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Memories of the Alhambra: Episode 7

If you can’t beat them, you’ve got to join them. Playing by the rules of the game has its benefits and drawbacks, and our beleaguered CEO copes the best he can as he continues to face his immortal enemy. Though he may have finally gotten a grasp on how to survive, he still has plenty to own up to as the game expands beyond its origins.

  
EPISODE 7 RECAP

At Bonita Hostel, Grandma wakes from her slumber and notices the light on in Se-joo’s room. She enters the room in anticipation, but it’s only Min-joo practicing her dance moves. Min-joo tells Grandma that Se-joo hasn’t returned and that she’s found refuge from Grandma’s unbearable snoring. Grandma scolds Min-joo for exaggerating, but Min-joo has recorded multiple nights of loud snoring as evidence. Ha!

Grandma enters Hee-joo’s room and asks if Se-joo wished her a happy birthday. Hee-joo shakes her head but assures Grandma that Se-joo read the email she sent yesterday. Grandma expresses disapproval about Se-joo’s lack of communication and then comments on how Jin-woo appeared and disappeared out of the blue. She worries about Jin-woo’s injured leg as she heads back to bed, and Hee-joo looks deeply concerned.

Before Hee-joo sleeps, her phone notifies her of an email from Se-joo. The title reads “Noona, it’s me,” and Hee-joo looks relieved as she reads the message. We don’t know the content of the message, but does this mean Se-joo is alive?

One year later in Seoul, a man in glasses walks into a Subway looking for the bathroom. He walks in and searches the stalls before pulling something invisible by a urinal. He looks to the ceiling with utter delight, and we see that he’s wearing the AR game contacts. The other men watch him reach out to grab air, but we know that he’s just obtained his first weapon.

Another man walks into the Subway asks the AR player where he found the sword. In the game user interface, we see the the first user (tester1) point the other user (tester2) to the bathroom. As tester1 admires his sword, he passes by the statue of King Sejong in Gwanghwamun Plaza and walks into his first mission: a battle with a Joseon assassin. The assassin attacks tester1 and easily defeats him.

In the J.One office, game developers watch the different missions of the game as Yang-joo explains the parallels with the original Granada game: The sword is found in the bathroom, and the first duel takes place in each city’s respective landmark sites.

Director Park notes that the gat covers the Joseon assassin’s menacing eyes, so Yang-joo orders the programmer to get rid of it, then add an eyepatch and a cut on his face to make him look scarier. Tester1 looks frazzled as he watches these changes happen live.

Then, Yang-joo shows off their Tokyo and Beijing duelers, which also transform live in front of tester1. Director Park find the Beijing dueler most threatening, and Yang-joo assures him that they have plenty of prototypes to work with.

In terms of their partnership with Subway, the users will gain 10% of their sandwich purchase to use as coins in the game, and eating the meal will add vitality and recovery abilities for the user. Wow, this is how to run a PPL.

Director Park gets pulled from the production team for Hyung-seok’s one-year memorial service and entrusts Yang-joo with preparations for their showcase. He reads over his notes for the memorial during his car ride and runs in late to the church service, where he’s curtly greeted by Professor Cha and his wife. He looks across the aisle and finds Soo-jin with her baby.

Director Park steps up to share his memorial eulogy and describes his impressionable first encounter with Hyung-seok, a young engineering student who presented his product to a class of business students. Young Hyung-seok had promised them one hundred times return on their investment, and Director Park gave Hyung-seok the requested money, in admiration of his ambition.

Just as he proudly shares that Hyung-seok fulfilled that promise, a man with a cane enters the church. It’s Jin-woo, and the attendees murmur about his unwelcome appearance as he limps down the aisle and sits at an empty pew. Distracted Director Park continues his speech about Hyung-seok’s visionary work as Jin-woo looks around and spots Soo-jin.

Professor Cha sits next to Jin-woo and says that he didn’t expect Jin-woo to show up. Jin-woo explains that he wanted to attend the memorial since he couldn’t attend the funeral last year. Professor Cha worries about Jin-woo’s excessive drinking and asks if he’s still on the drugs, to which Jin-woo responds that he intends on getting off them soon.

Director Park joins them in the pews as soon as he finishes his speech and asks Jin-woo when he returned from the U.S. Jin-wo admits that it’s been three months already and didn’t want to share that he was back. Professor Cha carefully asks if Jin-woo still hallucinates, and Jin-woo claims that he’s recovered now.

Jin-woo shares his plans to return to work because the company has become a mess. He criticizes Director Park for diminishing Jin-woo’s authority because he’s supposedly mentally unstable. Director Park raises his voice in defense, and at the turning heads, Professor Cha whispers that they revisit this later.

When they return to their seat, Professor Cha looks angry and asks Director Park if really didn’t know that Jin-woo had returned. Director Park explains that he assumed Jin-woo was still away based on Secretary Seo’s reports. Professor Cha’s wife asks what’s going on, and he disparages her concern.

Jin-woo stares at Hyung-seok’s memorial photo and then his gaze shifts to Soo-jin, who’s looking back at him. Professor Cha turns around and notices them looking at each other. When Soo-jin sees her father-in-law watching them, she quickly reverts her gaze and looks a bit shaken.

Jin-woo taps the shoulder of the young girl sitting in front of him and asks how to do the sign of the cross. As he leaves, Jin-woo’s sign of the cross is interrupted by the game interface notifying him that an enemy has arrived. NPC Hyung-seok appears at the altar, but Jin-woo doesn’t blink an eye.

As Hyung-seok speeds toward Jin-woo with his sword, Jin-woo lifts his hand as a gun materializes. He aims at Hyung-seok and shoots with no emotional or moral dilemma showing on his face. NPC Hyung-seok collapses dead again in the aisle while the attendees continue observe his memorial. With that, Jin-woo walks out of the church.

Secretary Seo answers a call from Director Park and confirms that they arrived in Seoul three months ago without telling anyone, as per Jin-woo’s request. Director Park demands to know what Jin-woo was up to, and Secretary Seo hesitantly shares that Jin-woo played the AR game all day and night for three months straight.

From his car, Jin-woo sees the Seoul AR users testing out the game and fighting their respective Joseon assassins. He pulls out his gun and shoots down the assassins one by one, confusing the users and the game programmers watching from the other end. He drives off, and his interface rewards him with more points to advance to level 85.

At J.One, a company employee shares the rumors about braindead Jin-woo and hopes that Jin-woo at least survives until the game launch because the death would be bad for their stocks. Jin-woo overhears this from behind and assures him that he’ll be alive.

Jin-woo limps into the elevator and asks other sheepish employees which rumor about him was most prominent. He suspects that the rumors about him going insane and being accused for murder were hyped up the most.

Jin-woo receives more attention from shocked employees as he walks to his office, where Secretary Seo shares an interview clip of (almost) ex-wife Yu-ra via a fancy PPL smart speaker. The entertainment news reported on conflicting claims by Yu-ra — displaying her involvement in Jin-woo’s recover on social media — and Jin-woo’s company — denying any interaction.

Reporters interviewed Yu-ra, who put on a tearful performance about how the company is ruining Jin-woo and their relationship. Jin-woo slams the video player in anger and takes some pills to control his anxiety.

As the game programmers check on the weapon inventory, the system notifies them that a new user has entered the space. Jin-woo walks into the inventory and takes out his game handgun with feedback on its function. Then, he whips out a sniper gun with feedback on its accuracy, and an employee gawks that Jin-woo has gained the level 70+ weapon. As Jin-woo walks out, the employees realize that new user “zinu” must be him.

Jin-woo receives a call from Yang-joo (stuck in the middle of his business in the bathroom) just as he enters Yang-joo’s empty office. Yang-joo asks why he suddenly appeared after keeping his return a secret. Jin-woo asks if he has any alcohol in the office and hangs up to drink.

As he pours himself a second drink, Jin-woo hears the menacing classical guitar sound and turns around to point his gun at… Emma? He finds NPC Emma strumming the guitar behind him and asks Yang-joo about this when he returns from the bathroom. Yang-joo says that Emma is his favorite character and orders his smart speaker to pause Emma.

Yang-joo shows off the different outfits he’s created for Emma and asks Jin-woo if they can use this character, which will surely attract users to Seoul. He figures that they can get the rights to her portrait because Jin-woo knows Hee-joo personally, but Jin-woo orders him to erase the character.

Yang-joo wonders if Hee-joo is also beautiful in person and asks what she does in Granada. Jin-woo responds that he doesn’t know because he hasn’t been in contact with her for a while.

Director Park storms into Jin-woo’s office, where he finds Jin-woo finishing the bottle of alcohol. He yells at Jin-woo for returning to work in this state, and Jin-woo indifferently claims that he was just throwing a tantrum because he felt like he was being ignored. He criticizes himself for having an inferiority complex and presumes that this is how Hyung-seok felt when he left the company.

Jin-woo quickly surrenders his authority to Director Park because he can’t live without alcohol. Director Park scolds him for wasting away playing games, drinking, and taking drugs, but Jin-woo explains that this is how he survives getting stabbed, killing, and being scared to death every day. He admits that he lied earlier about the hallucinations but couldn’t tell Professor Cha that he still sees his bloody Hyung-seok every single day.

Thinking back to another battle with NPC Hyung-seok on a hospital rooftop, Jin-woo confesses that he did consider jumping off the hospital building, like the rumors suspected. Jin-woo commends himself for staying alive and shares his realizations from the past year: “There is still logic to a madman, and there are rules to an insane world.”

Jin-woo thinks back to all the times that he fought and killed NPC Hyung-seok at the hospital, and on one occasion, he suddenly realized that he was leveling up whenever he killed this supposed hallucination. Director Park looks at Jin-woo with an unsettled expression.

Three months prior, Jin-woo had called Yang-joo to set up a space in the game that only he could use without any surveillance. He proceeded to fight multiple Joseon assassins in an abandoned building because he desperately needed to level up to gain the gun. He couldn’t run anymore and couldn’t survive with his sword.

We see Jin-woo fighting hoards of Joseon assassins in different forms as he levels up. He fought day and night until he finally leveled up to access modern weapons. Back in his office, Jin-woo holds the gun and tells Director Park that he’s not as anxious about dying but gets tired of killing NPC Hyung-seok every day. Director Park looks at Jin-woo like he’s deranged, so Jin-woo reminds him that this is a madman’s logic.

The thunderstorm and classical guitar precipitates, and Jin-woo announces to Director Park that Hyung-seok has arrived once again. Director Park doesn’t see anything, but the camera jerks to the side to reveal NPC Hyung-seok waiting to attack. Then, Jin-woo offers to share another strange fact.

Outside the office, Secretary Seo looks around and seems to sense something wrong. Inside, just as Hyung-seok takes his first steps toward Jin-woo, Secretary Seo bursts inside and slays NPC Hyung-seok. OH MY GOD. Jin-woo’s interface shows that City Hunter aka Secretary Seo has killed Hyung-seok, and Secretary Seo admits to Director Park that he’s started to see NPC Hyung-seok as well.

As the memorial service wraps up, Professor Cha receives a call from Director Park, who reports that Jin-woo’s condition may have worsened and that he plans on figuring out details through Secretary Seo. With her baby in her arms, Soo-jin approaches Professor Cha to suggest a family dinner, but he defers to another time.

Secretary Seo calls Jin-woo to ask how much he should reveal to Director Park, but Jin-woo simply warns him that whatever he reveals will make him seem crazy too. Jin-woo then asks about updates on Hee-joo, and Secretary Seo shares that she’s set up a guitar shop. He suggests that they visit Hee-joo soon, and Jin-woo seems confused because he hadn’t checked the email about Hee-joo’s family returning to Seoul.

After hanging up, Jin-woo looks up the email, and we flash back to Jin-woo’s departure from Granada. On the train ride, Jin-woo had ordered Secretary Seo to take care of all the emails from Hee-joo to make sure the family doesn’t worry until they find Se-joo.

Hee-joo typed away a response to Se-joo, who’s actually Secretary Seo on the other end. Unaware of this, Hee-joo assured Grandma that Se-joo was traveling with his friends. When Hee-joo visited Seoul, she messaged Se-joo an update about possibly opening a guitar shop with Sang-bum. As they drove by the J.One building, Sang-bum pointed out the company and mentioned the rumors about Jin-woo.

We hear the narration as Hee-joo continued to write to Se-joo with updates. The family moved back to Seoul, and she wrote to Se-joo that they were bringing all of his belongings, as per his request. Grandma and Min-joo were overjoyed by their new house, and Hee-joo decided to create guitar shop in her house to run with Sang-bum. She shared her excitement with Se-joo but also admitted her concerned that only they were happy.

Worried about all the rumors surrounding Jin-woo, Hee-joo messaged Secretary Seo with her regards, and he responded with pleasantries. Hee-joo hesitated to ask about Jin-woo’s condition and ended up not asking for details about him.

Hee-joo finally set up her guitar shop under her name, Emma, and she wrote to Se-joo in excitement. Fast forward to the present, where Jin-woo stands in front of Hee-joo’s house looking at the shop sign. As he starts to leave, Hee-joo arrives with groceries and asks who he is.

Jin-woo slowly turns around, and Hee-joo looks surprised by his appearance. He limps over to her to share his umbrella and notes that he would’ve been ran to her with the umbrella if he could have. She smiles at him nervously.

Hee-joo invites Jin-woo inside and quickly stuffs the groceries in the fridge before running to the bathroom to dry her hair. She takes a nervous breath before returning to Jin-woo and makes coffee. Jin-woo admires the guitar shop, and Hee-joo shares that she’s sold three guitars so far but doesn’t worry about money thanks to Jin-woo. He asks if she also teaches guitar lessons in addition to making guitars, but Hee-joo doesn’t respond

Jin-woo notes that Hee-joo seems different from a year ago — more mature and less vibrant. When Jin-woo asks about her family, she says that everything is fine except for her brother, who hasn’t returned home yet but remains in constant contact. Jin-woo assures her that he’ll surely return when he runs out of money.

At that point, Hee-joo turns around and accuses Jin-woo of feigning innocence. She suspects that he’s the one who’s been sending the emails from Se-joo. At first, she believed the emails from Se-joo claiming that he was traveling, but as time went on, it didn’t seem like her brother.

Recently, Hee-joo contacted a friend in Granada, and she learned that their hostel was abandoned as they left it. She realized something was wrong because Jin-woo was so adamant about buying the hostel, and she didn’t notice the red flags before because she was so excited about the money. She’s finally connected the dots: Se-joo spent every day developing games and Jin-woo’s company is just about to release a game.

She wanted to meet with Jin-woo directly, but she couldn’t reach him. So now, she asks directly if Jin-woo wrote the emails from Se-joo. He admits that he ordered Secretary Seo to write the emails because he knew that Hee-joo would worry, but he doesn’t know where Se-joo is, even after searching for a year.

Hee-joo cries at the betrayal, finally realizing Jin-woo’s intentions. Jin-woo reminds her of his warning: “I told you not to trust me because I’m not a good person, because you’d regret it.”

  
COMMENTS

Oof, I knew Jin-woo’s shady business deal would come to haunt him. His lack of transparency with buying the hostel bothered me, so I’m glad that Hee-joo caught onto the suspicious coincidences regarding her brother’s disappearance. I was pleasantly surprised by the reversal at the end, as I wasn’t expecting Hee-joo to be so sharp with her deductive reasoning. It makes sense that she has this smart intuition when it comes to family because she’s worked her whole life to keep her family together and afloat. Other aspects of Hee-joo’s character aren’t quite as impressionable, but I hope this revelation about Se-joo precedes more dimension and substance to Hee-joo.

My whole body reacted when Secretary Seo intervened in Jin-woo’s game, and it was definitely the highlight of this episode for me. It was perfectly timed at the end of Jin-woo’s monologue and validated that his nightmare wasn’t just a hallucination. Jin-woo knows that he’s crazy but has stopped caring if others belittle his insanity because he’s accepted that this insanity is his reality. I love how this show flips back and forth between the game user perspective and the non-user perspective, especially in this scene because it magnified Director Park’s unsettled bewilderment. We see Jin-woo holding the gun, and then Director Park watching Jin-woo hold an invisible object — these two perspectives seamlessly elevated this scene that already had a rich monologue and subtext.

This show is so dynamic and actually feels like a reflection of the AR game itself. The plot is unpredictable and unsteady in a way that makes this show gripping. Just when I think that the show is slowing down, it speeds up and then comes to an abrupt halt. There are so many interesting elements and plot points to work off of, and I can’t wait to find out where the hell Se-joo is and how he’ll be reintegrated into this story. He’s obviously the key to figuring out the game’s problems, though I do secretly hope that the game has somehow usurped all the power from him. As we see the extents of terror, this show is making me sadistic for more sinister twists. Give us the darkness!

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It's cool they have so many different warriors for each country.
And the weapons, omg.
Can Jinwoo talk to Emma? I'm dying to know what's her purpose.

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I'm glad they are showing Heejoo's smart side. Like finally.
Girl has been stuck with the naive and dumb label for way too long.

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Poor guy! He had to fight for a whole year in that state! No wonder he became suicidal!

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OH. MY. GOD. I had the exact same reaction when Secretary Seo revealed he could see Dr. Cha. I love love LOVE this development!!! So much so that I was actually slightly disappointed when they switched to focus on the romance. This game is THE most interesting plot point by far. And Jin Woo really needs a friend who doesn’t think he’s crazy. More Secretary & CEO scenes, please!

And also. Couldn’t help but notice in the beginning. Subway. Of course it’s Subway.

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only thing is it seems writer changed her mind midway

From HB playing the game without the lenses to it now being a full fledged game where others need lenses.

These are stupid points.. unless she clearly says that HB was indeed hallucinating under stress in all those times when he is not wearing the lenses or how/why his eyes got corrupted

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I think he only sees dr Cha (same for secretary) without lenses.
For all things else he needs the lenses (eg to level up)

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yes, that's why i say in moments without lenses he was actually hallucinating under stress and it wasn't real game.

In reality, cha is bound within the game world

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No, he can also see him with lenses (see ep 8, the first scene when secretary saw Dr. Cha, both of them were wearing lenses.)

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Cha is in the game..
but without lenses can't be cha.. because only one entity from game can't exist outside of the game whereas no other entities exist..

without lenses, he has got to be hallucinating.. no one else has that problem of playing games with real eyes.

Or else writer lost her mind in between.. was planning on showing magic and then went back to the whole thing being a game

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@alasecond
But even Se-ju was killed when he was not logged in! He can also see characters without playing or lenses! I had asked this a long ago about how did he develop the game and how did he get access to the lenses or how does he play the game? He can be a tester of the lens but then why sell the game to the other company which does not make these lenses? I mean its a very stupid thing to do!
On the other hand he may be using AR glasses and then these glasses are not connected to your eyes, so you none of the theories work otherwise that the game does something to your brain. So Honestly I have no idea if this is even ever going to make sense.

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1. How do we know he/ SJ wasn't logged in
2. We don't know if he was or wasn't wearing lenses
3. Lenses could be any like mouse. Any mouse can work with any computer , or printers.. you just need to be able to access the program. Lenses aren't the innovative bit and neither are AR games. His game just takes experience to another level. So SJ getting lenses to work with is very much in realm of realistic possibility
4.I still don't think there is real life permanent damage due to the game. JW has his guilt/freaked out/just supreme sadness or delusion that made him hallucinate.. OR its W rehash, writer couldn't think of anything cool and just wanted AR to literally mean magic.

The only way everything else makes sense is IF
1. Cha daddy is the bad guy and SJ was referring to him on the phone
2. He got marco killed because marco being marco would have tried to negotiate with a 3rd party
3. cha dad wants to be ceo. company comes first. Only reason he sucks up to JW is because of company and despite reports, i will bet my money that this company or JW's estate has some history in his family's wealth. The way dad said JW is his friend's son.. and compared ot his son.. there was disgust in his voice. He would have got the company and passed on to his son

so marco was killed by cha, he also tried to kill SJ and maybe is still hunting, he is following JW or was, and was keeping an eye on his own son too (maybe DIL too)

and JH died of natural causes.. but both things make it look like game killed them..

unless we are going for obvious loopholes and we don't care attitude.. writer will have to follow with my logic. that's the only sensible possibility

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@alasecond you’re right. I mean most of your theories, me also think the same things. About daddy Cha I also think behind all of this, he’s the mastermind. He looks so evil & can’t stop from thinking at least he must be part of something from all of this. His characters from W really powerful enough that it still gave some impact to some theories that maybe half is wrong. Confused yet.

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I don't think it was changed midway.. As we've seen in the beginning JW indeed didn't have the lenses whenever he got attacked by immortal HS in granada. I think it was also the case for SJ when we saw him running away from something in ep1. It's just that JW realized how he needed to level up that's why he's been playing the actual game with lenses on for the past 3 months up to the present. i guess..

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That's why i am saying he is indeed hallucinating.
Cha exists as an NPA in the game. No other character from the game has cross overed to the real world. No one else has the same condition of seeing the game without lenses. Therefore, HB was indeed under stress and hallucinating when he was without stress because he actually believed that the game had taken a life of its own. Like said in ep 8, even weirder worlds have their rules. Rules can't be random. If HB can see without lenses, others should too but that is clearly not the case for anyone else. If NPC cha is visibile to others, then cha is an NPC and does not exist outside of the game

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If he were hallucinating, then zombie Cha would not be able to give him fatal wounds. The story has made it clear that if the duel does not time out and Cha does not disappear, or if JW is not able to kill Cha in the duel, JW will die in the game and in real life, just like Cha did.

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We don't know if SJ wasn't wearing lenses.. infact he was because even HB had to wear lenses to be able to fight off zombie cha and to hold weapons etc etc.. ( when he ran back to get the lenses from hospital)

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@lindag

When did the game made that clear that cha can hurt JW for real?

He feels the hurt exactly as ep 1 level 1 where he feels the sword, like his secy feels the hurt..

None of his wounds have had any or even faintest resemblance to cha's doing..

he fell rib broke, if what you say were to be true then doctor would have said internal bleeding without any cause.. but that's not the case.

We still don't know what happens if cha kills any other gamer.. or if another gamer kills another gamer..

only thing is JW-Cha, it could very well be guilt personified

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@alasecond, the drama is trusting JW as a narrator. Outside the hospital, when HS was trying to kill him, he narrated that he understood he was going to die, until suddenly HJ showed up and interrupted the duel. The drama has not contradicted or undermined anything it allowed JW to say as a narrator -- it's his story, and he's the storyteller.

Beyond that, it simply would make no narrative sense for JW to be hallucinating. The game is at the center of the story, and it's creator disappeared at the beginning of the story, running in fear from something only he could see and getting shot on the train after hearing the danger signal music and thunderstorm. It's just obvious that the game has a tragic flaw, and the people who are suffering the most are the people who tried the hardest to benefit from it.

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Beyond that, we know that this writer is all about the risks and rewards of encountering an alternate world.

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@lindag

hmm.. got you..
ya, i guess i am questioning the premise of trusting the narrator in this case, because, although probability is decreasing with each episode, i wonder if it is a game within a game.

However, i do agree this writer is pretty straightforward with her way of thinking given W's experience and not so innovative with twists.. so story could very well be what it is at its facevalue

But the inconsistencies are too idiotic to buy in with current logic of AR and real l ife merging in. W was way better off

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“A game within a game” that’s really interesting. Just like Inception.

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Cha Byung Joon is acted by Kim Eui-Sung, who was the creator of the manwha and turned into the villain in W - Two Worlds, which is another Song Jae-Jung drama.

Kim Eui-Sanh often plays the villain, he has that evil look about him anyway. Perhaps there's something quite sinister about him, like being the mastermind behind the whole game?

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i doubt master is se jun.. or maybe it is.. doing what hb is doing.. hiding and playing..

Like cha maybe marco is his zombie

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I'm convinced that he's somehow behind the whole thing, and that he can see the game and he can see Hyungseok.

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there you go. i have been wondering about this from the very beginning.
HS did not know about the game and when he did, he went to play and test it.

SJ didn't say which cha is the bad person :)

Its definitely daddy cha.. who is adamant that no case is filed, nothing happens to the game .. notice his expression everytime someone brings up the game :)

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She moved back to Korea without her brother but took her best friend instead?? I mean... why? Clearly his life in Granada wasn't that important.

I hate to say it, but Show isn't very well written.

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we can safely says that best friend doesn't require "taking"

he is the second lead .. lol.. in his one sided crush on her, following her everywhere

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I HATE most second leads because a lot of time, they're just unnecessary, one-note characters that only detract from my enjoyment. This guy is already doing that for me.

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Her best friend was exchange student in Spain, studying guitar making so he was bound to back to Korea anyhow, interestingly she only befriended other Koreans in Spain.

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no.. she befriended everyone.. the girl who got married last week, people in cafe, the flower seller.. and others :P

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But at her birthday's party there were only Korean exchange students? She is friendly with local vendors but is friend only with Koreans.

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I found it interesting at first, but then thought about the many communities/cultures in the U.S. and this tends to happen quite often. We tend to gravitate to those who share our same culture and beliefs. I've even been evaluating some things about my own life recently and have noticed how I've pretty much always lived around people who look like me. Although there were other factors involved primarily involving economic status. In Hee-joo's case it may be she feels more at ease speaking her own language and that the party was set up by her friend who primarily speaks Korean.

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Yeah, but this is Granada, a relatively small city in Spain, not the US with much larger immigrant communities from everywhere. There are some parts of Europe where there are significant numbers of Koreans (London, Berlin), but she would have a pretty hard time finding a semi-permanent Korean community in Granada. Much more likely she was the only Korean (or maybe even only Asian) when she went to school and if there were any Koreans, it would be short-term visitors. Other than her family, the people she would have engaged with when growing up, should have all been Spanish. And she would have had to speak learn Spanish pretty fast too – on average, Spanish speakers (esp. compared to, say, Scandinavians) prefer to speak their native language, rather than any other (even if they speak another language).

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And since she already knew that it's not her brother on the other end (I mean it's not that hard, how long a virtual stranger can impersonate someone he never met to a family member) why she just sitting there in her quite despair instead of going to Granada and report him missing? What is wrong with her.

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I guarantee it’ll be because she ‘doesn’t want to worry her grandmother and sister’. And that’s literally the argument he just used on her but I’m sure her decision will be portrayed as familial piety and Candy martyrdom. She is one of the worst female leads I’ve ever seen. I’m struggling to think of one who’s worse.

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And she probably cry it over, and than starts to worry how poor Jinwoo had to suffer pulling this stunt over her ;) and of course his leg will make her feel guilty again.

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To be fair this is the only time I didn't roll my eyes when she started crying, because it makes sense.

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This writer's understanding of familial bonds is weak. she demonstrated this in W when han hyo joo continued to love lee jong suk even after he shot her father. It was so unbelievable I had to stop watching that show.

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Ma yi-deum of With Court is the worst of worst. Outing a closeted gay man in a trial when she supposed to work as his lawyer.
That female lead from Lucky Romance comes second. She's willing to have sex with random guy just because a shaman said she need to be with a guy born in Tiger year.

Jung Hee-joo is not that bad in my book.

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surprisingly, even i don't dislike HJ nor do i find her weak..and nor is PSH's interpretation of the character driving me crazy.. this script is anyway going for the very plain no nonsense Jane Vs the charming playboy thing

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There will always always be every female lead Kim Eun Sook has ever written. Gentlemen's Dignity, Heirs, and of course Goblin. They still outclass her, although she is pretty bad, underdeveloped, mildly slow, and cries too much. Maybe this will be the turning point, but I've been saying that since the beginning.

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that whole flashback to how he got to be level 85 was so crazy (in a good way). I can't believe he fought for 3 months straight with no sleep and a handicapped leg just to stay alive, man that is determination! I have to applaud his relentlessness to not give up especially having to hear that music and rain constantly and seeing your dead ex best friend on the daily which would drive anyone up a wall.

I was surprised at Hee Joo's intuition to figure out it wasn't her brother sending her the emails and her breakdown was so heartbreaking. With a shattered trust i wonder how she's going to go about uncovering her brothers disappearance holding hands with the man who lied his way into her life or by herself...

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lol. you haven't met gamers :P

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It's true, all-consuming, an addiction.

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I once sit in front of my laptop play game for almost 12 hours but eventually give in to hunger

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I was interested in the story while he was limping around Seoul being awesome and enigmatic but once it flicked back to Hee-joo I just couldn't care. She is so boring and mostly pointless. So unless the shows picks up next week, I'm seriously considering dropping this. I'm as stunned as I was when I didn't enjoy Pretty Noona. I've been looking forward to this so much but it's just not working for me. And that is entirely around the female lead.

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I completely agree with you! The female lead is a walk in disaster!

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I’ve never felt so bipolar about a k-drama.

I’m really enjoying AR scenes, I’m not even a gamer but it makes me excited watching all the aspects of the AR game. I love Hyun Bin in this, his flawed (anti)hero is exactly up my alley. I’m relieved his sassy and arrogant side didn’t disappear completely.

But just like you I just can’t stand HJ. I don’t understand why she’s written like this. Girls and women don’t sympathise with these kinds of characters anymore.

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How about fast-forward her scenes instead of dropping the show? That's what I'm planning to do.

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Agree about Hee-joo and if her character doesn't pick-up next week, I'm fast forwarding her.

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FF works like a charm. At ep 6 my husband was like 'Forward her scenes if you please' and I was like 'YES'!!
And the drama has been enjoyable since then!

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I agree. I am not sure why they didn't just cast a no name actress to play the role. Why waste someone like PSH on a nothing role. It's very strange, made more strange because she read this script and picked it. Love or hate Doctors, her character was a whole person and not this 1-dimensional being they call a character.

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Because it will look good on her resume that she's work with Song Jae Jung and Hyun Bin…? Besides, this script has interesting element like she said, so maybe she just wants to be part of the production.

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I think it's a waste to drop this drama just for the female lead. I suggest lowering expectations and watch while thinking that the female lead is the love interest of the protagonist. Because really, that's what this writer is only capable of when writing female characters. It's quite sad when you're for equality, but then again there's nothing much we can do at this point if we want to enjoy the drama for all its greatness.

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I'm coming to these comments late--I've seen both eps 7 and 8 now (you probly have to)--but I'm looking forward to your thoughts related to HJ after 8.

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*have too

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I love this show. Even though he's not a conventional hero, I really love Hyun Bin's character and his acting is great. I think Jin Woo's definitely done some questionable things, but that just makes me like him more. Morally ambiguous plots and characters are my catnip, and I like the way he portrays his character. He's very subtle, which I enjoy because it's a nice break from some of the more dramatic acting I am often subjected to. I have nothing against dramatic acting, as long as it's justified (otherwise, I wouldn't watch kdramas), but it's also a breath of fresh air to see a different approach.

Park Shin Hye on the other hand-I'm really not her biggest fan. I've seen Pinocchio, The Heirs, and now this, and while I admit she has her moments, she just makes me feel...'meh', for the most part. Something about her portrayals just rub me the wrong way, and she has yet to impress me much. To be fair, her character still has time to develop, so I'm hoping she becomes a more involved character now that she knows what's going on with Sejoo, and maybe she'll sway me. I aknowledge my bias, as I hated Cha Eun Sang in The Heirs, so the crying here is giving me PTSD. Some of it is not her, but the way her characters are written.

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i love how he is playing this character..
and my fav interaction is between youngest sister and him

i think no other woman gets him more than the youngest :P
she completely gets her sarcasm, humour everything.. would have been a perfect match in alternate world if only she were older

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@alasecond I was saying the same. The female he needs is Min Joo not Hee Joo. 😆

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I think some people miss the point of getting a female lead with a 'innocent' character. She isnt there to be his partner for the quest per se. If you notice in episode 8 where jin woo confessed his feelings for her through a monologue, he needed a partner who was soft-hearted, innocent completely opposite from his previous wives. She may be to some viewers a bothersome character but the truth is in the storyline she is what jin woo needed. I hope you get the point of the why the writer has to make her character that way instead of just analyzing her character out of context.

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lol..why assume that if someone else prefers another personality then must be dissing the main?

Are you saying that youngest is a cold hearted, fake, manipulative, sly woman

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Yeah, sorry for wanting a female lead to have a textual point rather than just being a passive object. At the moment, she's practically a MacGuffin.

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Speaking of a MacGuffin, I'm hoping (probably hopelessly) that the game itself will not end up as a MacGuffin (at the moment it is not yet, since it seems sentient) ... ie that it is just a means to forward the plot and enable character growth, and then is forgotten, but that it is a major player itself in the show, and can be/will be explained.

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Im saying that look at the plot as a whole. Aside from the AR twisted game, Jin Woo is also struggling personally with finding love. He met two women who betrayed him. It's only fitting for him to find attraction to a woman who exudes innocence and caring attitude and behavior. When he got his legs broken, it was her who took care of him because she felt guilty it happened on her hostel and eventually this turned into real care for Jin woo. Jin woo is capable in doing the quest on his own. Hee joo on the other hand has been taking care of her family since they were orphaned, all she ever wanted was to provide for them. Her character shows she is a nurturing mother. And thus when Jin woo appeared on her life,it was easy for her to take care of him. She was passive because she wasnt made aware of what was going on about the game or the negotiation. And it's consistent with her character since all she ever did before jin woo entered her life was juggle 3 different jobs for her family and has no time to actually be familiar with the gaming industry. She was naive and was manipulated by Jin Woos character. The youngest had more charming personality because she didnt have to be burdened by providing thwir family just as much as her older sister. Hee joo became both her siblings' father and mother. Think of that burden.

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I understand the reasons the writer did this, but it gets tiresome to see female leads being pushed around by the plot and other characters rather than being the ones doing the pushing.

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I enjoy Min Joo very much but have not waxed lyrical about her character because frankly, if Hee Joo isn't such a weak character, most of us viewers won't be talking this much about Min Joo. Worse, I caught myself calculating the age gap between Min Joo and Jin Woo and shuddered at the horror of the idea!

As for Hee Joo being the nurturing mother, I just hope she remembers her children the next time she travels. Playing the wife of a CEO who's probably a workaholic and gamer and trying to churn out guitars in her shop, I am worried she might forget and bring along her best friend instead.

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@chin

... analyzing her character out of context.

Even with a character in context with the kind of person who would be suitable for Jin Woo, it is possible to offer a character who is guileless, caring, nurturing and at the same time gutsy and proactive. If anything, her needing to care for her family by taking on so many jobs should have helped her hone her gutsy and proactive side. However the writer usually chooses to make the female lead less easy to like and respect. Most of her female leads are just written that way, even for no good reason. On top of that, in the hands of a different actress, even a nondescript character could have shone.

We have what we have not because the story, context or (less so, but still) plot calls for it, but because that is what the production team decided to go with.

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I dont think likability is the main priority when they write a character. Rather it has to be consistent with what the script needs. She wasnt proactive because in her realm, her reality is the real world. She has no idea about the game and the danger it entailed. Remember she is deciding based on real life event, as opposed to Jin Woo who sees both worlds. Thus he has every edge in character development. Just because one character isnt given enough development doesnt make the script bad. Because the story is about more than just one character or two. It is dynamics of the the relationships formed in the story. All Im saying is understand how these relationships are portrayed in the bigger picture. How their roles are different from each other and complement where the story is going.

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Yes, they are adorable. I love how sassy she is.

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Cannot wait an entire week for the next episode. I watch and read a lot of Isekai manga/anime because of this drama.

Hopefully, there will be more Korean dramas with Isekai genre in the future. It involved a lot of imagination yet so clever.

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I've been refreshing DB page for this!!

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Thank u for the recap! I've been waiting for this. So addicted to this show and I'm so glad & relieved when Secretary Seo can see NPC Hyung-seok as well! Makes me feel that Jin-woo is less alone & lonely

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There is condition called shared delusional disorder ;) developed by previously healthy person who has close relationship with someone suffering from primary disorder, Secretary Seo for sure qualifies.

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wat would be a true real life example?
e.g. primary hallucinates, others will too? sthg like mass hysteria (but that's hysteria not delusion)

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For them to be delusional would undermine the whole premise of the show, which is that this game that appeared to be magical and incredibly exciting to play turned out to be life-destroying. SJ has disappeared, Cha is dead, and JW has lost his position, his physical health and his mental health, and has to fight for his life every day.

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This drama is really good, but it could have been better if they discover more about the world and the mystery inside the game itself. Instead, there are so many unimportant things keep showing, such as the divorce thingy with his second wife and the romance that is not really convincing. I currently read the legendary moonlight sculptor (Isekai manhwa) and I realize that this drama could have been better in several ways.

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For example, have Jin Woo tried to talk with Emma and discover more about the character whatsoever? I remember when Jin Woo was trying to talk with her but failed in the earlier episode because hadn't reach level 5. And now, he already in level 80+ and there is no talk yet. Instead, he asked the character to be destroyed. I feel the rule in the game itself is so simple and there is no mystery/story/clues or anything that could be discovered from the NPC or there is no special quest/tasks to improve your level.

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The only thing that could redeem this - and I mean the ONLY thing - is if he never had a sister and instead of him basing Emma on his sister Emma, his sister is Emma who escaped from the game and imprinted herself on the real world.

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and went from gorgeous to disheveled :P

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I think Jin Woo talked to Emma because he had already passed level 5. Possibilities:
1) she told him to F*** off
2) she ignored him and continued with strumming her guitar.
3) she hates red and demanded a change of clothes and ain't talkin till she gets something she's happy with.

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4) He tried to talk to her and it turned out she's even less interesting than her real-world counterpart

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5) She does not cry and gives a reply without sobbing, he can't love her anymore!! Goes back to find his real love!

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6) He prefers women who are either sobbing or unconscious.

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Aw man I was hoping NPC Emma would be far more interesting than Human Emma. 🤣

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Omg. These possibilities are hilarious hahaha @outofthisworld and @leetennant

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With this eps, I think the writer has finally laid out all the setup needed to push the main story forward.

I have to say I really like Jin-woo as a character (though maybe not so much if he was someone I met in real life). It's rare to have a physically disabled lead, so it's a treat to see him dealing with that in his own term. Whether to accept it as a lifelong condition he has to live with, or to cope with the stare and whispers everywhere he went. It came as a nice surprise to know that Jin-woo is just as sneaky and tenacious as he was a year ago. Yes, those long period he spent battling his "craziness" has changed him in a way, but not who he fundamentally is. So it's good that he decided to take his fate in his own hand, creating some sort of cheat space to level up and obtain a weapon that's not as obvious and physically difficult to handle (well, he does need to stop people from dubbing him as "the crazy CEO").

And speaking of Jin-woo being sneaky, I didn't expect that last scene. I felt like this is the real first step Hee-joo took to finally stand on the same ground as Jin-woo. I'm glad that she confronted him about his deceit the moment she got the opportunity. I'm sure she wouldn't take his words about Se-joo's fate at face value anymore knowing how sly he could be as long as it suits his purpose. And the only proof he has about Se-joo's mysterious disappearance is the game itself. I'm hoping that it means Hee-joo will enter the game too (come on, even Secretary Seo is already at level 40+) and that it'll trigger Emma's true role in the game (don't tell me she's only supposed to play guitar while looking pretty! *shaking fist at the writer*). Bring it on!!

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Me too. I like how flawed and unabashed Jin-woo character is. Like whenever people criticising him, he will response nonchalantly and practically telling them to just deal with it.

At this point, I think Hee-joo is pretty much portrayed as someone that is innocent and give other people the benefit of the doubt?

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I know they are trying to sell them as an opposite-attract kind of couple, but the writing for Hee-joo's character is quite lacking I think (and probably there's some acting issue too). There's a huge imbalance between the leads that the writer needs to address soon, especially with Jin-woo being refreshingly self-aware of his own flaws and comfortable with who he is (even the grayer quality he possessed).

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I didn’t realise about the opposite-attract kind of couple until you point it out. Agree. Maybe that is what the writer going for.

The writer needs to put both lead characters on the same level. I noticed that we rarely get inner monologues from Hee-joo which could help us understand her character better. Maybe because this show is male-lead centric and the story mostly narated through his perspective?

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I'm trying to understand the significance of naming the guitar shop as "Emma". Why does Hee-joo say it's named after her? I'm confused - does she have an alternate name that Se-joo had used for her character in the game? I don't think this was ever mentioned before. This show just keeps throwing these red herrings at me and frying my brain!

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Korean often has "christian" names that they use in contact with people abroad, maybe Emma is her "christian" name.

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@shach: That makes sense! Thanks.

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Yes, in k-dramas sometimes the characters who have lived abroad will have Christian (sometimes baptismal) names.

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Sorry it's not just limited to k-drama characters who have lived abroad (because like I said baptismal names)

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Probably because they are easier to pronounce for native English speakers. I have Chinese colleagues who all have English alternate names.

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True. However, didn't Hee-joo used her Korean name when she called the store owner in Granada?

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Really? Need to go back and check. I clearly don't remember anyone addressing Hee-joo as Emma. One more mystery to add to the increasing count!!

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Hmmm. So Granada won't anymore be the only city that won't be recognised for Alhambra, but for the game, because it's one of the cities in the world that has a rich number of historical places that can be incorporated in to the game?
Then we have to modify the sentence into; "None of the historical cities in the world will be recognised for their original value anymore. They'll be famous for supplying AR games with rich exotic backdrops, and only that!"
Wow. Historians and Organisations are SO not gonna like that.😅
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And Yang-joo, use a traditional gayageum player or such as the Korean substitute for Emma! I dunno..Honey Lee? It'll be bizarre if the player overcomes all the Joseon hurdles and then suddenly met with Emma playing a guitar.
On a lighter note, I wonder why the writer didn't find a different name for Yang-joo when we already have THREE siblings with -joo names. 😂😁

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PSH was a gayageum student in Heartstrings. But agree that would have been a nice Joseon vibe than a guitar tho I dont know how Recuerdos de la Alhambra will sound in the gayageum but that would be an interesting take!

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Who is yang-joo? You mean Jung Hee-joo?
I don't understand why, but I found it is very common in kdrama siblings have similar syllable in their names.

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He's the head of R&D Center Research Team of J One Holdings, the guy who Jin woo always discusses the game with.
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Oh yeah. That's exactly what I said. I totally love when siblings have similar names, but I'd love if the OTHER characters have different names unless it was for a reason, because it's confusing for a viewer.
In RL it's not impossible for you to meet outsiders who have similar names like you and your siblings, but in a drama.....I mean, We have Hee joo, Min joo and Se joo, and I'd prefer if Yang-joo was given a different name because he's a rather important supporting character.😄

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Oh, the IT guy with curly hair. Yes, I would also prefer is he has name that is not sound similar with the Jung siblings.
Even after 2 years of watching kdrama regularly I still have difficulty to remember character's name, sometimes even for the lead.

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I really like to see that taking "lives" days in and days out is still shaking Jinwoo to his core, so much that he has turned to drinking to manage is fear, his sadness, his loneliness, and to reconcile his humanity with his serial killer necessity. I don't approve of alcoolism, but I'm glad the writer gave Jinwoo a believable way to cope with this horrendous life.
Now, I wonder if Dr Cha will insist upon entering the game to see his son for himself, but will be unable to kill him (although this man has a heart of stone, so maybe it won't be an issue).
Also, I'm totally in favor of a 10 year flash forward during the last episode so that Jinwoo ends up with a (grown-up) little sister. Or a tragic death for Jinwoo to protect humanity from the game, rather than a love story I couldn't feel or understand.
But, even if I am not convinced by the two leads together, I still find this show fascinating and I can't wait for the next episodes!

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My favorite moments from this episode :
1. Yoo Jin Woo is such an attention seeker when he get into the church 😂
2. Boastful Zinu showing off his weapon collection lol. Yeah you can definitely detect that 0,5 second delay, yeah..
3. That moment secretary Seo killed NPC Hyung Seok for Jinwoo, I cried. Finally he has someone to share the horror with, and help when he need it.

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so Exo appeared on KB thi weekened.. and this brother guy is so funny

he is what JW is in the drama, in terms of cocky , naughty, sly, flirt.. and just cool..

so he'd make sure he entered the room last so that all could focus on his grand entry.. and he could be cynosure.. the personality so freaking annoying and awesome at the same time

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oh I have to watch that episode!! SM artists know how to have fun on variety shows..

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had you said this before this episode, more so for EXO.. i would have given you a big eye roll

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hahahaha

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Their episode is so funny!! Chanyeol is the MVP in this.

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I do feel that he does have a boastful streak, but I don't feel like he was trying to get attention when he entered the church...

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umm, he could come early.... 😂 or gesture Mr. Park to continue speaking... I mean that attention wasn't inevitable

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JW totally likes attention and showing off. His noisy cane was screaming look at me! No wonder he married an actress hahaha

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I think he married the actress in a rush and without thinking, because he was trying to get back at his ex-wife and friend Mr. Cha (not to get attention)... instead he brought nothing but problems upon himself.

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This show is giving me a whiplash! But I still love it.

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Plotwise this episode was a bit ridiculous, so they are developing the game but we don't have explanation if there is reason for zombie player to pop up constantly and there is no mention if they properly investigated game safety in context of what happened to their CEO. Is Secretary Seo affected by the same delusion or there are some trace in game system of Dr Cha?
I wouldn't lauded HeeJoo intelligence yet, she would have to be exceptionally dumb not to caught up that her brother teenager, raised in Europe and at least bilingual is not the one writing to her, but still she just let it slide, because she thought it was JinWoo who wrote the letters, so forget SeJoo, and keep charade going for whatever reason? And we keeping ex-wive plot for what, storywise it didn't bring anything to the table, and her character is even more useless than HeeJoo.

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Yeah, I wonder why they are not investigating the reason for people getting hurt for real in the game. Do they really think it's a good idea to launch the game in these conditions?
But there are a few things that really don't make any sense in the story, like the whole family that was living in Spain for at least 15 years quickly moving back to Korea and leaving one of the members behind...I mean, they lived there for the whole Min Joo's life, what's so urgent about leaving the country? Isn't Min Joo sad to leave all her life behind? There are a number of plot issues completely ignored.

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I don't think they realize that people can get hurt for real (physically) in the game so far, plus they invested a lot of money for them to risk the release of the game on the word of JW (who they consider to be mentally unstable at this point, because they don't believe him, and really who would believe such a thing? It is hard to believe).

They are now at the testing stage, and it seems the players they chose for the testing phase are still at level 1 and 2... we know that the game starts to go crazy starting with level 4... and yet these gamers are already becoming addicted to the game at such low-levels.

JW could prove what he is saying, *mild spoilers* now that his secretary (as his ally in the game) can see Mr. Cha as well... however he doesn't want to risk the life of anyone else, because we know that the secretary is stuck now in the game (like JW) and so there is danger on his life now as well.

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Okay, I am sure it's because my brain can't comprehend the logic of it all - Can someone please tell me why is it normal to communicate with your brother via email? What happened to text messages, messaging apps and what have you? And the good ole phone call? She's got billion won now, right? Surely an overseas call is not going to be an issue?

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Hahaha. I never emailed my bros. We usually communicate via messaging apps. Which would have made more sense if it was used here instead of an email. Communicating via email is like trying to communicate with a penpal eons ago. Haha

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lol.. i do emails and only emails.. and i ain't old :(

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Ohhh. No offence intended with my previous comment 😊. But care to share why you only use email? I mainly use my email for work but i dont use it as a main communication medium with my family members~ hehehe

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i have no faith in the intrusiveness of all social media and mobile apps.
.. its crazy! and i have major issues with privacy

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not that emails don't have an issue.. but it is the most inevitable platform to use without going public ( or being conditionally public)..

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The funny thing is I have a brother who lives in canada, he is not in any of the social media and the only way we can get hold of him is via email!!!

He disappears and doesn't contact anyone for weeks and only unless I email him one of those frantic mom is worried is when he responds...

I have him on whatsapp and he barley checks if I message him....

He also used to be an avid gamer, not sure if he still...
only thing is he is not a minor.

so this scenario is plausible, we've been so worried about him we're planing to make a trip and visit him to see what he really does that he fails to communicate on a regular basis

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My brother is like this too, only I do get texts from him on occasion but only after two weeks after I’ve texted him. I have an alert to call him every week to make sure he’s still alive, and he probably answers the phone half the time. So, I’m okay with their depiction of him and of how nonchalant they are about him contacting them. I also have a minor cousin (girl) who lives with her boyfriend several states away from her parents who only communicates to the rest of us though her sister, and a random profile pic update on Facebook, so yeah, we might have a dysfunctional, poorly communicative family in general and it’s probably amazing none of us have died or gone missing without someone realizing it.

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My family doesn't communicate well either. None of us like phone calls, and get wrapped up in our own heads so forget to connect with others. When my children live out of state or in a different country, they must either post something on social media every couple days or send me an "I'm alive" text, so I know they are, well, still alive. My oldest has a tendency to live in places that erupt in civil turmoil or some other newsworthy event when she is there, so this is the rule we came up with to appease my parental worry. If it wasn't for Facebook or Instagram, I have siblings I wouldn't hear from for months. We just aren't good at communicating on a regular basis.

I wonder if there is more to the brother's backstory that will explain why the family is seemingly unconcerned. Yes, it's weird, but then family's can be strange.

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Yes!

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Se-joo's phone is spoilt.
It was mentioned in episode 2 or 3.

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She told him that she will send him money, sure one year is long enough to buy a god damn phone? no?

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eh...I just didn't think he couldn't get himself a new phone or use other messaging options on his pc to communicate. Ahjumma here does it all the time, what more a gaming genius who invented THE game!

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I think its because Skype and Facebook did not recognize the PPL opportunity? Or maybe they could not care less! The whole family complains about Jin-woo coming and going like he wants and no one cares about the brother for one year, like if he is working, studying, dying, drug addict or no. They were worried more about Jin woo being dead! I just can't!

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I was thinking this is a teen with the typical angst you know who probably don’t even want to add their family on Facebook or WhatsApp lol
Email is a distant option and just abt as quick
What I don’t get though is what the heck you had suspicions and you wait for him to turn up. Like duh - ok maybe she’s supposed to like him enough to feel conflicted or give him a chance but no thanks- I don’t like that kind of characterization.
I think the writer is trying to write characters with flaws, people who are non likeable - but u need an actor or actress to be able to connect such characters to the audience so that the audience at least feel for them or understand them to an extent.
I don’t like Jin woo on paper, he’s just a pure jerk and opportunistic. But I get him and Hyun Bin connects him. Hyun Bin becomes him. PSY really needs to get that part right- it’s weak now and I don’t get her or the character. I feel she’s quite unnatural in a more than a few scenes where the acting is very “pronounced” for the lack of the word. You don’t act the character , you need to be her! Aw the grief, I just wonder how much better this can be (and at the moment it’s good for me already) if we got the female lead stronger

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You might be right that the writer is trying to write characters with flaws but you need a good actor to the character with the audience. In this aspect, Hyun Bin pulls off so magnificently.

I haven't talked much about Jin Woo. He's flawed and definitely not easy to like. Yet, Hyun Bin is able to make me empathize and feel for the character - Jin Woo's fear, pain, exhaustion, desperation and resignation.

Hee Joo on the other hand is on paper a lot more likable. She's hardworking, selfless, friendly, bubbly and loves to help others. In spite of the hardships, she maintains an optimistic view of the world and doesn't let it get the better of her innocence. The weaknesses are that she tends to be emotional, cries easily and too trusting. Do these sound so bad? I would think not but poor writing on the actions and decisions that Hee Joo take and make resulted in us scratching our heads. Add PSH's depiction to it and we ended up pulling out our hair as well.

I feel she’s quite unnatural in a more than a few scenes where the acting is very “pronounced” for the lack of the word.

I think I know what you mean. Some actors like to use what I call stock expressions. If a character is supposed to look puzzled, they pull out this standard look. If the character is to look sad, they pull out another stock expression that screams "saaaaddd :(" It doesn't matter why the character is sad, what kind of situation led to that emotion and what degree of sadness. It's just "sad".

Instead of becoming the character, each appearance in a scene becomes an act. Because they can't give distinct characterization, their characters tend to look the same.

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This writer hates for us to think of such things, pretend this thought never crossed your mind. :P

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They should have made him a mute character. Then it would have worked better.

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Really. I felt that there are so many things that don't make sense in the last eps., but the funny thing is that I was willing, so automatically, to let everything slide 😳.

Perhaps that's what happens when you just like a show so much you tend to let juat almost anything slide.

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Honestly, Hyun Bin = this drama. All the story turns around him, we discover the game through him and all the emotional part is about him : his guilt, his fear, his envy to survive, etc. And happily, Hyun Bin is really great in this role.

Park Shin Hye's character is pretty useless for now, she doesn't make the drama becoming bad (ouf), but her role is very small.

I'm happy that the secretary knows the truth, he can help him now :)

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I agree. The longer I watch, the more I realize he’s the only reason I’m watching. Although I don’t mind the other characters, (I’m even enjoying PSH at this point) I totally get the charisma and charm everyone who has seen him before keeps mentioning. And he’s a great actor. I’m not as charmed by dimples as the next girl but have noticed that he has a really deep right dimple similar to my son’s. It’s prominent just with speaking normally, but when he smiles it’s like it goes on for infinity. I even told my husband. Some emo crying girl is going to fall for that dimple, and I won’t know what to do. And he’ll be aloof as he always is and she’ll cry more because if it. Wait, am I talking about the show or my future? Lol.

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Dimples are a dangerous weapon!!!

Hope your son won't discover that too soon :p

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OMG, I love his smile! Everyday I count the days until I can see him on Saturday night 10 PM my time.
I never found Hyun bin attractive before, but after Jinwoo I even found he looks gorgeous in his Highschool picture @withyakyu shared on fanwall.
I want to watch Hyun bin's other dramas or movies but I'm not sure I would like him as much as Jinwoo.

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I just saw that picture! Seriously, he was a good looking kid. I don’t know why that would surprise me.

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Maybe this drama really is magical, because I've watched Hyun Bin's projects before and never found him this mesmerizing. Sure, he is good looking and a good actor, but there are so many other actors who fit the bill. And then came Alhambra, and suddenly I saw him in different light.

I'm on Hyun Bin's marathon these days. His movie choices are interesting and entertaining, and I found myself easily liking his characters. As for dramas... unfortunately they're not really my cup of tea (though I'm tempted to try Friend, Our Legend since many people said it's the project where he found a new depth in his acting).

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It's not about just good looking, I think he is very charismatic and has great presence. I have watched his movies and really admire him as an actor.
I like your defn of magical ; ))

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