‘Duty After School’ Ending, Explained: Who Died & Who Survived? Where Is Won-Bin?

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The first episode of “Duty After School” ended with the death of the first character, Jang Young-Hoon. His death marked the beginning of a different reality for all of the other characters in the drama. The students were already assigned a platoon leader, Lee Choon-Ho, along with two other platoon instructors, Kim Won Bin and Seo Ja-Yoon. The first onslaught by spheres took the students’ teachers, Park Eun-Young and Seo Ja-Yoon, in Episode 2. Episode 3 ended with the deaths of Kim In-Hye and Im Woo-Taek, while in episode 4, the lives of the students were spared. Jumping straight to Episode 6, the students were hit with the death of Lee Choon-Ho, the only person who had sworn to ensure their survival and had been helping them every step of the way. His death impacted all of the students and Won-Bin as well, as they now had to figure out how to survive all on their own with no guardian left to protect them.

“Duty After School” Episode 8 ended with the death of Soo-Chul, who had died due to a nasty fall. His death raised a lot of questions. Episode 9 took the lives of the prisoners threatening to harm Ae-Seol. Episode 10, on the other hand, started by taking Kwon Il-Ha’s life and ended with taking the lives of the rest of the students except Kim Chi-Yeol, No Ae-Seol, and Lee Na-Ra. They were the only ones to survive, with Kim Chi-Yeol walking out of the exam hall two years later after almost all of the spheres had been eradicated.


Why Did Young-Soo Lose His Mind At The End?

Young-Soo belonged to a minimal-wage family. His poverty-ridden status had been hanging over him as a burden from the very beginning. He had wanted to apply for medical school; however, he had to provide for his younger brothers, so he was required to get a job as soon as college finished. He had agreed to do anything for points, and therefore the only thing keeping his consciousness tethered was the promise of points for the CSAT, which would help him get into a good college and help his family get out of their impoverished state. The minute he was informed that the exams had been canceled and that he would have to wait for another year, the hold over his sanity began to break little by little. From the beginning, his personality has been affected by his mindset, which results in him being meek and a little creepy. His behavior would creep out Cha So-Yeon, whom he had liked, and she did not want to be associated with him. This, coupled with the fact that everybody pitied him when he tried to urge them to return to their base camp because he still believed they would be awarded points, had been rather trying for his sanity.

South Korea’s competitive education system has affected all of the children’s lives over the years. It had made them competitive while also dishing out a heavy sense of failure if any of the students failed to make it to a good college. The only thing they did during their school life was study for more than 18 hours at a stretch, leaving barely any time for their hobbies or sleep. They have to attend after school; here is where the insecurities began in Young-Soo. He did not have the means to afford it after school, which is why he had been completely dependent on the points. In the amusement park, he readily believed that the exams had not been canceled, which is why he went on to inform So-Yeon. His erratic behavior ended up pushing her harder when she did not want to listen to him. Seeing her lose consciousness due to his actions made him lose his sanity, and somehow in his mind, he thought it was okay to sexually assault her.

Once Kwon Il-Ha caught him, he felt threatened that he might lose everything he had worked for, which is why his mind justified killing him as well. However, he still felt guilty about murdering Il-Ha. He tried to justify it, but the guilt pushed him over, and the pressure had been too much. At the school, something snapped in him, and he must have developed a split personality due to the trauma and the pressure. He ended up going berserk and killing the other students because he simply could not fathom losing his points. The only reason he didn’t manage to finish off Chi-Yeol and Na-Ra was that Ae-Seol gathered her courage to end his rampage. He had been aware of his actions deep in his mind; however, he could not stop. He had been apologetic, and every single student he shot only aggravated his insanity further, but he could not stop because he had been in too deep.


‘Duty After School’ Ending Explained: Could The Deaths Of The Students Be Avoided?

Almost at the end of “Duty After School,” Chi-Yeol was shown walking to his class to take the CSAT exam after two years. The government had been able to develop weapons to successfully eradicate 99% of the spheres. This led Chi-Yeol to think that if it had been this easy, then they could have avoided giving guns to the students. The fact that everything returned to normal and there seemed to be no mourning for the fallen students really made it all seem surreal. The only thing that kept it all from being a nightmarish dream was that some of the spheres were still present in the sky, and the students who lost their lives never returned. 

The government had simply brushed it under the carpet and instead opted for assigning extra marks for all those who answered, “Did you participate in the war?” with an affirmative. During the war, they had all but abandoned the students and left them to fend for their lives. Most of the third-year students across the schools did not make it because they were treated as bait. This speaks a lot about the current education system and also about how youths are really treated in society. Chi-Yeol made the split decision to walk out because he had appeared to take the exam only for his friends, who had not been able to take this wretched exam that had put their lives at stake in the first place.

The fact that it was Young-Soo who had killed the students and not the spheres was reflected in the words of the prisoner in Episode 9. The spheres were just there to clean out the humans because they just did not have humanity anymore. The students turned on each other while they were used as live bait, and the exams were dangled in front of them to make them comply. This is a heinous act in itself and sends out the message that even if there were no spheres in our lives, we as humans are capable enough to destroy each other just as well.


Where Is Won-Bin? Open Letter To The Creator. 

Won-Bin had been the elder brother the platoon members needed. He was designated as the responsible elder brother who would take care of the students after Choon-Ho’s death. But there was no mention of him or his whereabouts. The viewer is left puzzled when an entire character is simply forgotten. I think that the call Il-Ha and Soo-Chul received on the radio informing them about the exams being canceled could very well be Won-Bin informing them. It could be that he was called in to report the situation and then could not go back to the students due to their contact being severed. However, he knew where they were stationed, so he could have checked. It could be that he did not get permission and was stationed somewhere else, but Won-Bin would never go against Choon-Ho’s request. It would be better if the creators could address his situation for closure. They had wrapped up the drama with the memories they had and also from Chi-Yeol’s recordings. Choon-Ho was also there but Won-Bin was not. This is a situation that clearly needs to be updated. 

I think if they renew “Duty After School” for a season 2, which they probably won’t, then it would focus on spheres being omnipotent, and it could very well be difficult to carry on as they did in this season. Also, I hope that maybe in the next season, Chi-Yeol could assemble fellow survivors and protest against the decisions taken by the current government to commemorate their fallen members. Maybe then the creators could address why they completely forgot about a character who had been equally involved in the students’ lives.


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Alokananda Sen
Alokananda Sen
Alokananda Sen holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She has a keen interest in graphic designing, reading, and photography. Her insatiable appetite for cinema and pop culture enticed her to work as a content writer. She is currently pursuing a Post Graduate Diploma focused in Animation & VFX to explore a new dimension in her career.

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