Netflix’s Sweet Home, based on the Webtoon of the same name, has received praise for its stunning visuals and unique take on the oversaturated apocalyptic-horror genre. However, a few details within the story are lacking clarity, resulting in questions and an understandably puzzled audience. For example, the show’s “golden hour,” first mentioned in Season 1, Episode 4, is confusing for some, but there is an explanation behind it.
What Is Golden Hour?
During Episode 4, viewers witness a news broadcast, which states martial law has been declared throughout the Republic of Korea. It details that an unknown number of people have turned into creatures after being infected with a virus. While the exact cause of the virus is unknown, it isn’t respiratory or bloodborne, and it’s believed to correlate with human desire.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
When a creature has fully turned, they have excellent resilience and regenerative abilities, but before a human has completely turned, there is a short time period in which they are unable to recover from severe damage. They label this the golden hour. Later on, the broadcast recommends that all individuals showing symptoms — hypothermia, nosebleeds, fainting and auditory or visual hallucinations — should quarantine. They also recommend any captured monsters should be “incinerated.” The broadcast ends by letting civilians know the military “can and will” solve the situation.
In short, the golden hour is the time in which a person is gradually transforming into a monster. It’s the opportune time to kill a monster because they are at their most vulnerable, they don’t have a monster’s full capabilities yet and they are unable to regenerate if seriously hurt.
Is Cha Hyun-su an Exception?
While the golden hour is the period of time when someone infected is the most vulnerable, there are cases where some infected individuals, like Cha Hyun-su, exhibit strange abilities beyond the aforementioned symptoms. While the residents argue about what it means for a virus to stem from human desire, Hyun-su heads to the first floor when he suddenly loses his balance and falls nine flights of stairs — a fall that should have killed him. Instead, he wakes up practically unharmed.
Once the other residents find out, they become divided on what to do with him. Half of them want to kill him for being a “monster.” The other half argue that Hyun-su still possesses his human body and mind, and killing him would be taking part in a murder.
Hyun-su later reveals the reason he has been able to keep himself from fully turning into a monster is because he can control his desires, so it’s when desires take over that one becomes a monster. Therefore, the virus is a “curse” that everyone is susceptible to, but an individual can choose how it affects them, thus making each case unique in some way. While this is a great way to explore humanity and morality, it does make the rules of monsters and transformation confusing at times, as is the case for golden hour.
Operation Golden Hour
In the season finale, the term “Operation Golden Hour” is brought up, but the context is slightly different from it’s main definition. While golden hour is the time when a transforming monster is most vulnerable, Operation Golden Hour is allegedly a final plan being put forth by the military to “solve” the monster problem. Since it is becoming nearly impossible to distinguish humans from monsters, and there’s no way of knowing what sort of monster a human will turn into, the military will sweep as many areas as possible.
While this is different from what golden hour literally is, Operation Golden Hour and the time period its named after have something in common. As Lee Eun-hyuk mentions, “The golden hour used to mean the last hour to save someone. Now it means the only possible period of time to destroy someone.” In both cases, golden hour is the perfect time to kill someone or something, prioritizing ending a life in favor of saving it.
Created by Studio Dragon, Sweet Home stars Song Kang, Lee Jin-wook, Lee Si-young and Lee Do-hyun. It is streaming now on Netflix.
KEEP READING: Witch Boy: Netflix Announces Animated Musical Adaptation
Heels Star Stephen Amell Dons an Impressive Crimson Mask (Video)
About The Author