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The Arrowhead Cult In Hellbound Explained

Contains spoilers for Season 1 of "Hellbound"

Those living in the world of "Hellbound," Netflix's latest dystopian drama series from "Train to Busan" director Yeon Sang-ho, have things pretty bad. A terrifying supernatural phenomenon has emerged that sees people receiving a decree that they will be killed that is eventually followed by a gang of monsters who appear out of nowhere to blast the victim to Hell. Not only that, but two religious groups have seized on the fear caused by the monsters and have been using it to their own nefarious ends.

The main group is a religious organization called the New Truth Society. Led by the seemingly benevolent Chairman Jeong Jin-soo (Yoo Ah-in), the New Truth Society has been tracking the emergence of the monsters and is trying to alert humanity to their presence. They believe the monsters are actually angels and those who are condemned to Hell are sinners whose deaths can be used to help humanity figure out how to live righteously.

In contrast, the Arrowhead cult has a much more zealous interpretation of the supernatural events. While the New Truth Society operates like a church, Arrowhead is akin to an online conspiracy theory group with violent ambitions and little central organization. And that's not where the differences end.

The difference between the Arrowhead cult and the New Truth Society

To better understand the Arrowhead cult, let's first look at how they are different from the New Truth Society.

Although both the New Truth Society and Arrowhead have a similar core interpretation of the monster attacks — that the victims are sinners and the attacks are a sign from God — they each have a pretty different philosophy for what they should do with that information.

The aim of the New Truth Society is to raise awareness about and document the attacks. They organize public demonstrations when they know an attack is coming to prove that the monsters are real and carefully document everything they can about the victims to try and determine exactly which sins God is trying to warn humanity against. Although they are ultimately not as benevolent as they first appear, in general, their stated mission is more about documentation than intervention.

The Arrowhead cult, on the other hand, is a much more aggressive and violent group that believes that God wants them to go after the sinners marked for damnation. In the first episode of the series, a character known as Skull Face, whose anger-laden livestreams act as a hub for Arrowhead activity, explains why the group adopted its name.

"When God decides to release an arrow, we, the Arrowhead, should fly and hit a target," he yells enthusiastically. The members of the group respond in kind. As we see throughout the series, those who Skull Face targets on his livestream are usually later attacked by a crowd of Arrowhead faithful with baseball bats and metal pipes.

What are the goals of the Arrowhead cult?

To try and analyze what the Arrowhead cult's goals are is a bit of a folly. While the New Truth Society has a clear ambition — to get society to accept that God is punishing people for specific sins so that they can change their ways — Arrowhead is significantly less clear on that matter.

As a group that mostly appears to operate online without any clear organizational structure outside of Skull Face's livestreams, Arrowhead appears to be mostly flying by the seat of their pants. Skull Face's broadcasts are explosive and angry and clearly meant to appeal to his audience's basest instincts. When he identifies people as sinners or non-believers, he often speculates on what their alleged sins are without evidence. There is also little discussion about what the messages from God mean outside of the idea of punishing sinners. Unlike the New Truth Society, the Arrowhead cult has no message for humanity other than "sinners should fear us."

One thing that both groups do have in common is that they amass power by fear. However, while the New Truth Society uses the fear of God to make people fall in line, Arrowhead uses the fear of the Arrowhead cult itself to bend people to their will.

Ultimately, the impression we're left with is that the Arrowhead cult is an extremist group that attracts members by stoking their fear and demands respect through violence and intimidation. And while they claim that they are following orders given to them by God, it feels safe to assume that they are less concerned about what God has to say and more interested in the benefits of wielding self-asserted divine power.

"Hellbound" is currently streaming on Netflix.