Extraordinary You: Episodes 13-14
Even though she only knew him for a short time, our heroine is completely lost without the friend who’s changed her life in so many ways. Her fiance gets a chance to step up and help, but he has a lot to make up for and she naturally finds it difficult to trust him. A new character shows up in the story, throwing everyone into confusion wondering why he’s there and how this might change the story for them all yet again.
Kyung makes it back to the school before Dan-oh, and he finds Haru’s sketchbook on the windowsill by his old desk. Taking it to the pool, Kyung tears out the pages and flings them into the water, and when he finds a sketch of Dan-oh, he just tosses the entire book in.
Dan-oh wakes at the hospital, and she runs back to the school in the pouring rain to look for Haru. She goes to the library, but the Secret manhwa is gone from its spot on the shelf. Kyung has it, and he tosses it at her feet angrily.
She realizes that he’s self-aware when he yells that she’s had a crush on him for ten years, and that he knows it’s just her character, but it’s still disappointing. He tells Dan-oh that at first, he didn’t understand what Haru meant about scenes changing, and that he was confused on the day she broke their engagement when she kept talking about characters and how it’s all fake.
But then Kyung found Secret and it all started making sense, and he began deliberately taunting Haru just for fun. He sneers that it’s Dan-oh and Haru’s fault that Haru disappeared, yelling that she won’t become a lead character by doing whatever she wants. He warns Dan-oh that she could disappear, too, because she’s only an extra, and her heart condition is a built-in excuse for the Writer to get rid of her.
Dan-oh picks up Secret and leaves, and when she flips through the pages, she realizes that Haru has been replaced by a different student named Park Mo-bum. She desperately asks other students if they’ve seen Haru, but none of them have ever heard of him before, and they insist that Mo-beom is student number 13.
Do-hwa is worried about her, and she tells him that Haru disappeared. They go to see Mi-chae, who says that he warned Haru this might happen, but Haru chose to help Dan-oh anyway. He says they should be glad that only Haru vanished, because they’ve changed so much of the story that they can no longer predict what will happen next.
Dan-oh has trouble accepting that her insistence on changing the story is the reason Haru is gone, so she runs through the school hallways, calling for him. Mi-chae tries to stop her, but she sobs that searching for Haru is all she can do.
Eventually she ends up in the middle of the soccer field, sobbing her poor heart out. Kyung sees her and fights the instinct to go to her, leaving her crying all alone.
He meets his parents for a Stage at a high-end accessory store, where his father picks out a bag for Kyung to give to Dan-oh. He purposely lingers until Nam-ju’s parents show up, and he introduces himself (he’s been angling for Dan-oh’s father to introduce him to Chairman Oh for quite a while).
Kyung scoffs internally as he watches his father’s obvious kissing-up to Chairman Oh, and his father lies that he insisted on buying a gift for his fiancee from this store. While the parents are talking, Kyung notices Nam-ju’s mother shooting him a nasty glare.
The Stage ends as they leave the store, so Kyung says what he’s really thinking — that his father is using Dan-oh again to make business connections. He says he’s actually starting to pity her, and he throws the expensive bag to the ground and storms off.
Dan-oh sits at home, staring at the picture that no longer has Haru in it. In the morning, she visits Mi-chae again, and she promises not to change anything and play her character however the Writer wants if Mi-chae helps her bring Haru back.
Outside, Nam-ju overhears the Yang bullies discussing whether to invite Do-hwa to play soccer with them. He reminds them that he kicked Do-hwa out of A3, so later, when Do-hwa tries to join them, he can tell from their nervous expressions that Nam-ju warned them away from him.
He kicks the soccer ball in frustration and Joo-da picks it up, triggering a Stage. She mentions his confession at Nam-ju’s party, and against his will, Do-hwa tells her to forget it. Internally, he thinks sadly that onStage, he’ll only ever be a friend to Joo-da.
Despite being offStage, Do-hwa goes to the A3 hideout to play his violin. Nam-ju hammers it home that he’s not in A3 any longer, but Do-hwa says he wanted to play his violin once because he wanted to, not because he was forced to.
He asks Nam-ju what he would do if he had to watch him and Joo-da together, and Nam-ju says he wouldn’t stand by and watch the girl he likes with another guy. He says that Do-hwa is no match for him anyway, and agreeing, Do-hwa says that if he’d realized that sooner, Nam-ju’s party wouldn’t have been ruined, Joo-da would be happy, and Haru would still be here.
Kyung runs into Dan-oh on the way to music class, and he’s annoyed when she hopefully calls out Haru’s name then wilts to see that it’s only him. He stifles his reaction and gives her a strawberry milk, then leaves her alone without saying anything mean.
During music class, Dan-oh again blurts out “Haru?!” when the teacher calls on student 13, then begins sobbing that nobody remembers Haru. Kyung pulls her into the hall, where she begs him to say that he remembers Haru, so Kyung admits that yes, he remembers him. He tells her gently that it’s time to stop this, but poor Dan-oh can’t stop crying.
Later, Kyung finds Do-hwa moping and asks if he’s sad about Haru, too. Do-hwa suddenly realizes that if Kyung remembers Haru, that must mean he’s self-aware, though he’s saddened that Dan-oh is too upset to be glad about Kyung. Mi-chae watches them, grumbling that he has no idea where this story is headed.
Dan-oh lays on Haru’s desk and closes her eyes for a while. She’s startled to hear Haru’s voice call her name, and she sees him sitting on the windowsill. Kyung enters the classroom and Haru disappears, and Kyung gets angry that Dan-oh is still crying over an extra. But when he sees her distraught expression, his anger drains away.
That night, a wind blows through the open window in the library, ruffling the drawings that Haru taped to the walls. Whoa, his drawings are still there? Beside the drawings is a huge shimmering portal, exactly like the one Dan-oh and Haru saw that day outside the school.
Dan-oh is surprised when she finds Kyung waiting to give her a ride home after school. She refuses, and you can see him struggle to stifle his outburst and ask her nicely. But Dan-oh continues walking alone, so Kyung has his driver follow her, and eventually he gets out to insist she let him drive her home.
Her heart monitor goes off, so she gives in and gets in the car, but she’s silent the entire way. Kyung drops a bag in her lap, and awww, it’s tissues and things to help her feel better after crying so much. Dan-oh ignores it, though, so Kyung takes out a cold pack and holds it to her eyes for her.
At her house, Kyung notes that she’s not eating either, and asks if she’s really that upset, and Dan-oh says that this is all her fault. Kyung tells her that he’ll do whatever “that jerk” did for her, even promising to help her change the story, but Dan-oh says that only Haru can do that. Growing angry again, Kyung asks if Haru made Dan-oh help him change the story.
He doesn’t understand why she wants to change anything since she has a nice life and good friends, but Dan-oh tells him bluntly, “I’m dying. If the Writer draws a scene where I die, I’ll die immediately. That’s my set-up… all of my remaining time is used for main or supporting characters like you. I’m your fiancee and Nam-ju’s classmate, but before that, I’m Eun Dan-oh. You would never know how desperate I am to spend my time for myself.”
A new Stage starts as Joo-da is leaving for school the following morning. Nam-ju’s mother pushes her way into the yard, insisting on delivering all new appliances for Joo-da’s tiny run-down house, sneering that Joo-da should have some dignity as a Seuli High student. Joo-da is surprised that Nam-ju’s mother knows about her sick grandmother and her part-time job, but Nam-ju’s mom says that her son has told her all about their scholarship student.
Joo-da tries to decline any future help, but Nam-ju’s mother tells her snidely to accept it while she’s offering. She says that there’s something in life more important than pride, and lets her derision show on her face for a moment before leaving.
Humiliated now that she thinks Nam-ju was only nice to her because of his family’s company, Joo-da goes to the A3 hideout at school. She returns the shoes that Nam-ju gave her at his birthday party and says she had fun playing Cinderella, but that after everything disappears on the stroke of midnight, it feels pretty awful.
It’s time for Seuli High’s annual Sports Day, where all the classes compete in different athletic categories. HAHA, even Mi-chae complains about all the work the Writer gave him to prepare, and wonders why the students never seem to actually study.
Do-hwa shows up in his terrible class t-shirt, and Mi-chae notes that he seems to feel better today. H flips through Secret, becoming suddenly alert when he sees something startling. Do-hwa goes to look, and his eyes also go wide.
Dan-oh has to sit in the bleachers because of her heart, and she watches the girls in her class race. Nam-ju gets carried away cheering for Joo-da, and when she wins, he lets loose a whoop that draws everyone’s attention, hee. He’s practicing an apology when Dan-oh wanders by and catches him. She says with a pout that he’s a lead so he doesn’t need to try so hard.
The day continues with silly games between the classes. HAHA, Nam-ju’s class wins the tug-of-war when Nam-ju takes the front of the rope and the girls from the other class all run at him. Dan-oh mopes that everyone is having fun without even knowing that Haru disappeared.
The announcement of the three-legged race starts another Stage, and Dan-oh sighs to find herself holding a banner that says Baek Kyung loves Dan-oh. Kyung joins her, and she simpers that she’s happy to be participating in her first Sports Day and spending time with him. The Stage ends and Dan-oh tosses the banner at Kyung.
She stands to leave, but Kyung says that she’ll have to stay by his side, though Dan-oh argues that the Writer makes her. Kyung says that the only reason things changed was because Haru came between them, but Dan-oh snaps that nothing has changed, because her true self never liked him.
The ~BLIP~ begins another Stage, and Kyung and Dan-oh wake up to find their legs tied together as they stand on the starting line. The teacher asks if she’s well enough to race, and she grins that she can do anything with Kyung’s help.
The race begins and Kyung and Dan-oh pull to the front, but when Dan-oh loses a shoe, she sees where this Stage is going. She thinks desperately, “This is so cruel. I don’t want to be here. I hate everything that’s happening!” She trips and her heart monitor starts beeping, and predictably, Kyung gets angry and storms off.
The Stage ends and Dan-oh tries to retrieve her shoe, but she trips and falls again. Someone picks up her shoe, and she looks up to see… Haru! She’s elated, but he just looks at her blankly, drops the shoe in front of her, and walks away. What?
Haru catches up to Kyung, acting like they’re the best of friends. Dan-oh joins them and grabs Haru’s shirt, sobbing that she won’t lose him again, but he smacks her hand and tells her not to touch him. He pulls Kyung away by the wrist, leaving Dan-oh stunned. Okay, what is happening??
Do-hwa runs over to show Dan-oh what he and Mi-chae found in Secret… Haru is now listed as an extra. But his character description says he’s a member of the tennis team, and that he’s loyal to Kyung.
Another Stage starts and this time Do-hwa wakes up in the school lobby, watching incredulously as Haru follows Kyung around like a puppy. He’s shocked when Haru says hi — he even has lines! Do-hwa finishes the Stage, but as soon as the Shadow starts, he rushes back to tell Haru that he’s been worried sick about him. Haru has no idea what Do-hwa is talking about, confusing Do-hwa, but Kyung just gives Haru a curious stare.
A table of drinks has been set up outside, which Sae-mi’s father donated. She invites the other girls to take some, but every time Joo-da reaches for one, they knock it out of her hands. They talk about their parents’ Sports Day donations, like food trucks and massage chairs, then load Joo-da’s arms with drinks as if she’s a charity case.
Feeling bad for Joo-da, Do-hwa brings her some strawberry milk once the Stage ends. She calls him her guardian angel again, but he says that a guardian angel wouldn’t stand aside while she’s being bullied. He says she’s like Nam-ju, the same onStage and in the Shadow, and muses that Haru changed because of his greed.
As they wait for the dodgeball game to start, Haru is still acting like he and Kyung are best friends. Kyung suspects that Haru might be lying about not remembering anything, but he says he’ll find out soon enough.
Haru and Dan-oh are on opposite sides during the game, and Dan-oh chatters about things that happened before, trying to get him to remember her. Haru spends the game protecting Kyung, grabbing the ball every time it’s about to hit him. Kyung can see Dan-oh losing faith that Haru will remember, and she stops avoiding the ball and just stands there, the perfect target.
Haru sizes her up, obviously planning to hit her with the ball and knock her out of the game. He winds up, and she cringes… but instead of the hard toss he was planning, he just gently bounces the ball off her hip. It pretty much kills Dan-oh’s hope that the Haru she knows is still in there somewhere.
Later, Haru brings Dan-oh a gift from Kyung. She exclaims over his smooth palm, but he says he’s never had a scar there. He goes to Kyung, who grumbles that he has to give Dan-oh presents occasionally so that she won’t bother him too much.
He mentions the dodgeball game, but Haru doesn’t remember it, even when Kyung says that he won the game by hitting Dan-oh with the ball. Kyung notes that Haru remembers the Stage but not the Shadow, and he asks if Haru is no longer self-aware, but Haru just acts like Kyung is talking crazy.
After the soccer game, Kyung asks Haru if he used to be close with Dan-oh, but Haru says that he only knows her as Kyung’s fiancee. Kyung finally accepts that Haru is telling the truth and doesn’t remember anything, and he decides that he likes this version of Haru.
Mi-chae is concerned that Haru remembers nothing, and that now he has a character set-up and lines onStage. He’s also curious whether Haru really lost his memory or if he’s just pretending. Darkly, he wonders if this will change someone else’s set-up, or even their entire story.
He finds Haru sitting under the flowers that always show up near him. He tells Haru that the flowers symbolize “waiting,” and he leans in to peer at Haru closely. He says it really is him, musing that, “Your personality has changed a bit, but actually, you’re more like your old character now.”
He asks if Haru’s hand has stopped hurting, and he says he’s not sure yet if this is a good thing. With a sarcastic grin, he decides to wait and see what happens.
That evening, Kyung is dragged to Dan-oh’s house by his father, who claims that Kyung insisted on visiting his fiancee. Dan-oh states that she doesn’t feel well, and when Chairman Baek asks if she needs to go to the hospital, Kyung snaps at him for pretending to care about her.
Dan-oh hisses that he’s lost his mind, but Kyung reminds her that their fathers won’t remember this, anyway. He tells Chairman Eun that Chairman Baek is using his sick daughter to make a good impression, and just when everyone is extremely upset, a Stage starts up and suddenly they’re all smiles.
Dan-oh thanks at Kyung for the expensive bag, and the dads discuss setting a wedding date. Once the Stage is over, Dan-oh and Kyung go up to Dan-oh’s room, where she fusses at him for making such a scene earlier. She says that, even if they won’t remember, he should at least feel apologetic that his family is using hers.
He fires back that he goes along with the way things are written. He asks if she wants to be more than just an extra, or if she wants to change her set-up of being terminally ill… or if it’s because of Haru. Kyung tells Dan-oh that Haru can’t change her story, but he can because he’s her partner in the story.
Another Stage starts as Kyung and his father walk to their car. Chairman Baek praises Kyung for successfully convincing Chairman Eun that he cares for Dan-oh, then in the same breath, he threatens to cut Kyung from his life if he refuses to marry Dan-oh again. He gives Kyung a thick handful of cash as payment for the good work he’s done, then the Stage ends.
Freed now, Kyung drops the money and sneers that he’s just a character who lets his father use him because he doesn’t want to be abandoned. Chairman Baek punches Kyung, but when he pulls back a fist for a second punch, Kyung shoves him away.
He walks alone to the school and finds the copy of Secret, and he’s surprised to see Haru at his locker. He asks if Secret looks familiar to Haru, but Haru frowns and says no. He looks worried when he notices Kyung’s split lip, and Kyung sneers that when someone is finally worried about him, it’s Haru, of all people.
In the kitchen, Mi-chae remembers how Haru said before his disappearance, “If there’s no answer to how I came to this world, I will make my own answer with Dan-oh.” Dan-oh comes to tell him that Haru returned, but that he has no memory of her. Mi-chae asks if she plans to try to make him self-aware again, but she says no.
She says that she loved it when they changed the story together, and she didn’t care if it messed up the story, because it gave her hope that she would live. But she admits that she’s been scared ever since Haru disappeared, because she wants to accept life as an extra but she’s afraid to die.
At the same time, Haru is leaving the school, and he’s startled by the sound of quickly flipping pages. He follows the sound to the library, and into the deserted corner where his old sketches are still on the wall.
The shimmering portal is also still there, only this time, two people who look like Haru and Dan-oh in Joseon-era clothing can be seen. The girl says, “I will make my own answer. With you.”
Haru turns the corner and sees the portal, and his eyes go wide.
Well, that pretty much proves the theory that the characters in Secret are recycled from the Flower manhwa, and maybe even from other stories before that. And as this drama tends to do, answering one question only leads to many more. Why is the writer re-using characters? Is it the recycling that’s causing them to become self-aware, possibly just because they’ve existed for so long and eventually they were bound to remember something? Why some characters and not others? And does the Writer even know this is happening?
My primary questions, though, concern Haru. What about Haru makes him special to the point that he’s able to change the story when none of the others can? Why did he have that scar, and why did it disappear when he came back without his memory? What’s the significance of the flowers and the fact that they symbolize waiting? I also feel that there’s something connecting Haru and Mi-chae, though at this point any guesses I have about Mi-chae’s existence are just guesses, and not because of anything we’ve seen or been told. But what did he mean when he said that Haru is more like his “old character?”
Kyung was given a chance to shine with Haru gone, but he didn’t do much to redeem himself. I get that Kyung is scared to lose Dan-oh, either to another guy or to her heart condition, but that’s no excuse to treat her so hatefully. He’s capable of being gentle and caring with her, but then he does something else that’s so mean, I just can’t bring myself to like him. He shows promise, such as when he gave Dan-oh some things to help her feel better after crying for days, and when he offered to help her change the story, but then he turns around and says hurtful things again.
But at least he’s said some things that clue us in as to why he acts like he does. I think that mostly, Kyung is scared to care about Dan-oh because he lost his mother to a terminal illness. He’s also not trying to buck the story, because in his mind there’s nothing that will change his life for the better, so he may as well go along with his character as he’s written. I do think that Kyung cares about Dan-oh, which is why he’s offering to help her change her set-up and in the process make her forget Haru. He’s just never had to be nice to anyone before, so he doesn’t really know how — but you can see him trying.
I have some theories on other characters who are either self-aware, or on the way there. First and foremost is Joo-da, who mostly sticks to her character both on and offStage as Do-hwa noted. But there are tiny moments when I think she’s starting to wake up. I also suspect Kyung’s stepmother as being on the way to self-awareness — this one is mostly a hunch because of the way she’s objected to her husband’s behavior at times, and instead of lashing out at her like an abuser would do, he doesn’t seem to notice. But I’m pretty sure that Kyung’s stepbrother Joon-hyun is fully self-aware, and may have been for quite some time… he’s very interested in Dan-oh’s actions, and he’s urged Kyung several times offStage to be nice to her. Something about him just reminds me of Mi-chae with the way he observes everything so closely, but keeps himself out of the story as much as possible. I think that the more Dan-oh and Haru learn about themselves and their own pasts, the more the self-awareness will spread among the characters until the entire manhwa world is blown wide open.
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