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Extraordinary You: Episodes 5-6

It turns out that our heroine isn’t alone in becoming aware of her manhwa world. The good news is that there’s someone else who knows what she’s going through, but unfortunately, her quest to change her fate suddenly becomes much more urgent as she starts to get an idea of what the Writer has planned for her character. The stakes are higher now, and she’s got to find a way to change her fate before it’s too late.

  
EPISODE 5

Dan-oh finally finds her mystery boy and gets to see his face, and it’s well worth the wait. She actually gasps, “Wow!” then claps a hand over her mouth, hee. She says hi… but ~BLIP~ and she’s in the hospital again. ARGH!

Do-hwa spots Dan-oh throwing a tantrum in the hospital hallway and asks if she’s sick again. She grumbles that she doesn’t know, she can only do what the Writer says, confusing Do-hwa. He asks if he should call Kyung for her, and LOL, her face as she realizes that she got yanked out of school at precisely the wrong moment just to talk about Kyung.

A light shines on Dan-oh and a harsh wind blows as she’s compelled to say that she’s bothered that Kyung won’t visit her. Then she chirps that she can’t think of any more lines, and says Do-hwa, “I guess that’s all we had to do. Bye!” This is hilarious.

Do-hwa says she’s been acting weird, like she’s someone else lately, and grumbles that it wasn’t cute how she bumped backs with all the guys. Surprised that he remembers that since it happened in the Shadow, Dan-oh marches back to him (HA, Do-hwa looks terrified of the tiny tornado).

She drags Do-hwa inside and backs him into the wall, making him stammer that he likes someone else. She leans closer… and head-butts him in the face, giving him a nosebleed. She asks if he’s experienced any recent memory loss, and he stares at her with wide eyes as he asks how she knows.

OMG, it’s happening to Do-hwa, too, isn’t it? Dan-oh tells him that he’s becoming self-aware, and that they’re characters in a manhwa. He doesn’t believe her, of course, but she just tells him to watch what happens when the story starts up again.

He follows her out of the stairwell… and he’s delivering some spare clothes to Dan-oh’s doctor, who happens to be Do-hwa’s older brother. Mention of Dan-oh reminds him that he left the bag of clothes outside, and he wonders how he’s holding it now. For that matter, his nose isn’t bleeding anymore…

Dan-oh goes to school the next morning, practicing what to say when she sees her mystery boy. She’s startled when he reaches past her shoulder to open the classroom door and she realizes they’re in the same class, ha. She asks him if he remembers her, but he just stares at her expressionlessly.

She notices that his name tag is blank, then with a ~BLIP~ she’s in her own seat and Kyung is asking her about being in the hospital last night. He blames her for being reckless and exacerbating her condition, and she thanks him in character for worrying about her while internally she sneers that it’s a lie.

Kyung mentions that their families are having dinner again soon, but only to snap at her not to let her heart condition ruin it. This jerk, I swear. After he leaves, Dan-oh is free to snarl about being forced to like him, but when she realizes she’s in the Shadow, the mystery boy is no longer in his seat.

A look through the school yearbook turns up his picture, but besides being listed as student #13, the name space is blank. Dan-oh feels bad that she’s been expecting him to help her, when in fact, he seems to be the one in need of help.

At recess, the boys play soccer, and while all the other girls cheer for Nam-ju, Dan-oh watches NUMBER 13 (Rowoon) with a worried frown on her face. She points him out to Sae-mi, who’s never noticed him before and doesn’t know his name.

On the school roof, Do-hwa plays sad violin song, muttering that he needs to find Dan-oh and wondering why he’s compelled to play violin instead. He has no idea why he starts crying, and when Joo-da shows up and offers to listen if he ever needs to talk, he’s shocked by the flowers that appear in the air all around her. He’s suddenly able to act freely, and he tells Joo-da about the flowers, but she can’t see them.

Later, Dan-oh pages through the “Secret” manhwa in the kitchen. Mi-chae asks if she found her guy, and she sighs that she did, but he’s a very minor character that wasn’t even drawn properly. Awww, she’s found him in the manhwa, and he doesn’t even have any facial features. Mi-chae says that he told her she wouldn’t be able to change the story, but she refuses to give up.

Do-hwa stumbles into the kitchen, exhausted after trying for hours to get to the cafeteria and getting teleported away every time he got close, LOL. Mi-chae smirks that this happened faster than he expected, and Do-hwa gapes at meeting another self-aware character.

He’s about to have a nervous breakdown from the stress of being self-aware, and Dan-oh jokes that he’s a very old-fashioned character type — sunny on the outside, tormented on the inside. Do-hwa wails, “How can this be the world of manhwas?” Mi-chae and Dan-oh say in tandem, “Everyone reacts that way at first.”

Dan-oh realizes that Do-hwa has the same problem she had… he thinks he’s the main character. He also assumes she’s the female lead and that the two of them are supposed to get together, hee. Frustrated, Dan-oh tells him to read “Secret,” and when he realizes that the leads are Joo-da and Nam-ju, he bursts into tears (“I knew their names were weird!!”). Awww, poor second lead.

He tells Dan-oh that he did think it was weird that Joo-da was in every moment of his life. Mi-chae gets out his diorama, and Dan-oh tells Do-hwa that if he sees the world from his perspective, then he is the main character.

~BLIP~ Dan-oh is in Doctor Lee’s office with her father, having chest pain, so the nurse takes her for treatment. DL tells Chairman Eun that Dan-oh’s heart is being overworked and incurring a lot of damage. He gently tells Chairman Eun to start preparing himself (for Dan-oh to die), and unfortunately, Dan-oh overhears.

That night, she finds her father talking to her mother’s photograph. He says that Dan-oh has always been just like her mother, even chasing Kyung the way her mother chased him. He breaks down crying, begging her to help their daughter live.

Dan-oh is stricken at first, but then she tells herself that this is just her character arc. She notices that the diorama puppets (she has two now, a girl and a boy) have fallen over, and as she sets them up, she hears Mi-chae saying, “Nothing changes in this world. Never.” But she still feels that if she changes the Stage, she can change her fate.

At school in the morning, Dan-oh mopes when she doesn’t see Number 13 anywhere. She finally spots Number 13 reading on a bench outside, but she can’t even enjoy the view because ~BLIP~ Nam-ju nudges her aside to moon at Joo-da, who’s in the garden watering the flowers.

The Stage ends quickly and Dan-oh is joined by Do-hwa, who seems to be adjusting to his role as second lead. He sees how Dan-oh is watching Number 13 and guesses that he’s the back she was looking for, but Dan-oh pouts that he’s not in the character list, nor is he fully-drawn, so she can’t look for him in the manhwa.

Suddenly, Dan-oh has another storyboard vision… she helps Joo-da carry styrofoam containers of dry ice to science class. Dan-oh bumps into Nam-ju and makes him drop his phone, but when Nam-ju imperiously orders her to pick it up, Joo-da tells him to pick it up himself. Kyung and Number 13 watch as Nam-ju looms over Joo-da and Dan-oh, and Dan-oh knocks over the styrofoam boxes.

As soon as she comes back to the present, Dan-oh is excited — Number 13 was on the storyboard! She chases Number 13 down, and when she trips, he reflexively catches her arm. He stares at his hand as if he’s never touched another person before, then goes along obediently when Dan-oh wrist-grabs him and pulls him to the science room.

Even though she assumes Number 13 won’t remember this later, Dan-oh recites her character profile, and says that she thinks she can change her fate with his help. He’s silent as Dan-oh complains that everything she does is to help the main characters, and she wants to break free of that.

She tells Number 13 to keep the boxes from falling over during class, so that they can change the story. In return, she promises to make him more than an extra if the plan works. She gets frustrated when Number 13 just blinks at her, wondering why he doesn’t talk, but his attention is diverted by some flowers out the window that bloom as he watches.

When it’s time for class, Dan-oh lights up with excitement when Number 13 walks in. Kyung notices the way she’s looking at Number 13, then ~BLIP~ the scene that Dan-oh saw on the storyboard begins. She helps Joo-da carry the boxes of dry ice, she bumps into Nam-ju, he drops his phone and orders Dan-oh to pick it up. Joo-da steps in and tells Nam-ju to do it himself, and the two start to argue.

Joo-da calls Nam-ju arrogant, and the whole class gasps. Nam-ju advances on her, causing Joo-da and Dan-oh to back up, and Dan-oh gives Number 13 a tiny nod. One more step… and Number 13 reaches out to stop the boxes of dry ice from falling.

But he overcorrects and shoves the boxes, knocking them, and Joo-da, forward. Joo-da gets hurt and Nam-ju bellows at their classmates not to stare at her, but Dan-oh realizes that it worked. She and Number 13 changed the scene!

After school, Number 13 sits in the library among the floating Shadow props, drawing a detailed picture of the flowers he saw blooming.

EPISODE 6

Dan-oh and Sae-mi go shopping, and once again Dan-oh is relegated to just agreeing with everything Sae-mi says, so she gets frustrated at the abnormally long Stage scene. Eventually they spot Joo-da working a part-time job in a cafe, and Dan-oh sighs with relief that her job — to see Joo-da — is over.

A difficult customer demands that Joo-da materialize a product she’s out of, and just as he’s about to throw a sandwich at her, Do-hwa bursts in and rescues her. He walks Joo-da home later and asks why she lets people walk all over her, and again she calls him her guardian angel. Do-hwa calls Joo-da pretty, but internally he cringes, understanding now why Dan-oh hates all these cheesy, trope-y lines.

Nam-ju has been waiting for Joo-da, and he asks Do-hwa what he’s doing with her. Do-hwa smirks and makes a smartass quip, then leaves them alone.

In the morning, Chairman Eun asks Dan-oh if she wants to travel the world with him. She says that she likes school because it makes her feel normal and that she really wants to go on the annual school trip, since she’s never been able to go. He says yes, and Dan-oh grumbles that it really only matters whether the Writer will draw her on the trip.

Her spoiled classmates are disappointed that the trip this year is to somewhere in Korea, since they’ve previously gone to places like Egypt and Switzerland. Apparently Nam-ju chose the location and is paying for the entire class, no doubt so that Joo-da can participate.

Dan-oh chirps her one line, that Nam-ju is totally awesome, then the Stage ends and Do-hwa teases her for being such a hardworking extra. He wishes he could see the storyboard, too, and could have avoided his second-lead humiliation of the night before, and Dan-oh laments that she’s tried.

She’s surprised to find Mi-chae in the library this time, and he explains that he’s there a lot because the “Secret” manhwa keeps returning to its shelf. Dan-oh tells him that Do-hwa is adjusting well, but she’s still struggling because she heard she’s dying. Mi-chae has read that scene, but she orders him not to look at her so pityingly because she’s still planning to change her fate.

She spots Number 13 out the window and says that she hasn’t changed anything yet, but she’s still going to try. She leaves to talk to Number 13, and when Mi-chae looks out the window and sees Number 13, his smile fades.

Number 13 cuts his hand in the garden, and as Dan-oh chases him down, she trips and skins her knee. She pops back up and follows Number 13 to the infirmary. The first aid kit is on a high shelf so Dan-oh grabs a very unstable chair to stand on, because this is a manhwa and everything is set up in the most trope-y way possible.

Predictably, the chair wobbles and Dan-oh topples over, only to be caught by Number 13. Their hearts flutter at the close contact, and Dan-oh recovers first. She bandages Number 13’s hand, saying that they’ll be healed in the next scene anyway, but Number 13 leans in very close again and she freezes up.

He’s just reaching for the medicine, and as he cleans up Dan-oh’s knee, she pouts, “It would be wonderful if you could change my fate, with your handsome face.” She says that she’d like for him to remember her, and tells him her name. Number 13 just stares at her.

In the next Stage, Dan-oh notices that not everyone is invited on the class trip (Number 13 isn’t on the list, as he doesn’t have a name). She stops Number 13 and notices that his wound is gone, so she assumes that he doesn’t remember her. She introduces herself again, bouncing up and down to meet his gaze since he’s so much taller than she is, hee.

Dan-oh waits for Number 13 again later, introduces herself yet again, and asks him to help her carry some books to the library. On the track at recess, Dan-oh jogs alongside Number 13 and introduces herself (this is getting hilarious), but he continues to stare blankly at her.

During class, Number 13 looks over at Dan-oh and their gazes lock, but she still assumes he doesn’t remember her. But something feels strange, and she asks herself, “Would it be weird of me to feel like something is gradually changing?”

On the way to the bus station for the class trip, Kyung’s dad, Chairman Baek, gets a text that Chairman Eun is postponing his investment in Chairman Baek’s company. He yells at Kyung to take better care of Dan-oh, believing that his company’s fate is determined by how happy Kyung makes her. He drops off Kyung at the station curb, snarling “You’re useless,” before driving off.

~BLIP~ Dan-oh wakes up at the station surrounded by the other students, and she’s embarrassed by the amount of luggage Sae-mi is hauling around (Soo-cheol: “Are you emigrating?” HA). She knows the Writer only let her go on the trip to be a “love bridge” for Joo-da and Nam-ju, so Dan-oh is so excited to be included that she screams.

When they stop for lunch, Soo-cheol gathers all their friends to eat some yummy foods. Nam-ju notices Joo-da watching them and looking hungry.

Dan-oh finds a gift bag in her hands and ~BLIP~ she’s compelled to approach Kyung and offer him the gift. Do-hwa watches, amused, as Dan-oh simpers at Kyung, ha. Kyung opens the gift and asks Dan-oh if she really expects him to carry around a cutesy keychain, then he grinds it into the dirt with his shoe. OMG, he just gets worse and worse.

Dan-oh bursts into miserable tears in front of the entire class, and Do-hwa follows Kyung. As soon as he’s gone, the Stage ends, and Dan-oh busts up laughing and tells everyone she’s fine.

The next Stage ~BLIPs~ and Dan-oh is on the bus, staring morosely out the window. Joo-da asks if she’s okay, and Dan-oh snarls at the Writer for using her to highlight Joo-da’s kindness.

Nam-ju offers Joo-da the food he saw her salivating over, stammering nervously, and Dan-oh rescues him by grabbing the snacks and promising to share it with Joo-da. Dan-oh is annoyed at how she’s being used, but she sighs that at least she got to go in the trip because of these Stages.

Soo-cheol starts a bus dance party, and though she hates this kind of thing, Dan-oh is forced to get up and dance. LOL, Nam-ju slumps in his seat, but even he can’t stop his shoulders from bopping to the music. He peeks at Joo-da and seeing her having fun makes him grin.

They reach their destination and Dan-oh scans the crowd, but she still doesn’t see Number 13. Do-hwa asks if she’s okay after the incident with Kyung, but she says it was on the Stage, and that if you get hurt by every little thing, you won’t survive the world of manhwas.

Do-hwa confirms that Number 13 probably didn’t come on the trip since he wasn’t on the list, and Dan-oh starts cursing the Writer. Do-hwa whines that she’s a scary person in the Shadow, and Dan-oh snaps back sarcastically, “I’m happy for you that you’re not!”

Later, Sae-mi sits with Dan-oh and shows her these stones that are supposed to break with your significant other, and the size you end up with indicates how much you like the other person. She says you can write a wish on the stone and make a tower with the relationship stone on top, and your wish will come true.

Dan-oh has another storyboard vision where she sees herself breaking the stone with Kyung, ending up with a tiny piece while his piece is huge. He throws his piece in the ocean, and Dan-oh swims out to get it. She also sees Number 13 standing on the shore, watching her.

Excited, Dan-oh decides to get this Stage started. She asks Do-hwa to tell Kyung she’s looking for him (poor Do-hwa is so confused, lol), then runs off to the beach.

Meanwhile, Nam-ju creates a stir among the female students when he buys a relationship stone. Do-hwa buys one, too, and they both stand in sparkly sunbeams as they refuse to say who they have in mind to break the stone with. Do-hwa finds Joo-da first and asks her to break the relationship stone with him, while Nam-ju watches, fuming.

Dan-oh finally locates Number 13 standing on a small cliff looking at the ocean. Once again she introduces herself and her character setup, and says that if they change the story they can stop being extras. She tells Number 13 that she’ll be in the water later, but that he should stop her before that happens. He doesn’t indicate that he understands, but Dan-oh is positive that this is her chance.

Kyung lounges by a pool (thank you for the abs, Director Kim!), ignoring the screaming girls trying to get his attention. Do-hwa obediently tells him that Dan-oh is looking for him, but Kyung growls that he doesn’t care. Nam-ju confronts Do-hwa, asking if he likes Joo-da, and though he says she’s just a friend, Do-hwa thinks, “I’m spitting out words that I don’t even mean! These are the lines Dan-oh told me about. I move according to how the story is fixed in the manhwa. That’s my fate.”

Dan-oh waits on the beach with her relationship rock until the ~BLIP~ indicates that the Stage has begun. Kyung approaches her, complaining that she only came on the trip to annoy him. He breaks the stone, ending up with the large piece, and Dan-oh says she’s very happy. Just as Dan-oh saw, Kyung throws his piece of the stone into the ocean and tells Dan-oh to stop wasting her time.

As the Stage forces her to walk into the ocean, Dan-oh nods to Number 13 to stop her, but he doesn’t move. Internally, she starts begging him to save her as she wades into the deep water, but he just stands there. Dan-oh finally finds Kyung’s half of the relationship stone, and she looks up to see Number 13 still standing on the rocks, just watching her. Inside, she wails that maybe she can’t change anything after all.

Students have left wish towers all over the rocks, and as Joo-da stands holding her relationship stone, Nam-ju snaps it in half, ending up with almost the entire stone. She tries to get it back, but he gives her a pen to write a wish on her piece, saying, “I’ll think about it if you follow my lead.”

Dan-oh’s stone tower collapses every time she puts her relationship stone on top, on which she’s written Please make Baek Kyung like me. Nearby, Joo-da claps when her and Nam-ju’s tower stays up, but when she asks Nam-ju what he wished for, he just says, “It’s a secret.”

When their Stage ends, Dan-oh crosses out the wish on her stone and writes something else under it. She stacks the stones again, but they keep collapsing no matter how many times she tries. She thinks about Mi-chae saying that nothing in this world changes, and she starts to cry.

Number 13 approaches her tentatively and starts stacking her stones. Dan-oh tells him to stop, because a tower can’t make her wish come true. She sobs, “I thought it was you. I thought you could help me change this. I was wrong.”

She walks away, leaving Number 13 behind. He stacks the stones again, and when he puts Dan-oh’s wish on top, it stays upright. On it, Dan-oh has written, “I want to live.” Oh, sweet girl.

Number 13 stands, and we see his backpack and a book that’s fallen out. The book is a copy of “Secret.” He looks back and says his first words: “Eun Dan-oh.”

  
COMMENTS

OMG, Number 13 knows. Does he know? He must know! He’s got a copy of “Secret,” after all, so he’s got to be at least a little bit aware of living in the manhwa world, and his speaking Dan-oh’s name indicates that he remembers her, which is only possible for self-aware characters. The scar on his palm and the fact that scenes have changed when he was there indicate that Number 13 may have even tried to change his own fate before, like Dan-oh is doing now, but he wasn’t able to do much without even a basic character description. But now Dan-oh comes along and gives him a face and a voice, and I have a feeling that soon Number 13 will be helping Dan-oh make all sorts of changes.

Is it too soon to be completely head-over-heels for Number 13? I love his character progression so far, which seems to rely heavily on Dan-oh’s awareness of him. First he was just a shadowy figure, but once she noticed him, he started becoming more and more substantial. He only gained a face when she became determined to find him, but he still didn’t have a voice or a name. Yet, at the same time, the clues are there that Number 13 has been self-aware for quite a while, like the way he draws in the Shadow. And Rowoon is so perfect as Number 13, because even though he spent this entire episode with a seemingly “blank” expression, I could tell when he was feeling curious, confused, or even amused at Dan-oh’s antics and affected by their encounter in the infirmary.

It makes me wonder if Dan-oh’s awareness is “infecting” the other characters, and that’s why Do-hwa is now self-aware. Mi-chae has mentioned others who fought against their pre-ordained fates, but for all we know, those were characters in other manhwas. It’s possible that Dan-oh becoming self-aware is influencing those close to her. Number 13 is the most obvious example, because she’s given him a face and now a voice, and he’s evolving from a wide-eyed blank canvas to a character who acts independently, like when he bandaged Dan-oh’s knee or came to stack her stones. Dan-oh also talked to Do-hwa a lot in the Shadow, and now he’s also awake, and Kyung seems to be noticing that things aren’t quite right after spending some time with Dan-oh in the Shadow. It’s possible that Dan-oh is inadvertently spreading the self-awareness to everyone that she talks to about the reality of their existence.

Poor Do-hwa – he’s now torn between knowing that he’s the second lead and destined to get his heart broken, and the fact that his feelings for Joo-da may not even be genuine (and this my first time seeing Jung Gun-joo, but I’m going to fix that with a quickness, because he’s freaking funny). His expression when Nam-ju told him to back off of Joo-da was pretty miserable, but it’s still hard to tell if it’s because he’s feeling constrained by the Stage, or because he really does like Joo-da. Regardless, I’m glad that Dan-oh has someone she can talk to that’s not Mi-chae, because that guy is starting to worry me.

On the flip side, Kyung is quickly burning through my limited amount of patience for his behavior. I’m sure that most of his animosity towards Dan-oh is because of his father’s relentless pushing and criticism — I’d feel anger in that situation too, if I were him. But he’s so hateful and cruel to Dan-oh, and he does the meanest things to her in front of the entire school, and it’s making me furious. I can’t entirely blame him, because it’s the way he’s written, but I’m ready for him to become self-aware so we can learn what he’s really like underneath all that seething fury.

Extraordinary You continues to be pretty much perfect in execution, storytelling, and characterization, in a way that I haven’t seen in a drama in a very long time. Every moment feels thoughtful and significant, and I’m never confused, except when I’m supposed to be. Each scene is tight and well-planned, with no extraneous fillers. The humor is subtle and intelligent when it would have been easy for the writers to fall back on slapstick and pratfalls, and I appreciate that the audience is trusted to get the many-layered jokes. It’s just a pleasure to watch (and to recap!) in every way, and I can see this drama rocketing to the top of my favorites list very easily. Let’s hope it continues this way!

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Thank you for the recap, @lollypip!

Our mystery boy finally gets to have an identity even if he's just being called a number, but people see him now, and talk to him. I was talking about this to some of the beanies the other day, could he be a forgotten character? A self-aware character at that, he sees the floating objects, he knows and definitely remembers Dan-oh even though he says nothing. And seeing how he can change the events happening on the stage, does it mean the writer doesn't know he is there, in the Manhwa? Or is he a character from another Manhwa like the beanies have been saying, and the sparkling black holes are portals to the other Manhwa worlds? Also that scar on his hand, what is it exactly and what caused it? If he was injured in the shadows shouldn't it disappear when the scenes change? Could it be a consequence of him travelling through the black hole portal?

I'm glad that Do-hwa is self-aware now and Dan-oh gets to talk freely with someone and know that they'll remember what she said even when they're on stage. They're so cute and fun together, especially when they're reacting to Nam-jo and Ju-da's scenes! I love how he finds his lines so lame and cheesy, and can't understand why his character set-up has to be like that, I laughed so much at his process of becoming self-aware, the denial, the disbelief, finding out he wasn't the lead but a supporting character was hilarious. But I get the feeling that he actually likes Ju-da and not just because he's written that way, it seems like he has accepted his fate of not getting the girl, but his expression when Nam-jo showed up when he walked Ju-da home, says it all, I think he's hurt at that!

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Baek Kyung, I don't know what more to say about him since I've already said a lot on the fan walls, but the Manhwa writer sure knows how to make him the biggest jerk of them all. I can't really hold him accountable for what he does yet because he isn't aware of the fact it's all written and his character is set-up like that but once he does become self-aware we'll really know what kind of a person he is. He seems to see the changes in Dan-oh, he is so used to having her eyes always on him that the new shift in her character is both surprising and confusing to him. And it seems that her changes are in turn making him change without him noticing that, I'm wondering how long it would take him to realize that something is different.. and for it to click for him, can't wait for that to happen!

The last scene my heart broke for Dan-oh, she's been working so hard, trying to hold on hope even though she knows everything is pre-determined, it was hard seeing her trying to make that stone-tower and having it collapse over and over again!

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But then Haru fixed it. She couldn't make the rock tower stand up with her wishing stone, but Haru did. That has to be significant. She couldn't change her fate so that she could live, but maybe he can, or they can together.

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Who is he? Another character from another manhwa? He looks so sad sometimes.

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What if he's the real person who gets hung up on a minor fictional character, and traps himself trying to save her from her fate...

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He's already making the changes, isn't he? it doesn't change how the overall story is going, it doesn't affect Nam-jo and Ju-da but when it comes to Dan-oh, he is making her story shift.. the tiniest bit, like when he pushed those boxes forward and saved her from falling!

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Seems like he can only save her when she's not the focus of the scene but on the periphery where she's more free--and he gets his power from being always on the periphery, but when she's more in the foreground he can't reach her. Which would mean, ironically, that it's hardest for Ju Da and Nam Ju to reach self-awareness. On the other hand, Do Hwa's pretty important, and he's got self-awareness, so who knows?

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@marybee I'm not sure if I should talk about this here as it is a spoil-er of episode 4 but if you've watched it already continue reading, lol! I think he can, judging from what happened at the end of episode 4, that was an importan scene between Dan-oh and Baek Kyung and they were on the stage, but Haru could still get to her, he took her hand and walked away with her!

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@marybee @azzo1 I think it's more to do with how he is written in the storyboard. With the boxes, he was very much in the background of the vision so I think he could move. But in the ocean scene, Dan-oh's vision had him in the forefront of the bystanders. The author drew him in focus at the front watching, so I think that affected his ability to move. As for the next episode which Azzo mentions, he's not drawn at all in her vision storyboard. Ironically, being such a small extra is what is helping him to change things. The author doesn't pay attention to him, but my question is - will he stay unnoticed by the author?

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@marybee, @lilramenlover - This is a really interesting and significant observation -- that he is able to change things precisely because he is a more minor character and more free to move. If it does turn out that they are hiding from danger from another manwha, then these roles make perfect sense for them. Inconspicuous and more free.

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I made it to the rooftop, azzo. Yay! It took a month!

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Oh my goodness! Congratulations!! \^O^/ You conquered the Algorithm with persistence and snark, just as Dan Oh will beat the Writer.

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I know, right. It took three freaking months! Thank you for your winter sonata backups, they kept me going!

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I forgot to shed a tear while playing the piano 😂

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YOU DID? YAAAY, congratulations! Are you throwing a rooftop party tonight, this definitely calls for celebrations!

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Congratulations 🎊

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Congrats! So we will not get more CH updates? Thank goodness it only took you a month. (But I will honestly miss the crazy CH CEO posts).

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Erm. Maybe, I'll have a, ahem, TIME SKIP. i can't be Dumb old candy anymore, i've got to be sophisticated Rooftop Ice Lady...like Jang Nara in Fated, and meet Cold Hot CEO again, that lying, cheating no-good rich guy who played with poor Candy's heart. Lol. That's to get to the next level...loan shark? Am I right?

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You are right. Although there's got to be more to it than just the numbers we see, because Linda Palapala is a loan shark and has lower stats than yours.

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*whispers* the stats are a LIE.

(Nah they're not entirely, there's just invisible data that has a bigger impact)

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Ah so @yyishere and @azzo1 are 2 different people. I see 2 Park Hae-jins. Congratulations.

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Lol. PHJ and I used to be soulmates. But not anymore. I forgot what he looks like.

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Thanks so much for the lovely recap, @lollypip!

I mainly started watching this because of Kim Hye-yoon (who did an amazing job in Sky Castle) and the plot (which resembled W in many ways). But this drama has far exceeded my expectations in both these aspects. Kim Hye-yoon is absolutely phenomenal as Dan-oh; she's so lovable and her cursing and frustrations at the writer had me dead LOL. And the plot! Like you mentioned, I think the storytelling reveals just enough to pull us in and keep us intrigued without unnecessary confusion (which is where W failed). They really built a solid foundation of the manhwa world and I can't wait to find out more about these rules.

I started watching this drama recently and now realize I should've waited because I'm itching for the next episode. ;____; So now I shall go and watch the behind-the-scenes clips for the 230984th time until the next episode premieres. :')

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Ahem. My first post as a rooftoper. Hey, @egads, WHERE'S MY CHICKEN?????

Love, love, love this drama.

My favourite scene has to be the scene where she turns, and he looks at her...

She (mouths) : What are you looking at?
He (mouths) : You.

Omg. I squealed...

I love all the shots of Donah lying on her desk, they're so dreamily shot, and she's always turned toward him.

Kyung...I can't help, but hurt for him. It's like his mouth is saying all these cruel things, but his eyes are saying another, he hates saying all these things, because he likes her...such an awesome portrayal of the conflict between the guy he is, and the guy he's supposed to be. And the scene he's torn up by jealousy, with the glare from Donah's watch blinding his eyes was just so good. The blinding light just got brighter and brighter, and more and more dazzling, until it tipped him over the edge. Is it a symbol of the light of enlightenment, pushing away the darkness of his buried and suppressed feelings, and recognition of his love for the girl that he resents?

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Congratulations, but I am no errand boy. Enjoy your view and hopefully you. Can find a more dependable delivery service.

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Like other Beanies have suggested, I too wonder if Haru was a character from another manhwa where he might or might not been the main character. Maybe Secret is a spin-off of the other story.

I'm also curious about Dried Squid. Who is he exactly?...

Could it be that Dried Squid is / represents the writer of Secret, and Haru is the one drawing it or an assistant? What if Haru and Dried Squid do not agree on the storyline?

Spoiler (?) :
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The next episodes show Haru being good at drawing. Dunno if there's any significance to it...

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Definitively had a big laugh when fairy had to show his diagram again to Do Hwa to explain the peculiar world they’re living in. How many times had he done this? 🤣🤣

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So... Hmmm... The scene /screenshot where Kyung is sitting by the infinity pool with a glass of wine (?) in his hand... Right there... Errr... Get your mind out of the gutter, halfmoon!...

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He doesn't have abs! I was so surprised. He has a pale NORMAL body. I am so used to the buffed up, toned chests of Dramaland that a normal, nice body has become an oddity.

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But he does have abs. Nothing about Lee Jae-wook is "normal."

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He is so cool. I have a crush on him. That scowl of his melts me into mush. Is he acting in any other drama? A lead role? Because I think he has wayyyy more chemistry with Donah. They sizzle in every scene they are in.

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Was it wine, or tonic water?

I mean, Dao Ming Si (Meteor Garden) drank milk in a whisky glass so I’m expecting an age-appropriate drink for Kyung. Orange juice or something 😂

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I did wonder about the drink when I wrote my post, but I was thinking about something else during that scene. 😇

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It was in a glass goblet, so I assumed it was wine. He's so hot I never thought he wasn't old enough to drink. I can't think when I see him. All thoughts just fly straight out of my head.

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It's a webtoon, we aren't supposed to think, or we'd be scratching our hair out like Do-Hwa

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In the screen cap of that scene, there is a half empty (Perrier ? Non Product placement ) bottle along with what looks like fruit juice ?
They are in high school after all,🤫, not that any high schoolers ever drank alcohol before. Any Korean beanies that can shed light on , do Korean high schoolers drink alcohol ? I would expect a rich jerk character to drink if anyone , but I think he’s drinking mineral water or some other non alcoholic beverage.

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Could be grape or pomegranate juice too. Who knows.

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As someone who read the webtoon, I can say that with so many changes made with the drama I don't honestly know where the story is going at this point. This might be both a good and a bad thing because 1.) there are still moments that I can look forward to and some additions that can spice up and make the drama more fun to watch and 2.) Haru has finally something to do aside from be the cute person that he is in the webtoon because he doesn't do anything aside from following Danoh in the first season of the webtoon (where the drama is still halfway through because some order of events are jumbled). I enjoy this show so much but my pessimistic drama-watching self in 2019 is telling me not to think about things so much and just enjoy the ride but I couldn't help but wonder if the drama will ever explain "why the characters gain awareness" and if that is Secret's writer's fault for being lazy.

With Haru finally appearing, it seems like he can actually change some things (in the stage/heads) and we still don't know how it will exactly affect the plot/universe of Secret. I can't really theorize things with episode 3 and all I actually did was just stare at Rowoon's face whenever he is on my screen. Although the infirmary scene with that ridiculously high placement of the first aid kit was cute and all, I still find it a waste that since Haru still doesn't speak that much at that point we couldn't see him deliver that line he said in the webtoon where "Danoh must've been in pain all the time that she doesn't realize when she is hurt." Rowoon can kill that line I'm telling you.

Also, I can't help but ship Danoh with everyone (except Namjoo). Girly is just so shippable that I scream whenever she has a scene with always angry Kyungie, cutie Dohwa, and finally with Haru!

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I adore Dohwa and Danoh's friendship so much. SOMEONE STOP ME FROM SHIPPING THESE TWO. I mean, LOOK AT HOW HE LOOKS AT HER.

I applaud the writer (webtoon and drama) for making fun of Boys Over Flowers/Meteor Garden. First with the A4 name and then with the school trip being local BUT I died when Dohwa was ON THE ROOFTOP. PLAYING THE VIOLIN. WHILE CRYING. That scene was GOLD.

And I laughed so hard when Dohwa and Danoh were shocked and were both on the verge of puking because of Namjoo's cringey lines. Dohwa is in love with Joo-da but he isn't that cringey! GIVE THE BOI HIS GIRL (or Danoh) or I'll gladly offer myself. *wink wink*

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The violin scene was hilarious. And hus snarky comments. The frustration when Danoh had to go shopping. The tension as she's thinking, So what are we waiting for? And the relief in her face when she spies Candy Girl in the shop doing her part time Candy job. So hilarious. She goes, Yeah, yeah, let's get on with it, I'm a busy gal...and the cackle that burst out of her tears, as she lifted her face with her mascara running. Omg. I loved her so m7ch in that scene. She broke my heart with her tears, and the next minute she's making me laugh. This drama keeps pulling me in, it's heartbreaking and so real on the stage, I am absorbed into her stage story as well, just as I can't help but flutter sometimes at the Candy Couple, and their sweet, terribly romantic lined.

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I am so invested with everything this show has been giving us. Danoh is a fun but sad character and I am enjoying everything she does but I fear for her future so much. Can Wednesday come faster already so we can watch this show raw? HAHA. #Can'tWaitForSubs #GiveMeHaruInSuit #Jaewook'sEyebrowsCult

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that rooftop scene was so hilarious and gave me flashbacks to Boys Over Flowers! the second lead playing the violin whilst crying? what could be more poignant than that!

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And the female lead asking him if he's okay with matching flowers behind her? SJAKKDADG THE SECOND LEAD SYNDROME IS STRONG IN THIS ONE

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Aww Dohwa and DanOh. How cute was it that he thought they were supposed to be the main character. Like he didn’t even consider Juda then. I love their friendship.

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😂😂 and the fact Dan On liking him even crossed his mind when he knew of her obsession with Kyung.

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I cannot stop you, I can barely stop myself! The synchronized moment where they both threw up in their mouths over the romance was hilars and made me love their dynamic, but his internal freakout while playing violin was also the bomb. I would LOVE to see him get angrier with Kyung, who is his Stage Friend, for Dan Oh, who is his Shadow (but real) friend!

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Dan-oh and Haru are my first ship, but the Dan-ohXDo-hwa ship is right behind it. The way he teased her about the back thing and how an amazing back like his could make her catch feelings in front of the hospital was soooo cute! I want an alternative universe story where the two are friends who become lovers.

The violin scene was very spit-take-worthy. It was so specifically BOF!

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That rooftop scene was the most hilarious one in the entire ep, followed by Dan oh's sad wind spotlight line in the hospital.
Poor Dohwa was internally so frustrated at being forced to play the violin & (to his horror) crying a single tear I was rolling at that scene XD

Also, I am now updated with season 2 of the manhwa as well (as far as the english trans have been completed) & I too noticed all the changes.
But these changes in familiar setting were kind of refreshing, also the drama storyline has pretty much caught up with the manwha so I'm curious where the story will go from here.
Unless they've consulted with the mangaka about her future plans regarding the plot progression.

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As someone who's read the manhwa, could you spoil me some? What's the story there? Who's Haru there? Who else will gain self-awareness? Who is Dried Squid Fairy? Pliss?

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More or less similar with the outer structure. But somewhat different in detailed progress.

Dan oh in drama is definitely way more chirpy. Her manwha character in manwha is that of a cold chaebol beauty (with a crush on Kyung) but after becoming self aware, she doesn't seem that cold, but I have to say, she herself is a very strong willed & determined person. Her reactions to the forced stages with Kyung are hilarious. Her reasons for seeking out Number 13 are different as well. She's lovable as well.

Self aware Haru's pov in manhwa is sweet, since that aspect hasn't been shown in the drama yet, I can't compare. The connection of Haru & Dan oh still hasn't been clarified yet (maybe fate in manwha world idk)

Squid fairy is still mysterious but seems to have a past, readers have only been show tiny glimpses but we don't know what happened.

Kyung is less annoying. phew. this drama Kyung was more than enough.

And that's as far as the translated manhwa has taken me.
I tried to explain without spoiling.

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major spoilers from the webtoon:

1. the webtoon seems to have a simpler story line than the drama. The relationship between Dan-oh and Haru is mainly fluffy with a few heart-breaking moments
2. Haru is simply an almost faceless character. No awareness, no past, no history. His first memory is of not having a clue who he is, and moving through the world with not a single person acknowledging his presence. He barely existed, although he was self aware. In that "life" Dan-oh is the only one who ever even met his eyes.
3. Baek Kyung gains self awareness.
4. Dried Squid is an extra from the manwhaga's previous work

hope you liked the spoilers! Not sure how much the drama will deviate from the webtoon, but the drama feels a lot "meatier" and there have been a lot of changes so far.

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Thank you! <3

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# 4 spoiler - @sensationalfantasy and I discussed that Fairy might just be from her first manhwa, Twelve Nights! We thought if he was really from her first work and had made a special appearance in the webtoon, it'd be so smart of the author. I guess I need to check that manhwa too just to see him. heh.

Thanks for this.

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I need to check Twelve Nights out and see if there is that flower thingy there!

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Sorry I should have clarified- dried squid is an extra from the work of the author of escret, not the actual real life author!
Although I haven't read twelve nights yet

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God I so so so missed that line! Rowoon would have killed it! That was one of the best lines I swear. I think I talked about that line like thrice already. Stop me.

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We talked about that so many times (and I even told my sister about it) AND IT WAS HONESTLY A MISSED OPPORTUNITY so can we have Rowoon deliver that line on a later episode? PLEASE

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Yes plewaaasse 😗 PLEASE UNIVERSE PLEASE
By 'We'do you mean you & me or you & your sister?

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US!!! Hehehe!

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Hehehe

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I so agree with you @lollypip the show is a such enjoyable watch. I kept replaying ep 5-8 in the background as I'm doing something and I kept laughing.

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so glad for the back to back episodes because after that ending i needed the next! really love Danoh and Haru’s relationship, he is the only one who can help her change her fate (the SECRET writer better not be planning to kill her character off!), i’m curious to see how much they can change because so far all the scenes intended by the writer still happens besides a few minor changes. Even though he hasn’t spoken much i’m really liking Rowoon’s portrayal of Haru and looking forward to seeing what his story is about.

my patience for Baek Kyung is also running dry and although i can’t blame him for it and i can empathise with his situation Danoh deserves better, she’s stuck pining after a guy who she doesn’t even like and is so rude to her! really hoping Kyung gains self-awareness soon.

Really loved Danoh’s interactions with Dohwa, it was so hilarious to see her on the opposite side when Dohwa becomes self-aware, and being the one to tell him that they were inside a webtoon world

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Thanks for the recap @lollypip! I’ve really enjoyed these opening episodes. It’s become easier for me to distinguish when we’re on Stage or in the Shadow, thanks to the filters (warm for Shadow, cold for Stage). But I still have to pay attention. No zoning out with this drama!

On Do Hwa: crying while playing his sad violin tune but being annoyed to have to do it had me in stitches. 🎻😂 Another BOF reference. He’s funny and is becoming a good friend for Dan Oh (he’s literally got her back maybe?) . Poor fellow is feeling the pain of being second lead.

On Dan-Oh: our heroine (cuz Dan Oh is our heroine) has a loud voice but her manic energy is infectious and appropriate for a teenager. She’s snarky and persistent, and a bit naughty too. I’m totally cheering for her to find a way to thwart the Writer. It sucks that she’s only intended to say meaningless one-liners, bring the leads together, suffer an unrequited crush for a jerk, and most likely die young! Cruel cruel writer. Why is she the only one who sees the storyboard though?

On Kyung: I think he is acting as a jerk because that’s the way he’s written. He will be in for rude awakening if he becomes self aware. Through him the show is pointedly criticising heroines who crush on the abusive jerk. It’s not romantic at all for Dan Oh.

Question (Please don’t spoil me with details if you’ve read the manhwa): Can anyone identify the red flower? It has some connection with Number 13. They’re in the poster too. I’d just like to know the name and if has some Korean folklore meaning. Thanks!

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Saw a comment that it's a Chinese trumpet vine flower

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Thank you! 🙂

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It definitely has a connection with him and did anyone realize the flowers blooming when he looked at them? I thought I imagined it so went back to watch it, minute 24:40, did he do that?!

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Yes, they bloomed. I wonder why.

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Also the page flips (Dan Oh blinks) whenever they are on stage. So that’s one way to figure out stage vs shadow.

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He talks! Number 13 talks!! "Look, he doesn't even have eyes, nose, lips." In a way, I feel like Dan-oh is using him. She is putting too much pressure on him by asking him to save her all the time. She is like one of those damsel-in-distress female leads expecting Number 13 to be her knight in shining armor. The flower keychain Dan-oh gave Baek Kyung is the same flowers Number 13 was looking at in the garden. I wonder if the scar on his palm is from sticking his hand into the black hole.

I did not expect Do-hwa to be the third (fourth) character to become self-aware, especially this soon after Dan-oh. No wonder Jung Gun-joo is listed before Kim Young-dae in the cast. Now that we know self-aware characters do not like their manhwa love interests in real life (Dan-oh with Baek Kyung, Do-hwa with Joo-da), I hope Nam-joo never wakes up because it would kill me if he realized he really does not like Joo-da. No doubt Nam-joo changed their class trip to stay in Korea so Joo-da can go.

I wish Dan-oh were nicer to Joo-da. I know Beanies don't seem to like Joo-da for being a stereotypical Candy, but personally, I love her. I believe Joo-da is a genuinely kind person when she offered to massage Dan-oh's arm, but Dan-oh always scoffs at her kindness. Shouldn't Dan-oh pity Joo-da for having no friends and being unfairly bullied? It's not Joo-da's fault Dan-oh is not the lead. It's not like she stole Dan-oh's life (Dan-oh is rich, Joo-da is poor) or her guy (Dan-oh doesn't even like Nam-joo).

A big thanks for your recap, @LollyPip!

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What is interesting, to ke, is those are the characteristics the writer gave Joo-da. When or if she becomes aware that might not be her true personality just like Dan oh isn't so meek. To me it almost feels like she is scoffing at the writing not the person.

I think her using Haru is her saving herself. She cant do anything once the stage starts.

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Exactly. She scoffs at the writing, not the person. She went out of her way to try & protect Ju-da even after knowing that the writer wrote those scenes to cement her misery.
While Ju-da wont die of a cold, Dan-oh actually might, still she gave her cardigan to her, albeit while commenting on the absence of male leads when truly required.

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I think so too, yes, she is using Haru but she knows that he is the only one who can make a difference, she's desperate, she's getting hurt for the sake of the main leads all the time, her heart is weak so she's in constant pain, and she's been told she doesn't have long to live. Haru is her only hope for surviving and I can't blame her for using him because she wants to live!

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Agree. Now that her life is at stake, she's desperate and struggling to live. HaRu has become her only hope. But she also think about him. She tells him that if her plan works, his fate can be changed too.

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Fortunately, Number13 didn't appeared as he was written in the manhwa. How creepy it would be to have a no face running around in the field. LOL

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OMG, I wouldn't want to see him like that.. the NoFace from W was more than enough!

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Hahaha, I totally thought of NoFace! Just as Dried Squid said, they sure keep it classy in a romance manhwa!

Maybe W's genre gave them no such luck...

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Dan Oh did give Ju Da her cardigan when Ju Da was wet, and tried to protect her from getting wet, because she didn't like injustice, which speaks to Dan Oh's character. While Ju Da got wrapped up in her romantic scene with Nam Ju, both of them ignoring Dan Oh's actual wounds (sustained by a girl with a serious heart condition). Which is reminiscent of the way heroes and heroines display selective empathy, caring for others when it's supposed to make the audience like them, but then disappearing into their own drama.

I think it's difficult for Dan Oh to know how to feel about Ju Da--or for us to know how to feel about her--when all of Ju Da's actions so far (that we know of) are predetermined by the writer, and since we don't even get a sense of her inner life it's hard to see her as a person, and not just a cardboard cutout soaking up the sunbeams. But it would be really interesting to see her develop self-awareness, and what she'd actually do and feel. I do hope more is done with Ju Da!

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I swear if this drama starts going downhill, I am going to be on a whole 'nother level of sadness and disappointment. That's how much I love this show already even though it's only been four episodes (or eight if you're counting them as halves). Please tell me I'm not the only one ;___;
Also, bless whoever did the casting and had faith in all these young actors/actresses because I can't imagine this drama being the way it is without them! And, bless pd as well; the filming in this drama has been sososo gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing, my heartttttt.

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You're not the only one. I pray every night for the drama to stay at least (if not better) as good as it is right now.

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What a dreamy show, with just the right amount of mystery! I love how effortlessly I've bought into the world. I don't know, just the idea of characters searching for fleeting moments together between the pages of books, ahhhh, this is just my kind of fantasy. And then you have all the meta humor as an added layer of goodness!

I love how disorienting they make it when a page flips, especially when our self-aware extras finally make a connection. Because of the dreamlike quality of their moments, it always shocks me when we're suddenly launched back into the mad world of the webtoon.

Haru has a way of conveying a sort of instinctual memory of Dan-oh. He seems aware, on some level, even more than Dan-oh, but also simultaneously seems like a blank page. It's fascinating. I really enjoy how the show keeps just how much he's known a mystery, while conveying these subtle changes like him gaining a face, and, now, a voice and a concrete memory of Danoh's name.

Unfortunately my theories already involve too much of what happens in the following eps, so I'm going to have to patiently wait for the next eps to discuss those.

Thanks for the recap, @lollypip!

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He seems aware, on some level, even more than Dan-oh, but also simultaneously seems like a blank page. It's fascinating.

@sicarius brought up an interesting thought that Haru does look fascinated in some of his scenes. That something is off with him. It’s like he’s in some sort of new world that he’s discovering.

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He acts like someone who has just SEEN for the first time after being blind their whole life.
Or like this is his first time seeing the sun, or knowing what sun is, or what talking is, what BEING is.

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It is almost like he just came alive. I think he was quiet at first because he didn't know how to talk.
It is the one thing that makes me doubt the theory that he is from another story though that is an interesting idea.

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Yes but not alive like Dan Oh becoming Self Aware, but like actually alive.

And perhaps as Dan Oh breathes more life into him, he becomes increasingly more alive, like Tiffany Aching and the Wintersmith.

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@sicarius yes, like a newborn. I'd have to rewatch but I'm not sure if he was ever not self aware since Dan oh noticed him.
Also, if just a faceless extra he has no characteristics or memories written into him.

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Yes! While the idea that he is from another manhwa is very cool I feel it clashes with the idea of him being a faceless extra, coming to life and becoming more of a person, piece by piece. I just...prefer that thematically, I guess?

The scar on his hand definitely conveys some sort of rich history though and I can't wait to find out!

...but I'm also going to enjoy this blissful time before I'm possibly disappointed. I'm starting to get nervous at how excited this show is making me.

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Dan-oh and Do-hwa together are a riot. I love their friendship. How they can commiserate together about their fate as an extra who lived for the sake of the 2 leads. How they can cringe and share a good laugh over the cheesy lines other characters said. How they can tease each other about the real them (and I absolutely love how Do-hwa freaked out when the should-be-dainty Dan-oh cursed a storm at the writer). But then there were also moments where their awareness gave them a pang of sadness (ugh, Kyung... must you be that cruel to Dan-oh? I know she knows it's not your choice, but ugh... that hurts!), and they can understand that too about each other.

I don't expect the drama to deliver emotionally in its third hour, but Dan-oh's heart condition punch me in the gut. Until that point, it's very easy to hold the Stage and Shadow as separate worlds. It's easy to laugh about it and wave it away as something cliche and tropey. But what will happen to the real Dan-oh if her character died? Will she disappear and cease to exist altogether? Even if she was able to exist in some form or something, what about her father? Him being only an extra in the webtoon wouldn't make his grief any less real. And as much as Dan-oh sneering at the comic world she lives in, I don't think it changes the fact that she loves him and will be worried about him.

But yeah, for now, let's just celebrate the fact that our mysterious guy finally spoke his first word. And congratulations, Eun Dan-oh, apparently your persistence to make him remember your name paid off beautifully.

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I don't expect the drama to deliver emotionally in its third hour, but Dan-oh's heart condition punch me in the gut.

Same 😢 and what gets me emotionally is she’s fighting really hard for her life and will to live. Her wish written on stone was 😭😭.

In the webtoon, Dan Oh looks for Haru because she wants to find her true love, the one that she chose for herself, being in a teen romance book and all.

In the drama, she looks for him because she truly believes she can change her fate (that she could live) with his help. Her disappointment hurts me when she figured out that may not be the case.

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The heart condition got me too. I was under the impression that she had a heart condition that she had mostly recovered from but it had left her sickly and weak. I didn't realize until this set of episodes that she still had the heart condition, that it was getting worse, and that it was actually terminal. And I'm guessing the storyline (within the manhwa) will use her terminal illness as a way to develop Kyung's character.

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[Nod] Terminal illness is one of my least favorite tropes. I remembered rolling my eyes at that ending of Autumn in My Heart. I hope though, the writer will use dramaland magic cure (heart transplant or whatnot) to keep her alive.

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Reading the recap would be my third time “watching” this episode and I gain a new understanding every time!

I didn’t realize till reading the recap that the fact that #13 drew the flowers blooming means he was either self aware or becoming to, since that’s happened in a previous Shadow scene and he shouldn’t have remembered it.

So subtle!

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Yup! It was so subtle! I loved catching all the little things.

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I have tried but I love kyung more than haro...I think its bcoz of his charasma he doesn't do or talk much but he has a presence,I rarely get second lead syndrome n I think this is it....haru is cute but I wish he was more talkative n active
Also I can't believe I fell for all the cheesey scene n second lead tropes in romantic comedies/high school drama....its very bizzare for female lead to end but with a lead that isn't worthy but we just buy it until now....thanks writer for showing how cheesy it is

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Oops. Forgot to ask, is the writer being deliberate in making fun of the tropy scenes and yet at the same time put Dan Oh in them? As a sign that she’s becoming the main character of her own manhwa?

Like the scene where 13 puts a bandage on her. Or where she falls in the infirmary and has a MOMENT, just like Jooda crashing into Namju in the first episode.

These scenes comes after the main characters have the same scenes. 13 draws Dan Oh just like Nam Ju draws Jooda.

Funnily it’s the exact same trope and I’m falling for them anyway!

Also love how much they made fun of the “wall slap” trope, where instead of kissing the guy she gives him a nose bleed!

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I also loved the kabedon & the nose bleed moment. At that moment I was like why is she hurting him but then I realized she's doing this to show him the inevitable evidence of manhwa's stage.

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I loved how he was thinking she was faking her sickness because she was so strong :p

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It was SO SMART to have her hurt him because only major character's injuries carry over! SO TRUE! Yet something I'd never consciously realized before.

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Like the scene where 13 puts a bandage on her. Or where she falls in the infirmary and has a MOMENT, just like Jooda crashing into Namju in the first episode.

🤔🤔 I thought this was shadow scene? Or are you talking about the drama itself?

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it is shadow scene. But I wondered if, in a way, having all these tropes show up is an indication of how her shadow life is gaining stage life tropes, therefore making her the “main character” of her story. She’s not there anymore to support the main characters, she’s also having main character type of moments.

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I kept waiting for Number 13 to speak! I could empathise with Dan-oh, she seemed to be having conversations with herself.
The last scenes of this episode were really heartbreaking. I along with some other beanies discussed the possibility that since EDH saw Haru on the storyboard, maybe the Chaka drew him to witness that specific moment; so it was stage for him & that's why he wasn't able to help Dan-oh.
I rewatched to confirm my theory. The other times like the lab & soccer field, he was just one of the many, he wasn't drawn with focus so that's why the changes in stage/shadow were possible.

I can't wait for the ep 4 recap, & cannot wait for new episodes even more.

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Oooo. So even though she can see him, in her premonition, he wasn’t actually drawn clearly....?

That makes a lot of sense! That means that the only reason he is able to change the plot is precisely because he wasn’t ever drawn clearly and didn’t have a name. Now that she gave him a name and a face, it actually has the opposite intended effect cuz now he can’t help her.

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In my opinion, it’s more like even if he is faceless, but the writers know he is number 13 because of his hairstyle, his body build, etc. So that’s how Dan Oh saw him on the storyboard. The writer has already decided that he is number 13, so he’s got to have some distinct feature that is different from, say, number 12 or 14. If this makes sense?

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Yeah agreed. No 13 is tall & has that hairstyle, pretty distinctive even w/o the detailed features.

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Yes! As long as he's not prominent part of the scene, he can bring small changes.
Ep 4 end makes us wonder if Haru is more of a wild card than we anticipated, but that's discussion for ep 4 recap 😅😆

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Same theory here! He is not compelled to do anything in those scenes. It's almost like he's been forgotten by the Writer. Unlike the beach scence where he has to stand still just watching Dan-Oh walking into the sea because it's predetermined in the storyboard. I'm nervous and worried that if the Writer starts to notice him changing the story, what would happen? Also, after Dan-Oh notices him, why does he appear in the Stage more and more?

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I feel like her going into the water had to happen - it’s a crucial part that stage Dan Oh had to partake that cannot be replaced unlike the lab scene. That’s probably one of the reasons why he couldn’t move and get to her side....?

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Me too. Ever since Danoh started interacting with him, it seems like he's showing up in more scenes in the stage.
What fate does the writer have in store for Haru? A witness, a device, a tool? His existence is already more pitiful than hers, but even if he manages to get more of the writers attention I'm not sure it'll be a good thing for him.

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Rumi, I also wondered, back in the lab scene whether he internationally pushed the stack of styrofoam boxes on his right while holding together Dan Oh’s side, so that the story would keep going? What if, he knew that there is some sort of rule that as long as something had replaced the scene with I guess more interesting plot, such as having the female lead received the fall instead of an extra, that will fly with the writer?

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It's possible. That his scar is an evidence of him trying to change his fate, that he somehow figured out what degree of change he can bring about. It could also be an accident, because its the first time he changed something according to Dan-oh's instructions.
He seems unaware of his own self, surroundings.... He has this odd wonder at existing.... So even though I'm sure he became aware before EDH, still it seems like she's key to how his consciousness is formed.

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Agree. In that scene even if he wants to stop Dan-oh, he probably cannot move from his place coz like the other extras the writer drew him to just witness Dan-oh from going into the water.

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Exactly! Haru wa drawn with focus in that scene, & brought there on the trip specifically for that scene. That's how Danoh found he was present there.

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When #13 talked, I squealed! I am firmly on Dan Oh ❤ Haru ship. I like Do Hwa, but he is friend-zone for now. I also ship Nam Joo ❤ Joo Da. Their story made me travel back in time and remembered my first few experiences with kdrama.
I did not read webtoon, so I have no idea where this story is going. I am fully invested and enjoy reading all the speculations.
Can't wait to see if all the characters are self away, what will happen to the story. Will it affect it at all? How about the writer? Then I get a kick thinking about Baek Kyung becoming self aware. He'll just be puppy Lee Jae Wook! 😁

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Thank you for the recap. This is my favorite show right now, and I believe it is going to be my favorite show of the year.

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Too many things to say about this drama! It's so good!

The humor! I just love it. The scene in the hospital with the wind, the violin scene and the flowers, Do-hwa saying "he had to help Do Ja with his beautiful face and slender body" who says something like this? :D

Dan-Oh is just perfect! I love her energy to change things, to make Number 13 aware, to curse the writer. She's clearly influence people around her.

Number 13, I'm pretty sure is awaken too. But he's sad character because nobody sees or talks to him, he was so lonely.

Do-Hwa, he's a really nice character. I'm happy that Dan-Oh have him as a friend. The way he is shocked to discover Dan-Oh's true personality. Their interactions are so funny.

Baek Kyung is the typical abused character who does the same thing around him... But the way he hurts her everytime is really frustrating. In a TMI interview, Nam Ju asked Baek Kyung if he really likes Dan-Oh or he's just reacting about Number 13 and Baek Kyung said Dan-Oh is his and nobody can't take what belongs to him. I think Lee Jae Wook by answering like that described very well his character feelings.

The sceneries are so beautiful in this drama! The light between the Stage and the Shadow, everything!

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I love how the lights and colors shift when the scenes begin and end, makes it really clear when we're back in the Shadow!

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Mi-chae looks out the window and sees Number 13, his smile fades.

Not only that the smile suddenly faded away, he shows that dark, creepy expression. I'm thrilled. What's with him? Who is he? Dying to know.

Ro-Woon's acting is quite impressive with all the subtle expressions underneath the supposed expression-less expression. I get the feeling that he remembers Dan-Oh from the very beginning. On the running track, he even shows the slightest nod when she introduce herself (heart disease, one-sided love for 10 years, LMAO) for the gazillion times.

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Now WHY on earth my entire post is in the blockquote when I only put the script on the first paragraph? Someone please enlighten me.

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You may have missed the / at the end of your blockquote code?

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Possibly. Thanks. ^_^

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When Haru said Dan-oh's name and the shot panned out beautifully, that was the moment I realised I had gone from entertained to obsessed. I watch both of these episodes once raw and again subtitled, it's filled a hole I didn't know was there!

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I'm really curious about the place. It's a beautiful one.

The scene was beautiful with the light.

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To me they both is saving each other Dan ho and Haru. She started to take notice of him as he was entering the scene when she was in trouble. Witch snowball into her going on a hunt to find him. As she find him she started to talk to him. Gave him name and made him come out of the shadow. They seems very comfortable with each other. Like he just wait to see what she gonna do and say. She is rambling her inner thoughts and fear to him and even ask him to save her as she is desperate. They have that special connection like an invisible thread between them.

I do not see how Dan ho gonna like Kyung in a romantic way. to her he have hurt her mentally saying those words that is like a knife. those thing gonna linger in her mind even though he gonna be very sorry for those words. I can see how he can soften up when he finally figuring out what is happening to him. So I belive he can form friendship with Dan ho and even Haru. To me I think more than a girlfriend he need friendship and learn love true that.

Also I really love Dan ho and Do wha friendship. They are so funny reacting to those scenes.

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Thank you for the great recap, Lollypip!

I'm so into this show, and this was the episode that made it official--it's so good!

I LOVE Do Hwa, and Dan Oh's new relationship with him. Call me a sucker for banter, but I felt deeply tempted to that ship. I do get why Do Hwa still likes Ju Da (of course you're affected by the setup that's all you know, and he does question it) but I want to see him indignant for Dan Oh. It seems natural to care more for the one who's more real and less flat--what is there about Ju Da to like? (But then, teens: she's nice and pretty and symbolizes victory.) He's most compelling and lovable when he's with Dan Oh, wailing about violin playing, and snickering as she says lines.

It's interesting that Dan Oh is so (rightfully) resentful of existing for others, when 13 right now exists for her--drawing her, helping her in all the small ways he can. As though that's a natural stage in fictional-character-evolution: you barely exist, then you exist for others, then you can exist for yourself.

Dried Squid's ominous mutterings (but I'm glad he's not just an exposition fairy! I love these characters having layers we get to peel back, and seeing them become self-aware is like seeing them grow layers!) make me wonder if there's a price to be paid. If 13 was once a character, and for trying to take over too much of the story he was stripped of a name and a face.

Dan Oh is a commentary on minor characters getting out of hand in another way, too--giving her both the fatal illness and the mean fiancee gives her narrative weight, like the writer accidentally made her too interesting and that meant she started to take over the narrative, which is what she's literally trying to do. It helps of course that this show is SO well cast (even Ju Da and Nam Ju make me ship them a little) and the actress is slaying every layer, so we love Dan Oh for her cheerful persistence introducing herself to 13, her sneering at romance, and sympathize totally with her frozen misery in the sea. Because I'm so totally on Dan Oh's side, it's hard not to be furious with Kyung, the only character we see who causes some of her misery. But of course he's not a free agent.

There's a certain magic to the Boys Over Flowers tale I've noticed, in that despite its flaws it does seem to lure everyone in. This gives us both that tale and smart self-awareness, so we can have self-indulgent cake with metatextual icing. I love it!

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Agree. Dan-Oh set up is too interesting for just a mere extra.

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It is! But I can see how it happened--she's essentially Beth from Little Women, intended to die for the other characters' plotlines. That does happen with real writers... like Elsa from Frozen, who was meant to be a straight up villain, but then her song of complexity stopped the story from going that way. Makes you consider all the characters with unrealized potential because the writers didn't take the story that way!

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Oh yes, poor Beth. Sweet lil sis who dies for Jo to grow up. Now I'm really worried for Dan-Oh.

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But that actually did happen in real life. LMA's sister died, so Beth's death really reflects what happened in her family and her feelings about it. She didn't just create Beth as a character to die, like a plot device.

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I agree with everything you said. This show is a hoot when it's being all meta and is making fun of the BOF like story "secret" that essentially plays in the background. But unsurprisingly the bof story in the show is addicting too but the real one has way more potential. I want to read the webtoon but that my just spoil the show for me as I'm really enjoying where it is unpredictably going.

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I loved DanOh and DoHwa being snarky together, their were the best scenes. I think n.13/Haru was not fully aware until he started interacting with DanOh, many times he looked like he was in daze, but the more he was with her the more aware he is becoming more aware, he obviously seems to have some past connection with DanOh but think he don't have full grasp on this memories yet.
An Dried Squid is more suspicious with each passing episode, I don't know if he is author or another character like no.13 but more awaken.
(Maybe they are characters from another scrapped out manhwa, which was rewritten into author new work, but retained some of their former characteristics?)

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What happens to characters when they die. Is it same as ‘death’ in the ‘real’ world. I think this is the key to which ‘Haru’ may hold the answer.
Can they transport to another’s Manhwa through the black hole? Is that how fairy and #13 ended up here??

I loved the scenes between DanOh and DoHwa. They are just natural.

Baek Hyung: I hope his concept is not ‘jealousy’ that even after awakening he is going to be jealous. LJW Has a chilling presence even when blurred in background that you can feel his jealousy in the entire frame. Am also curious what the original intent of the writer is? for BK and DO. why did she have to have a terminal illness. What is happening to BK behind the scenes? What’s his family like. Why should she die? Is she part of BK’s redemption arc?

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That's what I am wondering too. In the manwha he is a bigger character than her. So maybe the whole didn't know what you had until you lost it, kind of arc. Also the author seems super tropey. So I can see him/her going down a dark path with him

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In the manhwa world he is one of main characters but he is not key to the main plot. It’s almost like he has his own mini plot line - with his home situation being dark etc.
Also, we all forget that we haven’t seen much of Dan Oh before she became self aware. Was she written like the ‘manipulative’ girl who goes behind the boy she likes and uses her father/illness to gain attention? Or was she a plain annoying girl who didn’t get the message that the boy doesn’t like her and doesn’t want anything to do with her.
You see BK constantly use the word ‘annoying and frustrating’. He never says he hates her. Only after she became aware and he is starting to turn (I see signs in this episode) he is behaving differently. From indifference to her to jealousy.
Was the original concept ‘jealousy’ too. That there was to be a love triangle and he acting like this or it’s becoming one due to DO’s changing.

Will talk more in episode 4 recap. Because am angry about how his character is changing and I don’t like it one bit :)

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I am looking forward to it. There are things in Ep 4 I do not want to discuss here but I have my thoughts about BK and his relationship with Do is one of them.

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We have seen quite plenty of Dan-Oh stage self. She is just a sweet rich girl who doesn't talk back to anyone. Always agree and is friendly with everyone. I think her&Kyung engagement was basically on her dad who wants to give evrything he can to his sick daughter. Kyung's rejection is purely out of his frustration on his whole situation rather that on her alone. Deep down I believe he (his stage self at least) likes her (again her stage persona). As Do-Hwa states, "he likes sweet girl", in front of the hospital.

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Oh drama, I love you most ardently! I rarely watch a drama with this much joy.

I personally like that we do NOT know, right now at least, how Dan Oh et al. gained (or regained?) awareness. I mean mostly Dan Oh, because I do believe that her having awareness and then interacting accordingly in the Shadows with Characters helps them gain their own. She mostly interacted with Kyung and Do-Wha in the shadows. So Kyung should be gaining awareness soon. Some thoughts on the characters:

Dan - Oh: I love her. She is so spunky and fun. Kim Hye-yoon is one of my new favourites. Incredibly cute and so talented. I can't help but feel that her heart problems are being exacerbated by the writer. She is suddenly so close to dying? Is she being punished? That IS something that worries me. I don't think she realizes how precarious her situation is. After all, the writer could kill her within a few strokes of a pen. And I am pretty sure, if you die on the stage, you... die. What happens then?

Numer 13: I like him. There is not much I can say (yet) except that Ro-won plays him very well. Number 13 seems to be waiting on something. There is always something in his eyes like... he is waiting for Dan - Oh to actually recognize him. Or something. I have a theory for that.

Kyung. Oh Kyung Kyung Kyung. I cannot blame him too much right now. First we do not know most of his actual character (while he seems to be abrasive in the shadows too, he lacks the cruelty that Stage- Kyung posseses). Second even if he was Male Joo- Da with hearts and flowers he is literally forced to act that way. So I am holding my opinion an him, till he reaches awaress (which seemes to be happening as we speak). Lee Jae-wook does make him rather torn in his actions. Which he shouldn't be. The other characters stay the same in the Shadows as they are on the stage. So I do have hopes for him.

I have some theories on the story (no particular order):

- Since character design can only do so much, I am pretty sure almost ALL characters have been used before. In another manhwa. So Number 13 was self-aware once before. And he probably was self - aware with Dan - Oh. If you look at it from a manhwas perspective Dan-Oh became self-aware right at the start. Because these stories usually start with the main heroine getting the attention from the male hero for the first time. So she probably carried her self-awareness over to this story. It may have been easier for Number 13 since he didn't have a "role to play". Min-Chae might be a character that pops up in different works of the author (like an inside gag). Which is why he knows so much. And why he wants things to stay the same. If he can freely "move between stories" it may not be in his interest for things to change.

- Shadows Kyung does like Dan - Oh but can't really place those feelings.

- Nam-Ju and Joo-Da will be the only main characters who are not self-aware in the end. I think to be self-aware you have to want...

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... for things to be different. Which main characters, real main-characters do not become self-aware. Because in the end, things just work out for them.

- The author will try and kill Dan-Oh off at one point. It won't work. Maybe she dies and comes back. Maybe she cannot die because of her heart condition anymore. It will be the point of Dan - Oh being truly free. And starting to wreack havoc on the stage too.

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I haven't watched a drama this closely in a while, trying to figure out the little nuances in subtle looks. Then coming to read the recap to see what I've missed, and then reading all the comments to see if I've missed anything else. I'm so excited and it's been a long time coming😊.

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I just love love love this show very much and I hope it stays fabulous or even gets better till the end. Watching Dan Oh reacts to the manhwa writing is a delight, it is so relatable! I'm worried about Jungmiche though... the way he looked at Haru from the library window.. I even thought that Jungmiche is a manifestation of the writer inside the manhwa world..but I also think it may not be the case. Kyung oh Kyung.. he's not to be fully blamed about what's happening between Dan Oh & him, but I must admit thay I'm very satisfied everytime I see his expression when he looks at Dan Oh who is looking at her new muse, Haru. Serve him right for hurting Dan Oh's feeling for the damn 10 years.

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I haven't been this obsessed with a teen drama set in high school since School 2015, and my ship sunk in that one (if you saw that drama you know who I mean)
Luckily it seems (so far at least) that my ship of Haru and Eun Dan Oh is going to be endgame.

I love Haru so far, and I love how the authors for the drama have slowly given him more shape and abilities the more he interacts with EDO. Is like she said, he wasn't properly drawn, but it seems like her interactions with other people are helping him overcome that.

I feel bad for Baek Hyung though 😪 I have a feeling he really actually cares for Dan Oh. In the shadow you can see he notices her a lot. But he is still trapped in the way his character is written and cannot overcome this to treat Dan Oh as he feels like treating her (which I suspect is rather nicely)

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'Em i the only one who finds Dokhwa really charming??? He was charming in the webtoon as well but the actor makes him even more charming and adorable,i actually feel bad because his set-up is trully really cruel now that he is aware of it!!!!

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I dig him and feel bad for him that he doesn't seem to have his own loveline. He is the cursed second lead! But is not enough for me to jump ship.

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"Mi-chae has mentioned others who fought against their pre-ordained fates, but for all we know, those were characters in other manhwas."

This relates to my theory about Number 13. I think he was one of those characters that fought his fate in a previous manhwa. I think he's been self-aware for a long time but having fought for his fate before and being the tiniest extra, I don't think he expected to be remembered by Dan-oh.

I think in a previous manhwa, dan-oh and number 13 were a couple (probably by their own choice) because even before dan-oh was aware, number 13 has been conscious saving her (on the stairs and during dodgeball).

the next episode only added to my theory.

Anyways, Kim Ro-woon is amazing as this character. I am so protective already over this ball of sunshine. There is so much subtle acting in some of his moments. His face is blank but there are some emotions that is portrayed so when Dan-oh says nothing changed but she thinks it has - I am completely on the same page as her. He's treating her the same and mostly he looks at her the same way but there's something different too. Kim Hye-Yoon is adorable, I'm loving her character. To her, more then the romance, the ability to control her fate and to live is the most important thing to her. I completely relate and I want her to succeed. This drama is becoming one of my favourites. I'm rewatching episodes, which I only do for my absolute favourites. I cannot WAIT for wednesday!

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I love this show in a way I haven’t lived a drama in awhile. Love love the cast

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I just want to say that when the girls where cheering Namjoo on on the field, the cheer was literally "milky-sin Namjoo, i love you Namjoo", WHICH IS AN ACTUAL, REAL-LIFE CHEER FOR SUPER JUNIOR'S KIM HEECHUL i still can't stop laughing lol
Sarangheyo Kim Heechul, uyubittkal Kim Heechul
lol

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