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Memories of the Alhambra: Episode 5

Our gamer CEO realizes the terrifying realities of playing the game that had once exhilarated him with its magical possibilities. His past with his best friend-turned-nemesis comes to haunt him, and their hostility proves dangerous for both of them. Turns out that playing with fire magic doesn’t bode well for game users who’ve created enemies that reincarnate in the AR world, especially when it becomes increasingly difficult to discern the game from reality.

  
EPISODE 5 RECAP

While packing boxes late at night for the move out of the hostel, Hee-joo realizes that Jin-woo may be cold on the 6th floor and grabs an extra blanket from her closet. Younger sister Min-joo notes that Hee-joo is being unusually extra friendly, so Hee-joo decides not to offer the blanket lest she overstep her hospitality.

As she cleans out her office, Hee-joo receives a call from an unknown Korean number. It’s past 1 a.m., and the drunk caller rudely demands that she put Jin-woo on the phone, even if Hee-joo needs to wake him. Hee-joo asks who’s calling, and the drunk lady chugs wine from a bottle before explaining that she’s Jin-woo’s wife (or soon to be second ex-wife).

Though Hee-joo seems irked by Jin-woo’s wife, Go Yu-ra — an actress who isn’t so crass on screen — she still heads upstairs to connect her to Jin-woo. While climbing up the stairs, Hee-joo hears some noise upstairs, and as soon as she glances up, a body falls to the ground from above with a large thud.

Frightened by this sudden fall, Hee-joo trembles as she looks down at the body. She calls out to Jin-woo above and hesitantly peeks inside the room to check if he’s inside, but nobody’s there. Convinced that the body was Jin-woo, Hee-joo runs down the stairs and slowly walks around the body. She recognizes Jin-woo’s expensive (now shattered) watch and cries in shock.

Hee-joo bursts into one of the dorms and asks one of the guests to help, since he’s a medical student. While the med student performs CPR, a crowd begins to gather around fallen Jin-woo, causing Grandma to wake up and respond with alarm.

Worried about Jin-woo dropping off in their phone call, Yang-joo calls Secretary Seo to ask that he check on Jin-woo because something seemed to have happened to him. An ambulance races by Secretary Seo on his walk back to the hostel, and he runs after the sirens.

In Korea, the news reports the death of Cha Hyung-seok in Spain, and Jin-woo’s name also joins the headlines because the two were former business partners. Director Park calls Secretary Seo about Jin-woo’s whereabouts and worries that the company will suffer from bad publicity during his absence. Then, Director Park receives the news about Jin-woo’s accident and looks unsettled.

Hee-joo accompanies Jin-woo in the ambulance, and he briefly gains enough consciousness to ask her if it was raining or if she was playing “Memories of Alhambra” on guitar. She denies both situations and tries to clarify the confusion, but Jin-woo falls unconscious as the EMT puts an oxygen mask on him.

In brief moments of consciousness, Jin-woo finds himself in the hospital receiving surgery, overhearing the speculations that he may have suicidally jumped off the top floor, and watching Secretary Seo sob at his bedside. When Jin-woo opens his eyes, he finds Professor Cha (Kim Eui-sung) gently stroking his face and promising to return after checking his son’s corpse.

After Professor Cha leaves, Jin-woo remembers a tense confrontation between father and son. Professor Cha slapped Hyung-seok in front of Jin-woo and Director Park, and he coldly told his son that he has no obligation to take his son’s side and let the company to go ruin. As Hyung-seok walked out, Professor Cha labeled him as the traitor, the one walking out on the company.

We also revisit the confrontation between Jin-woo and ex-wife Soo-jin, who cried in silence in front of him. Drenched in the rain, Jin-woo told Soo-jin that he should be the one crying, and from behind, Hyung-seok asked what business Jin-woo has with his wife. He notified Jin-woo that he and Soo-jin registered their marriage a week prior.

As Hyung-seok escorted Soo-jin to his car, she looked back at Jin-woo apologetically. Jin-woo watched his ex-friend and ex-wife ride away with his fist clenched in rage, and Director Park pulled up in his car to retrieve Jin-woo. In the car, Jin-woo admited that if Director Park didn’t call, he may have caused an accident. And if he had a knife, he may have stabbed Hyung-seok.

We see miserable drenched Jin-woo juxtaposed with victorious Jin-woo with his virtual sword slicing at Hyung-seok. Then, we jump to NPC (non-player character) Hyung-seok getting unsparing revenge and pushing Jin-woo off the 6th floor staircase railing. NPC Hyung-seok didn’t blink an eye while watching Jin-woo fall to the lobby.

When Jin-woo crashed to the ground, the AR game notified him that he was too far from his enemy to engage and put a hold on their fight. NPC Hyung-seok glitched out of existence, and Jin-woo fell unconscious.

In the hospital, Jin-woo wakes up to a thunderstorm and checks his eyes for his game contacts, but they’re not in. He tries to reach for his phone but grimaces in pain at the movement. He finds a bandage around his abdomen and remembers Hyung-seok slicing him there in the game. Terrified of the implications of these injuries, Jin-woo breathes heavily in his hospital bed.

Professor Cha checks Hyung-seok’s corpse and clenches his fist, trying to hold in his emotions. Secretary Seo steps out of the morgue to answer a call from Jin-woo, who asks if Hyung-seok really died. Secretary Seo confirms this and reminds him that Professor Cha is checking the corpse right now.

Confused by his fight with Hyung-seok last night, Jin-woo asks if everything was really the game, even his stab wound. Secretary Seo clarifies that Jin-woo never had a stab wound and explains that the bandage around his abdomen was for the rupture in his intestine, caused by the impact of the fall.

Secretary Seo wonders if this is about the AR game and mentions his call with a frantic Yang-joo, who suspected something went wrong during the game. When Secretary Seo returned to Jin-woo’s room after the accident, he found Jin-woo’s contact lenses in their case and confirms that Jin-woo wasn’t wearing the contacts when he went into surgery.

Jin-woo looks unsettled, and Secretary Seo quickly wraps up their conversation when Professor Cha exits the morgue. Secretary Seo assures Professor Cha that Jin-woo seems fine, and Professor Cha sighs in relief that he didn’t lose both of them.

In bed, Jin-woo remembers that he did take off his contact lenses that night and looks concerned as Hee-joo and Min-joo enter the room. Hee-joo seems to be talking to guitar shop oppa Sang-bum on the phone and explains that she needs to help Jin-woo recover, since he only has his secretary with him. Min-joo looks excited that Jin-woo has regained consciousness, and Hee-joo heads out to notify the nurse.

Min-joo explains that Jin-woo barely survived but lived to tell the tale thanks to the medical student and the crashing into the rails that slowed him down the fall. It’s a miracle that he didn’t hurt his head, but Jin-woo wonders if he did. He asks Min-joo if it’s really raining outside, and when she confirms this, he looks relieved. Jin-woo starts browsing on his phone, and when Min-joo tells him that he shouldn’t be on his phone, he insists that he’s fine.

Min-joo reports to Hee-joo that Jin-woo is on his phone, so Hee-joo storms in and snatches the phone out of his hands. She tells him that he’s restricted from phone use because of his multiple fractures and gets angry. Jin-woo looks confused by Hee-joo’s anger, and she says that his fall really shook her. She begins to tear up, and Jin-woo looks even more confused by her emotions.

Hee-joo walks out to find the nurse, and Min-joo shares her hypothesis that her sister likes Jin-woo. He finds this speculation too random, but Min-joo insists that her sister falls in love easily. She elaborates that Hee-joo has been sniffling all day likely because her heart hurts for Jin-woo, which is proof that she has a crush on him.

Min-joo tells him to trust her instincts and asks what he thinks about Hee-joo, since he’s going to be single again soon. She offers to play matchmaker and says that they would look good together. Jin-woo laughs, but that makes him cringe in pain. He reminds her that he’s still in the middle of his divorce lawsuit and is pretty sick of women at this point.

Jin-woo changes the topic and asks if Se-joo has returned home yet. Min-joo says that he hasn’t returned or contacted any of them. She changes the topic back to Hee-joo and asks if Jin-woo is rejecting her because he doesn’t like her. Before he can respond, Hee-joo enters the room with the doctor.

Secretary Seo tells Professor Cha that Jin-woo’s chances of fully recovering use of his injured left leg are slim, even with surgery and rehab. Jin-woo doesn’t know this yet, as only Secretary Seo and Hee-joo heard this news from the doctor.

Hee-joo tells Min-joo to head home now, and before she leaves, Min-joo tells her sister that Jin-woo is sick of women for the time being. Hee-joo looks confused by the random comment and asks what she should make of that. Cheeky Min-joo says that it’s a simple FYI.

Hee-joo answers a phone call from Yu-ra and enters Jin-woo’s room as the nurse finishes redressing his wound. She shares that his wife had called last night asking to speak with Jin-woo. She also notified Yu-ra about Jin-woo’s hospitalization, and now future ex-wife is on her way because she happened to be in Spain for work. Jin-woo looks infuriated and demands help for his escape, since this is Hee-joo’s fault.

Jin-woo seethes that he’s already having a hard time and doesn’t intend on experiencing the depths of hell with his wife’s presence. He looks dead serious and demands his phone, which Hee-joo quickly gives up. Hee-joo follows the nurse out to ask for a wheelchair, but when that request gets flatly denied, she asks for a room change.

As Jin-woo looks through his phone, he hears the thunder outside followed by a guitar playing “Memories of Alhambra.” He looks around nervously and finds that his vision has changed into game mode. He checks his eyes, and once again, he has entered the game without his contacts.

The game notifies him that his enemy has arrived, and Jin-woo fearfully tightens his grip. He hears a knock on the door and asks who’s there. The door opens, and when he sees that it’s just Hee-joo, he sighs in relief. But then, he hears other footsteps approaching. It’s glitchy Hyung-seok with his sword, and Jin-woo looks petrified.

Jin-woo barks at Hee-joo to shut the door, and she follows his sudden orders. She asks what’s going on, and he asks if she can hear the guitar sounds. She looks around and can’t see or hear anything, but AR Hyung-seok is standing right behind her. She asks why he keeps asking about the guitar sounds, and Jin-woo seems convinced that he’s going mad because he’s the only person who can hear this.

The game tells Jin-woo that the battle can’t commence due to an obstacle and instructs him to find an open space. If the wait extends past the time limit, the fight will be put on hold. The 60-second countdown begins, and Jin-woo anxiously waits in his room.

Hee-joo tries to open the door again, but Jin-woo yells at her to keep it closed. She lets go of the door handle and steps aside to contact Yu-ra, but it’s too late. She spots Yu-ra walking toward her, so she frantically approaches them and leads them to another floor, lying that Jin-woo changed rooms earlier that morning.

Jin-woo concentrates intensely on the countdown, and just as it reaches two seconds, the door opens, prompting the game to announce the resuming fight. Jin-woo freezes as the door cracks open, but it’s just another patient who’s walked into the wrong room. As the patient walks out, the door opens further to reveal Hyung-seok awaiting their fight. Ahhhh!

Hyung-seok marches into the hospital room and immediately attacks Jin-woo, who just barely avoids the attack by hurling himself to the ground. Jin-woo winces in pain, and merciless Hyung-seok turns around to swings his sword at Jin-woo again. Jin-woo rolls to avoid the sword and snatches the other patient’s crutch when he offers help.

Outside, the thunderstorm continues to boom as Jin-woo limps outside and tries to close the door. But before he can close it, Hyung-seok’s sword slides through the opening and slices Jin-woo’s arm. Jin-woo cringes in pain, and the game tells him that he’s lost points for the attack. As Jin-woo forces the door closed, he narrates, “If there was a time that I was desperate to death, it would be now — having to acknowledge that I’m out of my mind.”

Jin-woo limps away using the wall as support, but he’s far from safety. His room door opens again, thanks to the innocent patient who’s now dragging himself on the ground, yelling for help. Jin-woo looks petrified as Hyung-seok walks out and attacks him once more.

Meanwhile on the elevator, Yu-ra asks Hee-joo why she’s taking care of Jin-woo instead of Secretary Seo. She explains that Secretary Seo stepped out to escort a professor guest, to which Yu-ra disdainfully wonders what that old man is doing here when he should be tending to his widowed daughter-in-law.

As they exit the elevator, Hee-joo directs Yu-ra to the wrong room and rides the elevator back down to Jin-woo’s real room. When Yu-ra enters the room, she realizes that Hee-joo misled her and curses her for being on Jin-woo’s side all along.

Hee-joo calls Sang-bum on her way to Jin-woo’s room and worries that she may get punished by Go Yu-ra because she just lied to her in their first encounter. She’s distracted by the wheelchair entering Jin-woo’s room, so she hangs up and asks the nurse what happened as the other patient is wheeled out.

The nurse explains the situation and sounds irritated that Jin-woo continues to move against doctor’s orders. Hee-joo looks at the mess inside Jin-woo’s room and notices his phone left on his bed.

Jin-woo limps outside with his sword in hand and with Hyung-seok right on his trail. Hyung-seok slices Jin-woo’s back, causing him to fall over in the rain. Covered in bloody wounds, Jin-woo ditches the crutch and uses his sword to limp around the corner, and Hyung-seok follows.

When Secretary Seo and Professor Cha return to Jin-woo’s room, they find an unwelcome face waiting for them. Yu-ra greets them and accuses Secretary Seo of blocking all her calls. When they ask about Jin-woo’s whereabouts, she explains that he ran away with his completely broken leg because he hates his wife that much.

Secretary Seo runs off to track down Jin-woo, and Professor Cha warns Yu-ra about her attitude. He advises her not to joke about her husband’s broken leg because she may not get any of his inheritance — let alone any divorce settlement money — if he suddenly dies. He tells Yu-ra that she shouldn’t have visited, knowing that Jin-woo doesn’t want to see her.

Yu-ra reminds Professor Cha that she’s Jin-woo’s family, and he counters that Yu-ra is only family on paper while he’s known Jin-woo for twenty years. Yu-ra points out the hypocrisy that Professor Cha’s family is only related through paper — he only came to see his son after he died. Professor Cha simmers in anger while Yu-ra nonchalantly looks through her phone and suggests that they each take care of their respective families.

Secretary Seo reports to Professor Cha that they don’t know where Jin-woo disappeared to and runs off to search for him. Professor Cha is approached by the Korean consul and looks nervous.

Jin-woo continues to suffer attacks by Hyung-seok and falls to the ground, losing his grip on his sword. Broken and bloody, Jin-woo crawls to the bench as Hyung-seok approaches him. He realizes that Hyung-seok’s death was a homicide — that Hyung-seok was hacked by his sword and died of excessive bleeding. “I killed Cha Hyung-seok, and that evidence shows in how I’m about to die in the same way. Our deaths may remain an eternal mystery, but we know that we killed each other in revenge.”

Hyung-seok lifts his sword, and Jin-woo closes his eyes to surrender to his fate. But then, a voice calls out his name — it’s Hee-joo. She crouches down to him and looks upset by his condition. Jin-woo looks up to find Hyung-seok lowering his sword and the game identifying a barrier to their fight.

The 60-second countdown begins once again, and when Hee-joo tries to stand up, Hyung-seok raises his sword again and Jin-woo pulls her into an embrace. He begs her to stay there for just a minute, and he watches the countdown as Hyung-seok waits in front of him.

Jin-woo acknowledges that he must seem very strange and inapprehensible, and Hee-joo confirms this. He says that he thinks he’s going crazy. The countdown finally runs out, and the battle is once again delayed. Hyung-seok dissipates, and so do Jin-woo’s battle wounds. Jin-woo releases Hee-joo from the embrace and then faints.

The doctors rush out of the hospital, and Secretary Seo notifies Professor Cha that they’ve found Jin-woo. They rush outside to retrieve him, and Professor Cha watches from afar, thinking about his conversation with the consul and police.

The consul had told Professor Cha that Jin-woo admitted to grabbing Hyung-seok’s collar in a grapple, and now the time of death aligns with Jin-woo and Hyung-seok’s meeting. The police also suspected that Jin-woo’s fall from the 6th floor wasn’t an accident. Professor Cha gets upset at the assumption that his son was killed by his son’s friend, and the consul says that the police need to investigate further about these suspicions.

As Jin-woo gets carried back to the hospital, Professor Cha stops them to address Jin-woo. Weak from the injuries, Jin-woo barely lifts his head and apologizes to Professor Cha.

The police ask Hee-joo what Jin-woo was doing when she discovered him, but she admits that she doesn’t know. She cries in distress, and Jin-woo narrates that there are some things that require you to mutually lose your mind to understand. He finally understands that why Se-joo hasn’t returned and what he’s afraid of. Jin-woo presumes that Se-joo was also under pursuit by someone that only he could see.

We return to when Jin-woo searched for Se-joo at the Granada train station, passing by the cabinmate — the last person to see Se-joo. Jin-woo looks around the station, and we see that he missed something in his search — not because he didn’t look thoroughly enough but because he couldn’t see it then.

A limp body lies on the train platform — it’s unconscious Se-joo with a gun that glitches in his hand. Jin-woo looks around, unaware of the body that cannot be seen with the naked eye, and wonders, “Did Se-joo die, or…?”

  
COMMENTS

Woahhh this blending of multiple dimensions is blowing my mind. That ending with Se-joo actually at the train station with no one in the realm of reality to realize that he’s there — that freaks me out, but it’s genius. He’s a real person who can’t be recognized in the real world, and that’s exhilarating in a twisted way. To answer Jin-woo’s question with more questions: If Se-joo really did die, would he reincarnate in the realm of the game, like Hyung-seok? Or if he didn’t die, why couldn’t Jin-woo or anyone else notice that he was there? Do the circumstance of the death determine the type of NPC a person becomes?

Based on our understanding of Hyung-seok’s crossover into the game as an NPC, my bet is that Se-joo is also dead and now exists in the AR dimension. But we never quite know because the rules of the overlap between virtual and reality are still a bit unclear. Despite this ambiguity, I’m actually enjoying this lawless game going rogue because it infuses the drama with an element of mystery that makes everything so unpredictable. The twists and cliffhangers slap me in the face because they come out of nowhere, and the solid creative writing ensures that the cliffhangers keep me engaged and not infuriated. The cliffhanger endings don’t feel choppy; rather, they leave us with a taste of what’s to come, making me intrigued by the unknown elements of this AR.

I’m loving the unexpected surprises, even though they’re mostly terrifying. The way that Hyung-seok just appeared behind the door and ruthlessly attacked Jin-woo made me squeak in fear and pain for all the broken bones that Jin-woo probably just broke again. Though I was half expecting Jin-woo to actually die and navigate the AR universe alongside Hyung-seok, I was relieved when Hee-joo saved him. Relative to Jin-woo and others aware of the AR game, Hee-joo hasn’t been a major contributor to this story so far, and I’m hoping that she somehow joins this mutual understanding that game users share. Surely, Hee-joo’s game alter ego Emma will play an important role in the upcoming episodes, and I hope that Hee-joo’s character will also catch up to the show in building dimension and showing us that she’s full of surprises as well.

Editor’s Note: Please don’t discuss spoilers because we’d hate to delete your comment! This includes anything shown in previews.

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The suspense and thrill this episode gave me! Hyun Bin's wonderful acting skills, my eyes were glued on him every second.

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to be honest, i was a little surprised with the direction the show seemed to take in this episode. i had been thinking the show would mostly be about the players of this game, but now it seems like the game itself could be the antagonist? i 👏 have 👏 so 👏 many 👏 questions.
(1) the fact that the game works without the contact lenses really stunned me. i admit that i don’t love that turn of events, but i’m more concerned about how the game decides when to turn on and not. how did this game get to be in control do fast? (sidebar: this part also made me fear that this show is going to turn into a sermon on how video games become too real to us.) (2) when it’s revealed that CHS was actually murdered by YJW (and not, as i thought might happen, that he was killed by some other people who capitalized on his fight with YJW). but if so much blood can be lost, why can’t marks be left? why is some physical real-life matter affected by the game and some not? i’d have believed he died of a heart attack (from exerting/stress) more easily than blood loss, to be honest. (3) In the future-story in episode 2, the passengers on the train were reacting to the violence. in granada, the bystanders never saw the commotion. they just moved around it, unaware. why do the people on the train scream? does the game become so real that everyone is affected? a few of us joked about HALhambra earlier, but maybe that’s the direction this is going? i admit i was hoping for more human agency, and am a tad disappointed with a machine villain—but i’m hooked now. no turning back.

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In the flash forward, Jin Woo was being hunted by modern looking men and only some passeng Ed reacted. Rematch the scene and you will notice that towards the end of the scene when he is against the door none of the passengers are paying any attention to him.

Additionally it appears that the game only turns on in his mind for duels with his enemy. My theory is when he first dueled with CHS some kind of switch flipped in their brains which created a casual link between the actions in the duel and their actual bodies. Every time the thunder and song start up to herald CHS’s arrival I think of Edward Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart. And at the end of this episode Jin Woo realizes/theorizes that he murdered CHS and now he too will die for his actions.

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this helps so much, thank you! (and omg yes to the tell-tale heart reference. actually, the day we read that in school, it was thundering and pouring rain outside and it was SO CREEPY. this is definitely giving me those vibes)

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OMG! I searched it and this is what is says: "The Tell-Tale Heart" is a short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1843. It is relayed by an unnamed narrator who endeavors to convince the reader of the narrator’s sanity while simultaneously describing a murder he committed.

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WHOA WHOA WHOA!!! LETS TALK ABOUT THIS SOME MORE!!!!! i will definitely be watching with this in mind this week. THANK YOU!

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THIS SHOW IS SO GRIPPING. I had to remove my earphones and look away for a bit because the parts with Hyung Seok in the hospital were so scary!! Wow... I was actually really disturbed by those parts because it all just seems so really. And both the actors are doing a great job - I felt very much like Hee Joo, who is understandably shaken after seeing someone fall and so injured, and so confused as to what is going on.

I can't wait to see the next episode now and at the same time also very scared. Ha :)

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I think I have now been conditioned to fear the song. Everytime it thunders and rains I anxiously wait to see if it will be accompanied by the song. When it does I can't help but give a little help and grit my teeth. I can't imagine what it would be like to have someone out to get you constantly appear out of nowhere and attack you. To make matters worse NOONE else can see him!😬😰

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*yelp not help

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oh YAYYYY, i hope this means Se Joo is still alive - somewhere -.... but it's so creepy that Hyeong Seok is actually dead, wait, or is he, if... wait... wut??? NPC Hyeong Seok can instill IRL damage to Jin Woo, but only from banging on the railings during the fall, but, WUT??? but Hyeong Seok suffered blood loss IRL, so is dead (if he's dead), but, WUTT???

my head is reeling. off to watch today's ep. no spoilers from me, i couldn't if i tried, i'm SO CONFUSED.....

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I've said it before about how we seems to be getting a seemingly unstable hero in this drama, and this eps prove me right. That scene under the heavy rain where Jin-woo softly asked Hee-joo if he seemed like a crazy person to her hit me hard. He looked so sad and alone, facing an invisible danger that's very real to him, but to everyone else, he appeared as someone who tried to do self-harm despite his condition.

It's kinda thrilling in a morbid way, to watch our hotshot CEO realizing just how far he has fallen in the span of two days he spent in Granada. Understanding that what should have been the best investment he made that year is actually the biggest mistake he has made, knowing that he is responsible for his rival's death, facing an unseen threat that he couldn't ignore even if that made him look like a deranged person, and dealing with a fall that left him with a permanent limp on tops of that. I wonder if this is the beginning of his downfall. Someone with nefarious reason could use Jin-woo's peculiar behavior during his hospital stay to argue that he isn't fit to be a CEO or something.

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. That scene under the heavy rain where Jin-woo softly asked Hee-joo if he seemed like a crazy person to her hit me hard.

This was basically the highlight of this episode for me. That despite the things that are happening with him, his self-awareness remains strong and doesn't deny that his actions are indeed not normal and totally frown upon. It's sad that he has no one to share this misery with, and if he tried, he knew nobody would believe him. I was hoping Hee Joo's character purpose was to help him get through this mess he got himself into, but doesn't look like the case so far.

The magic that he was looking for in Alhambra quickly escalated as the nightmare he can't get out of.

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I was thinking the same thing. How long before Yu-ra tries to use it against him, it anyone else for that matter? It's sad how much our lives can change overnight. The sale of the hostel resulted in Hee-Joe receiving a "miracle" while Jin-woo entered a nightmare.

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Agree with you. This is a ‘loneliness’ that cannot be explained.
What I like about Jin Woo is he is always very objective in his approach. Even in fear and the craziness he ‘thinks’. He thinks straight. He tries to solve the problem. This is exactly why he is a founder of a successful tech company. I love his character.
And he never told anyone so far about the game bleeding into reality for he knows the danger it will put him in real life (he becomes a killer).

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Yes, agree. His high emotional intelligence got him to where he is now and that's how he can remain "sane" in the crazy world he stepped into. He's embraced the changes that are happening around him, and continues to fight and try to change it again in his favour. He was on the brink of giving up in the rain scene, but when Hee Joo stepped in, became the obstruction between him and Hyung Seok, he found his resolute again. He still wanted to survive knowing where his weakness lies. Can't wait to see where his will to master this game lead him to.

It really sucks that he didn't have a witness at all on how he "destroyed" Hyung Seok in the game. Both his programmer and team manager weren't behind their computers to see what actually went down at the park. There's really no one to tell that there is a crack in the game and it's affecting the players' minds.

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yes, the timing of it(destroyed) was bad.
And also, if anyone can only Zinu can solve this puzzle.
We see SeeJu might be a geek but he was too scared to face this. While Zinu seems to have the fighting spirit and the presence of mind to somehow solve this. I cheered when he put on the lens and went to buy a weapon to fight Cha even after all the falling/breaking/cutting etc. There you go!!

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This one totally changed up the game (dun dun duuunnn). The whole, is the game sentient, is very intriguing!
I am curious to see how long he can 'delay' the duel. I wonder how much of a catalyst Hee Joo will be. Also I really like the camaraderie that Jin Woo has developed with the younger sister! It's quite cute to see them get along.

Can't wait to see the different levels (pun intended) the game can go to engage the characters. Veryyyyy curious to see whether Se Joo is a true NPC or is somehow stuck in the game and can be some how resurrected since I don't think I remember anyone mentioning finding his body.

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I'm of the view that Se Joo's situation is different from Cha Hyung Seok's because as you point out, his body hasn't been found. He's somehow trapped in the game. I want there will be more scenes with Se Joo & he'll reenter the picture in a later episode because Chanyeol is so cute as the creator of the game, there must be answers only he can give.

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"because Chanyeol is so cute as the creator of the game" bahahahaha but also yes, totally agree.

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If Se-joo faced the same fate as Hyung-seok, soon it would become a running joke about how Chanyeol's drama character always died very early. *side-eyeing Missing Nine*

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God, I was thinking the exact same thing, "is he dead AGAIN?!" Out of all the EXO boys that have gone into acting, Kyungsoo is the only one who has escaped spending majority of his screen time dead. I suppose since he was an imaginary character in his debut role, he's paid his dues to the grim writer's pen.

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This isn't a spoiler, I don't think---it's something PSH said in an interview I read or saw. She said "Chanyeol holds (or is?) the key." Unfortunately, that is all I saw/read/remember. Does this ring any bells to any of you? I can't tell if she was saying Chanyeol's casting was a key casting choice, like just some positive PR; or if she meant his character holds the key to everything, and thus we can hope to see more of him?

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Ooh interesting! I DO think she may have been referring to the character? Because Se Joo should be able to give answers, as the creator & story-wise I'm curious to hear his pov.

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yes! and he obviously fears the game, so he knows something about its capability (why then was he selling it?)

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Could it be Se Joo wants to sell the game as he knew he was in mortal danger and simply wanted to provide something for his family? High School age kids aren't exactly known for long-term insight and rational judgement.

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Now the real question I want an answer to eventually is how is this all physically happening! Is it that the game is indeed sentient? or does 'real' magic exist in this world and the game somehow allows the magic to manifest itself for the players with real-life consequences!

for instance , they said HS had blood loss, but the blood wasn't found. SO where did it go! was there magic or some kind of instant matter to energy transformation that the game absorbs? If its the second, then that game is very very very dangerous !

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The least impossible ways for all this stuff to happen is if Jin-woo / Jinu is actually a totally immersive game 24/7. What he thinks is real-life is the main game and what he thinks is the game is a game-within-a-game.

Or edit the above to read "dream" and "game within a dream".

I don't really expect them to go there, but I also can't stop trying to find a logical explanation...

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I believe that Zinu can see SeJu only when he levels up. He has to reach a much higher level to see those players. Even within the game there are layers of enemies and players.

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I sooo love the interaction between Min-Joo and Jin-Woo! I think I have been smiling molar to molar in their scenes especially when little sister acted as a matchmaker between Hee-Joo and Jin-Woo.

I think episode 5 is a bit slow, but nonetheless, I enjoyed this show. Hooked to be exact. Looking forward to episode 6.

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The actor playing Hyung Seok's father is suspiciously calm at his son's death. I wonder if he knows more about all this than he's letting on.

Also at this point, I'm throwing logic out the window. It's magic/fantasy. Contact lenses that allow you to hear and feel and can download entire programs is bad enough, but recent developments make zero sense. I doubt there'll be an explanation for what's happening - only some of the rules and how they are to survive. Frankly I loved W & Nine from start to finish so I look forward to seeing where this show is taking us.

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I think I need to follow your lead and "throw logic out the window." I keep focusing on all the illogical things and I think I'm going to end up missing some of the magic.

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I wonder if Hyungseok's father is behind all the weirdness. He looks like he knows stuff and there's scary music playing whenever they stop the camera on his face.

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yessss! im glad someone else is thinking along these lines. i was thinking i was being paranoid because this actor played SUCH a great/awful villain in Mr Sunshine... I was thinking I was projecting that creepiness forward or something. I feel validated now---and more freaked out ;)

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Did he? Because this actor was creepy in W world too which was written by the same writer. Can we be pretty sure that he’s casted for a reason now? 😲

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Yes! I need very little to react to him at this point- I have such a strong Pavlovian response to him after W and Mr. Sunshine!

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I think it's magic and the whole sci-fi/ AI/ technology angle is a red herring. Which means the explanation for what's happening will be "just because".

Philosophically I don't have a problem with an immersive experience that merges real life and virtual reality (and one that people find addictive) becoming something they literally can't log out from. So I think I have to approach it from that philosophical, rather than practical, perspective.

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When you put it in these words, I like the magic theory even more. Its regular old middle-ages magic now finding itself in the modern world and interacting with modern world things like this game.

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I am like super incredibly interested in this theory now.

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This is actually a pretty good theory. I'm not very versed in science, so I've been wondering how the writer would make this whole thing make sense scientifically, but if they're going with magic then it's very plausible. I have a lot of faith in this writer since I've enjoyed 2 out of her 3 previous works I've seen even if they went sideways at the end, so I'm not entirely worried about it.

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I'm not throwing logic because as I've been saying from the start, I watched W, I knew better than to bring it along. :)
I'm keeping it safely behind a door made of dimples and game swords.

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Very smart! :D

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Now I understand why the plot was kept so secret. Even the trailers didn't give much away about all the craziness that would soon come... It's been a while since a drama has kept me shocked at every turn. I feel just as paranoid as Jin-Woo.
I love everything, from the beautiful cinematography to the unexpected twists. I thought this would be a slow melodrama but wow! I've never been so happy to be wrong.

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And side note: Park Shin Hye is just gorgeous in this <3 Her makeup and outfits suit her so well. She has amazing chemistry with Hyun Bin as well.

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I know, I find my response to the end of every episode recently is "WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON??!! I LOVE IT!!" lol.

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The writing in the show is genius...I feel like there are so many deep layers of meaning about philosophical issues that l can't wrap my mind around it. Hyun Bin's acting is unbelievably good.

Wouldn't it be insane if Jin Woo's guilt over killing his ex-friend caused him to hallucinate the whole fight that causes him to fall down the 6 stories and the later appearances of Hyeon Seok? In essence, it's not the AR game, it's his own subconscious that haunts him?

Also, what if there was a time warp of some kind, and Jin Woo was the one who killed Se Joo on the train? We saw Jin Woo shooting up a train earlier...what if that was his NPC character?

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Ooooo, interesting theory. The only thing is the Jin-woo is narrating the story and it's in past tense. Wouldn't he have mentioned they were actually hallucinations? Or maybe he hasn't yet found out that that's what they were all along? Or maybe it really is the game trying to ensare him into the game? So many questions!

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If this was a different writer, I'd see this as a story of a guilt-ridden man going insane.

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Park Shin hye does an excellent job communicating in Spanish.

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I think so too! Some words are a little difficult to understand, but then again it's s little hard for me to understand the Spanish speakers at times since I'm not used to their accent. I have wondered if she may have already known a bit of Spanish.

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Really? Good to know! I was wondering if her accent was decent?

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I'm impressed with her, ....or maybe Spanish is an easier language for native korean speakers?

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No, usually Koreans have a hard time with Spanish. PSH definitely put a lot of work and effort and she only studied Spanish after being cast too. She got praised by most Spanish speakers on twitter. Very impressive indeed

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yes i was surprised at how good she speak the language

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Another rollercoaster episode! The game is getting scarier. Jin-woo could even automatically logged-in even without his lenses. And I think, at some point Jin-woo could go crazy because of his vision seeing Hyun-seok.

This drama still leaves me with so many questions. His team in Seoul might be didn't pay attention with Jin-woo's several last game. There's possibility because Jin-woo didn't log in, his team didn't pay attention, including the incident in the Hostel and Hospital....

I'm just curious what really happened between JW and HS in the past. Is it just because of Sujin? Why did Sujin cry?

My only hope was that Jin-woo tell Hee-joo about the Game...

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Yes, I am curious too, if there are logs of him playing without lens or if he is the only one seeing Hyeon Seok.

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Everything is super un-controlled now. And it's still episode 5, and we have still many episodes to go. I'm wondering how this drama story will be "messed" me, LoL. I feel like my "W" days all over again.. :)

There might be something about Prof. Cha.. But I can't pinpoint what it is... But why did he choose Jin-woo over his own son?

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I don't think he choose JW, but used him to get at his son for his perceived shortcomings. It's toxic parenting, his son was probably never "good enough" and JW served as an example how he should been.

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yes yes yes. I am so curious about this, too. Can the team in Seoul see HS?

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I thought this episode was pretty terrifying - Jin woo seemed deranged and Hyun Bin is doing a terrific job with acting because I really feel for him - he’s just absolute terrified and at the same time guilty abt his friends death at his ends even though I feel it’s more him being a murderer vs killing his friend

I found it super amusing that the first hug is super bipolar in execution. The female lead is seeing romantic stars but on the other hand the male lead is just absolutely in terror. Cracks me up and genius writing.

The only thing that I feel can be better is I don’t feel the female lead much. I think her character interpretation can be better and honestly you may hate me but I think it all boils down to acting. She is just not getting it right in some scenes - and perhaps passing in others. That’s not enough especially if you counterparts are killing it. I hope it gets better because you need a female lead to root for - and here I just feel even her sister has more sass than her.

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Psh’d acting is fine. She nailed her scenes especially thr beginning of this episode and the chemistry with HB. The problem is the imbalance of the story and her 1D irrelevant character. Her presence doesn’t impact the story or the writer gives her anything to do aside crying for the male lead and speaking Spanish when others have room to shine.

Stop blaming the actresses when they are given the end of sticks but doing their best with what they have. Her character is supposed to speak fast and she even did well on time and pronunciation in all the rapping parts

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Agreed about the actress, yes, the writing of her character is poor but a good actress would have done better. Her face doesn't have to be that mix of surprise and scare so much but that's her style. I will only disagree about needing to root for any female lead. She doesn't need to have any sass or even be nice she just has to be real.

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Be careful when you talk about PSH acting, people get pissed easily. LOL
But I agree it's not her fault here.
The thing is that her character seems useless until now. Hyun Bin is leading this show alone.
As I said before I don' like that type of female character that doesn't have a clue whats is really going on around her and the male takes care of everything. This lead to the male doing all the job and the female just stands there falling in love.

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PSH's style of acting is not working for me.

At first, I blame the writer and PD entirely but now, I think she has a lot to do with the end product too.

I get that the character Hee Joo is supposed to this bright, cheery, naive girl who trusts too easily. What does she do with it? It's like she plays out these characteristics to the max. For example in the scene where she passed her handphone to Jin Woo without the slightest concern, she looked so happy doing it. If she had toned it down and make it look more nonchalant instead of looking bubbly and cheery, it might have helped.

In the scene where Jin Woo fell down the stairwell, it's not that I fault her for crying. However, there's a difference between crying because you are utterly shocked and scared which anyone will be in that situation and crying like a damsel in distress.

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I personally found she did great in that scene when she witnessed the fall. There was clearly shock and fear in her acting but this is psh- which Ifans Love to nitpick I’m so I’m not surprised

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I am this close to being branded as anti-PSH fan, aren't I?

I get that she's very popular, even here on DB but I have never warmed up to her. Previously, I blamed it all on Heirs which was a terrible terrible drama to get introduced to PSH. With MoA, I realize why.

Talk about shock and fear - in the scene where Jin Woo saw Hyeong Seok at the door with a sword in his hand - there was so little dramatization. Yet, I saw an absolutely petrified man.

I don't want to wax lyrical about Hyun Bin's acting prowess while dissing PSH. Actors already get more love than actresses but I will call a spade a spade.

Yes, PSH has gotten the short end of the stick character wise but she's not helping either.

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Oh yeah. Her only reaction to fear, shock etc is crying. She’s is annoying the daylights outta me.

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I tend to agree and stand by my comments. I’m no anti-fan, if I can say she’s doing great I will - because I’m loving this drama and want it to fire on all barrels. In the end I find her choice of execution in some scenes just not the best - whether it’s the concern she shows at him at the hospital or the crying or the anger at him not caring for himself - it was just kinda wierd for the lack of words to put it.

I’m no acting instructor but humbly based on being an avid fan of dramas and investing a lot of time in it - if I need to explain to myself during a scene abt the character (eg ok this looks out of place but she’s doing this because I think she’s supposed to convey that she has fallen for him and to show that she cares, or she’s crying maybe because she felt she needed to talk to him again before he goes etc) that means it’s not good enough.

I don’t stop to ask myself if Hyun Bin is really seeing dead HS and the sword is slashing down, I don’t doubt when he snatched the crutches from the patients and push the chairs in front to block him. It’s ridiculous on paper but at that moment i’m with him. It’s all about immersing yourself in the character and making it yours. Maybe one can argue that his scenes were more dramatic, but I think there was enough in her scenes to connect to the audience. What I find lacking in Hee Joo is she’s doing the lines, but she’s not finding her own interpretation of the role, you have to find a way to get the role into the audience heart and minds.
Some people find a way to do it even if they have little scenes or meat to work with. Think of all those secondary characters or second leads that our heart went out to. It’s not the frequency,
It’s how you work the little details of your character to convey those “between the lines” of your scene.
She needs a lot of work on this
Just honest opinion.

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👏👏👏 I couldn't have written better!

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I still think the game causes paranoia in its players on a neuronal level, incorporating itself like a parasite and psychologically altars the player’s sense of reality. I’m surprised that Jin-woo realizes he’s “crazy” though. I think the players have real pain and trauma, and so much so that they can die from it. We already knew that Hyeong-Seok was debilitated by alcohol and lack of sleep when he died. I’m sucked into their game, and love that I am.

A couple nit picky medical things: I could forgive the medical student and his roommates for not stabilizing JW’s head when rolling him on his back—they didn’t have time as he wasn’t breathing and living paralyzed from the neck down is still living—but in the ambulance a c-collar and tape around his head was conspicuously missing, probably because it would have obscured Hyun Bin’s pretty face and made him look like a squished chipmunk.

And really, a ruptured intestine requires a boatload of antibiotics to prevent infection, sepsis, and shock, and probably an ICU admission, I’m thinking. So he would have had 24-hour monitoring and wires from here to the moon connected to loudly beeping monitors if he were to breathe wrong, let alone pulling himself out of bed with an abdominal wound and a shattered leg, and escaping unnoticed. And cameras people. Hospitals have cameras. I’m sure even ones on Granada have security cameras.

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As a nurse, I appreciate your commenting on medical nitpicks so I didn't have to. I actively had to turn a blind eye on everything you listed and so on, but I've also trained myself to not expect that level of realism in any drama, especially one geared for fantasy. It also makes me think that that level of realism on the medical front may seem intimidating and kind of scary to see on tv as it's not a pretty sight (seeing tons of equipment used to stabilize broken limbs and multiple IV pumps and lines connected throughout ones body). But for them not to see Jin-woo leaving the building at all is kind of hard to believe.

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Yeah, crazily enough, I know a girl who fell from the top floor of our dorm when she leaned against the staircase railing and her backpack weight flipped her over. Just like Jin Woo, she hit the sides of the staircase on the way down and it slowed her down enough to save her life. However, the individual forces of all of those pings was definitely not enough to shatter her leg - a really enormous amount of blunt force is needed (like a car accident) to completely shatter a leg. She also had recently recovered from bone cancer so she had weaker bones than most, and despite that, nothing was shattered.

Also, in case you're wondering, she lived (!), made a full recovery, and is now in medical school and has no crazy delusions of men with swords.

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holy cow.... i'm so glad she is fine and fully recovered!!
O.M.G.

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And I'm glad she doesn't see undead guys with swords :)

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Wow! She’s so lucky (or unlucky)! It reminds me of a girl I knew in training who also had a bone cancer in her youth and had to walk with a cane and she was an amazing person and wonderful doctor.

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OMG! I'm sorry this happened to her! :0

...but I guess your story just made the drama seem a little bit more realistic to me ^-^

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They piggybacked him to bring him back into the ward. Oh my goodness. Why? Shouldn't they use a stretcher?

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It's an unwritten rule you must have at least one piggyback per drama.

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Ha! That’s right! And yes, by this point I just started ignoring the gross inadequacies of this hospital. I was still appalled it took them that long to find him.

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I'm also ignoring a lot so I can enjoy the story: You have to remember this is storytelling. You can usually find a logical explanation for stuff, like, it was raining cats and dogs, nobody was outside, this is a foreign country, etc. In fact there's a whole book written explaining (giving excuses) all the illogical things that happen in Star Trek, the original series. See my rant in the last comment.

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At least they had an umbrella though! ;)

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That's the dramas for you, writers put in some life threatening injuries for "the impact" and the next scene/episode hero is fine and dandy because it's not needed anymore.
I was honestly perplexed by Hee Joo decision to climb 3 more floors to check JW room rather then going down and investigate who/what fall down, I literally paused and count where she was during the fall because I couldn't believe it.

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Hahahaha! Yesss. Well, she had to check first if the person from the 6th floor wasn't the one that fell. And the only way to do that is climb 3 more floors. Because otherwise how could she have known. Seems the most logical thing to me that happened in this drama. 😉😉😉

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I thought the same! Maybe she thought that she was imagining it? Maybe she has a mental illness too? Lol. Yeah that makes no sense.

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See @ally-le, you're already coming up with reasons why! "Maybe she thought she was imagining it".
This is one reason I like kdramas. If it was an American drama they'd have to explain every little thing to you because they figure you can never think of things yourself, so treat you like an ignorant child.

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I don't think it's fair assessment, both industries has brilliant products and a lot of crappy ones.

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I thought she went up to see if she could catch whoever pushed the person down.

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He wasn't fine and dandy! He had a life changing experience - he has lost the use of his left leg. It also made him have extreme anxiety episodes.
But yeah, my first reaction would have been to run down to check on the person. She must have been in great shock and almost froze. I froze once during an earthquake and couldn't move.

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But that how accidents are written in dramas in general, rarely there are impact beyond one episode, and JW was able to walk away from hospital just hours after falling from sixth floor.

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I thought about that explanation but how could Hyeong-Seokhave have lost so much blood if it was just a mental problem?

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I thought maybe he could have had an aortic aneurysm or maybe even a mesentaric bleed/ esophageal or gastric bleeds from alcoholism and liver cirrhosis. You usually have to be an alcoholic for decades for this to occur, though.

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Re Hyeong-Seok losing blood. This is the one thing that hasn't been explained and the one thing that makes me believe something supernatural is going on. If it hadn't been for this one thing I would really wonder whether or not Jin-woo is paranoid, delusional and insane.

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It wasn't a bad ep but just felt too slow with so much of the ep being in the hospital and Jin-woo running away from Hyung Seok.

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I savored every detail.

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I really enjoyed this ep. I also have a few theories....

First: I think that its possible that Hyeong Seok's NPC counterpart my actually be trying to get out of the game and the only way is so kill the one who defeated him in a duel, thus taking his place in the game. Seems far fetched, I know, but there has to be a reason the duel keeps restarting. It could be a glitch, sure, but JW has beaten him a couple times, and the one time he almost defeated JW, he didn't.

Second: I also suspect that HJ is a type of shield in the game, which is why her being in between JW and HS stopped HS from defeating JW and served as an obstacle. Unless there is some kind of clause in the game that it can't interfere with people not in the game.

Third: I think this show is going to boil down to how the mind work. This game is so real that it tricks the mind into thinking its real, thus if you get killed in the game, you die IRL. You are completing all the quests and fights yourself and not with a created character, so it would make sense that the mind can't handle it and is mixing what is true and what is reality.

Fourth: Hopefully JW finds Se Joo soon. I don't think he's dead so much as trapped at this point.

PS: Yu-ra is the worst and why did JW marry her?

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I think the YuRa marriage might have been one of the cliche of 'we have a scandal breakout, lets ride the coattails and make it a thing for commercial/entertainment profit'. But after a year of doing that, Yu Ra has had too much and now just wants JW's half assets

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I am guessing Yu-ra was the fun loving, loud type. After his doormat first wife Jinwoo probably thought it would be a good idea to marry her exact opposite

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Thank you for the recap @dramallama! And I apologize for not knowing saying anything about previews was considered a spoiler.
I love this drama to death...
BUT, the genre is wrong. As far as I'm concerned, it should be under "Horror" because this is the scariest thing I've seen.
I can feel every scary, angsty emotion the actors, especially Hyun Bin, are feeling. I credit the writing, directing, camera work (gorgeous cinematography and close camera work!) and the actors. The mystery and suspense are beautifully done.
I'll let all ya'll discuss the fine details and what ifs...
One question though: I'm wondering about the ending - will he die and the game is over, or is the game over when he beats all the levels? Or will the drama take us to another place.

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I'm hoping that the end won't be something like beating the game or dying - I hope it'll be him somehow figuring out why the dead Hyeong-Suk keeps appearing, making peace with him/it rather than continuing to kill it, and finding some kind of catharsis.

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Lol! I’ve told my husband to stop watching because of the “horrific” nature of the scenes now. He doesn’t do horror. He refused to see Train to Busan, even though he loves Gong Yoo as much or more than I do! I’m just recapping it for him at this point.

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I agree it’s horror
Who screamed when that clueless patient opened the door and HS came in swinging the sword?
Omg seriously way horrific!

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Me! And I screamed during all scenes where HS was either following or slashing JW. My husband thought I was going crazy.

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Me! With my fingers in my ears and I don’t know why!

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ME! I didn't even realize I was holding my breath as the clock counted down until that patient flung the door open. I was like "NO! WHY?!"

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To those who are "complaining" about the slow pace...I love the slower pace, it makes things either more intimate and/or more horrifying.

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It's me! I don't mind slow, but i lose it when we tread and retread the same ground, over and over.

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But you're only allowed to complain about it when I say so, like other dramas I don't love as much as this one...

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Random thoughts:
- Not everything is making sense yet (and perhaps won't) but it's the unpredictability that I really enjoy.
- I loved the visuals when CHS was behind HJ when she was opening the hospital room door. I was at the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next.
- woah, the way Hyun Bin/JW was looking at HJ in his hospital bed.
- I love HJ's younger sister and her conversations with JW.

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I'm staying with the show due to seeing how they'll going to explain the rules of the game. The pacing/editing of the show is still insanely slow. My mind starts nitpicking at things and I start checking instagram. There's one revelation per episode, and they reaaaally drag it out for 55 minutes. Then drop another clue in the last 5 minutes of it so you'll tune in for the next episode. They better explain this duel mechanism later on. 'Cause I don't see why Hyun Bin/ Se Joo couldn't just hide behind a door or have a human shield at all times to avoid being killed. There MUST be a reason. There BETTER be a reason! Maybe every delayed duel spawns an enemy clone... like there'll be (2) Hyung Seoks the next time??

I was screaming at the TV... Just go into ANY OTHER ROOM for ONE MINUTE! HOW HARD IS THIS?! There are literally 5 doors within arm's reach!!! And am I to believe that Hyun Bin, in his state, was able to get down to the lobby, and out onto the plaza as Hyung Seok was just sloooowly following/glaring?

The potential love line between PSH and Hyun Bin is so unnecessary and feels so out of place. Not sure what she's always crying about. But I guess it's just part of her character to sob at anything. Really hope the writer's going to do us a solid and abandon the romance arc.

There are already too many things going on. Shady acquisition of game through hostel. Father-Son animosity. Friend-Friend animosity. Ex-Husband/Ex-Wife tension. Current Husband/Current Wife tension. Genius Programmer. Genius Investor. Potential Murder Investigation. Real-Life Death. Virtual Death. Revenge-Seeking Zombie NPC. Neurological Affects. Sword-Wielding/Gun Slinging Action Intense Duels. Magically Disappearing Blood without External Wounds. Magical Internal Trauma without External Wounds. I can do without the romance.

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Are you me? Also thank you for articulating what I was trying to figure out - why did the episode feel so long, and why do we only have interesting stuff for 5 minutes per ep? Now I realize those 5 minutes are usually always at the end...to hook us in for the next ep...

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Actually, I would recommend watching this while doing laundry or running/working out. You don’t have to read as many subtitles as some kdramas, and you feel like you’ve accomplished something in the meantime. I didn’t think the pacing was slow at all. But then I was also doing other things while I was watching it.

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Good idea! I was ff-ing most of ep 6 😂 Ill just use it as background watching and wait for the real plot to come at the last 5 min 🙄

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yea, when they do the flash back scenes, I started to clean my table. I think we were shown the duel scene 3 times in episode 4. Because they're doing this Memento-esque format where we go back (and forward) in time, they feel like they need to remind us of the context in the past/future scenes again and again... but we're not a good fish. We remember. In order for us to gain 3 more minutes of backstory of what went down between Hyun Bin and Ex-wife in the rain, we had to rewatch their "previous" exchange for a minute. Driving me bonkers.

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Oh, yeah, the flashbacks are driving me crazy too, but I think it’s a story-telling technique, so I’m dealing with it.

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Copying and pasting what I previously said from diniyuukie's post

Darrrrrn! He already received severe injuries 2 days into playing the game. And here I thought he was limping because of an accident from further playing in the game.

Now the stakes are much higher – he cannot get out of the game no matter how much he would like to get out. He looked very tired, shabby, and very un-CEO one year later not by personal choice, and def not because he went crazy, so absorbed with the game. But it’s the fact that he’s stuck playing AR.

+++++++
I wonder if there's some sort of other device now that gets switched on beside the lenses and he's just not aware that he`s triggering it? Just like how I can access iMessage from either my Apple watch, phone, and ipad. It just baffles me that the game continues on, that he can see those warnings about enemy within the reach when he doesn't have any lenses on.. There must be something...

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First, I want to applaud Hyun Bin's acting in this. The only drama I saw him in prior was Secret Garden, and I don't remember his acting in there anymore, but here, it's impressionable. He's truly showing signs of someone who's lost his marbles, then it's worse that he absolutely recognizes it and hasn't come to terms with it. He looks lonely in these feelings of loss and confusion, and there's genuine fear in his eyes and voice when Hyeong-seok appears.

It still isn't clear why Hyeong-seok constantly appears around him, but it's also interesting to note that other NPCs (such as the Aragon archers, etc) aren't appearing to trigger the game (or simply spawn in) either. Probably because that would be too much for Jin-woo to handle (and the audience to absorb), and there's enough tension as is with Hyeon-seok.

There wasn't much info dropped in terms of the game itself besides a method to delay a duel. The way to delay a duel in this game is an "obstruction," but it makes me wonder how far these obstructions go. In the case for Jin-woo, he's found barriers to protect him until he recovers. It's also more of an eye-opener to why he locked himself in the train's restroom at the end of ep 2. I just fear that, if we're suspecting the game is sentient and adapts according to inputs... the day Hyeong-seok can open a door is a terrible update.

I smiled seeing Jin-woo and Min-ju getting along well. They seem to strike the right notes with each other, and it's amusing to watch.

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I want more Min-joo and Jin-woo interactions!

Having Kim Ui-seong both act here and in W makes me think of an alternate universe that connects MoA and W 😆

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This episode did answer a few questions that people were curious about, like the lens for one, okay so not many answered. But somehow this was one nerve-wracking episode. I was on the edge of my seat when jin woo was running away from the NPC, it took my breath. Was I the only one loving the casual relationship between hee-joo' sister and jin woo, lol you see a side of jin woo undiscovered. So normal. My one concern is if the game does end one day with all the complications its created so far, will it bring back the people that are already dead cause I'm pretty sure they finish bury hyung-soek? how will that work or are they gone forever despite it being shut down. Too many theories. This is my frist time watching this writers work, I can its brilliant, but a normal person would never go for such innovation, it's too risky and dangerous so I can say she has guts!

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Several things grated me in the wrong way. At first i was peeved that HJ ran upstairs instead of downstairs when she clearly saw something fell down, but i suppose that since its dark and she was near the top maybe she was not sure what it was so she ran up to check on JW. When they moved the body wit limited medical knowhow. Seriously how on earth is JW still not dead or seriously injured. Why is he alive but mr cha dead. He fell down from level 6 and supposedly his fell was not bad because he hit the handrails several times? 🤔 his injuries are too minimal. It feels like the writer is trying to make a scene with great impact but the followup is inadequate. They could have made him rolled down a flight of stairs which will make his injury more believable instead of smashing him down from level 6. And why did no medical personnel in a freaking hospital stop an obviously limping man from crawling outside?! How incompetent is that hospital. Someone should have intervened when JW started going cray cray, pushed another patient and stole his cane. They made such a ruckus more than enough to attract attention. And his hospital room was on the 4th floor. The 4th floor to the outside is a loooong way. Was no onealarmed seeing a deranged looking patient.

Is the game engraved in JW's mind now since he doesnt need his lenses to play. Binnie crying in the rain thinking he's crazy was pitiful. But I appreciate JW acknowledging his own craziness. Because only that can explain him jumping/flailing around trying to avoid a sword and also seeing zombie cha and also hearing guitar sounds.
 
Anyways, the theory that SJ is being chased by someone in the game is right. Why didnt JW see SJ's body at the train station? I guess its because he was not wearing his lenses? But he was always wearing them in earlier eps because he was trying to level up. So..i'm not sure hahaha 🤣

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She wasn't at the top, she on 3 floor, I paused the screen and counted the rail, because I couldn't believe it too ;)
And I won't even comment on medical aspect because it's so common in dramas, writers need big impact but not aftermath.

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This comment is influenced by what I've seen in ep 6, but contains no spoiler: I'm waiting for the moment Jin Woo start to question why all of this happens at all. I get that he's running for his life, but I don't think we've seen him actively trying to solve the mystery, and that really frustrates me. He went from "wtf is happening to me?" to "shit gotta run for my life! Also it's been 5 eps and he STILL hasn't come clean with her about his motivation for buying the hostel, and about this whole game thing. It's super irresponsible of him to not tell her his theory about her brother now that he understands a bit more about what's going on. Ugh. Hyun Bin is my OG oppa but he's not playing a character I can like. I'll be watching this just to see how things turn out, but right now, we are not given any reason to care about any of these characters. If anything, Cha Hyung Seok is the most relate-able character so far, too bad he's dead and now non-verbal -_-

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I actually feel sad for Cha. I think he's misunderstood. And its a pity he died too early in the drama, i would like to see more about him and JW. I refuse to believe JW is a very clean guy, i think he has a shady past too. Haha

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"I'm waiting for the moment Jin Woo start to question why all of this happens at all. I get that he's running for his life, but I don't think we've seen him actively trying to solve the mystery, and that really frustrates me." yes yes yes.

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And why didnt JW hide in another room? It would be much easier compared to limping from the 4th floor to the outside. Maybe he was not thinking straight (obviously 🤭) hehehe

And is HJ a barrier? Or can any human being or object be used to barricade JW from zombie cha? This barrier thing needs more explanation. As of ep 5 ending it felt shoved in, as a medium to have JW and HJ interact.

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Anything can act as a barrier between Jin-woo and Hyung-seok, the reason Hyung-seok couldn't enter Jin-woo's hospital room was because the door was closed and he can't open it by himself seeing as he's not real.

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#ImportantThings

1. His eyes.
I realized something watching this episode. Hyun Bin's eyes can talk. They spoke to me as he lay in his bed, and when he looked at PSH across the room, and got her all flustered. His eyes said: "I'm so hot. See my eyes smoulder. Lying here all broken and battered, unable to move, I just charge the air with electricity when I blink, like so, and lower my lids, like so. Blink. Blink."

2. His lips.
They're pursed and rigid when he's serious. Maybe that's why his smile just lights up the room when he opens up those lips.

3. His nose
It's a bit tilted at the tip, giving him an arrogant, disdainful air. He has this habit of lifting his chin slightly and looking down his nose when he shares scenes with other characters.

4. His hair.
It stayed sleek and beautiful despite him lying in bed for so long. It wasn't mussed up or anything.

5. His stubble.
None, not a single strand of stray hair. His chin was smooth and shiny and stubble-less.

6. His abs.
I caught a tantalizing glimpse of them beneath his rain-soaked shirt in the umbrella scene with the wife. But maybe I imagined that I did.

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Your comment got cracking in front so many, now im seen as crazy

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Take a deep breath...
Re-watch.
Sweet dreams.

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😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 I agree wholeheartedly.

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You're right about the abs 😉, @yyishere. Have you been able to see Fatal Encounter? It's a wonderful sight.

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I had a chance to watch Fatal Encounter when it was on DF but now that I REALLY want to watch it, I can't find it anywhere. Grrr....

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Yes, it's really regrettable that it's gone now and Netflix hasn't thought to pick it up. It's based on a true story, has a great cast and features HB in his post-Army starring role.

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Wait, allow me to correct that. His post-Marines body, I mean starring role 😁

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I needed this comment today. Thank you for making me laugh.

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There is so much to say but ultimately it boils down to
1. I need to know what the rules of the world are before I'm fully invested. (doesn't mean I won't watch every single episode) Why can the protagonist see what he sees and if he can't control it then what can he do??? I guess this will come with more episode but the pacing feels a bit off, like I want some of rules to be revealed before any sign of romance.
2. The romance is really unconvincing because our female lead is unconvincing so far - both the writing and the acting. PSH truly saps the energy out my screen though I think her character type is the perfect offset for the protagonist's character considering his prior marriages
3. The professor is the main mystery and only connecting to the past happenings/conflict..... Pls tell us more writer-nim.... (I'm just frustrated because this really prevents my (or any) emotional attachment/grounding for the action/game conflict
4. Ummmmm....why is no one concerned about the missing brother ----
5. Oh well, Hyun Bin and the PSH lil sis interactions are gold. I LOVE IT.
6. Hyun Bin's acting is carrying the show, wish AGAIN we got more insight into what kind of person/character he is or was (without the crazy game thread) and the concept is very rich...
7. Anyway, I still love the show and I can't wait for the next weeks

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Romance? What romance? There's no romance right now. Just a few hints it might come - or might not. Hyun Bin is telling his story to someone, but who? And why? And how far in the future? And his voice overs make it sound as if she isn't around.

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The voiceovers have a poignancy to them, like memories that linger after his painful loss. She's either missing or dead. Never mind, I'm going to find a way to cross over there and be his shield. I just have to wait for thunder and rain and take up guitar lessons to play that song.

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I don't even know how to respond, it's too painful.

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Yes his voice-overs are ominous. It's like he's trapped in this dystopia he hasn't yet gotten out of, having to relive some horrors repeatedly (HS constantly coming to kill him randomly though he already died repeatedly) and he's narrating his memories of how this whole thing went horribly wrong in Alhambra.
I'd be really surprised if he hasn't really gone mad towards the end of the series.

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lol I mean the romance to come..... I can feel it. The way she tends to him.... she's said to fall in love easily. She's the only female character around him that isn't trash....

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Hello! I agree with you, I'm still really invested in the drama (though this week less so than the last. it felt like nothing much happened in the episodes this week), but i'm still making sense of the rules of the game. It's very complex and there are lots of questions which I hope the writer gives us answers too.

I too love the interactions between Minjoo and Jinwoo. Gosh she's so spunky and has the most unpredictable replies. Not too mention she has alot more character than her sister. Speaking of which...

I'm really hoping they don't throw in a romance here. Really, there's enough going on with the main plot arc/game, and Jinwoo has got enough on his plate - divorce suit, game going horribly wrong and a legitimate worry that he is losing his mind - to ever entertain a romance with Hee Joo. I'm also not really feeling the chemistry between the actors, and in terms of characters, they are way too unbalanced with literally nothing in common. Jinwoo comes across like a man with alot of life experience (and that's largely true) whereas Heejoo is like this lovestruck, inexperienced young lady. She's also reading wayyyy too much into Jinwoo's actions and seeing it as romantic when it really doesn't mean a thing at all. Any sort of "romance" we are made to see are purely from her point of view and her interpretations of his intentions grossly inaccurate. Also, she hardly knows him as a person. It just feels like a young fan feeling infatuated/nursing a huge crush on a celeb and that will remain one-sided. I hope it stays that way.

Also, what is Heejoo's purpose in this drama? Serious question. We are already almost halfway through and all she has been doing is being at Jinwoo's beck and call. The writer is writing her out to be his caretaker/maid/driver, investing her efforts/emotions where it ain't necessary. I mean, you could cut here character out of the plot totally and it wouldn't make a difference at all; and that's not great for a female lead character. She has been outside of the main plot (the game and its politics) for awhile already so I'm not sure how the writer is gonna write her in. Curious to see if Emma does anything than serves as an inanimate character for Jinwoo to be slightly mesmerised by. I'm not holding my breath though.

Why does PSH pick these sorts of roles for her dramas though? I love her in movies, but her drama choices always leave me with a hundred question marks.

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About the romance, I wrote on Twitter that I hoped there was no romance between Hee-joo and Jin-woo because I thought the actors didn't have a romantic kind of chemistry between them and I was promptly attacked for it.
Truthfully, I wasn't planning on watching this show because I'm not entirely fond of Hyun Bin, I don't know what it is but he just doesn't appeal to me, however I decided to when I realized that Song Jae-jung is the writer so I thought if anything I'm about to have another mind-bending experience. This is the second time that I feel like she's written such a useless female lead character, the first time was in Nine Time Travels, and I hate that PSH is getting flak for something that is not entirely her fault. I do hope that there are exciting things for her character in the coming episodes rather than Jin-woo being the focus for the entire show.

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I totally agree with you about the chemistry between the actors. I just don't feel it at all. Friendship maybe, romance nah. Even the behind the scenes stuff doesn't make me feel anything. Character-wise It just feels to me like a slightly older more experienced man being paired with a young, inexperienced. female whom he is ok chatting to but has zero feelings for - be it friendship or romance; but where the girl is mooning over him. The power dynamics is super unbalanced. So I really, really hope they don't turn this into a romance.

I've not watched anything with HB either, like you, I've never gotten his appeal. He does look good here though, but I suspect it's like a one-off thing for me. His character is given more meat here though, and I think he's really doing a good job with the role. I've not watched this writer's other works but am wary of ppls comments of her female characters. So I'm not holding my breath for Hee Joo or even Emma. The latter seems to so far serve as an attractive object - literally - in a game. And the former well... just a plot device/maid for the male lead.

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Wow.. daebak. Literally had goosebumps when the guitar melody started playing coupled with the striking thunder. Didn’t imagine such a melancholic tune can be an agent of a suspenseful moment.

And can I say -again, and again- how brilliant of an actor Hyun Bin is? Like, I seriously cringed and winced everytime he grimaced in pain. It’s like he’s experiencing it for real, and I feel his pain.. poor baby.

So now we know why he was limping during the future part in Episode 2. This episode was the beginning.

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I feel like nothing happened this episode. We only learned two things:

1) Se-joo was attacked by something in the game rather than henchmen.

2) Director Cha can hurt Jin-woo for real.

But both of those were clear already. I'd rather prefer to see Jin-woo die so that we can discover what really happens next or him making contact with Se-joo in the game or really anything that moves the plot along.

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I know that it’s only epi 5 and too early for our hero to die but still so many scenes in this episode was terrifying!!! I would rather see a ghost than see the reincarnated version of CHS!!! Why does he keep coming back???!!!
Anyway, I am loving the story so far but pace is just sloooow. I can’t believe that JW has been in Granada for only 2 days and 5 episodes had passed already. What has been told in the story so far is mind boggling. I am so confused. JW was all positive about the possibilities of this game and never realized the nightmare he is about to experience. I’m just wondering, does Se-Joo knows that his game is not perfect? That there’s a glitch maybe? Like, what’s happening with HS’s vengeful reincarnation or ghost??? But, if Se-joo offered to sell it to J One then I’m sure he thinks the game is safe??? I wonder what’s his reason for not accepting CHS offer to buy it to him. Ugh!
PSH is doing a good job so far, we didn’t see much of her acting here yet since focus was more on our hero’s difficult situation.
I love Hyun Bin, been in love with him since I saw Millionaires First Love ages ago.
It’s so good to see him in this drama with PSH, I can feel the chemistry between them.
I haven’t seen W. I may start watching it, just to Understand the writer some more.

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A Millionaire's First Love! Wow, there's a blast from the past. Loved it, cried my eyes out.

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At least in this episode we knew how Jin-woo got his limping leg at the end of Episode 2. I guess the rehabilitation can't heal his injury falling from 6th floor....

Another question... If Se-joo knew about the error in the Game, why did he offer that to Jin-woo? Only because Hyun-seok is a bad guy?

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not sure if its a coincidence but did anyone realize that when se joo opened the door and the man who shot him was wearing a similar checkered shirt as the guy who was rooming with him on the train?

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yes i noticed that i think that foreigner is definitely involved in the game he's probably the one who shot sejoo and they didn't show him slow passing near JW for nothing.

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It was even a slo-mo twice - once in the beginning when the passengers were filing through the gates, and again when Jin-woo was remembering being there.

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I thought it was weird too that we keep getting a replay of a slo-mo scene of that foreigner and Jin Woo........ Heck, I mean even that slo-mo scene alone was odd. If that wasn't a necessary scene, there wouldn't be a reason why we had to have a slo-mo hey?

I went back to that scene in ep 1, that plaid shirt was a bit different tho

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yes, same. i noticed it but then the shirts are actually different. too bad, really, because that would have been an amazing twist. i do think that repeated slow-mo is either the best red herring ever or really important.

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Hyeongsok is one seriously hot dead villain in that three piece suit. I'm a sucker for any guy with a sword. Thanks for the recap. Am really loving this drama.

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I agree, I really prefer him dead (......and we can add another item to the list of "things I never thought I'd say before becoming a kdra ma freak"

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True2. He looks good in the three piece suit, dripping blood and all. But i prefer if he was not dead so early. Maybe we can see him alive in some flashbacks. So many questions bout him and JW are not yet answered.

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Theory time: I think the Mr Cha that Se-Joo was scared of was Papa Cha, not Hyung-Seok. I think Papa Cha is reminiscent of Grandpa Nam from Are You Human Too - he likes pitting people against each other in business, even to the death, including his own family members. I think Papa Cha enjoyed the rivalry that flared up between Jin-Woo and Hyung-Seok.

Once he got his hands on Se-Joo's game, I think he saw a lot of potential. To what extent, I'm not yet sure. But I feel, after watching his behaviours in this episode, that he's not what he seems and I'm more and more suspecting him of being the one Se-Joo was scared of and possibly the reason why both Jin-Woo and Hyung-Seok had copies of the game. In fact, my biggest theory here is that Papa Cha might even have sponsored Se-Joo and the creation of the game. How else would Se-Joo have afforded such a high-spec PC and the tools necessary for development? He might even have saw the potential for pitting Hyung-Seok's company against Jin-Woo's the the Great Patent Rush of 2018, hence why he wouldn't have patented it himself.

Now on to my next related theory: excluding a pure fantastical explanation for Jin-Woo entering the game without the lenses, I'm wondering if Papa Cha had modified versions of the contact lenses given to Se-Joo to help in the game's development. These lenses somehow contain nano tech. Nano tech is the only explanation I can think of for what's happening to Jin-Woo, and it's terrifying as hell. It could potentially mean there's no clocking out, ever. If the nano tech fuses to the brain to some degree, that also adds an element of humans causing instability in the game with their mental state.

I wondered if Hyung-Seok's active pursuit of Jin-Woo (remember, in other circumstances, Jin-Woo had to go to the locations where game NPCs were to start the fight) has a lot to do with Jin-Woo's guilty conscience. What if, via nano tech, his brain and everything that comes with it is influencing the game? It would mean that things like anxiety, guilt, fear etc...things that are difficult to control...could take the game far beyond his ability to cope with.

It might seem a bit out there to be suspecting Papa Cha of so much, but I find him seriously suspicious and I really think he's the 'bad man' Se-Joo was afraid of. I don't think it's a coincidence that Jin-Woo and Hyung-Seok were the first two 'players' aside from Se-Joo.

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I like this theory, I suspect Dr Cha as well but much more generally than you do. I even suspect the "nice guy" third partner and SuJin's sister (of unknown activities) at this point, though 😆

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I was thinking this too, but what exactly did Se-joo say on the phone. Wasn't it Dr. Cha? Not Professor Cha? Why would Professor Cha want to buy a game he himself funded? He could still be behind it (though how he found this young Korean kid in Grenada to create the game is beyond me), and I won't be surprised if he is a villain. But something else must have happened with Dr. Cha for Se-joo to think he is evil.

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Ahhh you're right, I went back to check and he specified that it was Hyung-Seok, but strangely...I don't buy that Hyung-Seok is a bad man. I think he's bitter and petty, but not bad. So Se-Joo's insisting that he's a bad man doesn't ring true with me. Unless Hyung-Seok came across badly out of desperation - Jin-Woo's company already has advanced tech to make it stand out, but Hyung-Seok is an ex-partner and now a fledgling competitor. He might have jumped at the chance to have this game and could have come across badly.

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i am HERE FOR THIS. thank you! i have really been struggling how to tie a lot of things together, but you've brought up a lot of points that make sense. If Papa Cha is the villain, then I wonder if he is purposefully playing on JW and HS's rivalry--with bigger technological "invention" in mind. Thus, I really like the nano tech idea. I have basically just had to suspend all my unbelief about the game working without the contact lenses, but it really really doesn't make any sense. Even a sentient game would need a platform to project upon--and with no lenses, how can it do that? Give me all the nanotech theories; yes please.