem startling and go against a stereotypical counselling session. Our first impression is that she won't coddle the protagonist. The therapist continues speaking bluntly in subsequent scenes. Her bold candour is a tactic. She leads by example, demonstrating to Jae Won that they can be brutally honest with each other. Speak your mind, just like me. Don't hold back.

Jae Won doesn't attend these therapy sessions to be comforted. There are no schmaltzy reassurances that his trauma will ease. Instead, the therapist is there to challenge his mindset. From "You don't have to be loved by everyone" to "You're really selfish", she identifies his destructive thoughts and provides counterarguments. Rather than solve his problems, which she can't do, the therapist helps Jae Won adjust his perspective. What he gains from these sessions is better self-awareness. He can examine his positive and negative emotions with more nuance.

Alternative therapy

The restaurant boss gives Ji Hyun advice.

You may have noticed the parallels between Jae Won's therapy sessions and Ji Hyun's chats with his boss. From the forthright female characters to the face-to-face seating arrangement, the similarities are intentional. The Eighth Sense suggests that therapy can occur in many different forms. The traditional approach is speaking with a licensed mental health professional. However, opening up to a trusted confidante can also be therapeutic.

The restaurant owner is Ji Hyun's unofficial therapist. This woman has a gift for motivational talk and can open her own counselling practice! Her character also has a memorable opening scene. She defies traditional Korean culture and tells the young employee to face her while drinking. Her implicit message is that there are no communication barriers, regardless of seniority. She wants Ji Hyun to relax, drop pretences, and talk candidly when confiding in her. Don't treat me as your boss. I'm just a casual drinking buddy, listening intently to your problems.

Unlike professional therapists, Ji Hyun's boss speaks and acts more informally. She takes a swig of alcohol before dispensing valuable life advice! Regardless, she provides guidance and encouragement to our protagonist with a personal touch. Whenever Ji Hyun faces trouble, his boss offers a safe setting to listen to his concerns. She helps Ji Hyun feel empowered about opening up and never patronizes him. The Eighth Sense highlights different approaches to maintaining your mental health. Communication is vital, whether turning to a therapist or a friend for help.

Tranquillity

Ji Hyun and Jae Won kiss in the ocean.

Despite all his therapy sessions, there is no treatment for Jae Won's trauma. No therapist or medication can bring his dead brother back to life. He must accept that his emotional pain is chronic, hurting forever. There will be inevitable moments when his mood falls into despair. While Jae Won can't stop his depression, he can try to rehabilitate after a slump. A possible coping strategy is finding a solid support network, like a loved one who can help you recover.

Ji Hyun has the potential to be a part of Jae Won's support network. Their interactions delight him, offering relief amid stressful times. "Why not make this relationship deeper?" The therapist encourages her patient. Despite their flirtation, the leads aren't close enough yet. Ji Hyun is clueless about his love interest's history. If Jae Won wants Ji Hyun's support, he must discuss his trauma. After bonding pleasantly in Episode 6, Jae Won gathers the courage to speak honestly about his suffering. Their chat is like Jae Won ripping open his emotional wound to let Ji Hyun examine it.

Ji Hyun responds sensitively. Instead of prying about past trauma, the couple cherishes their present moment together. A beautiful fireworks display lights the sky, offsetting the bleakness with colourful exuberance. Ji Hyun continues providing bliss the following day, including an iconic kiss in the sea. They also consummate their love later that night. Ji Hyun helps Jae Won by becoming a constant source of happiness, like a reliable refuge from misery. It's okay if you may go through emotional turmoil from time to time. I will always be your tranquillity.

Surfing

Jae Won is happy on a surfboard.

Surfing is a suitable motif for The Eighth Sense, reiterating many narrative themes. It relates to Ji Hyun's character arc as he transitions from swimming in a small pond to navigating the vast sea. The ocean represents the openness of the world, which initially intimidates the small-town boy. However, he embraces his sense of adventure, tackling each unknown wave in life. After trial and error, Ji Hyun finds his footing on the surfboard. He learns to stand confidently and independently.

Surfing also aptly relates to Jae Won's recurring struggles with trauma. The stormy sea symbolizes the ebb and flow of his turbulent emotions. The ocean is akin to the depth of his anguish, which feels so untamable that it can overpower him. There is no discernible pattern with these treacherous currents. The unpredictability resembles how his depressive episodes appear in random waves. Some may be small and abrupt, while others are colossal and inevitable. The tides strike viciously, throw him off balance, and never seem to end.

The surfboard represents Jae Won's willpower. Our protagonist is faced with destructive waves that he must constantly overcome. Surfing is a sport that tests your resilience, a defining word that describes Jae Won's life. He falls many times as the monstrous currents overpower his flimsy board. Yet, Jae Won learns to pick himself up again, ready to conquer the next tide. Without persistent determination, he will crash and drown. Although Jae Won feels defeated, Ji Hyun inspires him to stand back up. His love interest is beside him, riding the waves together.

The Eighth Sense Ending Explained

Ending

Relapse

Jae Won stares at the fish in the aquarium.

The Eighth Sense has a happy ending where Jae Won's mental health experiences conclude on a hopeful note. Psychologically, he is in a healthy place. However, it isn't an easy journey to reach this point. The last four episodes of the series are dedicated to Jae Won's struggles as he relapses into his trauma. He falls into a severe slump. "I was in a state where I didn't have the energy to come and get my prescription," Jae Won tells his therapist. Depression has taken its toll on his motivation and willpower.

Jae Won was triggered by Ji Hyun's near-death experience in Episode 6. A horrific surfing accident almost caused Ji Hyun to lose his life. He spent weeks in the hospital, recovering from his physical injuries. This series doesn't elaborate on his bodily harm. Instead, it focuses on the mental strain after the tragedy. History repeated itself as Jae Won relived his past trauma. Once again, he experienced a loved one's accident under his supervision. Although Ji Hyun survives, the close brush with death plummets Jae Won into negative thoughts and painful memories.

The series depicts Jae Won's disorientation with a stylish visual cue. The camera centres on his dazed expression as he stares into an aquarium tank. Schools of fish swim around his head, but they are blurry and resemble abstract shapes. The imagery represents the lack of clarity in Jae Won's mind. Also, it alludes to his self-imposed confinement. The scene is framed to make Jae Won look like part of the tank's interior. He goes from exploring the ocean to trapping himself inside an aquarium. The restriction refers to Jae Won's mental space, which is like a cage.

Revive

Ji Hyun is grateful to be alive.

Unlike his love interest, Ji Hyun recovers from the accident with remarkable resilience. There are no signs of physical or mental trauma after weeks of rehabilitation. Instead, nearly dying strengthens Ji Hyun's conviction to live each day to the fullest. Knowing that his life may end anytime, he embraces new experiences. In Episode 7, Ji Hyun visits a bar with Joon Pyo as they try boozy beverages the city kids drink. This tiny adventure highlights Ji Hyun's eagerness to enjoy life while it lasts.

Ji Hyun's growth is also evident in his new personality changes. Notably, he stops being a quiet wallflower. Ji Hyun is surrounded by many dominant extroverts, like Joon Pyo, Ae Ri, and the restaurant boss. Yet, he isn't intimidated anymore when talking to them. He cracks playful jokes and maintains a lively rapport with his friends. "Hey Joon Pyo, life is easier for pretty boys!" Nearly dying has made Ji Hyun take risks in socialization. This introvert becomes bolder and doesn't hold back from speaking his mind. Social anxiety no longer limits Ji Hyun's life.

Most of all, Ji Hyun has become fearless. Ji Hyun's perspective changes when he realizes nothing can be scarier than almost dying. Suddenly, little things that bothered him in the past now seemed insignificant. He isn't afraid of getting poor grades in a school assignment. Hey, school isn't that big of a deal! Ji Hyun also confronts Eun Ji in a sassy catfight. Back off my man, you cheating floozy! Unlike the timid boy who endured her verbal abuse, he won't let this bully disrespect him anymore. Ji Hyun gains newfound courage after the accident, overcoming his fears & anxieties.

Joon Pyo

Joon Pyo supports Ji Hyun after coming out.

The accident has made Ji Hyun appreciate his relationships more. Previously, he complained about how annoying his roommate was. Yet, Joon Pyo is a loyal companion who has stayed by his side these past few weeks. Contrary to his immature demeanour, Joon Pyo is a surprisingly reliable caregiver who helps with rehabilitation, commute, work, and school. Ji Hyun realizes he is fortunate to have this best friend and feels thankful for Joon Pyo's unconditional support.

In Episode 8, Joon Pyo accidentally discovers his bestie's secret gay relationship. Ji Hyun is nervous about his friend's reaction. Based on stereotypes, there's a higher risk of coming out to someone like Joon Pyo, a sheltered countryside boy. Yet, Joon Pyo remains loyal and proves his support is unconditional. Jin Hyun's friends embrace him for his differences. The outgoing Ae Ri doesn't mind him being introverted. The girl-chasing Joon Pyo doesn't care about him liking boys. Ji Hyun once felt like he didn't fit in with others, but the truth is that they accept him for who he is.

However, not every friendship is genuine. Bit Na has been missing from Ji Hyun's life since the field trip. She suddenly appears after the accident, feigning concern. "We were worried about you," Bit Na tells Ji Hyun, even though she ignored him until something awful happened. No wonder Bit Na is an acting major because she can be fake. Ji Hyun calls out her disingenuous support, proving he can differentiate between his real and fake friends. Bit Na's loyalty is conditional, and she'll disappear again soon enough. In contrast, his bond with Joon Pyo will last forever.

Tae Hyung

Tae Hyung kisses his friend Jae Won.

Speaking of fake friends, Tae Hyung is the textbook definition. Jae Won and Tae Hyung have a turbulent relationship throughout the series, experiencing many ups and downs. Episode 1 highlights their volatile dynamic. They go from drinking buddies to fighting violently to kissing and making up again. Looking back, that peck on the cheek resembles a Judas kiss. Tae Hyung pretends to be close friends with Jae Won, but his allegiance is untrustworthy.

Tae Hyung is driven by jealousy, resenting Jae Won's wealthy background. This millionaire's son is set to inherit a family business that he shows little interest in. Meanwhile, Tae Hyung must stress about exams and job search. Their discrepancies seem unfair, which he often points out in discussions. Jae Won also skips classes after the accident. Yet, he suffers no academic consequences since his dad is friends with the professor. Once again, Tae Hyung is annoyed by his privilege. He pushes for punishment after the fight. Let's put down this rich kid with too many advantages in life.

Jae Won values candour from his acquaintances. Tae Hyung, Yoon Won, and the therapist are all straight shooters. Despite his tactlessness, Tae Hyung speaks his mind without worrying about others. He dares to express unpopular opinions and go against social etiquette. This brutal honesty appeals to Jae Won, who struggles with living behind a facade. Tae Hyung may be an asshole, but at least he's not a liar. The two frenemies reconcile in the finale. Jae Won should remove this toxic influence from his life, but he doesn't. They are friends again, or at least until their next fight.

Eun Ji

Jae Won breaks up with Eun Ji again.

Like her ex-boyfriend, Eun Ji has been living behind a facade. The rumours were true. She cheated on him during his military duties. Despite her unfaithfulness, Eun Ji lies through gritted teeth and pretends she has been a loyal partner. It was just a misunderstanding, she claims. The series never elaborates on why Eun Ji wants to reconcile with Jae Won, who clearly doesn't love her. However, I'm guessing his millionaire fortune is one of her motivations. Wealth tends to attract opportunists who love you for the wrong reasons.

After the accident, Jae Won and Eun Ji unofficially get back together. Jae Won doesn't love his ex. He knows about the affair and no longer has feelings for Eun Ji. His apathy is why he maintains a relationship with her. Being with Ji Hyun triggers Jae Won's trauma because he fears his loved one will get hurt. Instead, he stays with his cheating girlfriend to stop himself from developing an emotional attachment. Jae Won willingly settles for a joyless relationship to not fall in love. When they're together, Jae Won can just be numb.

The breakup in Episode 9 is a rare moment where Jae Won and Eun Ji finally stop pretending. Eun Ji confesses to her affair, while Jae Won admits he doesn't want this romance. Both characters drop their facades, no longer fooling themselves or their partners. Jae Won recognizes that he deserves a genuine connection based on mutual love. On the other hand, Eun Ji must face the consequences of her actions. In the finale, Jae Won and Eun Ji can speak candidly about their history and future. There are no hard feelings, but they won't be part of each other's lives.

Yoon Won

Joon Pyo and Yoon Won hook up at the party.

Recently, Yoon Won's life has been filled with rejections. Searching for employment is mentally exhausting, from getting your hopes up to suffering another declined application. After each failure, you question your worth and capability. Am I not good enough for these companies? Is something wrong with me? Yoon Won also faces financial strain, family expectations, and peer success. As stress accumulates, her confidence dwindles.

The university surf club is Yoon Won's pride and joy, representing an accomplishment in her life. Her founding organization still flourishes years later, attracting newcomers to her beloved hobby. The club's abolition is disheartening, but Yoon Won stays positive and repeals the decision. Yet, Ji Hyun is uncooperative when she asks him to help with the report. Yoon Won faces another rejection, worsening her fragile self-esteem. She has failed in protecting the surf club, her last source of happiness. The latest setback pushes Yoon Won over the edge and triggers her mental breakdown.

Fortunately, Yoon Won's circumstances improved in the finale. She celebrates many triumphs, including a new job, the club's reinstatement, and a casual fling! Contrary to what she once believed, her misfortunes didn't last forever. Her persistence pays off, proving she can achieve much success. Yoon Won's song in Episode 2 reflects her journey. The last lyric is a testament to her resilience"Even if you fall today, it's okay. You could stand up again." Like her club's name, Yoon Won can now fly free like a bird. She soars confidently into the future, no longer weighed by past failures.

Reassure

Jae Won comforts his friend Yoon Won.

Yoon Won's breakdown in Episode 9 was alarming because it seemed unexpected. Although she mentioned struggling to find a job, we underestimated the severe strain on her mental health. Like many, Yoon Won masked her trauma beneath a facade of composure. Typically, she appeared cheerful, confident, and authoritative. She hardly discussed her anxieties with close friends, perhaps due to stigma. Jae Won only discovered her torment when she reached a critical breaking point.

Jae Won comforting Yoon Won is one of my favourite moments in The Eighth Sense. This tender gesture highlighted his sensitivity, compassion, and humanity. Jae Won suffers from personal trauma, yet he puts aside his feelings to attend to a friend's urgent crisis. Despite already carrying so much pain, he prioritizes Yoon Won and still wants to shoulder her emotional burden"Don't worry. Everything will be okay," Jae Won promises. However, he can't apply this advice to his life. Jae Won may counsel others, yet he cannot reassure himself.

Episode 9 begins with the therapist's provocative accusation against Jae Won. "Because you're so focused on your trauma, you ignore others." There is a harsh truth behind her words. Jae Won has emotionally detached himself for so long that he couldn't identify Yoon Won's anguish earlier. You aren't the only one suffering from trauma. Your loved ones also need emotional support from time to time. After this exchange, Jae Won finds an incentive to recover from his slump. He must be mentally strong to reassure his companions when they feel vulnerable.

Reconnect

Jae Won listens to the music Ji Hyun sent him.

Jae Won alienates Ji Hyun after his hospital recovery. From zero communication to downplaying their sexual encounter, he emphasizes they shouldn't mingle. Jae Won believes he is doing a selfless deed. He doesn't want to remind Ji Hyun about the accident or trigger his trauma. In reality, his companion shows no signs of distress. Protecting Ji Hyun is how Jae Won justifies his isolation, but the underlying reason stems from his anxieties.

Jae Won worries about Ji Hyun being hurt. After his brother's mishap, Jae Won fears another loved one will die unexpectedly. The surfing accident triggers his suspicions that tragedy may repeat itself, like lightning striking the same place twice. If he were to lose Ji Hyun, Jae Won's mental health could not handle the two overlapping traumas. He protects himself by disconnecting from Ji Hyun preemptively. Jae Won won't pursue this romance or develop an emotional attachment. Instead, he'll separate from loving relationships and settle for solitude.

Ji Hyun tries to keep in touch. He sends texts, which get ignored. He initiates chats, which go poorly. Ji Hyun never gives up despite the rejections. After recognizing the source of the trauma, Ji Hyun offers a camera as a memento. He reminds Jae Won of an old dream, encouraging him to redefine his past. Jae Won remembers what makes him happy. Finally, Ji Hyun recommends a song. Jae Won wears his earphones, which he used to bond with Ji Hyun in Episode 1. The earphones represent their emotional connection. Ji Hyun is saying, "I want to reconnect with you."

Recover

Ji Hyun and Jae Won kiss in The Eighth Sense Episode 9.

The series began with Ji Hyun on a lonely night when a friendly stranger initiated a connection with him. His kindness moved Ji Hyun, inspiring his growth and confidence. Near the end of the story, their relationship has come full circle. Ji Hyun reconnects with Jae Won on another lonely night, reminding his depressed companion he isn't alone. Like the song lyrics suggest, we can face an imperfect world together. Ji Hyun's love moves Jae Won and encourages him to recover from his emotional wounds

Trauma has no prescribed treatment. The experience differs for everyone, meaning there's no standard approach to healing. Enlightenment may occur during a therapy session, a heartfelt chat, or a sentimental song. The remedy doesn't have to be complex. Like how an innocuous event may cause trauma to relapse, a simple gesture can catalyze recovery. Regardless of the method, resilience is essential. Don't give up, even if progress seems slow. Ji Hyun's persistence helped him find a working solution. After all the failed attempts, his unconditional support led to a breakthrough.

Episode 9 ends memorably as Jae Won regains mental clarity. The visuals show both characters stepping into the frame from soft blurriness to sharp focus. I can see you now, Ji Hyun. I can see so clearly your love and support for me. As Ji Hyun and Jae Won share a passionate kiss, many lively colours surround them. Each vibrant hue represents Jae Won's emotional rejuvenation. Their connection is no longer blurry or muted. It is vivid and intense. The music swells as they kiss again, leading to an epic climax for this powerful story. Wow, what a sensational moment!

Jae Won

Ji Hyun and Jae Won are in bed together.

The Eighth Sense ends with Jae Won in a relaxed psychological state, like a burden has been lifted from his mind. He seems cheerful, confident, and composed. Jae Won is eager to solidify a romance with Ji Hyun, no longer denying their mutual attraction. He officially calls Ji Hyun his boyfriend. Jae Won doesn't feel conflicted anymore. Rather than wallow in past trauma, Jae Won wants to be happy in the present moment and looks forward to a future with Ji Hyun.

Jae Won plans to live more honestly instead of hiding behind a facade. His statement, "I'll only focus on important people in my life," implies he'll stop trying to appease everyone with false charm. Jae Won rekindles his friendship with Tae Hyung, the king of raw candour. Jae Won embraces brutal honesty and will express his inner feelings, even if they make him unpopular. In contrast, he ceases future contact with Eun Ji, the queen of phony illusions. They won't even remain friends. Jae Won rejects the idea of living disingenuously and wants to be true to himself.

Despite the happy ending, Jae Won's tranquillity may not last forever. His recurring trauma means there'll be relapses sooner or later. However, Jae Won is better equipped to handle his next wave of melancholy due to his boyfriend's unconditional love. "I won't make you sad anymore," Jae Won states in the finale. Our protagonist has a new incentive to recover from his depression because he doesn't want to his loved one to suffer. Ji Hyun provides Jae Won the strength, motivation, and support to overcome the fluctuations in his emotions.

Ji Hyun

Ji Hyun attends a party with Jae Won.

Ji Hyun has embarked on a remarkable journey since the story began. This lonely introvert started university without confidence in himself. Yet, he has made significant progress in overcoming his social anxiety. Ji Hyun evolves from the shy freshman who skipped orientation week to the giddy jokester attending a college party. Surrounded by new friends, he mingles with others and flutters from one conversation to the next. Ji Hyun seems relaxed, cheerful, and not at all self-conscious. He's finally comfortable in his skin.

Ji Hyun has learned to try new experiences. This sheltered small-town boy arrived in a big city, feeling hopelessly lost. He used to be intimidated by the urban landscape. Now, Ji Hyun has grown accustomed to the vibrant environment. In the finale, Ji Hyun describes all the romantic landmarks he wants to visit with his boyfriend. He has a detailed itinerary of every tourist destination. Ji Hyun showcases his love for exploration and willingness to venture out of his comfort zone. His views have broadened as he embraces an exciting world beyond school and work.

Each new experience helps Ji Hyun mature. Over the series, he has developed from a naive adolescent to a wise young adult. He can lead a courageous life without his former insecurities. Despite Ji Hyun's significant personal growth, the finale celebrates his youth. The closing scenes show him dancing at a party, surrounded by lively college students. The Eighth Sense depicts a young man enjoying his early twenties and relishing the experience. His adulthood responsibilities will come later. Right now, Ji Hyun deserves to make memories and have fun.

Ji Hyun & Jae Won

Ji Hyun and Jae Won face each other in bed.

The Eighth Sense suggests that Jae Won and Ji Hyun's special connection goes beyond the five traditional senses. Their bond runs so deeply that they can detect each other's inner emotions beyond what other humans can decipher. When Jae Won is sad, Ji Hyun knows how to make him happy. When Ji Hyun is anxious, Jae Won gives him confidence. This couple works because their feelings are in sync and can complement one another.

As a couple, Jae Won and Ji Hyun are compatible because they support each other unconditionally. Ji Hyun demonstrates his commitment with a little game in the finale. "If you take two steps away from me, I'll take three steps toward you." Ji Hyun implies no matter how much distance arises in their relationship, he'll close the gap. For every setback you encounter, I will push forward to reconnect us. Even if Jae Won suffers another mental health slump, Ji Hyun reassures him he'll be available to help. Whenever you're emotionally lost, you will find me.

The last scene shows the leads driving through a tunnel. "Do you think we'll be okay?" Ji Hyun asks. His boyfriend responds reassuringly, "Even if it's scary, we have to try it to find out. Let's try it together, even if we afraid." This final exchange alludes to the uncertainty of the future. The couple may face overwhelming challenges, like another wave of depression. Yet, they'll confront the unknown and remain resilient against any hardships. Although the journey may be daunting, their relationship has given them the strength and courage to endure whatever lies ahead.

Jae Won and Ji Hyun drive in a car together, holding hands.

The Eighth Sense Episodes

Episode Guide

Ji Hyun and Jae Won develop a close bond.

The Eighth Sense has a total of 10 episodes. Each episode is around 30 to 40 minutes long. The last episode is around 35 minutes long. It is a long BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in around 6 hours. The Eighth Sense started on March 29, 2023 and ended on April 26, 2023.

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10

Episode Reviews

Episode 1

This episode is a solid start! I love the writing, especially Ji Hyun's chat with his boss. The series has a different vibe from most BL dramas. It feels mature instead of following a standard formula.

Episode 2

Wow, I loved this episode. Ji Hyun's struggles are relatable. The plot is down-to-earth, yet the messages resonate powerfully. Also, the romance develops intriguingly. Those locker room scenes excite me!

Episode 3

I love how the series writes conversations. The exchanges are funny, insightful, and natural. That scene where the leads reunite on the subway is beautifully done. It speaks volumes without words.

Episode 4

Ae Ri 🧡 I love how the story handles Ji Hyun's growth arc, from making friends to trying new experiences. OMG, Eun Ji is so bitchy. I cheered when the boss stood up to her. Tell that witch to scram!

Episode 5

I'm cackling at Ji Hyun and Ae Ri's bonding scenes. 😆 Oh my god, Jae Won's trauma is worse than I assumed. The story hinted the brother died earlier, but I didn't think he'd be so young.

Episode 6

Phenomenal episode. I love the ambiance in the couple's bonding scenes. The series handles Jae Won's trauma delicately, conveying a gentle yet sombre vibe. OMG, that ending! What happened!?

Episode 7

I should have known better, but I thought Ji Hyun died in the accident. LOL. I feel sorry for Jae Won, who relapsed into the same trauma. Glad to see Ji Hyun comes out of the experience stronger.

Episode 8

Joon Pyo is a pleasant surprise. He's such a loyal friend. However, I wish Eun Ji and Tae Hyung were more complex antagonists. They act like caricatures. Hopefully, Jae Won can recover from his trauma.

Episode 9

Wow, did the therapist call Jae Won selfish!? Ji Hyun's chat with his friends is written clumsily. However, I love when Jae Won comforts Yoon Won. Oh my god, this exhilarating ending is sensational!

Episode 10

I like how the finale is packed with flirty moments between the leads. It makes up for the lack of romance in the last few episodes. So happy Yoon Won bounced back. Look at her, a job AND a man!

The Eighth Sense Information

Moonlight Entertainment

Moonlight Entertainment (문라이트이엔티) is a Korean BL studio. Its first project is the 2023 drama, The Eighth Sense.

Moonlight Entertainment (문라이트이엔티) is a Korean BL studio. Its first project is the 2023 drama, The Eighth Sense.

Director

The Eighth Sense was written and co-directed by Werner du Plessis and Inu Baek (백인우).

  1. It was a masterpiece.full of soft emotions.
    I can say my best bl series of southkorea until now.

     

  2. What a debut by this writing/directing team! Great opening credits, well chosen music, wonderful surfing scenes. The sidelong glances instead of 30 second frozen stares— decent kisses here mean excellent compared to the standard for Korean drama. I loved the supportive female roles– my faves were Ji Huyun's boss and Yoon Won.

    Some tropes that Kdramas love and this avoided- the accidental fall/catch and that they had known each other as children. Some tropes that I wish had been avoided: as you mentioned- 1 antagonists are cardboard thin- the performers did well with what they were given. And too much time was spent with them. 2 One of the leads being horrific to the other to "protect" them 3 no matter how awful people are- mandatory happy endings for all!

    I would give 90% and also consider this a masterpiece- it can be discussed along with some other peaks of the BL universe, which for me include I Told You About Sunset, Cherry Magic, Gaya Se Pelikula and Until We Meet Again.

     

  3. I absolutely adore this BL show. Finished all 10 episodes in 2 days because it is that mesmerising. Excellent cinematography that gives off HK director's Wong Ka-Wei movie vibes which include the beautiful vibrant colours and close-up camera angles – I love it!

    Definitely worthy of a solid A!

     

  4. This series hit me hard from the opening credits. Way more Sundance vibes than typical KBL uni atmosphere. I immediately wondered what BL Watcher would have to say about this and to see full marks was so exciting — standing ovation! Let's get into why I loved this show.

    The nuance in the narrative, the vibe, the artistry, the well-rounded and sympathetic female characters so rare in BL (looking at you bbq lady, cool senior, and hot freshwomen). Most of all the two leads. Ji Hyun is a peaches and cream pre-Raphaelite beauty, which is unique in BL, and his duality (a baby country mouse with an old soul) is fantastic.

    The way that he adapted and shifted his approach to engage with his bae, just overcoming each barrier with sensitivity, was astonishing. And then there is Jae Won Bae, campus hot guy who is so damaged I'm not sure he is going to live to see another day, but then he does. Please let's see more writing and acting like this.

     

  5. A masterpiece indeed! It's so different to most other BLs, so it was definitely a surprise to see something like this from Korea.

    My favorite symbolic moments are when the leads are sitting across each other on the train, but the seats on Jae Won's side are completely black but Ji Hyun's side is colorful. And the other one was when Ji Hyun and his roommate went out for cocktails and ordered Agwa Bombs, and how the alcohol and Red Bull is separated in the glass and must meet in the center (but when it mixes together in your mouth, it's like "fireworks"), and how when one side is tilting, the other supports it, just like how Ji Hyun can be the support for Jae Won when he's "tilting."

    So many great little moments from the show. And obviously just want to commend the actors for committing to the role and doing such a terrific job.

    My only gripe with the show is definitely the one-dimensional antagonists. Which was quite surprising because all the other side characters were done super well.

    But with this and Our Dating Sim, already a terrific year for Korean BLs.

     

  6. First of all, I love that you gave such a detailed and thoughtful review of this amazing series. Thank you for your time and effort in providing your copious insight and analysis.

    For me, ES blew away pretty much everything else from South Korea, even Semantic Error. This series elevated what BL can be–an incredibly transformative gritty depiction of first love. As I watched the series, I felt like I was right there, along for the ride. I often forgot I was watching a show, so engrossed was I in witnessing their lives unfold.

    Most BLs are overly explanatory, spoon-feeding us the plotline in case we don't get it. ES takes off the training wheels and lets us experience the true power of Korean storytelling coupled with the magic of BL, starting with the first shot after the opening credits in the therapist's office. Wow. The shot is of a fish tank in sharp focus and the fuzzy back of Jae Won's head, and then without moving the camera, switches focus to the therapist while leaving him blurry. What a powerful statement that makes before any words are even said. And the whole entire series is like that, one eye-catching shot after another, interwoven seamlessly. Truly mesmerizing.

    Some reviews on DramaList complain about things like editing and music. People are accustomed to smooth scene cuts and music to fill the void and expect ES to fall into the same cookie-cutter mold it defies. One reviewer even compared ES to Blueming (that I just watched to see what they were trying to say), finding it derivative. I see vague similarities between the two, but ES is on a whole other level. Blueming is a problematic BL at best, whereas ES is near perfection.

    After reading the DL reviews, I was thinking that maybe I was missing something. But no, after absorbing your very detailed review, it's clear to me, I'm not the crazy one; they're the ones not appreciating ES for the cinematic achievement it is.

     

  7. When I initially put this series on my watch to watch list, I had no idea what it was about, but for whatever reason I had a really good feeling about it. Watching the first episode completely blind, within the first few minutes I could already tell that I was going to love it.

    I watched the two episodes that came out each week almost immediately and waiting for each new episode I would repeat watch the series to pick up anything I might have missed before when I had time. I tried to space out how I watched the released episodes, but that never ended up happening, lol. I've never been happier to have such a good initial gut feeling about a series, but I truly enjoyed the eighth sense, and it's become one of my favorite series.

    I was also excited to read our review, because a lot of your reviews I can agree with and enjoy what you have to say about them. Very glad to see you also enjoyed this series!

  8. In episode seven, the writers entirely betray their viewers’ trust by deliberately leading them to believe Ji Hyun has died. I felt this was an unforgivable and fatal flaw to what would have been an outstanding series. My heart was twisting during the first sixteen minutes of the episode. I was saying to myself, No, no, don’t do this to me! Why?
    Death is a reality we all must face, so I don’t object when a character dies in a series. It gives the viewer insights into the process of grief. Eternal Yesterday was a masterful example of that. And misdirection can also be a tool used to keep the audience interested. But this went beyond misdirection. The writers outright lied to their audience in the most cruel way.
    Episode six ends with Jae Won dragging an injured Ji Hyun from the surf. Episode seven’s opening credits are played out in complete silence, effectively setting a very portentous mood that creates a tension that plays on our heartstrings. Then the episode begins with members of the surf club talking about an ‘accident’ to one of their members. Your heart sinks further. One guy says, “But really, baseball, basketball, judo, and even hiking, all those clubs are dangerous as well. Ending our club seems too harsh.” Then the writers stick in the knife when another member says, “But those other clubs didn’t have people dying.” My heart dropped.
    Later Tae Hyung says, “We are seniors now, so let’s get ourselves together… And be careful, always. Careful.” Then he says breezily, like the dick that he is, “And don’t die like someone we know,” which causes Jae Won to attack him, slugging him repeatedly, which is how I felt about the writers.
    Finally, after sixteen minutes of torturous misdirection, Jae Won says in the therapist’s office, “He almost died in the ICU.”
    The writers laugh at us. “Ha ha, fooled you!” Like Jae Won’s reaction to Tae Huyung, I wanted to jump up and pummel them.
    I agree with all of your insightful analysis of The Eighth Sense. It was indeed a masterpiece, but one that was utterly ruined by those sixteen minutes in episode seven. It was so unnecessary. Even though it would have been a trope, they could have revealed that Ji Hyun had been in a coma which is what, in fact, had happened, and not blatantly play with the viewers’ emotions.
    I hope this is a terrible subtitling error by the Rakuten Viki volunteers. If anyone speaks Korean, I would appreciate your feedback on this, so I can ask Viki to make corrections if they indeed made mistakes. They have made errors in other series, which they later corrected.
    Part of me wants to grade this as an F, but I could reluctantly go with a B–.
    It is a masterpiece that is unnecessarily flawed.

  9. @Roger
    I can understand how you felt bad faith in the clear intention of the narrative to mislead the audience into believing that Ji Hyun had died. Let me present an alternative viewpoint. I mean, I think like you and me the entire viewership was gut-punched at that moment, but rather than bad faith, maybe that point of view was Jae Won’s. He believed it at first, and even after it proved not to be true and Ji Hyun fully recovered, his guilt and trauma would not let him break free of the moment when he believed Ji Hyun had drowned just like his brother. For me, it’s not bad faith, but an immersion in Ji Hyun’s troubled head space, which is something the series does repeatedly throughout the show.

  10. Thank you so much for this stunning review. I loved the series and I watched it carefully but I missed so many things that you point out in your review. I actually went back and watched The Eighth Sense a second time, just to solidify my understanding of some of your insights. Two things I wanted to mention. First, at the end of episode 6 we know there has been a surfing accident involving JiHyan, but we don't yet know how bad. Unlike all of the other episodes, there is no music during the credits — they run by in dead silence. I think this is to reflect the mood that we are all feeling — that something deadly may have happened. In fact, I think that many times the music that plays during the end of episode credits reflects the feelings of the viewer for the end of that particular episode. Also, there is no music at the beginning of Ep 7, the episode following the surfing accident.

    Second, I'm wondering about the title The Eighth Sense. I read carefully your paragraph that starts "The Eighth Sense suggests that Jae Won and Ji Hyun's special connection goes beyond the five traditional senses." I liked your comment and I'd like to add that there is a reference to the 5 senses in the last episode when JiHyan is at Woon Joo's party he talks to Eun Ji, where she says to him "I realized the five senses weren't everything. Just follow your senses."

    I think she's actually trying to give JiHyan good advice and maybe that the special connection that he has with JaeWon is beyond the 5 senses, maybe more in the realm of the eighth sense? I'd love to hear what you think because this relates to the title, which can summarize the series.

  11. The Eighth Sense was an absolute delight. My favourite BL so far. First proper love scene was realistic, without being explicit, and it was obvious that the characters were making love, sensual, loving, tentative yet filled with desire. I wish more BLs were like this. I think maybe there were too many episodes, yet even then the continuity was not great.

  12. Dear BL Watcher,

    I would just like to say a few things.

    First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you so much for what you do.
    I find myself reading your reviews after finishing a show and going back to rewatch all the wonderful little details you point out.

    Second, we are all different and I believe we prefer stories that resonate with our backgrounds and experiences.
    The eighth sense is not one of them.

    It's a wonderful and powerful journey of self-discovery for a shy country mouse and of healing for a pained city mouse.

    I loved every aspect of this show, the acting, the chemistry, the longing and guilt (like the lunch in the cafeteria after the accident), the MUSIC, the cinematography, everything was exceptional.

    I specially enjoy the fact that they never clearly confessed their feelings for each other but we can feel them throughout the show.

  13. Just a realization, the lady boss also act in Where Your Eyes Linger as another restaurant owner.

  14. This series is soo cute. Writer you don't need to add jae won ex girlfriend she is a b***h but is ok love this series 10 out of 10.

  15. BL watcher, I love your work. Your dedication to this blog is amazing. I came across this because I searched up "eighth sense". I love how your website has such a niche. I like your detailed explanations and how you connect visuals from the show with metaphors and explanations. I just want to pop in here to appreciate your work.

  16. BL Watcher, thank you so much for highlighting this series. I completely devoured it over the weekend and absolutely adored it. Thank you for all your analysis and commentary, which makes me want to start all over again at episode one… I’ve only watched half a dozen BL series so far, but none have been quite so amazing as this…

  17. Watched this series a couple of months ago. Binged it. Loved it. But was also very painful for me. To see that a introvert can change so much and make significant positive livechanges. While I am now in my fifties and still am clueless and without guts and love.
    The soundtrack I really liked.

    It took me a couple of days to "recover" from this series.

    And thanks for all your reviews. I find them very smart and well written.

  18. Thank you BL watcher for putting all this reviews together. I think your analysis are all really on point. This piece of work is phenomenal in how it really does redefine how the Boys love genre could be portrayed. The casts did amazing job. The scripts were carefully worded and natural.

    I do not think I can ever recover from this series ever.

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