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Memories of the Alhambra: Episode 2

This drama is already delivering in terms of plot, characterization, and excitement — I’m all in, guys. Our hero has a lot on his plate, between trying to find a missing teenager and sweet-talking his justifiably angry sister into liking him, all the while fighting his mortal enemy for the rights to a program that could change the world as we know it. I don’t know how he stays so calm, but I suppose having a boatload of confidence, and the money to back it up, can buy a guy a whole lot of peace of mind. I hope he enjoys it, because I don’t think it will last long.

 
EPISODE 2 RECAP

Exhausted from fighting a video game boss all night and frustrated at the screeching fire alarm, Jin-woo yells at Hee-joo that if he loses out on his very lucrative business deal, it will be all her fault. Still standing on the kitchen island, she sinks sinks to her heels and sobs.

Jin-woo continues his call with A, who tells him that since Se-joo, the inventor of the game, is a minor, that his older sister is his guardian and thus holds all legal rights. Jin-woo’s eyes grow wide as A says that her name is Jung Hee-joo, and that she runs the Hostel Bonita.

He turns to stare at Hee-joo, belatedly realizing that he’s just insulted and humiliated the one person he most needs to like him if he’s going to get the rights to this game. He leans in the doorway, staring at her intently, smiling like he has a very delicious secret.

The guest who asked Jin-woo to watch his food returns, and Jin-woo is suddenly all sweetness and light. He pretends to suffer from short-term memory loss and claims to have no idea what just happened, insisting that he’s much too nice a guy to ever yell at anyone and make them cry. LOL, is he serious??

He gives up the ruse when he realizes that neither of them are buying it, and just leaves the room. PWHAHAHA.

Some time in the recent past, Se-joo packed a bag in a filthy room at the hostel, as he watched a news feed from the Mobile World Congress IT exposition in Barcelona. Jin-woo’s company’s new smart contact lens, which is being developed for use with augmented reality programs, is the talk of the exposition.

As Se-joo leaves his room, we learn that he’s unemployed after graduating from a vocational school, and that he’ll turn eighteen in two months. He’s told his family that he’s going to Barcelona to see a friend, and he tells Hee-joo that he’s not sure when he’ll be back. He’s been gone a week by the time Jin-woo comes to Granada searching for him, but his family seems more frustrated than worried by his disappearance.

Jin-woo asks A about Hee-joo, but there’s not much information on her other than that she has a lot of jobs, being the only person in the family who can work. She’s been running the hostel since her parents died, plus she’s a tour guide, a translator, and she even works at a shop that makes guitars.

Since Hyung-seok hasn’t contacted Se-joo’s family yet, Jin-woo guesses that he doesn’t know Se-joo is a minor. He goes inside as the guests are settling in for breakfast, where Hee-joo scowls darkly at him, but he takes a seat and turns on his most charming act.

Hee-joo isn’t impressed, refusing to speak to him and sitting at the other end of the table even after he pulls out a chair for her. Jin-woo has to strain to hear Hee-joo and her grandmother talking about Se-joo.

They mention that he called them last night from a pay phone (probably just before he called Jin-woo) and that he’s taking a train home today. Hee-joo says that Se-joo should be arriving at eight a.m., so Jin-woo pretends to have an urgent meeting and leaves in a hurry.

He starts to hail a taxi, but Secretary Seo arrives with a rental car. Jin-woo takes the keys and sends Secretary Seo to the hostel, instructing him to get some flowers for Hee-joo on the way. Secretary Seo assumes that Jin-woo’s sudden flight to Granada was romantic in nature and reminds him that his divorce isn’t final yet, but Jin-woo informs him that Hee-joo is just a prospective business partner.

HAHA, Secretary Seo offers to seduce her with his superior good looks, and they get into a very serious discussion right in the middle of the street regarding which of them is more handsome. Secretary Seo chirps that his mom thinks he’s handsome, Jin-woo deadpans that a face like his has never been considered handsome in all of human history. Secretary Seo grumbles, “This is why you have many enemies…”

Jin-woo actually lights up at the sight of Secretary Seo’s huge, heavy suitcase, delighted by the thought of the nightmare he’s going to have lugging it up six flights of stairs.

He calls Director Park as he drives to the train station, admitting that he wants to talk to Se-joo away from the hostel since he made his sister cry. He says that all he did was give her some advice, but Director Park yells that Jin-woo’s advice is really just thinly-veiled meanness.

Yang-joo is eager to watch Jin-woo play the game some more, calling his repeated crushings “cathartic,” hee. Jin-woo promises to play some more after he talks to Se-joo and finds out why he turned down Hyung-seok’s money.

Jin-woo waits at the station while Se-joo’s train arrives, but he never sees Se-joo disembark. He walks alongside the train, briefly passing the man who was sleeping in Se-joo’s train car, and the way the moment lingers says that somehow, this guy is important. The train pulls away with Se-joo’s bag still on it, and when Sun-ho calls, Jin-woo tells him that something feels terribly wrong.

Secretary Seo eventually gets his gigantic suitcase up to the sixth floor, and he asks Hee-joo for another bed. She tells him that he and Jin-woo can’t stay, and she even refunds Jin-woo’s payment for last night’s stay, saying that he’ll know why.

Jin-woo calls Secretary Seo and has him ask Hee-joo where her brother is. Secretary Seo puts her on the phone, and she quickly explains that she’s asking them to leave because there were too many problems, and they need to do a lot of repairs to the room.

Jin-woo apologizes for losing his temper at her. But Hee-joo says sweetly that everything he said was true, so now she’s going to say something that’s also true — the house is worn out, but she has a conscience, so she’s refunding his money. Jin-woo tries to talk, but Hee-joo snaps that he’s the one who talks over people, and treated her like she was unconscientious and rude.

She’s yelling as she informs him that she did warn him the room was on the sixth floor and was dirty, and that she advised him to go to a hotel. She reminds him that he insisted on staying, then treated her like a lazy swindler.

She even insults his fake watch and his stupid business deal, and calls him pretentious before finally stopping to pant for breath. Smiling, Jin-woo just says that she’s very eloquent and asks if she really thinks his watch is fake.

She hands the phone over to Secretary Seo (who bows low, obviously terrified by her), and tells him again to check out. Jin-woo tells Secretary Seo to talk to Min-joo, but when he asks her about Se-joo, she doesn’t seem concerned. Jin-woo marvels, “I’m more worried about him than they are!”

Suddenly, Jin-woo sees someone that makes him freeze in his tracks. Her name is LEE SOO-JIN (Lee Shi-won), and she’s traveling with her sister, Soo-kyung. Jin-woo tells Soo-jin stiffly that he’s here for work, then notices her obviously pregnant belly. He recovers enough to congratulate her, and she tells him that she’s here to meet her husband, who had to come to Granada unexpectedly.

Soo-jin asks if Jin-woo is okay, mentioning a news article that shocked her, but he just says that shocking people was the point. Ah, evidently Soo-jin was his first wife, and he’s in the middle of his second divorce. Jin-woo says breezily that the second divorce is much easier than the first, especially since this marriage only lasted a year.

After successfully running Soo-jin off, Jin-woo stands there thinking about how she said her husband suddenly had to come to Granada yesterday. He takes the smart lenses out and puts them in, logs on, and summons his rusty iron sword.

Back in Seoul, Sun-ho and Yang-joo come to attention when he logs back into the game. He gets an alert that a new user has logged on, and ignoring the game’s prompt to search for a stronger weapon, he heads to his car, “sheathing” his sword on the way (that is so seriously cool).

He instructs the game to track the new user, and drives towards the indicated location. The game leads Jin-woo to a neighborhood of nice homes, where he finds the in-game bodies of several Guards of Aragon scattered around.

He gets out and follows the nearby sounds of combat, but instead of finding Se-joo like he expects, it’s CHA HYUNG-SEOK (Park Hoon) finishing off the rest of the guards. As Jin-woo approaches him, he tells us in voiceover that Hyung-seok is his former friend and co-founder of his company.

Hyung-seok speaks first, surprised that anyone else knows about the game. He tells Jin-woo to step away from it because it’s all over, though he doesn’t seem very confident. Jin-woo replies casually that the call he got from Se-joo indicates otherwise, since Se-joo said he would never sell to Hyung-seok.

He tells Hyung-seok that even if he were lucky enough to buy the rights to the game from Se-joo, he’ll still need Jin-woo’s help, since Jin-woo owns the smart lenses. He vows never to let Hyung-seok use them, even if it means losing profits.

He tells Hyung-seok to stop chasing dreams and take care of his very pregnant wife… oooh, so Jin-woo’s first wife, Soo-jin, is Hyung-seok’s current wife. That explains a lot.

Jin-woo informs us that he’s gone up against Hyung-seok six times, and that as of now, they’re each three for three. “The most painful loss,” he says, “was when Hyung-seok took my wife.”

They’re still in the game, which asks them if they’d like to form an alliance, or become enemies. Both of them refuse an alliance, so the game invites them to duel for experience points. Hyung-seok seems excited by the prospect, especially since he greatly outlevels Jin-woo and has a better weapon.

Jin-woo motions for Hyung-seok to wait while he takes a call from Director Park. Director Park advises him not to duel now, since they know Hyung-seok hasn’t found Se-joo, either. Jin-woo whines that Hyung-seok is provoking him, but Yang-joo yells that he’s not strong enough and will definitely lose.

Jin-woo hangs up and Hyung-seok charges, only for Jin-woo log off. He calls Hyung-seok a jerk for wanting to fight when he’s a higher level, and he says he’ll call Hyung-seok later when he’s ready.

Hyung-seok calls someone, asking how Jin-woo knows about the game. He guesses that Se-joo contacted him, and he orders the person on the line to find out what they agreed on, if anything.

As Jin-woo drives away, he thinks about how he’s spent the past three years taking anything that Hyung-seok wanted. The more Hyung-seok wants something, the more Jin-woo wants to take it — so he wants to take this game most of all, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it.

Hee-joo visits with her friend Sang-bum, who knows her well enough to know that when Jin-woo yelled at her, she just cried. She says proudly that she gave Jin-woo a refund and told him to leave, though she admits that it was strange that Jin-woo just took her ranting and called her eloquent.

Secretary Seo comes in to give Hee-joo his business card, and Sang-bum recognizes the name J One. Secretary Seo says that the CEO of J One would like to talk with Hee-joo, belatedly confessing that the CEO is none other than Jin-woo.

Later, Hee-joo looks up Jin-woo, and when she hears that he’s immensely rich, the first thing she thinks about is how she called his watch fake, ha. Sang-bum, who follows Korean news, tells her that Jin-woo’s wife is GO YU-RA (Han Bo-reum), a famous actress, and that she recently filed for divorce.

Hee-joo is scared that Jin-woo plans to sue her, but when he shows up, he’s all smiles. He offers Hee-joo a handshake and an apology for taking out his stress on her (pointing out that his watch is real… please let this be a running gag, I love it). She admits that she wasn’t exactly polite, either, so Jin-woo jokes that they should both pretend they have short-term memory loss, and Hee-joo asks, “Why, what happened this morning?” LOL.

Sang-bum introduces himself, making it clear that he’s here to protect Hee-joo since he’s practically family. Jin-woo insists on speaking to Hee-joo privately, since he doesn’t trust anyone who says “practically,” especially after losing two wives who were “practically” family. He says that what he needs to discuss with Hee-joo involves a life-changing amount of money, so Sang-bum excuses himself.

Once they’re alone, Jin-woo gets right to the point. He tells Hee-joo that he’s an investor, and that in a year, Granada will be famous for something besides the Alhambra… magic. He says that people will flock here, rich people who live to have fun, so she should install an elevator in the Hostel Bonita immediately.

In fact, he tells her to just sell the hostel and buy a hotel, guaranteeing her that in a year, the rooms will all be full. Hee-joo asks how she can possibly afford that, and Jin-woo smirks that someone will probably give it the money to her.

He tells us that that was his first day in Granada, and we skip ahead a year. Jin-woo is on a train heading back to Granada, but this time he’s wearing scruffy old clothing. As the train approaches the station, he gets out of his seat and makes his way to the door, limping heavily as he favors his left leg.

A storm rolls in fast, just as it did on the day Se-joo disappeared. Jin-woo grows alarmed and locks himself in the restroom to take out a gun. He hears two shots ring out, and he pauses for just a moment.

All at once, Jin-woo pushes the door to the car open and goes in shooting. He takes out several masked men,. his injured leg no longer a problem as he whirls and spins. He relieves one masked man of his weapon and starts shooting two-handed, and when he takes a bullet to the stomach, it barely even slows him down.

He ducks behind a seat to reload, then jumps up to shoot another masked man then use his body as a shield. He misses one hiding attacker and takes three more shots to the torso, which finally stops him, but only long enough to reload.

As he jumps up and continues shooting, Jin-woo narrates: “A year ago, what happened to the future I predicted to Hee-joo? I got half of it right. And the other half, I got completely wrong.”

One masked man slowly approaches Jin-woo, the lightning flashing in his blue eyes as he raises his gun. Jin-woo aims back, and their guns go off simultaneously.

 
COMMENTS

WHAT. WAS. THAT. ~takes a moment to collect wits~

Okay, I’m okay. I think I forgot to breath throughout the entire last ten minutes of this episode. My guess is that something has gone horribly wrong in Se-joo’s game, and that this explains why Se-joo disappeared on the same train under similar circumstances. He had blood on his stomach before he even boarded the train to Granada, so my theory is that he told Hyung-seok about the game, offered to show it to him, and Hyung-seok somehow, for some reason, figured out how to hurt him for real. So Se-joo ran, calling Jin-woo on the way, but something or someone caught up to him on the train.

I was hooked by this show right away, even before we got to the exciting part. I find the entire thing… well the first word that comes to mind is “familiar,” oddly enough. But it brings back so many feelings from two of my favorite dramas, Nine: Nine Time Travels and Queen In-hyun’s Man (no surprise since it’s the same writer) and the more recent W-Two Worlds, not to mention that Hyun Bin and Park Shin-hye are two of the primary actors that I first loved when I got into dramas. So this show is like a trip down an emotional memory lane for me… everything and everyone feels so familiar, yet the plot of Alhambra is innovative enough that it still feels fresh and exciting.

My very favorite thing about Song Jae-jung’s dramas is her characters, who are always unique in a believable way. They do and say the last thing you’d expect, yet they have such defined and believable personalities. Jin-woo and Hee-joo are no exception, and Jin-woo in particular is quite the character. When he realized that Hee-joo was the person he needed to suck up to and that he’d just gravely insulted her, instead of being horrified as I expected, he just grinned wolfishly like he was thinking, “Well, this is gonna be interesting.” And then to just lie to her face, then just as quickly give up the lie… I fell for him right there. He’s just hilariously shameless, and I love it. I can’t wait to see what else he gets up to as he tries to convince this woman who hates his very guts to sign over what amount to trillions of dollars to him.

Hee-joo is more reserved right now, since all we’ve seen is her temper. But in the hands of this writer, I’m confident that she’s going to be just as quirky and off-beat as Jin-woo, once she stops being angry and starts showing her true colors. She’s not going to make this easy in Jin-woo, judging by the way she let loose on him when she finally got the chance, and honestly, I want to see her really make him work for it. So far nothing she’s done has ruffled him, but I have a feeling that she’ll find a way… and when she does, I want to see him squirm.

I am so excited about this show, you have no idea. I went into it with absolutely zero idea what it would be about, so imagine my delight, as an avid gamer myself, to learn that it’s about video games! I really felt Jin-woo’s pain in Episode 1 when he kept getting killed by the warrior — how many times have I thrown myself at the same boss for hours on end? I love the whole premise that Jin-woo will be fighting his nemesis in an augmented reality game, because it feels safe, nobody will actually get hurt in a game, right? But I’m sure (having seen this writer’s previous dramas, and especially after that final scene) that before long, the line between game and reality will quickly become blurred, and what seemed safe will turn deadly serious.

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I feel quite bored after the 2nd epi. The game is interesting but maybe the directing doesnt feel that exciting? Half of episode is him doing game that not many people care about. PSH barely has screentime. Unless she gonna play the game later, if not she is just a side character

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I definitely think PSH is going to be in the game. I just can't decide if I think she already knows about it/is in on it, or if he will have to bring her in to try and find her brother.

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I am surprised with the directing of this drama, especially during non action scenes. It lacks emotional pull and nuance performance.

Now, the show comes alive during action sequences. But damn it, it took them 50 minutes to get to that point. We spent all that time listening to the main leads bicker. Ugghh!!

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Maybe the thrill/action part is so exciting and pulls you in that is why we the semi romantic/comedic part looks lackluster. I always found myself curious to know what happens to the game simultaneously fast forwarding the leads scenes together.

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I'm as excited as @lollypip about this show! Thanks so much for the great recap! Especially all your final insights -- totally agree with all that you said. I'm also incredibly excited to see what theories everyone else comes up with. Like, I just want to sit in the comments sections with my popcorn and watch you guys dissect this show! (OH and I did NOT know that this was the writer of Queen In-hyun's Man and now I am even more on board than ever.)

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Thank, Lollypip, for the speedy (yet thorough) recap! The show does a great job of drawing the viewer into their world, and I hope it maintains the pace and focus. Yes, the last ten minutes were exciting, but gave me W vibes with the hero death mid-show.

My biggest takeaway? Wait, let me pick my jaw up off the ground and wipe off the drool....Hyun bin is absolutely gorgeous, and should always wear indigo linen. . .

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Your biggest takeaway is spot on. He glows.

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I know.....it was so distracting that I was having trouble focusing on the plot. What can I say! Well, I could say I'm easy, but really, that man should be licensed to kill with those dimples, that smile, etc. Etc. Etc.....

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The smile that changed at the end of ep 1 when he knew he had to be the bad wolf. Gulp.

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I might have gasped, and suddenly remembered why I sat through all of Secret Garden.

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I wasn't going to watch this, but that scene at the end of episode 1 was the biggest reason I changed my mind. I was smiling back at him the whole time. My heart...

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I've never seen him so handsome and charming. That killer smile. That killer dimple.

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An ahjumma killer!

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He was so arrogant and obnoxious in My Lovely Samsoon, which is one of the funniest Korean dramas ever. I've never watched him in any other drama. I think playing an arrogant chaebol suits him best. That nose of his is so uniquely tilted and gives him that air of superiority and disdain. But I didn't know that charm of his is so devastating.

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I watched MLSS ages ago but it was really one of the best earlier dramas. But you’re right, he has this superior aura around him and suits arrogant characters well.

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He was divine. And when he grinned, looking so amused by her rant, I grinned right back.

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I haven't seen a Hyun Bin drama since Secret Garden, and watching this drama now makes me remember how awesome he is. He has a unique aura of gravitas and maturity, yet also gentlemanly and refined.

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The Korean (young) Cary Grant 😍

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And who is Cary Grant?

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@bbstl Thanks. But actually I really do know who Cary Grant is, I just didn't want to give any clues to how old I am...

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HAH! but Cary Grant is no longer a foolproof method of carbon dating😎! Sleepless in Seattle re-popularized him, and the biggest buzz about Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) is he's a young Cary Grant.

UR SCRET IS SFE..

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@beantown "foolproof method of carbon dating" 🤣😂🤣 dyyying.

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oh my yes! that indigo linen looks perfect on him! le sigh

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Tell me about it. I’ve always found him very handsome but there’s something about the way he looks here that makes my eyes pop out LOL 😂

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Ah, you too, eh? He looks so different somehow, so handsome. 😍😍😍😍

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I swear, its the indigo blue linen.....

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Hero "death"

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i love the AR game concept and graphics -- the whole intrigue of whether See Joo is dead or alive or entrapped in the AR realm is fascinating! love Hyun Bin in this role!!

i hope to see See Joo/Chanyeol again... fingers crossed that he's in the game and not really dead...

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I think that there will be a way where people who die in the game can die for real, even if it's by tricking the brain into 'giving up' or something. With tech like that, instead of just using it as a game, it could be used for perfect crime too. I wonder if this is what has happened in the future in those last minutes of the episode. Maybe the tech got sold to crime gangs or militarised in the worst possible ways, making Se-Joo's fears come true.

I loved Jin-Woo's comments about Hyung-Seok being a jerk for wanting to duel when he's a higher level and better equipped. I laughed out loud because it made me remember my World of Warcraft days from years back, when I'd get harassed and followed by higher level and legendary-geared players demanding 'PVP' over and over again. I know they wanted stats and rewards but come on guys, at least pick on someone your own size. I honestly didn't understand the appeal in trying to PVP someone a fifth of your level.

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Surprisingly Jin Woo listens to his subordinates! I mean this is Hyung-Seok we are talking about, his forever nemesis. Backing out would mean a loss on his pride, but he still let go and listened to his subordinates’ arguments. That shows that he’s not all about ego. If he gloats, then it’s backed up.

Also I didnt really understand the part where he said Hyung-Seok can’t release the game without his investment. I thought he was only fighting for his right for Hee joo’s Signature?

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I think what he meant is that his company produces the contact lens currently being used to run and preview the game. Because he holds the patent, Hyung-Seok wouldn't be able to release the game for the contact lens without signing an agreement, and Jin-Woo would never let him piggyback his product. He's trying to warn Hyung-Seok away from trying to get a signature by saying 'it doesn't matter because I'd never let you use my AR-hosting tech anyway'.

Interestingly, I'm not sure if this will even matter in the long run with the contact lens as is: Jin-Woo mentioned that it was 'hot' and that was only after the first small preview of the game where he first witnessed the knight. I think the tech in its current state isn't fully compatible with the game yet - if it was hot after such a short time of use, I worry about how long it will last with prolonged playing.

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I'm not clear on how Hyun-Seok was playing the game without his own contact lens or some kind of glasses?

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My guess is that he owns some, since he co-founded the company, but that legally J One owns the rights to them. So while Hyung-seok can play the game himself, he'll need to either invent his own smart lenses or convince Jin-woo to sell him the rights to manufacture them for sale, and Jin-woo will never do that.

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wasn't Seo Joo sent them both prototypes sets? Because there was weird looking earpieces used in game to communicate?

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He probably bought the product as a customer (I'm guessing from their conversation that Hyung-Seok has no entitlement to the product, its patent or development so he would literally be a casual buyer in the same way I would buy a games console)

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@shach I'm curious about the ear pieces too, maybe they're also pre-made tech from a company? It would be funny if the game required tech from both Jin-Woo and Hyung-Seok, because neither would want to share

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Yep entering Granada is some sort of wormhole from actual reality to the virtual one. That thunderstorm was their sign that they were entering the other dimension. Perhaps he’s in the last stage of the game already and that’s where they all got stuck. Both he and the brother are already injured. Curious how they got their injuries. Guess will find out 14 episodes later....

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Hopefully we will find out! If I remember correctly, there were still a lot of unanswered questions at the end of W.

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So true. I was quite disappointed with W in the end.

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But if he holds parents on partd of the technology that are used, even if other parts are improved and are new technologies, he can still bar thebusebofvthe unimproved parts.

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Thanks, @lollypip for the recap. I am also loving the show and trying to understand the game since I'm no techie nor a player of reality games like that. I loved it when Hee-joo ranted at Jin-woo. I would have loved it more if she had done it to his face.

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I hate that I'm live watching this because I just want to binge it all now. However, no way can wait to watch until all the episodes are released. I'm hooked. Please stay good.

*lifts a Subway foot-long meatball marina and two warm chocolate chip cookies as an offering to the drama gods*

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Do what I do. Live watch, then binge later when it's finished. You get more of an emotional impact then. Then a year later watch the whole thing again so you can enjoy the secondary characters.

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shouldn't you be making a Chappaghetti instead - tho in the subtitles and i think he said "ramyeon"...
*winks at the PPL*

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I was so confused by that ending that I had to rewatch the last scene to realise that it was the future and everything that’s happening was in the past. Also if Chanyeol really disappeared due to being stuck in the AR world that is so awesome. So I guess the AR game swallowing it’s players is the fantasy aspect of this game?

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Yep same. He narrated "And that's what happened on my first day in Granada" I thought that narration was for the scene following that. I got all confused thinking him looking haggard and injured on the train was like a rewind of scenes prior to meeting Hee Joo. Then I re-watched and finally understood the final scene was the future LOL. I guess "Memories of the Alhambra" isn't just the title of the game, but legit it's Jin Woo's memories of Alhambra and he tells us of it.

Also the first scene confused me too. They were interviewing Jin Woo about the lenses technology and how they are incorporated in the AR games then Se Joo showed up watching this very same interview. I was like whut? And then the interview was like "So what's the reason why it's not being released yet?" And then I thought it was Jin Woo who answered "His name is Jung See Joo.... He will turn 18 in two months." I thought that was Jin Woo answering the interviewer's question. Like, he was making a public announcement searching for the guy so he can officially release the game. LOLOLOLOL It was too confusing for my brain. ~_____~ Then I finally figured out that they are two different scenarios and that the voice was coming from Jin Woo's A. LOL

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I never realised that interview part Lol. The directing sure makes it confusing but I hope it becomes clearer as it episodes go

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Yup that scene made me realize why it is called Memories of Alhambra. We are going through Jin Woo's memories of a year early events.

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Maybe a year on, the girl's disappeared. Maybe the final scene is the final episode. It reminds me of Westworld, where they weave in and out between the past, the present and the future.

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First of all, I love your review! And you're a gamer? Double love.
I knew the storm had a lot to do with what was going on. Seems like his limp is real and when he walks out of the bathroom, he's in the game. I'm only speculating about the last few minutes - will read others' comments re anything else. Thanks! Looking forward to now reading comments and then re-watching for the many clues I've probably missed.

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like your's, i have a gamer daughter also... she laughed at his frustrations having to go back to get that damn rusty sword over and over...
: D

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I remember lots of temper tantrums.

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i remember hearing all sorts of cussing, which my daughter doesn't ordinarily use...

she actually wants to work in the industry, doing illustration/concept art... tho i think she'd be better in the gameplay department, as she has many, many opinions about how the games play out....

glad to have a mother comrade in the daughter/gaming world.
*fist bump*

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Plus, your icon kitty. California Coast. All right.

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Yep, HUGE gamer! If I'm not recapping, I'm playing something, usually on my Playstation or my Switch. Particularly MMOs and RPGs/JRPGs, so the game in the drama is fascinating to me.

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my girl is (was? she got mad after the latest game) a Final Fantasy geek. we even went to Square Enix's HQ in tokyo (couldn't even get close to the entrance) - but went to the egg shaped cafe just outside, where they feature FF themed food, desserts, and drinks... she bought keychains and pins and a necklace from the adjoining FF shop...

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I LOVE Final Fantasy! I was even playing World of Final Fantasy on my Switch earlier today. I can't wait for them to port the rest of them over to the Switch! Which FF is her favorite? I came to them later, I like 11 and 13...

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she says 12... but that not alot of people liked it.

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Oops, I was saying 11 but I meant 12! It did get a lot of criticism for the very different combat system, but it's actually my favorite. So she's not alone!

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I have a whole book of Final Fantasy piano music. Gawd I love it! My daughter wants to know if you have heard of Fallout 76. She says it's the worst game ever. There's some glitch on someone's game that his character is accidentally immortal and thus the final boss has a million hit points. (whatever that means, I don't play).

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I don't play the Fallout games, but I also work PT at Gamestop so I hear a lot. Fallout '76 was supposed to be great but a lot of people are mad for a lot of reasons. Glitchy, no campaign, patches that literally do nothing... there's even rumor of a class action suit in the works.

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@ Linda Palapala -- my daughter said she watched stuff about that game and it sucked/had tons of glitches.

also, regarding piano music -- yes, my daughter (and her friends) tinker and play the music... which i actually like! in fact, we've purchased concert tickets for her and her friends to go listen to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra play the theme songs... always sold out.

@lollypip, you are in good company with my daughter (she came and read your comments)... she doesn't watch dramas, with the exceptions of Goblin and Mr. Sunshine (i had to twist her and her dad's arms to watch these)...

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Oh and everyone was mad after 15. It sucked. I'll forgive them once FF11 is on my Switch so I can play it on the go :)

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yes, it was 15 that totally pissed her off...
: D

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15 was the WORST. Four bro-dudes travel in a car making dumb bro-jokes and cooking a lot, then fail to save the princess, who the hero wasn't in love with anyway. Bleh.

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Nooo I have a kdrama-watching, game-streaming friend who's in love with 15. She keeps re-playing it too. I went to this art fair to find something cool to mail to her, and a lot of the stickers/postcards were from 15 (and 7, but that's a classic, so...) right beside chibis of BTS and Wanna One. Haha so maybe it appealed to artist/gamers who love boy groups.

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It's cool, your friend is entitled to her wrong opinion...

I'll confess, I did buy the pocket version for my Switch, because they made changes to the unnecessarily complicated combat system and I wondered if it would make the game playable. It's a little better, but I'm still early in the game.

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LOL

But I wanna buy a Switch! I think I grew up on the wrong side of the console wars... I don't really care about the realistic bounce on a character's boobs and the high-definition horse's mane. I just want cute games where you survive/collect/build stuff and multiplayer games that aren't just shooting soldiers/aliens up. T___T

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You'd LOVE it. I take mine everywhere. And don't be fooled - it's a full-on console, and can play games every bit as sophisticated as a Playstation or Xbox. They're converting hundreds of games to play on the Switch that were formerly only on PS or XB that are every bit as good, or even better (looking at you, Diablo III), than on their original consoles. They plan to release 9 Final Fantasy games on the Switch next year, including the more current ones like 10, 12, and 13.

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Oh but for what you said you want, they also have that! I love Harvest Moon, Dragon Quest Builders, Little Dragons Cafe - wait lemme check my Switch - okay, Pokemon, Moonlighter, Stardew Valley, Smoke and Sacrifice, Yonder, Flipping Death, Rime, Earthlock, Fe, Oceanhorn, Cat Quest... I did mention I'm a SERIOUSLY ADDICTED gamer, didn't I? LOL. And that's only about 1/3 of the games I have on my Switch. Don't even ask about my Playstation...

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@lollypip you sound like my daughter... she has all nintendo game consoles + DS thing (and prior gameboy things), playstation consoles (all of them, no kidding), someone gave her their xbox, and now switch.

she developed this obsession from her father... he used to be up all night playing the first generation of Zelda...

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Yep, that's me! I'm not kidding when I call myself a gamer. I'm definitely NOT a casual. I've been gaming since I was 8 years old. I used to be the #2 healer on my server in WoW. I own a Gamecube, Playstation 2, 3, and 4, and a Switch (I don't care for Xbox but I have owned them in the past). Literally, if I'm not recapping or doing stuff with my family, I'm gaming!

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@Lollypip you always make me want to buy MORE things. Hahaha I'm lucky they don't sell the latest stuff in my country or I won't have money left for food. Though if the blueberry controller comes here, I'd still snatch it up.

But the biggest hit to my poor monies will be the Labo kits. It sounds like a tinkerer's paradise. I can make an applebutt controller! *sobs with happiness*

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It's a good thing I also work at Gamestop, I need that discount!

Do you mean the berry blue Playstation 4 controller? Um... I have one. It's very very purty.

Honestly, the Labo things are cool but they don't sell very well. They take hours and hours to put together and are too easily squished. I think I've sold 2 Labo kits in the 8 months I've worked at my store.

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LOL, I don't have time to play anymore but I used to be a big Tomb Raider fanatic. I can totally relate to the struggle of being stuck and unable to level up, haha!!
It's really nice that we have a gamer recapping this :D

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I'm late to the Tomb Raider party! I didn't care for the older games, but I'm playing Tomb Raider Definitive Edition now and I love it. Picked up Rise of the Tomb Raider yesterday because I had a coupon. I can't wait to finish those and move on to Shadow, I hear it's great!

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Lara Croft is the best, haha! I love that game to bits. Now that you mention it, I'm curious to pick up with the new games...so you say Definitive Edition is good? ...ahhh, I will have to wait until I have some time for this, maybe during Christmas holidays 😁

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Yes, it's a trilogy about Lara's origin story... Definitive, Rise, then Shadow. All three are fantastic!

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This show blends in the gaming of Love 020, the sword fighting of Sword Art Online and the real world vs fake world clashing of W - Two Worlds.

And I bloody love it!!!

😍😍😍

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I’m watching both Love O2O and this right now, and interesting to see the similarities.

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I have Love O2O on my watchlist for Zheng Ye Cheng who also stars in An Oriental Odyssey. He's beauty personified. Instead of a Greek god a Chinese god?

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Oh, that boy is gorgeous, but surreal. Especially in the game, which is probably the point.

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He's gorgeous in Oriental Odyssey, especially when he goes home and dresses like an Egyptian prince.

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@shittyhunter @ally-le @linda-palapala

Yes, I was thinking of Love 020 as well, and definitely there are lots of W vibes. I'm expecting at least as much merging and conflict between the realms of AR and reality as W, and if the show manages to up it's game, I hope show makes it even more epic than just choosing whether to end up living or dying and in which realm.

One way this show can stand out more will be in the area of character development. Let's have likable and developing characters (and an ending that makes sense!) and I'd have nothing more to ask of this show!

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If there's one thing kdramas usually do well it's character development. Of course, I'm comparing to Western storytelling where everyone is a cardboard character.

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LOL! Western storytelling. I've not watched a made in the West show for so long. Maybe only caught a blockbuster movie... definitely in the latter, we get only cardboard and plastic!! 😂 t

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"Let's have likable and developing characters..." I already like every character and their development. I think we'll be okay. Some are complaining about the female lead but I can identify with her life so understand where she's coming from already. Here's to the weekend!!

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Definitely SAO vibes, it is interesting and unexpected to see the ideea in a drama. I am curious to see how much of it is really reflected, if we go into characters dying in real life after dying in the game and the same trapped ideea.

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Memories of Hyun Bin

I love his dimples. I could insert toothpicks in them, one in each and they won't drop out they're so deep.

I love his teeth. They're so dazzlingly white they blind me.

I love his shoulders. They're so broad and stretch that suit to perfection.

I love that little hop and skip he does before he swings into action, brandishing his sword, and the way he flexes those lean fingers over the hilt.

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Looks like YY's in lurve!! LOL.

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I am! Those dimples dimpled their way into my frozen heart, waiting an eternity for my beloved Park Hae jin to show up.

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Wait, what??!!
So the rude CEO and candy hostel owner isn't the whole setup for this show? No wonder I felt that this eps suddenly slowed down a lot with various characters introduction and unexpected information tidbits. The last scene seems coming straight from a dystopian story. Is that where we'll be going?

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I hope so. I got a very dystopian vibe just from him playing the game in the first episode. For a start, it was physically gruelling and semi-terrifying and, as he said, quite addictive. The whole setup gave me chills down my spine. It's all very well running around collecting Pokemon. But getting in genuine physical fights and throwing yourself around like that? Recipe for disaster.

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I'll go all shallow, so please bear with me- Hyun Bin is a god. He's so gorgeous.

Apologies for the superficiality. I'll post something more substantial next time! LOL

Thanks for the recap, @lollypip!

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Thinking Hyun Bin is a god is not shallow!

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Thank you for your assurance that I'm not giving in to superficiality, @Linda Palapala! <3

True, "Hyun Bin is a god" is a timeless truth! Definitely not shallow!

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I'm pretty impressed with his acting in this drama too, so that's like a double whammy in a good way!

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Binnie never disappoints, right? Plus those dimples are a most welcome bonus!

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It's just fact 🤷🏻‍♀️
Requires re-stating every so often, though. 👍🏼

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NO no not shallow. That is the key plot of this drama :) the handsomeness.
The more we find handsomeness we get to level up in the fan kingdom

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What??? Are you recapping THREE now, LollyPip? Not that I mind! I was wondering what you thought of this, being a gamer, but I thought your radio silence was because you didn't like it, lol.

The drama is super exciting and interesting and all that, but I also enjoy this writer's sense of humor. I'm laughing half the time and gripping my seat the other half.

And now that I've had time to think of it, this drama reminds me of the Star Trek - The Next Generation episodes of the Holodeck gone wrong. One of the episodes had a character escaping the Holodeck into real life, but it turned out the real life was also actually on the Holodeck. I wonder if that's happening here, that the game is within another game that simulates real life.

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Okay, I really liked the fact that action Hyun Bin shows up in the last 5 minutes. That’s all.

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I'm already getting a bit addicted to action Hyun Bin. Gonna have to go watch his recent films.

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I loved Late Autumn - if I can only find it somewhere to watch again.
What other films of his do you rec'd?

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I replayed the last scene when Jin-woo in the train and was shooting people in mask since I got really confused at first. But I remember, this drama is from W's writer, so I'd expect it would be "back-and-fort" setting and time... :).

I can't wait for Hae-joo to actually "participate" in the game....

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I have the same reaction as your at the 10 minutes end. This writer always makes my head hurt because I need to think! :D
I am really sold to this drama and can't wait for the next episode.

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I guess Jin-woo has been playing and has leveled-up a lot -- being able to absorb that many hits means he either has a zillion hit points or a bullet-proof vest.

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My daughter was just talking about "hit points" so I know what that means! And he must have a zillion hit points. Or not. We only saw the preview.

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Oh, thanks for that tidbit about hit points!

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He was indeed wearing a bullet proof vest in the last scene ;)

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Anybody else think it would be fun to buy a real sword and just pretend to be holding a game sword the next time they log in and confront the baddie?

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that sounds like it would really HURT....
an innocent bystander, that is.
: O

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It would be kind of awkward since the game sword can also be 'held'. I'd like to know if there's any/what technology can create the feeling of a solid object that interacts with the real world, that one can manipulate. The closest was Star Trek's holodeck and holo-doctor.

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LOL wouldn't that be fun? I think the game displays your stats to your enemy though.

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My favorite is a love story where the main couple is in real danger from outside forces. This looks to be it.

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@linda-palapala and by that I'm sure you don't mean like in Fluttering Alert or Boyfriend where the outside forces are the chaebol parents/status and image? :D

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Ya' know, I almost clarified that. Those aren't outside forces. I meant danger like the henchmen in the black suits that go around threatening people with guns, knives and all sorts of lethal instruments.

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And the couple works together to fight the bad guys, like in Whisper.

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Now this part of the two teaming up will really make this show stand out. It would be so cool if Hee Joo's family were in on it and her sister, brother and grandma all had kickass roles to play in the game. I'd love that!!!

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I lost my whole mind when she lost it at him over the phone. Hilarious & he TOTALLY deserved it, that ass!

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if only we could understand Korean -- she was talking SO FAST....
: D

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Episode 2 was quite underwhelming compared to the first. I felt they revealed way too much about the main character in this episode. Hope they get better with the pacing! But still quite intriguing!

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Hyunbin oppa....when will your fate of not having to prove the authenticity of luxury items to the heroine change😂😂😂😂? #NostalgicSecretGardenMoments

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LOL @InkyWinky so true!!! Secret Garden had him insisting that his sequinned track suit was a designer brand, more than once!

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that had to be a META reference, right?
; )

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Not sure I want to stick with this, despite the really cool execution of the AR world and the beautiful backdrop of Granada, because they haven't made me care about any of the characters except maybe the missing programmer kid. I might have felt some sympathy for the way Hyun Bin's character was betrayed by his best friend and first wife, but he's such a jerk to everyone around him that you have to wonder if she would have left him for someone else anyway. And I don't feel like PSH's character was at all compelling, and I don't feel like I'm going to be able to believe in any relationship between the two of them. He's so intense, and she's such an introvert. I wish the characters were as compelling as the spectacular AR world, and that we had seen some believable sparks between the two leads.

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I will never understand why being jerk to your secretary is considered funny in kdramas....

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Agreed. I really like the plot, but I'm not watching it for the characters - except Chanyeol's character for some reason, I can't bring myself to care. But I have a feeling its mostly Hyun Bin. Since so much of the two eps have been focused on him, it's his character I don't care about.

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TBH, I will wait to watch episode 3 and episode 4. So far, I am not really impressed with both episodes. It is cool to have AR/VR cgi. However, as a Gamer/Kdrama watcher. It seems ok drama. I love Love 020 and Sword Art Online. Also, find items seem like Pokémon Go. Seems interesting. However. I want to know what happened if the contact lens dried out. Where is the battery etc. VR is expensive. It is not really mainstream. I did try AR game on iPad pro at Apple store. Seems cool. PSH, still have that 😳. I hope she gets into the game as she looks really beautiful on preview. i do hope storylines get better.

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Thanks so much @lollypip Love the way you put it: "HAHA, Secretary Seo offers to seduce her with his superior good looks, and they get into a very serious discussion right in the middle of the street regarding which of them is more handsome. Secretary Seo chirps that his mom thinks he’s handsome, Jin-woo deadpans that a face like his has never been considered handsome in all of human history. Secretary Seo grumbles, “This is why you have many enemies…” "

Any show that manages to incorporate such comedic scenes of delusional self praise, so effortlessly, gets a high pass from me. I'm also tickled by the rogue that Jin Woo is, so much so that he did not apologise for his meanness and instead excuses himself as just being over-wrought. Pity Hee Joo bought it!!! I'd have liked if she'd made him bend over in humility before listening to his business proposal.

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That discussion was one of the best scenes of this episode. :)

I think she was way too angry at first so I was ok with her forgiving him, or pretending to forgive for fear of being sued. I mean, he was rude but was not lying, I'd probably have said worse things. :P

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@lixie I'm thinking show could do with more scenes of characters chatting so that we get to know them better and to balance out the game play. It could then also reduce the amount of exposition-ary voice overs by the Jin Woo.

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The lenses are fused to his eyeballs. And his brain waves have resonated with the electronic game's, causing him to be stuck in it.

I have been watching God's Quiz.

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Even though it's entertaining and beautifully shot, this drama still fail me the same way W did - I don't care about the characters at all, can't connect to them. They all seem fake like the world they live in. Even though the worlds in dramas are always fake, good dramas at least make their characters relatable and compelling. Here it's just not there. Hopefully it'll change but so far the main characters are lacking compared to the story and setting.

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After two episodes, I'm curious how they will return in Korea... Personaly, I don't want! I love the scenery in Spain.

For the character, I don't think Hee Joo is very consistent for now. She works a lot to help her family, so she must be strong but she doesn't control her emotions, she cried in a weird situation and after she let him know what she was thinking about him in a very direct way. He was a jerk but I don't think he was completely wrong about her hostel.

For Jin Woo, we know why he left for Granada in the middle of the night. I'm curious why/how his first wife left him, but he looks like he's very determined to fight against his old friend.

For the last, scene I think I prefered old school sword than guns... It was more fun to see but I guess in a train it's less convenient.

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I don't understand why she didn't put him in double room and charged for two beds? And why she didn't put secretary in another room after all this kerfuffle but still send him into the attic which is clearly inhabitable. After two episodes her character brings nothing to table.

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Yes, it was my first thought. But I guess there wasn't any free room... But she could ask him to wait a little bit when she was cleaning the dust at least or help him to carry the smallest luggage in the stairs...

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I remember in first ep. she said there are doubles or open rooms, so I take it as she offered him what was free at that time, but they have to go for maximum contrast even though with double room, it could be written similar way, after all he is accustomed to luxury and if they put in double decker bed, hilarious cohabitation with secretary could ensued

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As for now writer hadn’t done HJ character any favor. She barely got screentime and hasn’t brought much for the plot either. And because of the lack of screentime and involvement viewers can’t connect to her just yet.
I see people complain about psh but writer doesn’t give her anything to show aside from a awkward forced crying on 1st ep and hilarious rap in 2nd one. Just with her name alone I think the actress deserve more than that. I hope SJJ won’t do her dirty like KES did

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I really do hope she gets a meaty character, or at least a likable one.
I understand why she had to take KES's drama despite the lackluster role at that time since she was a rising actress back then, but she's established now and has proven her ability to lead a drama with Doctors... so I'll choose to believe her character has more to show in the upcoming episodes.

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I think you will understand her character more if you read the description. She doesn’t have good financial sense but more artistic sense... And like she said she asked him to go to another hotel but he insisted. That room was clearly unused. And her didn’t want others

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I care more what is shown on screen because characters description are misleading and often nothing of that is shown in actual drama.

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I agree with @shach, I want to see her artistic sense in the drama not in a description of her character.

It's true that she asked him to go to another hotel, it's why I think that he was a jerk, but she didn't have to ask him, if she didn't want him in her hotel. She could just say to him to leave. But as long as she agreed him to stay, she had to be professional.

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Well can’t you see he insisted? And she said why would he stay here when he look so rich?
This is an old hostel and you can see how they also live in other rooms.
Most of her customers booked first so she had time to prepare but he showed up unexpectedly and insisted to stay in a single room that no one used

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Artistic sense as in guitar skills, probably. Music is arts after all.
Well both of them are in the wrong, so they each got a turn in screaming at each other and made up in the end.

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I'm pretty hooked on the game mystery, and this is my first time watching Hyn Bin in anything and he seems to have a lot of fun with his character.I like this back and forth storytelling it's pretty fun to catch up. But sadly I don't care about the leads at all, they don't have much chemistry and PSH don't bring anything interesting to the table at the moment.

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Well it’s not psh doesn’t bring anything to the table but more like the writer doesn’t give her anything to show. She barely got 20% screentime and doesn’t get to show anything it or connect to the viewers.
Chemistry wise, I disagree. Even their fighting scenes have chemistry

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lol.. i didn't feel that.. she was pretty much there.. and character is also alright.. so was her interpretation of the character

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go watch rampant if you are liking him
and if you want to not like him, you can watch confidential assignment :P

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although i am surprised.. he is literally everywhere..

millionair's love?
daddy long legs?
just pick up any movie of 90s and 2000s

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I start late in dramaland, and I'm not into early 2000s dramas, to cheesy for me, action or mystery for me. I plan to watch Rampant, looks pretty interesting.

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hmm.. nice
i always thought demographics of people who start global content are primarily the ones who are already too heavily into their regional content and are looking for variety..

but maybe recommendation engines are throwing up new options.... earlier these classic love stories / movies used to be goto options in youtube and i thought they still are because new movies don't get to be on youtube anyway

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Oh, I went into Kdrama and Kpop through Kbeauty and started filtering content by my interest so my first drama was "Ghost seeing Detective" ;) now I watch more variety of genres but still prefer blood and guts than romance.

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I like it so far. Episodes 1 and 2 feel like setup and I can't wait to see what happens next week.
I'd like to see more from the leading lady, she didn't get the spotlight yet. I wish she'd be a badass and play a big role to save her brother. It's clear that she will hold some clues to win the game and likely her brother has put her as a character in the game too.
As for the Jin Woo, I kind of like that he's not nice and he's a bad player...the position of hero seems undeserved so far but that makes it more interesting.
The only thing I'm not convinced about is that the story is suspiciously too similar to W: the creator disappears swallowed in his own creation. The programmer disappeared in the train and I don't want him to be sucked into the game or any parallel reality. I'd very much prefer that he's stays in this world but maybe his brain is unable to distinguish between game and reality anymore, or something in that line...

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Aww.. this could be my only crack of 2018 KDrama. I love Jin-Woo already, he reminds me a bit of Joo-Won character in secret garden😂😂

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This was an awesome episode.... especially the last ten mins....can't wait for more.....😬please be good for rest of the series...🙇🙏

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I forgot how much this writer loves her cliffhangers! I do too it's just they make for a good marathon and we'll just have to wait and wait even longer as I'm sure the twists will only get crazier. :)

I liked this ep a little less than the first, though I was nicely surprised by a bunch of things. Do I even need to compliment HB? I guess not, is this character so easy for him or he just makes it look natural? Anyway, great choice.

I'm not liking Hee joo so much, she is too bland and too much of a Candy for me. Did she really stood there as her friend called her not too smart? And that's the girl with a thousand jobs while running a hostel? No, dont think so. That IS the girl that would cry wearing shoes on top of a kitchen counter though, so who is her? Whoever she is I think the romance will be weird, they are not a good match, it's not the kind of couple that has differences that complement each other and her naiveté makes the age gap meaningful.

I think they will probably go back together to look for the brother, I'm hoping he will have a bigger role, like the creator in W, and come back to the story even if he is maybe trapped in his own game.

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They say they are completely different and come from different worlds but her character is bland and the actress doesn’t have anything to show with little screentime and zero plot they gave her.

I feel sorry for PSH. Even Korean netizens asked for her screen time and said that it seem like the product used her fame to the drama but give her nothing in the plot

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I am liking the show so far. I like how quickly the plot moved and there is so much happening that keeps us on our toes and keeps us guessing.
I love Hyun Bin in action sequences, so the last 10 min was like bonus!

The subtle clues of reality vs game keeps us guessing and keeps me excited. But also poses too many questions in my head!

I like Jin-Woo's character so far. He is unapologetic and a straight shooter (and childish!!). It's also nice to see that he has people around him who are at ease with him. His secretary, the R&D geek and the other executive.
I absolutely loved the 'handsomeness' discussion between him and secretary!

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Like some of the other reviewers here, I was ultimately pretty disappointed in W, so I'm a bit worried this series is going to suffer from the same shortcomings: underdeveloped, plot-driven characters I'm not attached to; an unnecessarily convoluted narrative that strives to confound rather than explain; and world-building that depends on artificial rules that are eventually broken.

Also, as someone who has played a variety of different games and watched shows with similar themes, I feel a bit underwhelmed by both the action and the game. When someone appears to be in real danger beyond or within the game, the unknown nature of the threat diminishes its impact. As far as the game goes, I find myself distracted by stupid details. Is there a story, or does each player just fight anachronistic Guards of Aragon in contemporary Grenada because they inexplicably appear? What happens when multiple people are playing Level 1 at once and therefore fighting in the same place or retrieving the sword from the same restroom? Wouldn't requiring players to physically fight in public limit the game's appeal and attract local opposition, since players would potentially embarrass themselves with their erratic movements and be a public nuisance? Apart from the physical space not being able to accommodate many players, wouldn't forcing users to visit specific places in Grenada limit the potential audience (especially if tourist attractions are not integrated in any meaningful way)?

Sorry if I seem overly negative. It's early yet, and I do like the setting, as well as Hyun Bin's wardrobe.

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Again, this is fantasy, don't nitpick details or pick apart too much, especially kdramas. Even the modern day supposedly realistic ones are easily picked apart. If I like it, I like it and suspend disbelief. If I don't like it for some reason, or the actor, or the cast, directing, etc., I drop it.
I'm already invested in the characters, but we'll see about the "plot driven". I didn't like W either but that was because I didn't care for the main actors so I wasn't willing to put up with as much. I guess only time will tell with this one, but I'm far more inclined to like it as it's Hyun Bin, and beautiful settings and fantastical.

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