Movie Reviews

Hierarchys Love Triangle Explained: Who Does Jae-i End Up With?

WARNING: This article includes SPOILERS for Hierarchy.


  • Jae-i’s love triangle with Kang Ha and Ri-an was complicated by guilt and unresolved feelings, leading to a complex finale.
  • Hierarchy resolved the mystery around Kang Ha’s brother’s death, allowing the characters to rebuild relationships.
  • Jae-i decided not to choose between Ri-an and Kang Ha, focusing instead on herself and reconnecting with her mother at the end.

Hierarchy, Netflix’s newest K-drama web series, followed a very intense love triangle involving Kang Ha, Ri-an, and Jae-in, the last of which was facing a very difficult moment while also having to sort out her feelings. Despite being a thriller K-drama with a lot of twists, Hierarchy also had time for love stories. Jae-i and Ri-an’s breakup at the beginning of episode 1 leads into one of the show’s biggest mysteries – what happened to Jae-i during her time in the United States. Although the series eventually answered that question, Jae-i’s ultimate choice at the end wasn’t as clear.

Kang Ha suspected Ri-an was the one behind the death of In-han, which is why he needed to get close to Jae-i. At the same time, Jae-i blamed herself for In-han’s death in Hierarchy, even though she was not directly tied to it. Hierarchy episode 7’s ending confirmed that neither Ri-an nor Jae-i was directly to blame for the death of Kang Ha’s brother, allowing the three characters to pick up the pieces and rebuild whatever relationships they had.

Hierarchy’s Jae-i & Ri-an Have A Long History Together

Jae-i and Ri-an had been together for years

Custom image by Yeider Chacon

Jae-i and Ri-an have been friends since they were six years old. As noted by Jae-i, Ri-an told her when they were kids that he had been in love with her since the first time they saw each other. As the heirs of two of the wealthiest families in South Korea, Jae-i and Ri-an grew up together and always hung out in the same places. It can be assumed that they were best friends before they were boyfriend and girlfriend. This is why, despite everything that happened in Hierarchy, Jae-i never stopped caring about Ri-an.

Hierarchy’s Main Cast


Roh Jeong-eui

Jung Jae-i

Lee Chae-min

Kang Ha

Kim Jae-won

Kim Ri-an

Ji Hye-won

Yoon He-ra

Lee Won-jung

Lee Woo-jin

The only reason why Jae-i broke up with Ri-an as soon as she returned from the United States was the traumatic experience she went through regarding the pregnancy. Jae-i, who suffered a miscarriage shortly after finding out she was pregnant, decided not to tell Ri-an what happened. Ri-an assumed he had done something wrong, or that Jae-i was now liked someone else. When he finally learns the truth, Ri-an understands Jae-i’s actions and cannot forgive himself for not being with her during such a difficult moment.

Jae-i Started To Have Feelings For Kang Ha In Hierarchy

Kang Ha showed Jae-i another side of herself

Jae-i and Kang Ha inside a car in Hierarchy

Although Jae-i broke up with Ri-an because of her secret, she did start to have feelings for Kang Ha. It is important to notice that, despite his change of her at the end of the revenge K-drama, Ri-an was actively involved in the bullying of Kang In-han. This pushed Jae-i further away from him, especially because she and In-han were becoming close before the latter’s death. Ri-an let his friends bully In-han because he was jealous of his friendship with Jae-i, suggesting there had always been a level of toxicity in their relationship.

Between Ri-an’s actions toward In-han and Kang Ha’s quest to make the school a better place, Jae-i may have fallen in love with In-han’s brother. She and Kang Ha kissed at the end of episode 1 and continued to be close throughout the rest of the show, leading to a classic K-drama love triangle with a lot at stake. Kang Ha originally approached Jae-i so that he could get close to Ri-an, yet he started to have feelings for her. Kang Ha’s revenge became much more complicated once he realized he liked Jae-i, whose involvement in In-han’s death was unclear.

Jae-i Isn’t Dating Anyone At The End Of Hierarchy

Jae-i is focused on reconnecting with her mother

Jae-i smiling at the end of Hierarchy

Jae-i chose not to get back with Ri-an at the end of Hierarchy season 1. While they reconnected and confirmed their feelings for each other, Jae-i decided that they had to sort out their lives before committing to a relationship. Jae-i believes that both of them still have many issues they must handle first before trying to make their relationship work again. Still, it is clear that Jae-si still deeply cares about Ri-an. She told Kang Ha that Ri-an was the only thing she wanted to protect this whole time.


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Shortly after Jae-i said goodbye to Ri-an, she ran into Kang Ha, who thought she was going back to New York. Kang Ha was happy to learn that Jae-i was going to stay in Korea and confessed his love for her. Jae-i was put in a difficult position, as she had just worked things out with Ri-an. However, it seems that Jae-i still has unresolved feelings toward Kang Ha, who said that he truly fell in love with her while investigating his brother’s death. Either way, Hierarchy ends with Jae-i going back to her mother.

Ri-an Or Kang Ha: Who Will Jae-in Choose In Hierarchy?

If Hierarchy season 2 happens, it can revisit the love triangle

If Hierarchy season 2 happens, a possibility that cannot be ruled out considering the show’s cliffhanger ending, it could revisit the love triangle involving Jae-i and the two characters who are in love with her. Hierarchy’s epilogue revealed that someone is coming for Ri-an, and while the Kang Ha reveal may have been a fakeout, the fact is that those two are not on good terms. Ri-an tried to apologize, but Kang Ha was understandably not ready for it. Even if Kang Ha isn’t the one threatening Ri-an, they might still be enemies in a potential season 2.

Of all the
characters, Jae-i is the one whose ending felt more consistent with how her story played out.

It is unclear whether Jae-i will continue to attend the Jooshin Academy now that she has decided to leave her father’s house and live with her mother. If Jae-i returns to school, she will have to constantly interact with both Ri-an and Kang Ha, this time amidst a new murder mystery. Ri-an was Jae-i’s first love, whereas Kang Ha is the one with whom she formed a strong bond during the show. Jae-i not choosing either of them and focusing on herself would’ve been a great ending, which is why Hierarchy doesn’t necessarily need a second season.

That said, the murderer of another student, this time inside the school’s campus, is too big for a cliffhanger for the K-drama not to return. It would not be the first time a limited series continued for more seasons; a phenomenon that has become relatively common. Of all the Hierarchy characters, Jae-i is the one whose ending felt more consistent with how her story played out. Hopefully, her character development will not be forgotten if Hierarchy season 2 happens, regardless of who she ends up with.

Hierarchy (2024)

No Jeong-ee , Lee Won-jung , Kim Jae-won , Lee Chae-Min , Ji Hye-Won , Kim Tae-Jung

Release Date
June 7, 2024


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