‘Lies Hidden In My Garden’ Ending, Explained: Does Joo Ran Kill Jae Ho?


Did anyone else think that Lies Hidden In My Garden ended a tad underwhelmingly? It is often the case, especially with a lot of East Asian content, that “women’s topics” or “feminism” are often alluded to without being spoken about openly on the screen. No matter how relevant the issue is to the current narrative, the words are a big no-no. We don’t find it in ourselves to criticize that because we know the way those words are regarded, despite there being no doubt about what they mean. Not addressing those issues directly but wrapping them up in the story is a way of softly serving them to an audience that is not ready to confront a certain aspect of society as of yet. However, from a story point of view, that becomes a failing because the narrative ends up losing steam when the full force of the injustice is not discussed for fear of offending sentiments. This brings to mind a very popular drama from a few years ago, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, which completely missed the point of a strong woman despite the story being based on her. But this is especially upsetting in “Lies Hidden In My Garden because the story is about violence against women: physical, emotional, and psychological. Making the women so excessively one-dimensional was a major flaw that we cannot forgive. But here is a recap of Lies Hidden In My Garden and how it ended.

Spoilers Alert

What Is The Mystery Behind The Smell In The Garden?

Lies Hidden In My Garden starts way before the current narrative, when Joo Ran returns home one day to find her older sister murdered in her bed. Joo Ran has always been blamed by her mother for Young Ran’s death since the latter was staying at her sister’s place while she went out. We believe that Young Ran’s murder was never solved, and Joo Ran has carried the guilt of her death since that day. She has grown to not trust her judgment or her wants and needs because she doesn’t know how it would turn out to be her fault. Joo Ran’s husband, Park Jae Ho, has always led her to believe that she would be nothing without him, and unless she blindly trusts him, she will continue to make mistakes. This is especially worsened after Joo Ran causes an incident at her son’s school, Seung Jae. She recognizes his homeroom teacher as her neighbor from when her sister was murdered.

Right after Joo Ran had found Young Ran’s body, she had been crying outside her door in shock and grief when she saw the man, looking completely unsurprised. It is often said that our intuition tells us what facts cannot, and Joo Ran doesn’t have a good feeling about the man. Concerned for her son’s safety, she reaches his camp and hits the man on the head when she feels that he is leading her son somewhere to harm him. Since she has no reasonable explanation for her actions, the family ends up moving to a remote area where they can start over. But Joo Ran doesn’t know that instead of taking care of her vulnerabilities, her husband is further exploiting them.

Jae Ho and some of his colleagues were involved with a child exploitation ring, and he had gotten involved with a girl named Lee Soo Min, who was now pregnant. It is never clear if Jae Ho knew about the pregnancy, but it wouldn’t have mattered since he would have done the same thing. Lee Soo Min is a 15-year-old girl and she shows up at Seung Jae’s house and tells him what his father has done. In a state of shock, Seung Jae ends up pushing her down the stairs, grievously injuring her. He presumes she is dead but sees later that she is alive. However, Seung Jae witnesses Jae Ho killing Lee Soo Min and burying her in the garden. He never tells his son that she did not die by falling down the stairs. Even Seung Jae is not in a position to confront his father about it all. In the meantime, Joo Ran is getting increasingly disturbed due to the smell of the garden. She doesn’t know that Lee Soo Min is buried there, and whenever she tries to investigate the smell, Jae Ho ends up misleading her in some manner or another.

A man named Yoon Beom knows Jae Ho’s secret and has been blackmailing him for money. He even meets Joo Ran on the pretext of meeting her husband, and she is quite shaken up by it. That night, when Jae Ho is disposing of Soo Min’s body, Sang Eun (Yoon Beom’s abused wife) kills him. For a while, the suspicion is on Jae Ho for killing Yoon Beom since Sang Eun herself says that, in addition to how Joo Ran finds evidence of her husband having gone out that night while he clearly denies doing it. Over a matter of time, as she keeps catching his lies, he keeps making it her fault, and finally, Joo Ran reaches a breaking point where she confronts Jae Ho about what happened and finds out the truth. She has also figured out by now that Sang Eun was the one to kill her husband to escape from his abuse once and for all.

Right now, Joo Ran wants to go to the police so that she can help her son have a clear conscience, but knowing how it will affect their family, she holds herself back. But when Seung Jae tells her that it was Jae Ho and not him that killed Soo Min, Joo Ran realizes that she has to get out of the relationship. She offers Sang Eun 500 million won in exchange for murdering Jae Ho. Sang Eun agrees as she is in desperate financial need, but when she reaches Joo Ran’s house, it turns out to be a bluff, and she is knocked out by Jae Ho.

Ending Explained: Why Does Joo Ran Kill Jae Ho?

Joo Ran and Jae Ho had plotted to kill Sang Eun because they felt that she would keep coming back for money and that she couldn’t be trusted. But unknown to Jae Ho, Joo Ran had different plans of her own. When Sang Eun starts regaining consciousness, she hands her a tiny knife and asks her to quietly cut her bindings. In the meantime, she also asks why Jae Ho let their son take the blame for the crime committed by him and that is when Jae Ho said that he did that because he wanted Joo Ran to stay with him. He had to kill Soo Min anyway because she would have gone to the police, but if he had told Seung Jae or Joo Ran that he was the real murderer, Joo Ran would have left him as she would have started seeing him as akin to her sister’s murderer. Joo Ran is done with these excuses, and in the meantime, Sang Eun wakes up and attacks Jae Ho, who beats her down. Joo Ran tries to protect him and temporarily distracts him, while Jae Ho is furious that his perfect life has shattered. As he tries to strangle Joo Ran, Hae Soo comes knocking at the door, having seen a woman through Jae Ho’s window looking hurt. Since Jae Ho won’t open the door, Sang Eun gathers all her strength and throws a vase at the window, shattering the glass and alerting Hae Soo that the police need to be called. Jae Ho understands that the game is pretty much over, and when he gets up to take care of Sang Eun, Joo Ran pushes him off the stairs and kills him.

In the police station, Joo Ran gives a statement where she tells the entire truth but says that her husband had murdered Yoon Beom and that she wanted to kill Jae Ho and Sang Eun so that she could protect her son. Since Yoon Beom’s death is now classified as murder, Sang Eun is able to get the entire amount of his life insurance and goes scot-free. This was Joo Ran’s entire plan, and it explains why she had to involve Sang Eun in the confrontation with her husband, to begin with. At the end of Lies Hidden In My Garden, Sang Eun comes to meet Joo Ran in jail and asks her why she did all that, and the answer turns out to be gratitude. If Sang Eun had never entered Joo Ran’s life, she would have never seen the light, and whatever has happened since then, she doesn’t regret it one bit. This reminds us of the conversation Joo Ran had with Hae Soo, where she finally told her how she broke out of her psychological prison. Hae Soo had not killed her husband. He had died of a heart attack. But Hae Soo had not been able to let go of his body for a long time. In fact, the reason no one knew that she was his wife was because, similar to Joo Ran, Hae Soo thought that when her husband was imprisoning her with his manipulations, he was actually protecting her. It was only his death that finally gave her the freedom she wanted, much like what had happened with Joo Ran.

Some months later, Sang Eun delivers a baby boy, and she is leading a happy life with a good job in a bakery. Since Yoon Beom died and she finally had stable finances, she was able to happily look forward to the birth of her child instead of dreading his existence. As for Joo Ran, she was released from prison (we don’t know on what grounds), and she is living happily with her son and her friend, Hae Soo.

Final Thoughts

Lies Hidden In My Garden’s story was largely about Joo Ran because, while the abuse Sang Eun suffered was obvious, it wasn’t so in the case of Joo Ran, and one really needed to dig deep to understand why things were so wrong with her marriage. We liked this series, though we believe that the choice of screenplay was awful. Maybe the hint was about what happens behind closed doors, how to see the hidden truth or some concept like that. But the problem remained that it was overdone instead of being strategically used. On the other hand, we are not sure how we feel about this series’ binge-ability. We suppose it gets better after the first 2–3 episodes. Overall, Lies Hidden In My Garden is a good series despite these few flaws, and we would recommend it.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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