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[Theme of the Month] Plot twists

Happy New Year everyone! It’s a new year, a new month, and a new theme. Dramaland is full of surprises and plot twists. Sometimes a plot twist can make a drama, but other times a plot twist may leave you wishing you could just untwist the storyline. Tell us what comes to mind when you hear plot twists and K-dramas.

What are some plot twists that stick out in your memory? Were the plot twists memorable in a good way or in a bad way? Do you like your shows peppered with uncertainty or do you prefer as little shock as possible?

 
To submit:

  • Email your submissions to [email protected] If you have a registered Dramabeans account, include your handle so we can link to it.
  • Include at least 1 image, though more is preferred.
  • Suggested length: Between 500 and 1,000 words.
  • Deadline: We will post these on a rolling basis, so we’re taking submissions now. We will cut off accepting submissions on January 26. If you miss this month, join us for a new theme next month!

 
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Do Trucks of Doom and Amnesia tropes count as plot twists? lol @sincerelytod, let us know.

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Include Birth Secrets in that too MY GOODNESS THE BIRTH SECRETS.

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Lol I hate birth secrets the most. I should hate Sky Castle for adding this part in to its plot, but I’ll let it go cuz it remains awesome at the moment. I’ve read a theory of how this drama will end and it involves yet another birth secret - I sure hope it doesn’t happen.

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Isn't Sky Castle supposed to be low key satire though? Hahaha so it can probably get away with it. I hate birth secrets too. Especially like hack ones, with no logical reason for being there (which is most of them)

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I’m your long lost sister and I’m here to steal your childhood sweetheart that you never appreciated until now.

Oh, and cry angry tears as I break things after my efforts to defeat you are thwarted by true love aka the chaebol who fell in love with you thinking you were me.

#whatatwist

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I gotta watch more Makjang. *snorts*

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I was thinking that I would totally watch that, then I realized that I sort of did with School 2015 πŸ˜…

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Oops never watched it but apparently plagiarized it? πŸ˜‚

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I am a-ok with Birth Secrets as there are two that I know of in my own nuclear and extended families. And yes, they were hella plot twists. :D

Perhaps my life is more makjang than many people's, then?

Thankfully, no Amnesia, though...yet.

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I'm very glad about the last sentence...

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Plot twist: I actually have amnesia and don't know that I don't remember. One day a mysterious stranger will show up...

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Oh now THAT would be plot twist hahaha

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Noona Amnesia and I have such frequent appearances that we cannot sincerely qualify ourselves as β€œtwists” but perhaps more as β€œplot deformity”, as in β€œdrama writers suffering from deformity in their imagination for coming up with bette twists in their stories.”

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My sympathy, ToD. It must be so painful to be mistreated like that.
Signed, a true fan.

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I am sorry to ruin your mood, but trucks of Doom often happened near my workplace, especially near port area where most logistics activities took. Heck, my current boss once told me the harsh truth that in her previous workplace that if the truck driver crashed onto someone, it is better for the people to died than paralyzed, since processing insurance was hella easy for death case.

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but the question is, are they considered twists if we saw them coming from a mile away? :D

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I can't really think of any plot twists that have stood out to me. I generally watch shows pretty detached to avoid surprises so nothing really seems "twisty" pfft.
However I will just say that amnesia fake out in Shopping King Louis was a pretty neat little troll. Usually I'd be pissed, but it actually managed to troll me so that's saying something.
(Honourable Mentions, Si and Shancai's Wedding, the fake incest plot in HMS, the birth secret in City Hunter, Jeffrey the Game murdering people and Ye Line Sailing... :P :P :P)

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I know I should let it go but Ye Line Sailing...
The plot twisted in A POEM A DAY when Writer-nim bowed to public opinion and threw Min-ho under the Motorcycle of Doom.
Evidence.This is from in interview with APAD's PD Han Sang-jae after APAD finished its run. It from fan's translation (post #20) in Open Thread #552 (May 18, 2018):

Han said he was β€œSorry” to Jang Dong-yoon who played Sin Min-ho who frustrated Bo-young(and us) with one-sided love. β€œI was sorry because Jung Dong-yoon ssi’s character was cursed. There was some part changed from what we planned. As viewers wanted the loveline with Ye Jae-wook, the story went that way. We didn’t decide that loveline in the beginning. Actually there were 80% possibility Sin Min-ho was the person. But as we took the path of loveline with Ye, Min-ho character became annoying, and because of him, Ye Jae-wook was able to shine more. In a sense, Jang Dong-yoon ssi made sacrifice. Jang Dong-yoon si looks girly outwardly, but actually he has various licenses including emergency medical technician and Scuba diving. Also he does work-out, so he has good build. I only found out while filming, but he is actually very manly. He already finished his army duty. He is strong actor.β€œ Han said Jang also did action scenes without using double.

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Still can’t forgive this writer. Like what kind of the writer doesn’t know who her heroine is destined for? Is this how k-dramas are written?

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So, wait, I am a bit confused. Is the writer trying to make sure we are aware the actor is manly even if he didn't end up being the heroine's man? As if his role not being her boyfriend would somehow emasculate him? It just feels like it, that the writer is overcompensating. It's not like his role wasn't popular because he was girly, but because (at least for me), the other choice was more respectful, mature and, very importantly, not an arrogant bully. So that interview, alongside what @cherryinbloom said regarding not knowing beforehand who the heroine should choose as boyfriend, feels weird. :/

Oh, well, sometimes the fact that the heroine chooses someone besides the arrogant prick is a twist in itself. :P

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I think the director's comment was meant to indicate that he felt that Jang Dong Yoon as a person and actor had a lot of capabilities and charms that the writer could have took advantage of, but because she chose to reduce his character to merely being a nuisance to the love-line the director felt very sorry towards JDY. The manly comment was just to emphasize the fact that since Jang has a baby face he is likely typecasted for certain roles based on the general stereotypes associated with having a feminine face (ex. being weak or soft-spoken), but the irony is he's actually very strong and charismatic. A fun-fact: Jang was first offered acting roles when he got featured on the news for stopping an armed robbery of a convenience store by himself while he was in college. Basically, he's kind of like a real-life drama hero so the networks wanted to cast him, but he's yet to be given a role that showcases that "manly" side of him.

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I got confused with that remark as well...

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Biggest plot twist is when you thought I was a guy πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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Best plot twist of 2018 on DB!

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Dang how'd I forget AGAIN

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My biggest issue with Ye-line isn't that it sailed (really didn't care for it one way or another), but rather that it just totally shafted Min-ho as a character. Like, it's OK to have leads who don't get together writer-nim, you just have to do the characters justice in the writing. I was fine with Min-ho ending up alone because he still had a lot of maturing to do and Bo-young deserved someone who appreciated her for herself from the start. I still maintain that Ye had no personality whatsoever, he was just an amalgamation of good looks, brains and one weird quirk which the writer tried to pass off as interesting/a personality. But that's another argument for another day.

My issue was that there was a clear story/character arc for Min-ho that was dropped for no reason except that it didn't end with him getting the girl. Like, you can still be interesting and not have a loveline. I maintain that Min-ho was the male lead of the story since the plot clearly centered around his journey secondarily, after Bo-young's. Dropping it just made the end a hot mess.

I may still be salty.

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You took the words right out of my mouth. Spot-on on all accounts.

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A Poem A Day is Reply 1988 2.0. It's not Second Lead Syndrome when he's not the second lead.

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Haven't watched '88 but from what I gather, despite not getting the girl he still got a full story arc with development to the end.

APAD just straight up dropped doing anything with Min-ho in the end, and it didn't bother to step up Ye's character to fill the void so there was just this horrible gap in the writing that pissed me off. Like I said, it doesn't matter that he didn't get the girl, it does matter that his story was dropped because he wasn't getting the girl. He can still have a full arc without it being about his crush. There were his family issues, his maturity, his learning to just be an adult -- none of that was tied up properly.

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I haven't seen 88 either but I have seen the kiss scenes and I'm totally fine with the pairing that happened because of that... *snorts*

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Wouldn't the kiss scenes have been even more realistic since Hyeri started dating Ryu Jun Yeol?

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But ... that couple doesn't kiss in the drama ... lol

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100% darling.
(I just said it to uh... stir the pot because I was feeling a little impish.)

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(I have had a very weird day, and I 100% get this. I was writing this comment when the strange part of today started, so it feels apt that I'm ending my day on this.)

But also, I'm still salty. I need to go back to my Island of Neutrality and have a fruity mocktail. And maybe some cookies.

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(I've been feeling impish all week (minus the headache)... I blame MOA... it makes me cheeky hahaha)
Honestly even though I wasn't really on one line or the other... I'm salty too. The character arcs in that show were a let down. I'll join you for just the cookies as I think drinking alcohol on a headache of 11 days is a bad idea...

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LOL. I took the bait.

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AHHH don't worry- several of you did, it was most amusing!!!! Hahahaha

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Still bitter.

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49 Days - great plot twists and turns throughout the series except for the part where both girls turn out to be sisters. Totally unnecessary add on plot to this already awesome drama.

Gods Gift 14 days - Gahhhh I still cannot get over the ending

Misty - I had the gut feeling of what was about to happen, but I didn’t listen to this gut feeling, so I still consider the reveal a plot twist. A plot twist I wish didn’t happen at all. Wasted my time.

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Ohhhhh! how can I forget one of my favourite dramas - Prosecutor Princess. I loved the plot twist of this drama so much. Totally didn’t see it coming.

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I second the two first dramas you mentioned plus Nine: Nine Times Travel, W, Memories of the Alhambra, Signal and Liar Games.

The last 5 examples have great plot twists as far as I'm concerned but the two firsts, HAD great plot twists but managed to disgust me by their ending ( I still gave Gods Gift a rating of 9 out of 10 in spite of the ending because the show was THAT GOOD)

Personally, I'm all in for plot twists as long as I get a satisfactory ending. I even don't mind having questions left unanswered at the end of a drama. I've noticed my favorite mangas and novels all have open endings or a conclusion that leaves questions unanswered.

I do think it's the mark of a great series to leave some questions out of the open for the viewers/readers to interpret and speculate themselves. Better even, rules that can be bent all the while being coherent with the overall universe is not an easy feat but I believe Song Jae Jung is a master in this art. I am SUCH a fan!

Predictability is recommended only for romantic comedies. There is absolutely nothing worse than shipping the wrong couple in a rom com. No. In fact, there is worse: Take Care of the Young Lady... which is an insult to all rom com lovers out there. The drama is a rom com without a clear ship and at the end of the drama we don't even know who is getting the girl... Talk about a waste of time.

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For "The drama is a rom com without a clear ship and at the end of the drama we don't even know who is getting the girl..." one of the worst sinners is Marry Him If You Dare. Total cop out!

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AH yes MY MISTAKE. It was actually this drama I wanted to mention. We agree this one should be erased from dramaland as if it never existed

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Oooh, I completely blocked that drama out of my memory, because I had been so disappointed! I rank that drama up there with Big, Hwayugi and Cheese In Trap for the WORST ENDINGS EVER! ^^

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I completely gave up on Marry Him if You Dare

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Wise if you did the giving up before it hit the final episodes. :-)

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I was thinking about writing on how all the plot twists in the last episode of 49 Days completely ruined the otherwise great drama.

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Plot twists? Good Thief, Bad Thief had A LOT!!!!

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- Every truck of doom
- every 11th-hour character death
- THE ENDING OF "GOD'S GIFT - 14 DAYS" (yes, I'm still triggered and salty about that one even years after)
- every birth secret
- every incest-not-incest situation
- every fake-out death
- when the OTP gets together EARLY (and not during the 11th hour) and MANAGES TO STAY TOGETHER 'TIL THE END
- every time someone gets amnesia/cancer/is miraculously healed of said amnesia/cancer only 1 episode after being diagnosed
- every time skip for the sake of convenience

... I'm sure there's way more, but my mind is elsewhere right now (currently trying to recover from being super triggered from getting dumped in a sea of salty after the ending of a BS-filled drama)

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What is considered as a plot twist? For example, In Forest of Secret, the most unexpected person is actually the killer, but it doesn't change any plot in the story. The team still completed their assignment which is finding the killer.
I can't really remember plot twist in K-drama. One of the reason I like K-drama is because most of the time it gives what the viewers expect. Dorama, on the other hand, from five doramas I've completed, all of them shocked me in different ways.

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I hate the "I was responsible for the enormously tragic moment in your childhood" plot twist. Which leads to the "I cannot tell you why, but we can't be together" trope.

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I hate the "My (insert father/brother/mother/sister...) was responsible for the tragic moment..." even more.

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oh yes...

and usually fire related

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By now it probably counts as a plot twist when the Fire Childhood Incident does not lead to Noble Idiocy

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But I was responsible for your Fiery Childhood Incident (your mom tried to make you Hot Cocoa and died in the attempt. Don’t ask how, she never should have been near any kitchen).

Now you can never have hot cocoa because my tears of shame make it far too salty.

#whatatwist
#anthropomorphism

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Now I know why I have a panic attack whenever confronted with a marshmallow.

Perhaps you could go overseas for a year and return transformed into a Mocha Latte?

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Marshmallows are my favorite thing, instead of money, give me marshmallows every time, they complete me.

In all honesty, people have given me marshmallows as birthday gifts. Maybe I really am a beverage.

To become a mocha latte, I’d have to start liking coffee...

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I see you are unwilling to make ultimate sacrifices, and have therefore revealed yourself to be a second lead or villain.

(Homemade marshmallows are the stuff of heaven. Maybe @bammsie will make some for you)

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@egads it’d be my pleasure!

Coco - round or square?

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@bammsie Stars! 🀩

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Done!

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Egads, I have an asymmetrical bob and an inferiority complex. Of course I’m a second lead.

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The first shows that come to my mind are Life on Mars, Black, Forest of Secrets & Ms. Perfect

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Hundred Million Stars from the Sky!! The most cruel plot twists ever!

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I'm wondering if we need to differentiate plot twists (those that have an impact on the plot??), from twists that don't change the direction of the plot, and from twists at the end of the story. ; - )

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The ending of I'm sorry I love u.. .. OMG.. Cried my eyes out.... I didn't expected that coming!

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I cried for weeks over that drama but surprisingly I liked the ending! Knowing that no one is forced to live with the pain of losing their loved one for the rest of their life is much easier to accept.

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at first I can't accept the ending... But after a deep thought and I have become more mature, the ending make sense and I can't think of another ending..

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I'm such a groupie of I'm Sorry I Love You! I've watched it a dozen times and love it every time as much as I did the first time. Such a screwed up family's drama, was it not!? Moo Hyuk! Man, they threw in all the tropes in this one!

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Not gonna lie... I always crying whenever I get a chance to rewatch the ending

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Circle plot twist made me jump and scream. I never ever expected that twist. It remains prominemt in my memory although the drama itself isn't a favorite or memorable one for me.

The plot twist in Nine was very impactful too.

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Oh it is the other way round for me. Circle was very impactful overall but I saw a few twists coming and it reminds me now after MotA that korean writers can write great sci fi and thtillers too.

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Same here. Circle was a good drama but the "plot twists" were predictable if you're familiar with the genre.

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I meant only the one plot twist of the little brother staying the same person after 20 years... Was I the only person who was shocked when the brothers met in the stairway? When he woke up and ran away I thought we were in 2017, then he saw his 38 year old hyung and I jumped out of my seat...

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No no you clearly weren't the only one. I just had an idea about a few plot twists like I had a hinge that the person leading the first timeline isn't the same brother in the future timeline. But the others were pretty well done. That is why Circle remains my top scifi/thriller.

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Im fact this whole scene was really really good. A great way to show a time jump.

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38 Task Force all the way! We kept dying from the plot twists each episode and petitioned Dramabeans to start recaps for us so that we can spazz abt those twists in the right threads and no spam other posts! And DB came through!! <3

Also, Heartless City though I don't remember the show much anymore!

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OOOooo Task Force, good one!

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So....we all be prepared for the spoilers!!!
I would write about shopping king louie... they surprise me almost at the end! πŸ˜€

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Does a theme of the month article exist WITHOUT spoilers??

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Well, yes, it’s possible to write about travelling the world with dramas or scene stealers without giving spoilers. Plot twists require the author to go into some detail about the story.

(It is also possible that beanies will get creative and find a way to avoid or signal major spoilers... I’m fine with that and will probably just skip or skim the articles if I plan on watching a certain show.)

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Hmmm maybe. I have always avoided articles about dramas that I intend to watch later so I wouldn't know.

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Me too... inclusive the section "what we are watching", but here with this theme, I don't see how to avoid spoilers... I suppose also, it depends on how advanced the plot twist is in the story.... πŸ™„

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Hmmm... The only plot twist I have in memory is K.Will's Please Don't MV. Lol. I got so caught off guard. It should be a drama.

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The biggest plot twist EVER πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I was shook.

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Haha! That was a great plot twist!!! My jaw was in the floor when I saw it first!!!

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Ahhhhh so good!!

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So I just had to watch that. I truly did NOT see that coming! Well done!!!!

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That was the best plot twist an MV has ever had! That was the firs song I listened to by K.Will too! and it had me hooked!

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HOW DID I MISS THIS???!!!!
Awesomness!

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My favorite plot twist was from the fake drama within Waikiki: after learning about a final birth secret, the main character goes back to his cone-headed planet. πŸ˜‚

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πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
I should watch Waikiki again.

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The fathers daughter was his sister and he was an alien from another planet. Did I get it right! Also, I need this drama, like yesterday.

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The one twist I did not see coming was when Feel Good to Die killed off the female lead then scrambled on how to re-set the time loop.

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The biggest plot twist for me was when I found out that Kim Young Min (who played a sleazy CEO Do in My Ahjussi) was almost hitting his 50s. I thought he was 36.

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CRUEL CITY for me but I am no writer :(.

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Hmm... the most recent plot twists I can think of are God's Gift 14 Days (which like other beanies, still hurt me so much), Forest of Secrets and Life on Mars.
Looking forward to all the plot twists this month!

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Wasn't there a plot twist with Reply 1988 (or was it answer 1988?)?
I didn't get to finish it for some reason but I've heard the stories that she didn't end up with the man everyone thought she would.

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Honestly my favorite plot twists this year was all the heartwarming makjang of Father is Strange (surprise, this family is great and everyone loves each other even more now)

Least favorite? Hwayugi revealing a lack of plot...

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Hahahahaha- plot twist, there is no plot!!

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Winter Sonata is still up there with all the plot twists and crazy kdrama tropes with multiple trucks of doom, amesia and blindness. I guess that is why it is still such a classic. (and yeah, I am a kdrama geezer)

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Ha, just bought Winter Sonata on DVD for my mother a few months ago, at her request. It is a classic!

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idk about you guys but Dream High 1 when suddenly Hyemi was confused because he likes Sam Dong.
I was on SamDong line since the very first start, and towards the end I already give up and I was like "yeah, there's no way Hyemi will ends up with Sam Dong"

BUT THEN SUDDENLY!!!!
WHOOP WHOOOPPP!!!
it's been almost 8 years but I still can remember that <3

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Omg same!!! I was a hardcore SamdongXHyeMi team and fought for this ship from day 1 and never got swayed. Man I remember how bad the fandom war for his drama πŸ˜…πŸ˜…. It wasn’t really a plot twist for me cuz I believed they were the end game right off the bat hahah. But I was super happy tho that Ep 14s cliffhanger solidified what I had been fighting for. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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YESSSSSSS

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Two plot twists that I can think of off the top of my head:
While You Were Sleeping.
The end of what was is it---the first ep, the second ep? --when we learned there was a second dreamer. My jaw dropped. I was NOT expecting it.
Plot twist two:
Pretty Noona Who Sucks
The twist was that it sucked.
I mean. I was expecting it to not suck. And for 8 eps it was great. And then it sucked. Plot successfully twisted.

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When Hye Na used the key and unlocked the bike lock at the end of episode 5 of Mother…I literally swore out loud.

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I absolutely loved the Nam Shi Woo twist in A-Teen! Such a lovely web-drama!

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Also I've got to say there were a fair few twists that happened in 'you who stopped time' that aired recently that I was pleasantly (and some sadly) surprised by!
I haven't seen a lot of people talk about that drama

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TO dramabeans team: On a more serious note (and referring to what someone whore above too), if hypothetically I were to write up a post to submit for this month's theme, how spoiler free should it be. For instance, is something that happened in say ep4 considered a spoiler. Or should I only refer to it : a certain someone was revealed to be in love with a certain other someone. Or are the entires expected to tackle the general nature of plot twists without actually spoiling things. (sorry I have too many questions! )

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***partial kinda sorta Spoiler alert***
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The newest plot twist has to be the fate of a certain beloved someone in the newest episode of MoA!

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Anybody who gives dating relationship advice always emphasizes on having good communication skills.
Life involves risk, and risk suggests the opportunity for failure.
This change of heart was not easy to acknowledge.

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now this is one heck of a plot twist

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WTH right?? πŸ˜‚

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God's Gift comes to mind if we're talking about plot twists.. but am I the only one who doesn't really consider amnesia and birth secrets as plot twists anymore? yea they are plot twists, but in kdrama especially a melodrama, I'd be more surprised if there's none LOL!

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I maintain the biggest plot twist of all time was the body-swapping in Secret Garden - if, like me, you started watching the show not knowing there were body-swapping hijinks in store.

I mean, I was watching (as far as I knew) a fairly typical rom com when suddenly the leads swapped bodies! What the what?!?!

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Hyun Bin's Jin Woo from MoA fell down from 6th floor popped up in my head. At that time, I thought, there's no way he'd survive just by minor scratches. How'd the story continue with the lead bed ridden? Will he die and become NPC and come back alive after the drama end (using time travel)? Or perhaps Hee Joo will jump into the game and save everyone?
The writer wouldn't resolve to he was miraculously saved right? RIGHT?!
Next episode: He is miraculously saved and can move around fine a few days after the fall. -.-

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Heartless City basically had too many plot twists which made the plot a bit convoluted. Almost all of them surprised me though, and it's still one of my all time fav dramas.

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I still have this in my memory since it's still quite fresh : Lee Rooda falling for Baek Jinsang, I ditched the drama right away as soon as I had a feeling it would happened.

Kim Raewon's character as a teacher in Doctors falling for his highs school student. Eww

I also hate Hyena's birth secret plot in Sky Castle! I relate a lot to the story in the beginning but Hyena's secret and her vengeful minds made the drama sounds cheap. However, the overall story of the drama is great and the acting is superb, I'll keep watching.

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