‘Glitch’ Ending, Explained: Did Hong Ji-Hyo Witness Aliens In Her Childhood? Was The UFO Real?


“Glitch” is about Hong Ji-hyo, a timid 30-year-old woman who is troubled when she comes across an alien figure and decides to get to the bottom of the mystery. She alone could see the figure in public spaces, leading to the idea that maybe she was hallucinating. But when her boyfriend, Lee Si-kook, disappeared, she found evidence that made her believe there might be a possibility that what she was visualizing was more than simply a hallucination. Maybe the extraterrestrial creatures wanted to get her attention, and they did so by taking away her boyfriend. Hong Ji-hyo had a lot to unravel, and in the process, she found her childhood best friend, Bo-ra, who made Ji-hyo’s journey worthwhile.

Spoilers Ahead

‘Glitch’ Season 1: Plot Summary – What Is The Series About?

Lee Si-kook, Hong Ji-hyo’s boyfriend, dreamt of their future together. Even though he could sense that his girlfriend behaved distantly, he thought that maybe once they started living together, their life would smooth out. Ji-hyo was consumed by the mystery behind the alien figure; she could not bother herself with Lee Si-kook’s proposal. Ji-hyo’s Father was elated when he realized that her boyfriend was planning a future together. He would often exclaim that he had been worried about Ji-Hyo’s strange behavior since childhood. She was obsessed with aliens and UFO sightings, and he believed that she would struggle all her life as a result. As her parents and Si-kook discussed their future, Ji-hyo stepped out of the restaurant. She came across the strange entity once again. The figure took the form of a giant, and Ji-Hyo ran to save her life. The cityscape turned into a reed field, and she was in front of an abandoned caravan. She could hear two young girls chattering in it, and as she was about to open the door of the vehicle, she was transported back to reality, and she realized that she was standing on the edge of a building.

The building security guard showed her the CCTV footage, in which she behaved strangely. To normal eyes, her behavior would be termed erratic since it looked like she was lost in her own constructed reality. Having been traumatized by the turn of events, Ji-Hyo broke up with her boyfriend, knowing that they were living very different lives. Mysteriously, the night she left him, Lee Si-kook encountered (what seemed to be) a UFO, and he disappeared soon after. Ji-Hyo was informed by his real estate agent that Si-kook could not be contacted. Ji-hyo tracked the GPS location where he was last seen, and she found his digital watch there. She could soon feel supernatural existence around her as her electronic devices started to glitch. She tried to report the incident to the police, but the process was not a simple one. Since she was not his family member, she could not file the report. Moreover, he was an adult; therefore, chances were that he had purposely chosen to leave town.

She could no longer rely on the police for help. She searched for UFO abductions online. Ji-Hyo came across a forum and particularly an internet profile that went by the name “Moonhole.” What completely blew Ji-Hyo’s mind was the alien symbol the profile used. It was the same figure Ji-Hyo would often come across. The alien always wore the green baseball Hyundai Unicorn cap. She decided to attend an offline meeting of the forum, and that was how she began investigating the disappearance of Lee Si-kook. Who was “Moonhole”? Was Lee Si-kook kidnapped? And if he was, was it an alien abduction? Or is it all Ji-Hyo’s hallucination?

What Does The Bug Formation Symbolize? What Was The Divine Light Church?

Attending the offline meeting was an important decision in Ji-Hyo’s life. She reconnected with her childhood best friend, Bo-ra, who went by the name “Moonhole.” Bo-ra was a part of Ji-Hyo’s childhood that she chose to forget. After meeting her, Ji-Hyo recollected fragments of her lost memories. In their childhood days, Bo-ra and Ji-Hyo designed the alien image together, and it was Bo-ra who added the green baseball cap. It all made sense now, though she concluded that their friendship might have ended because Bo-ra was a lousy friend who smoked and drank too much. After her encounter with Bo-ra, she was informed by a police officer, Kim Byung-jo, that Si-kook had moved out his belongings from his apartment and bought an airplane ticket soon after. Ji-Hyo was saddened by the news, realizing that he might have been destroyed after she broke up with him. She sulked at the spot where she had found Si-kook’s watch. She was angered by her stupidity in believing in the alien abduction theory. Just as she vented her anger, she noticed bugs around her making a formation. They formed a triangular symbol, and Ji-Hyo knew that she had to find the meaning of it.

After spending time with Bo-ra, Ji-Hyo realized that she was in her dark past. Bo-ra had introduced Ji-Hyo to alcohol and glue, and one day, when Ji-Hyo went to meet her best friend, she was found unconscious after 72 hours. Therefore, she could not trust Bo-ra completely, but at the same time, Bo-ra had answers that no one else could provide her with. Bo-ra rubbished the claim that the police made. She believed it was all a coverup of something sinister. She introduced Ji-Hyo to her channel and showed her a video of an internet profile named Direct Kim. The symbol that Ji-Hyo saw in the parking lot that day was the symbol of the Divine Light Church. Direct Kim’s daughter was abducted by aliens, and he was investigating the church to find out relevant information. The UFO forum team concluded that all the evidence pointed to the fact that Si-kook was kidnapped by the cult Divine Light Church. Ji-Hyo wanted to stick to the investigation of her boyfriend and decided to meet a real estate agent to find out who evacuated his room because she was convinced that he could not have done it himself.

They met a real estate agent, Seo Hwajung, who showed them Si-kook’s apartment. Ji-Hyo questioned the agent about the landlord and his sudden interest in selling the apartment. Though none of the answers were satisfactory enough. Bo-ra and Ji-Hyo decided to reenter the house and investigate if there was any presence of a supernatural entity. Though within a few minutes, the real estate agent returned with a few of her friends to the building. The two friends managed to hide, but what they witnessed in the next few minutes was incomprehensible. The agent and her friends formed a circle and turned on an LED light with multiple colors. They wore what seemed to be a VR set and chanted prayers, calling for light. Bo-ra’s alien indicator moved, confirming that there was the presence of something unnatural in the room. Bo-ra followed Seo Hwajung, believing that the woman would help her uncover the mystery. Hwajung entered a shopping mall and went to the 12th floor. Bo-ra recorded her every move, and as the elevator reached the 12th floor and the doors opened, she witnessed the gathering of the members of the Divine Light Church. Since she looked suspicious, Bo-ra was taken to the back office, where she was questioned. She explained that she wanted to commit suicide, and that was the reason she decided to go to the top floor, but after visiting the jovial members of the church, she wanted to join the cult as well. After getting accepted to the beginner’s program, Bo-ra tried to take complete advantage of her situation. She decided to enter the ascension room, which only selected members could enter. With a phone hidden in the VR-looking device, she captured the ceremony. Hwajung stood at the center of the room and started to ascend as the members around her chanted their beliefs. The ceremony indicated the ultimate wish of the believers; they wanted to witness the light and hoped to ascend to it and leave their carbon bodies behind them. Bo-ra was ecstatic when she noticed the rise in viewers and followers, but unfortunately, the man from the back office came across her phone that he had confiscated and noticed a notification stating that “moonhole” had gone live.

As Bo-ra was about to leave, the man caught up with her, and she turned off her live feed. Ji-Hyo was scared for her and followed Bo-ra’s location to find the man and attack him. Though she later learned from Bo-ra that the man in question was Direct Kim, who had climbed his way into the cult.

Who Was The Mother Of The Divine Light Church? What Was The Role Of The Messiah?

Bo-ra and Ji-Hyo believed that Direct Kim would be able to help with their investigation, but they soon realized that he was unwilling to give away any information that he had collected. Ji-Hyo stole his hard drive as a desperate measure to find information. They noticed that he had collected pictures uploaded on social media by every member, and surprisingly, Hwajung had uploaded sketches, and one of the sketches was that of the parking lot where Si-Kook went missing. They decided to go through her car, but before they could find any evidence, Hwajung arrived. The girls hid at the back of her car, and they got off when she stopped her car. Hwajung had traveled to a country house to cater to someone she referred to as “mother.”

After waiting for the right moment, the girls looked around the room and found a photo album. It consisted of pictures of the old woman present in the room and the pictures were mostly taken in front of a welfare center. The old woman was not responsive to her surroundings. Ji-Hyo entered the other room; it had sketches of multiple locations, including the parking lot. Just as they were trying to comprehend what they had witnessed, Direct Kim got hold of the girls and demanded that they return his hard drive. As he drove the girls back home, he explained that the sketches were drawn by the Holy Mother of the Church, the woman they had seen in the house. After analyzing the pictures from the photo album, Bo-ra concluded that the old woman was Back Yoonsun. She was the woman who reportedly made alien contact in the attempted UFO shootdown in 1978 when several UFOs appeared in a formation. Back Yoonsun believed that the aliens had planted a chip inside her head which helped her contact them. From the pictures, it was clear that Back Yoonsun lived in the welfare center after she was interviewed by newspapers. After searching online, they figured out that the welfare center had now been converted to a private psychiatric hospital named New Hope. They decided to visit it to find the truth behind it. In the meantime, the Holy Mother had sketched a portrait of the Messiah, the most crucial member of the cult, and it was a portrait of Ji-Hyo.

Ji-Hyo discussed her hallucinations with Bo-ra that night. She explained how she often saw the alien that they drew when they were young, and in a way that helped her reconnect with Bo-ra. And she had stopped hallucinating about it after she became friends with Bo-ra. Bo-ra concluded that maybe the image she came up with was a “screen image.” Humans tend to replace shocking memories with something more acceptable, and maybe her alien encounter was so shocking that she chose to substitute it with a more pleasant image. Maybe it was after finding the truth behind the image that she gradually stopped seeing it. Or, maybe it was all a supernatural way of connecting the two friends who separated after a shocking incident.

While the church was determined to get hold of their Messiah, even if they had to choose a violent method to tie her down, Ji-Hyo and Bo-ra reached the New Hope psychiatric hospital. Bo-ra managed to find her way inside the hospital, and she entered a dark room filled with unconscious women lying on hospital beds. They had VR sets fixed to their heads. Bo-ra concluded that these were the people who went missing and that the church was responsible for abducting them. She communicated what she witnessed to Ji-Hyo, who tried to open the back of a truck, believing that there might be more bodies there and that she might find Si-kook in it. As Bo-ra further entered the room, she came across the Father seated in a dark room with LED lights and pictures of him and Back Yoonsun. He destroyed Bo-ra’s camera, knowing it consisted of proof of his illegal operations. He confessed that the hospital was where he met his wife for the first time and that even if he tried to, he could not explain his belief to someone like Bo-ra. Bo-ra cleverly managed to escape the situation by setting fire to the room.

We later learn from a doctor who also used to be a believer in the Divine Light Church that the Father, Moon Hyungtae, was a doctor at the wellness center that catered to patients who were mentally ill. Back Yoonsun was a patient there; she claimed that she could communicate with aliens. Hyungtae was fascinated by Yoonsun and fell in love with her. They were able to gather believers who felt that her claim could be the truth. Yoonsun had written page after page of her understanding that became the doctrine of their belief. According to what she had written, there would come a Messiah who would have a chip inside her head, and that was the gospel of the religion. The chip consisted of information that would help them ascend and leave their carbon bodies behind. It would help in attracting light. That was the reason why they wanted to capture Ji-Hyo, and the Father only wanted access to the chip even if that resulted in Ji-Hyo’s death. After Ji-Hyo was operated on, she managed to escape with the help of Direct Kim. The Father later arranged a memorial ceremony to celebrate her martyrdom and give the people their chance to ascend. He had sent his team to murder Ji-Hyo since her body was no longer of any use to them.

‘Glitch’ Ending Explained: Did Hong Ji-Hyo Witness Aliens In Her Childhood? Was The UFO, Real?

The Divine Light Church was pretty much like any other cult organization. They believed that the world would come to an end, and they wanted to be saved by “the light,” that is, the UFO. Since the members believed that they had come across the light at some point in their lives, they were chosen to ascend and save their spirits. They were ready to give up on the carbon body by committing suicide. Many believers could not wait for the Messiah and the Gospel; therefore, they committed mass suicide, hoping to be saved by the light. This belief in life after death, a greater purpose, and the members’ being the “chosen ones” is common to most cults. The idea of the savior coming to the rescue after performing religious mass suicide is also something that the world has witnessed. When a group starts believing in such supernatural phenomena without questioning it or demanding evidence, and then commits suicide, it is often believed to be the result of mass hysteria.

Hong Ji-Hyo, after escaping the psychiatric hospital, conducted hypnotherapy to revisit her childhood memory. She remembered being in the caravan with Bo-ra, who offered her alcohol. After consuming it, she angrily asked the aliens to show themselves. While Bo-ra fell asleep, Ji-Hyo stayed up and listened to music, and that was when she witnessed the light. She went into a state of mania when she tried to think further. She went on asking an entity to stop. Even Bo-ra remembered witnessing the symbol after Ji-Hyo went missing. Unlike what Ji-Hyo believed, Bo-ra had searched for her best friend, but she could not find her. Ji-Hyo apologized to Bo-ra for blaming her for things she was not responsible for.

When Ji-Hyo realized that the cult was after her life, she sought the help of Sister Abigail. Sister Abigail was the daughter of Direct Kim. Unlike what Direct Kim claimed online, his daughter had submitted herself to the faith, and he knew it, which was why he had become a member of the church. Sister Abigail respected Ji-Hyo because she was the Messiah, and she took it upon herself to protect her. Ji-Hyo realized that the only way to find the chip and save her life was by entering the memorial ceremony. She knew that the believers would blindly trust her, and she took advantage of it. By stating that she was resurrected, the Father could no longer harm her, and she could have the chip back. She agreed to perform the ascension ceremony to win back her chip. But to her surprise, when the Father brought her the chip box, it was empty. He explained that after operating on Ji-Hyo, he did not find the chip in her brain. This meant that the claim of Back Yoonsun was completely false and that their entire religion was based on a lie. He could not accept the truth and continued to play with the emotions of the believers. He wanted Ji-Hyo to play along and let the mass commit suicide since that is what they believed would free them. He even drugged her tea so that it became easier to manipulate her.

Meanwhile, Bo-ra entered the memorial ceremony and came across vital evidence to claim the cult’s falsity. She and Sister Abigail witnessed members of the faith fly a drone that looked like a UFO. Sister Abigail was furious. The faith she blindly trusted was completely false and played with their emotions. Meanwhile, Ji-Hyo was taken onstage and tied down. Even though Ji-Hyo wanted to protest, she physically could not. A gas was emitted that further helped the members go into a state of trance. As they chanted, a UFO formation appeared. But before the members could consume the tablet that would eventually kill them, Sister Abigail shot down one of the drones. The members were shocked when they realized that the UFO formation was simply a set of drones. They went into a state of frenzy and wanted to hold Ji-Hyo responsible since she promised them ascension. The police entered the scene just in time and asked the believers to stop their madness. Amidst all the chaos, Back Yoonsun looked up in the sky and called out “Tayo” as the light started getting close to them. There was a massive blackout when an alien object appeared in the sky. It was a UFO, and everyone present there went silent. Bo-ra and Ji-Hyo held each other’s hands as they could feel the light on their faces and witnessed the miracle. Bo-ra and Ji-Hyo were transported to a space in which their bodies floated. An alien with tentacles appeared and took away what seemed like a chip from Ji-Hyo’s mind. The best friends were transported to the forest nearby.

In the end, Sister Abigail tried to shoot Moon Hyungtae, but she lacked the courage to do it. Her Father came to her rescue. Direct Kim drove the car over him and shot him multiple times. He was finally able to avenge the man who took his daughter away from him. Ji-Hyo finally found closure, and all she could think of was to go home. Lee Si-kook had also returned home. After his disappearance, he was found in Thailand. He, too, started to believe in aliens after what he had witnessed twice. Even though he replaced the alien image with the image Ji-Hyo used to see. Indicating that he was in the zone of curiosity that Ji-Hyo once used to be in. He, too, must have witnessed something shocking when he disappeared. His disappearance can be either the result of the Divine Light Church, who knew the location where Si-kook had witnessed the UFO, or it could have been an alien abduction, where they had placed a similar chip in his head to experiment. The chip could be an advanced technology that is beyond human understanding because clearly, Hyungtae did not find a chip in anyone who claimed to have witnessed aliens. But at the same time, we notice an alien extracting a chip-like element from Ji-Hyu. Of course, it could also be Ji-Hyu’s imagination as well, since it was only after believing that the aliens removed something from her that she could return to normalcy. The UFO sighting could be called mass hysteria since no one took a picture of it, and the gas helped the people imagine it all. Maybe every member suffered mentally, and that was why they would imagine an otherworldly creature who would come and save them. But without the alien angle, Ki-sook’s sudden encounter with the alien cannot be explained because he was not someone who believed in aliens, and his heartbreak cannot simply be the reason for his complete blackout for days. Bo-ra and Ji-Hyo decided to live together. Bo-ra was now ready to find the mystery behind “BigFoot.” Ji-Hyo was no longer the girl lost in another world; she was present and happy with the life she was blessed with. She did not care to prove herself to others; she knew what she witnessed, and so did her best friend.

As the two friends left the room, the alien indicator showed that there was the presence of an alien creature nearby. While the mass hysteria theory seems the most logical one, several elements, such as sudden disappearances and indicators, cannot be made sense of if it is believed. “Glitch” is, in the end, all about what one chooses to believe. For most, it can be madness, but for some, it was their belief in what they had experienced.

“Glitch” is a 2022 Drama Thriller series directed by Noh Duk.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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