Extraordinary You: Episodes 7-8
As exciting as it is for our heroine to discover that she may be able to change her fate, in the manhwa world, anything that goes against the Writer’s planned story has major repercussions. She finds a possible partner in her quest to change her fate, but he’s got some dark secrets of his own. It may not be possible for our girl to save herself without causing a lot of harm to others — she’s got a big decision to make.
Dan-oh is disappointed when Number 13 doesn’t help her change a Stage scene, then she can’t make her stone tower stay up and get her wish. She cries to Number 13 that she thought he could change her fate, but now she believes that he can’t.
She walks away, and he stays behind and stacks up her stone tower, seeing that her wish is, “I want to live.” We see that in his backpack, he has a copy of the “Secret” manhwa, and he finally speaks for the first time: “Eun Dan-oh.”
Dan-oh finds Kyung, who’s breaking relationship stones with other girls because he just doesn’t care. Dripping seawater, she glares at him, thinking, “I don’t know when and where I’ll die. Will I spend all the time I have left getting hurt by Kyung?”
The girls accuse her of trying to make Kyung like her by acting pathetic. Dan-oh thinks that she’s not crying because of Kyung, she’s sad because she keeps getting her hopes up but nothing ever changes. Kyung mutters that she should have stayed in the hospital, and Dan-oh Has. Had. ENOUGH.
She runs over and slams her hand into his back, and he screams that she’s crazy. She snaps back that he’s the crazy one and stomps off. Number 13 watches their exchange, and later, he reads the scene in his copy of “Secret.”
Dan-oh has another storyboard vision — this time she sees Kyung in a dark forest, growling that he doesn’t like her. She sees herself screaming, Nam-ju and Joo-da clinging to each other, then Kyung yelling angrily that he’s been looking everywhere for her. When she wakes up, she gets upset with the Writer for giving Kyung such hurtful lines to say to a sick person.
A3 rest up ahead of the evening schedule, Nam-ju complaining that he’s been running from girls with relationship stones all day. Do-hwa notices a red mark on Kyung’s back when he changes shirts, and he recognizes it as the shape of a girl’s hand (Nam-ju: “You deserve many of those on a daily basis.” I’m starting to like Nam-ju.).
Dan-oh studies the hiking trail map for tonight’s couples’ hike, and Sae-mi says that lots of couples are formed during the couples’ hike every year. She tells Dan-oh to stick close to Kyung tonight, and for sure he’ll fall for her.
Number 13 goes to check out the trails in person. He ignores an “off limits” sign, and he peeks through some vines to see something that appears to surprise him.
The students draw numbers to see who they’re paired with. Sae-mi wails when she doesn’t pick Nam-ju’s number, because naturally he and Joo-da picked the same number. It disappoints Do-hwa even though he knows the Writer planned it that way. Dan-oh knows it too, plus she’s seen the storyboard, so she correctly guesses that she and Kyung chose the same number.
He’s annoyed when she rushes down the trail, so Dan-oh confesses that she studied the route. Soon the ~BLIP~ alerts her that the Stage has started, and her chest starts to hurt. She asks Kyung pitifully if they can take a break, and he says his line about not liking her right on cue. He continues down the trail and leaves Dan-oh alone in the forest, and the Stage ends.
Dan-oh stops crying and stands, her chest pain gone. She finds the spot where she saw herself screaming for the next Stage and lets loose a loud shriek. Nearby, Joo-da clings to Nam-ju, then they jump apart awkwardly and awww, Nam-ju clutches his pounding heart. An owl hoots and Joo-da grabs Nam-ju again, so he takes her hand in his, acting like it’s only so they don’t get separated.
Dan-oh wanders the forest waiting for the next Stage and gets lost despite all her studying. The battery dies in her flashlight and she doesn’t have her phone, and she realizes that she’s in big trouble.
Kyung gets all the way back to the resort, but within moments he starts to feel guilty for leaving Dan-oh. Do-hwa gives him the keychain from Dan-oh that he spurned, and reminds Kyung that she has a weak heart. Cursing, Kyung runs back out again.
Dan-oh is genuinely scared now, huddled by a tree and singing songs to herself. Someone approaches and she shakes with fear… but it’s just Number 13, whew. Dan-oh is so relieved that she tackles him and cries into his chest (or more like his bellybutton — why is he so tall??).
While they walk, Dan-oh asks Number 13 to turn on his flashlight, and he startles her by accidentally aiming it at his face. He says, “Sorry,” and Dan-oh’s eyes grow wide to hear him speak. She asks why he’s never spoken before, but he gets distracted and wanders off to inspect a scary mannequin someone left on the trail. Dan-oh is scared it might be a ghost, but Number 13 says, “We are real. This is fake.”
Number 13 and Dan-oh take a break, and she wonders why he waited so long to talk. She complains that she’s cold, so Number 13 starts to take off his jacket and shirt, displaying some mighty fine abs. Dan-oh shields her eyes and says he shouldn’t take off his clothes in front of her, then peeks through her fingers and makes sounds of appreciation at the view, hee.
He lowers his t-shirt but gives her the button-down he was wearing. Dan-oh is pleased, but she tells Number 13 that no matter how good-looking he is, if he can’t help her change her fate… but she remembers that Kyung was supposed to rescue her and realizes that the story has changed.
She and Number 13 keep walking, and he leads her past the “off limits” sign. There’s a sweet moment when Dan-oh slips so Number 13 offers her his hand, awww. He takes her to the spot he saw earlier, which turns out to be a clearing next to a waterfall, surrounded in flowers.
He asks Dan-oh if she knows what kind of flowers they are, and whether she knows this place, but she says she doesn’t, making him stare at her strangely. He leans in, and Dan-oh braces herself for him to kiss her, but he only pulls a flower out of her hair, HA.
Dan-oh’s foot slips out from under her and she lands on her rear. Number 13 tries to help but he also slips and falls, so they give up and lie there, laughing. As they gaze up at the starry sky, Dan-oh confesses that she was sad to think about following a path that had been decided for her.
She says dreamily, “Thanks to you, I think my day can change.” She asks if she can call him Haru, which means “day.”
Before he answers, there’s a ~BLIP~ and it’s the following day. The class is visiting an ancient palace, and the Stage ends pretty quickly. Dan-oh sees Kyung, who says the exact lines he was supposed to say when he found her in the forest (“Where have you been? I’ve been looking all over for you!”).
He asks about her heart and says he’s worried about her. Since they’re in the Shadow, Dan-oh is doubly surprised, but Kyung just awkwardly shuffles away. He stares after Dan-oh so intently that Do-hwa startles him, heh.
Do-hwa asks what Kyung did last night, and he says he went looking for Dan-oh. His voice trails off, then he asks, “Where was I?” Whoa, is he becoming self-aware now, too?
Dan-oh finds Number 13, hoping he remembers her. She snatches his sketchbook and flips through it, marveling at what a good artist he is. She goes into her self-introduction, then tells him that his name is Haru, which he repeats softly.
She draws a circle in the air with her finger and does a little “You remember me… I can change the future…” incantation. Number 13 — Haru now — grabs her finger and makes her shy, so she pulls her hand back and comments on the scenery.
She jokes that she feels comfortable here and must have been a princess in a past life, then has to tell Haru it’s a joke when he doesn’t laugh. He does give her a little half-smile, and it’s adorable. They walk for a while then stop to rest, and Dan-oh says it’s a shame she’s the only one who knows Haru’s new name.
The wind picks up and blows Haru’s baseball cap a short distance, and when they catch it, Haru notices something sticking out of the sand. They bonk heads leaning down to look, then laugh shyly, and awww, Haru’s real smile is lovely. He pulls a small box from the sand and find an old hair ornament inside, with the same flowers on it that were blooming in the forest clearing.
Suddenly, Haru gasps as if in pain and drops the ornament, revealing the scar in his palm. Dan-oh leans down to pick up the ornament… ~BLIP~ she’s at the train station and the trip is over. She looks up, and Haru is a distance away, but he’s staring at her so intently that she wonders if he really does remember her.
On the train, Joo-da falls asleep, and Nam-ju leans her head over to rest on his shoulder. Kyung keeps watching Dan-oh as she stares at the window, looking at Haru’s reflection. And awww, Haru is also watching Dan-oh’s reflection, and he draws her name with his finger on the glass… he definitely remembers her.
Back at school, the Yang bullies (all their names start with Yang-) tease Dan-oh to cure her heart problem so she can have a good time with her crush, Kyung. She snaps that she’s working on a project to change her fate and has no time for their shenanigans, but they don’t stop until Kyung gives them the stink-eye.
Soo-cheol, who took pictures during the class trip, offers to sell the pictures to the students for a few dollars each. The girls clamor to snaps up the pictures featuring their A3 bias. Dan-oh hangs back, so Sae-mi buys her a couple of pictures of herself, but she’s only interested in the picture that captured Haru in the background.
Kyung grabs the picture from her hands and is baffled because he’s not in it. Dan-oh chirps that that’s why she’s keeping it, and HAHA, Kyung is so mad when he can’t even get her to look at the picture he’s in.
The girls shoot glares at Joo-da when the only picture Nam-ju chooses is one of her by the ocean. He looks so busted when he runs into Joo-da and tries to hide the picture, hee. Do-hwa sees them talking together, and later he asks Dan-oh how she deals with her life being so limited by outside factors. He spots Joo-da, and Dan-oh encourages him to go to her and change his fate.
While visiting with Mi-chae, Dan-oh mentions that she’s given Number 13 a name, Haru, and that being with Haru does change the storyboard. Mi-chae looks disturbed, almost angry, and he tells Dan-oh, “When extras get names and start acting on their own… everything will go wrong. Leave.”
When Dan-oh gets home from school, her dad gives her a little pot of flowers that she planted with her mother. He says they bloom reliably every year, as if her mom comes to visit her. She remembers her mother, and she tells herself that even if she was created by the Writer, her feelings are real.
Haru stays in the art room after school, sketching a picture of Dan-oh holding the keychain she gave to Kyung, which reminds him of the hair ornament they found. He pulls his copy of “Secret” from his backpack and reads the scene, seeing how Kyung rejected her gift, and he tears his picture from the easel.
The next day, Haru offers to carry a cooler that a pair of weaker boys are struggling with. They protest that it’s their job, but Haru says, “Nobody cares about extras, anyway.” Whoa.
Nam-ju and Kyung watch the girls playing basketball, and Kyung notices that Nam-ju’s gaze is glued to Joo-da. Nam-ju denies liking her, so Kyung tells him to manage his facial expressions better, lol. Joo-da gets hit in the head when her ball ricochets off the net, so Nam-ju goes over to give her a little lesson. The other girls lose their minds when he sinks a basket, but he ignores them in favor of Joo-da.
Mi-chae sits in the library reading “Secret,” and suddenly, Haru’s sketches of Dan-oh start blowing around the room. He follows the trail to a little corner of the library, where the whole wall is covered in sketches of Dan-oh and the school. Oh, I don’t like that look on Mi-chae’s face at all.
Haru brings the cooler to the gym and starts to approach Kyung. One of the Yang Trio tosses a wild ball, and Haru reflexively throws out a hand to stop it from hitting Kyung in the face. He asks Kyung where the keychain that Dan-oh got him is now, saying that he needs it, but Kyung claims to have thrown it out.
Kyung asks who he is, and Haru tells him, “Haru. My name is Haru.” (He just claimed his name!) Kyung tries to follow Haru out of the gym, but he loses sight of him.
Dan-oh sits in class, scoffing at the idea that extras can’t have names and musing that “Haru” fits him. Haru catches her staring at him, and she mouths What are you looking at? He points at her and mouths back, You, and whoa, big-time swoon. Dan-oh’s response is to wrist-grab him out to the hallway (I love that she’s constantly wrist-grabbing him) and ask excitedly if he remembers her. Haru seems confused, like he doesn’t remember pointing at her just a minute ago.
In the library Haru, catches Dan-oh staring at him again. She awkwardly pretends to be reading her book, and when she peeks, he’s moved to the chair next to her. He says shyly that he moved because of the sunlight, then holds a hand out as if he’s catching a sunbeam.
Dan-oh mimics him, and they smile at each other. Dan-oh laughs when her watch reflects light into Haru’s eye and makes him squint cutely. He flashes a bigger smile as he watches her laugh, and across the room, Kyung gets annoyed at their antics.
He stands and ~BLIP~ a Stage begins. Kyung grabs Dan-oh’s wrist and grumbles that she’s getting on his nerves, then he turns to Haru and asks angrily if he’s having fun with Dan-oh. He yanks Haru by the shirt and throws him into a bookshelf, and when Haru touches his head, his hand comes away bloody.
Kyung bellows to Dan-oh, “If you don’t want to end up like him, don’t get on my nerves.” Her heart monitor starts beeping, and Kyung says he can only tolerate so much, then Dan-oh passes out and wakes up in the hospital again.
Doctor Lee does some tests, and he sounds like he’s struggling not to cry as he tries to tell Dan-oh the results. She says that she knows she doesn’t have much time left. Cheering up again, she assures Doctor Lee that she’ll change the story and somehow save her own life.
The next day, before school, Dan-oh is alarmed that her mother’s garden is suddenly gone. Her father doesn’t know what she’s talking about when she asks what happened to the swing and the flowers she planted with her mother.
She starts crying and runs up to her room, where she sees her picture of Haru. It reminds her that Mi-chae warned that everything will go wrong if extras get names and start behaving independently, and she realizes that it’s starting, all because of her wish to become real.
At school, Haru doesn’t even look at Dan-oh when she waves to him, though he walks within inches of her. She turns away, dejected, and Haru looks back to watch her go.
Dan-oh helps Mi-chae cut onions in the kitchen, refusing goggles for her weepy eyes, wailing that she deserves to suffer. She tells Mi-chae that he was right — the more she tries to change things, the worse it all gets. She vows never to speak to Haru… no, Number 13… again, and OMG I wish she’d put that knife down! Mi-chae just listens, then goes back to his onion-chopping.
When Haru gets to class later, Dan-oh has left some medicine for the cut on his forehead on his desk. He just pushes it aside, so Dan-oh gets up to tell him to doctor his cut. But the class president stops her to ask why Kyung isn’t at school today, then he notices Haru’s forehead and fusses over him. Wait — a named student noticed him.
Dan-oh goes to the classroom after school, but the antiseptic is still sitting on Haru’s desk, untouched. Dan-oh says she’s sorry to Haru… no, Number 13… and lays her head on his desk.
Chairman Eun goes to Kyung’s house for dinner that night and apologizes that Dan-oh didn’t accompany him. Kyung’s stepbrother asks why she didn’t come to dinner, and Chairman Eun says she’s a bit tired from her one-sided love and asks Kyung to be nicer to her.
After Chairman Eun leaves, Chairman Baek drags Kyung into the house and yells at him for not being nicer to Dan-oh. His wife tries to calm him down, but Kyung snarls at her to stay out of it. Chairman Baek punches Kyung in the mouth, then again, then he grabs a golf club and starts smashing everything in the room. Someone has issues.
At school the next morning. Do-hwa notices Kyung’s split lip, but Kyung just asks where Dan-oh is. He finds her at the school’s outdoor theatre, and as the Stage starts, Dan-oh’s chest begins to hurt. Kyung picks up the heart monitor that Dan-oh dropped and tells her that he’s jealous because she always gets her way, and he asks why she didn’t come to dinner.
She won’t answer, and in frustration, he slams her heart monitor to the ground and stomps on it. He accuses her of deliberately provoking him, and tells her to just go back to her quiet crush.
It starts to rain, but neither of them moves. Kyung says again that Dan-oh always gets what she wants just because she’s sick, so she uses her illness to get her way. He snaps, “It’s not like you’re dying!” and Dan-oh just stares at him in disbelief.
Suddenly, Haru is there, and he punches Kyung so hard that he spins around and falls. He says to Dan-oh, “Let’s go, Eun Dan-oh,” and he leads her away. Kyung screams after them, “Who are you?!”
Haru says, “You won’t remember even if I tell you. The scene will change soon.”
Well that answers that question – Haru is absolutely self-aware, and he knows that they’re in a manhwa. There’s definitely more to Haru than meets the eye – in fact, I have a feeling that this guy has a lot of secrets. He was a faceless extra, so he shouldn’t really have any distinguishing characteristics, yet he stands out as more unique than any of the other characters. There’s his scar, which feels very incongruous because all the other characters are healed of their wounds whenever a new stage starts. He can draw quite well, and then there’s the fact that his very presence can change the Stages.
And some very strange things have happened around him, like the hair ornament seeming to sting or burn him. He looked some strange way when he asked Dan-oh if she knew the glade and the flowers in it and she said no… like he was disappointed, almost. Why should she remember that glade, and why did he ask her that? It’s like he has memories he shouldn’t have, yet so often Haru appears to be experiencing the world for the first time. And how about the fact that he’s twice been featured in a Stage where Kyung became jealous of his relationship with Dan-oh? He’s gone from faceless random extra to a named character with a story arc in the manhwa.
And then there’s Mi-chae’s reactions to Haru, which are indulgently amused when Dan-oh talks about him, but seeing Haru evolve and gain a face and a name seem to make him almost angry. Mi-chae appears to be some sort of gatekeeper, as if it’s his job in the story to keep things going the way they should, but he confuses me because he doesn’t seem that upset about Dan-oh and Do-hwa’s awakenings — in fact, he gives them a lot of information once they wake up. But he definitely knows much more than he’s telling Dan-oh and Do-hwa about how the manhwa world works. He’s not worried that they’ll be able to change anything, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Haru — like he sees Haru as a serious threat. I’m scared that Mi-chae is going to stop being a benevolent fairy and start going dark on us.
I’m also growing super worried about Kyung, who’s stuck in an abusive family and engaged to a very sick girl to benefit his father’s business. It’s no wonder he’s so angry, and the only person he can take that anger out on is Dan-oh. He’s still horrible to treat her so badly, especially knowing about her (character’s) feelings for him, but I think he truly believes that Dan-oh isn’t really that sick, and that she exaggerates a minor illness to get what she wants… including him. I need him to become fully self-aware soon so he can learn the truth about Dan-oh, and discover who he really is underneath the frightened, stifled boy he’s written to be.
It hadn’t even occurred to me before the show started because I was just expecting something light and fluffy, but now that we’ve seen that Extraordinary You is willing to go to the dark, scary places, I find myself hoping that the story delves deeply into more serious topics like free will. Dan-oh and Do-hwa are self-aware now, Haru has probably been self-aware for quite some time, and now Kyung seems poised to break free of his pre-determined character. We don’t yet know why they’re self-aware or what’s causing it, or why it seems to be spreading. But since they know now that their words and actions, and even feelings, aren’t their own, I want to see them explore the limits of their world and discover what it means to be independent. I’m curious what Mi-chae means by everything going wrong, but I’m scared that Dan-oh will sacrifice herself to “save” her friends. But I kind of want to watch what happens when everything goes “wrong,” because who’s to say that Mi-chae’s idea of wrong isn’t the best thing for the self-aware characters? I want to see them break free from the mysterious writer and make their own lives and futures, not lives that only happen in the background of someone else’s story.
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