Extraordinary You: Episodes 15-16
Our self-aware manhwa characters are all experiencing different emotional responses to a certain character’s return. He’s a lesson to some that they can’t change the story without serious consequences, while others use the situation in an attempt to get what they want this time. But what about our lost hero himself — what will he do when he realizes that the world around him isn’t what it seems to be?
Haru turns into the hidden corner of the library just as the portal showing two people who look like himself and Dan-oh in Goryeo-era clothing closes. A red flower falls to the floor, and Haru picks it up, then notices the sketches of that same flower on the wall next to a sketch of Dan-oh.
He runs into Dan-oh in the school hallway and calls to her, but she tamps down her futile hope that he remembers her. He says that Kyung just left, and Dan-oh sighs in disappointment that Haru only knows her as Kyung’s fiancee who has a heart condition. He asks if he should know something else about her, and with tears in her eyes, Dan-oh says that he doesn’t have to anymore.
In the morning, Kyung is bothered by the way Dan-oh stares at Haru, but Haru barely notices her as he continues to fawn over Kyung. Do-hwa is in a tizzy, having read the scene in Secret where Kyung and his father discussed how Kyung is pretending to like Dan-oh.
Kyung snaps that the Writer made him do that, and that it’s not how he truly feels. He warns Do-hwa to stop changing the story, worried about what could happen to Nam-ju, who isn’t self-aware. Do-hwa asks if Kyung is okay with being a character who betrays his own fiancee, and Kyung admits that he never really thought about it, but now he says that someone is making him want to change the story.
He goes to the kitchen to reveal to Mi-chae that he’s self-aware now, and he realizes by Mi-chae’s lack of reaction that he already knew. Mi-chae objects to Kyung speaking to him like they’re friends, but Kyung drawls that self-aware characters should be nice to each other.
In class, Sae-mi teases Dan-oh for being lovestruck, though the kids all assume that the object of her crush is Kyung. But it’s Haru she can’t stop staring at, and her attention seems to make him uncomfortable.
During science class, Kyung watches Dan-oh, who’s watching Haru. Haru doesn’t seem to be paying any attention to Dan-oh, but when Kyung leaves and Dan-oh struggles to open a jar, he goes over to open it for her. He says that he worries about her, but she growls at him not to give her hope that he’s the old Haru.
Kyung returns with some supplies and bristles at Haru for talking to Dan-oh, but Haru just tells Kyung brightly to take better care of Dan-oh.
Haru seems to have acquired his own female fan base, and the rumor mill has it that he may be joining A3. Dan-oh is alarmed to hear girls swooning over Haru, and it makes her scream and whine in frustration. She decides to just ignore Haru from now on, unwilling to watch him with other girls.
Even Mi-chae watches Haru and wonders if it feels worse to be controlled by the Writer than to be self-aware. He’s suddenly pulled into a Stage where he bumps into Nam-ju’s mother and makes her drop her phone. He apologizes, but when he sees her face he freezes, as if he’s scared. The Stage ends, and he mutters, “It is worse to be an extra who is controlled by the Writer.”
Inside the school, Joo-da greets Nam-ju’s mother, who notices her worn shoes and says she’ll send her a new pair. She sighs that she wishes Nam-ju had a girlfriend who’s as good of a match as Dan-oh is for Kyung, and she asks if Joo-da knows anyone of Nam-ju’s status that she could introduce him to. Damn, that’s cold.
Sae-mi runs over, and Nam-ju’s mother asks if Sae-mi has a boyfriend and invites her to their house soon, shooting Joo-da nasty little triumphant glares all the while. Later in class, Sae-mi calls Nam-ju and loudly mentions that his mother invited her over, but HAHA, he hangs up on her.
Joo-da gets bullied again, this time with notes stuck to her back about her lack of money. Nam-ju pulls them off and demands to know who did it, and he blames Sae-mi. He pulls Joo-da from the classroom, and on the way, she doles out a sly little grin of her own in Sae-mi’s direction. Yes, the kitten has claws!
She thanks Nam-ju for helping her, but she tells him to stop pitying her just because they’re from different worlds because it gives her hope, and she doesn’t want to get hurt. Frustrated, Nam-ju grabs her wrist again and pulls her to the school media room, intent on proving his sincerity.
Do-hwa thinks that Dan-oh should try doing the same things she did with Haru when he was only Number 13, thinking that maybe he’ll go back to being himself. Dan-oh pouts that she doesn’t want to, too scared to get hurt again. She tells Do-hwa that Nam-ju and Joo-da made a scene on the Stage again, but Do-hwa says he’s staying out of it from now on.
Another Stage starts, and they hear Nam-ju’s voice over the school intercom. Sae-mi preens, assuming that he’s planning to publicly apologize to her. Instead, he says, “From now on, Yeo Joo-da is the only woman for me.” It’s the line he was supposed to say at his birthday party, and Dan-oh and Do-hwa wryly admit that the story will go as the Writer plans no matter what they do.
Kyung finds Dan-oh on the catwalk later, having also recognized that Nam-ju said the line he was stopped from saying at the party. He says that the story is continuing as planned but that he’s still willing to try and help her change it, but Dan-oh says that the only one who can move freely onStage is Haru. She’s giving up, convinced that they can’t change anything, and she drops her medication over the railing.
Down below, Haru notices them talking. He goes inside and collides with Mi-chae, who drops the box he was carrying. Haru picks up the copy of Flower, but Mi-chae snatches the manhwa back angrily, storming off and leaving Haru confused.
He tries to sit near Dan-oh in the library later, but moves to the other end of the table when she makes it clear he’s unwelcome. Unable to study, he nods off, wondering why Dan-oh is on his mind so much lately.
He dreams of another library long ago, where he sees Dan-oh reaching to a high shelf for a book, only to topple off her stool. Haru runs to stop her fall with his back, then he twists to catch her in his arms.
He wakes back in the present, and goes looking for another book. Dan-oh ends up at the same shelf and eyes him warily, but instead of asking for help, she gets a stepstool and reaches up to a high shelf. She loses her balance, and in an eery echo of Haru’s dream, she falls onto his back and he turns to catch her in his arms.
Dan-oh quickly runs off, and soon after, she ~BLIPs~ into a Stage at the hospital. Doctor Lee wants to put her on some new medications, and when she objects, her father snaps at her angrily. Startled, Dan-oh backs down and apologizes, and she promises to take her medications if her dad grants her wish to get married as soon as possible.
She’s immediately alarmed by her own wish, and as soon as the Stage ends, she takes it back. She tells her dad that she knows he’s always worried because of her weak heart, and they hug and promise to be dad and daughter in their next lives, too.
In the morning, Kyung shows up to take Dan-oh to school, surprising her since it’s not a Stage. He finds a picture of them as children on Dan-oh’s wall, and he remembers that she’s always hated taking so much medicine. Kyung recalls that he used to say Cinderella’s godmother’s magic words (“Bibbity-bobbity-boo”) whenever she had to take medicine, and that her wish was always to have a healthy heart.
Dan-oh says it’s all just set-up, but Kyung says that he remembers everything. Dan-oh admits that she’s glad someone remembers her outside of the story, and she admits that dealing with Haru’s loss would have been worse without Kyung there.
She says she’s going to try and accept the way things are and forget Haru, and how she tried to change the story. She half-jokes that she’ll even try to forget how rude Kyung was in the past, and as she heads off to school, we see that Kyung now wears the flower charm she gave him on his backpack.
At school, Haru is bothered when he witnesses Kyung gently holding Dan-oh’s wrist, and he grabs Kyung’s wrist to make him let go. He says it’s because he and Kyung have practice before school, but then he sees the look on Dan-oh’s face and gets confused. During class, Haru keeps looking over at Dan-oh, and he experiences another dream/flashback.
This time he’s in a Goryeo-era marketplace, and he spots a pretty ornament with red flowers on it. He’d previously seen Dan-oh admiring it, and the vendor tells him that the flower means Even if the world falls apart and the earth splits, I will wait for you.
Kyung wakes Haru for practice, and Haru sees the flower charm on his backpack. Kyung says that Dan-oh gave it to him, and he asks why Haru wants to know about it, but Haru just says he saw one in his dream. It worries Kyung, having seen the sketches of the same flower in Haru’s old notebook.
Joo-da challenges Nam-ju to a game of rock-paper-scissors, with the winner getting a wish. Nam-ju doesn’t seem sorry when he loses, and Joo-da says that her wish is for him and Do-hwa to be friends again because he’s most himself when A3 is together. They don’t notice one of his mother’s aides nearby, taking photos of them together.
Nam-ju finds Do-hwa in the A3 hideout and a new Stage begins. He says that “his woman” requested that they be A3 again, and Do-hwa is compelled to say that both A3 and Joo-da are dear to him. He adds that they should have a fair competition, thinking that his violin playing gives him an edge.
Kyung puts his hand over theirs, then yanks it back as soon as the Stage ends. Do-hwa says that he could feel Nam-ju’s sincerity this time, and he gives Nam-ju a bear hug, telling him that he’s a valued friend even if he’s not self-aware (LOL, Nam-ju’s face). Do-hwa admits that his feelings for Joo-da will take a while to subside, but he genuinely wishes them happiness together.
That evening, Kyung asks Dan-oh to meet him in a park, where he gives her some expensive gifts. She’s touched by the jar of candies, the same ones he used to give her when she had to take her medicine. He says there’s one more gift, and Dan-oh sees Haru approaching with a huge bouquet of flowers.
But Haru is only here because Kyung told him to bring the flowers, to make the point that Haru is closer to him than to Dan-oh. He dismisses Haru, who hesitates, so Dan-oh tells him to leave. Kyung snarls that this must be how she and Haru felt when they were self-aware and he wasn’t.
Dan-oh snaps, “He’s not Haru,” and storms off. Kyung says to Haru, “Not anymore. Leave,” but Haru never takes his eyes off Dan-oh.
Dan-oh suddenly ~BLIPs~ into a Stage where she’s dragged Haru shopping for gift ideas for Kyung. She thinks to herself that the Writer is cruel, using Haru as a wingman between her and Kyung. They decide on a new tennis racket, and the Stage ends after they leave the store.
Haru says that she must really like Kyung, but Dan-oh says morosely that she has to because it’s her set-up. He says she can just stop liking Kyung: “If you don’t like what’s already determined, then you can change it.” Dan-oh says she’ll never do that, because she doesn’t want to lose Haru again.
She says that she’s talking about him, but also not him, but Haru stops her and says that’s his name. Dan-oh asks how long it’s been his name, but he asks why she keeps saying that he can’t remember. Instead of answering, Dan-oh just continues walking.
Joo-da is at the hospital when Nam-ju calls her to say he wants to see his girlfriend. She asks who that is, since he’s never asked her out, and awww, we see that he’s at the school making the Yang bullies decorate the classroom for an elaborate confession.
They hang up, and Joo-da goes into her grandmother’s hospital room. On the table is Joo-da’s scholarship paperwork, along with the photos of her and Nam-ju and a note from his mother, reminding her that their family’s foundation is also paying for her grandmother’s treatment. Joo-da picks up her phone and sees a message from Do-hwa that simply says, “Yeo Joo-da, goodbye now.”
Do-hwa does his best to be casual around Joo-da, though he struggles in private. When Kyung comes looking for Secret, Do-hwa says he’s not reading it anymore because it breaks his heart, so Kyung goes to the library. Secret is missing from its place on the shelf, but something makes Kyung look again, and this time he finds a copy of Flower instead.
He flips through Flower, and there’s Dan-oh’s character, saying over a bouquet of flowers: “I can even marry him tomorrow!” Mi-chae snatches the manhwa away, and Kyung asks why that character looks like Dan-oh, but Mi-chae only walks away after confirming that Kyung didn’t read to the end.
The Yang bullies grab Dan-oh’s phone to tease her about her photos with Kyung. Haru takes it from them and glares until they back off, then returns it to Dan-oh, but she just barks at him to stop acting like the old Haru.
This time when she walks away, Haru follows her. He stops her on the stairs and asks why she keeps saying he’s not Haru, yelling, “Why do you keep making me worry about you?!” She just says this is proof that he’s not Haru, because he remembers her saying that in the Shadow, which means he’s self-aware again. Oof, I hadn’t realized.
That evening, Kyung is late for a family dinner with Dan-oh and her dad, saying that he figured he’d be summoned for the Stage anyway. He mouths off until the Stage kicks in, then he gives Dan-oh some flowers. He shows her the charm that he’s kept, making her exclaim that she’s so happy, “I can even marry him tomorrow!” The Stage ends, and something in Kyung’s stepbrother’s expression really has me thinking he’s self-aware.
Haru is at the school late again, and he looks at Dan-oh’s and his names on their lockers. On the roof, Mi-chae flips through Flower, thinking about how both Haru and Kyung have seen it. He tosses it into a fire, muttering that he should have burned it long ago.
On his way out, Haru passes the vine-covered gazebo again, and he’s mesmerized by the red flowers. He reaches up to touch one, then pulls back like he’s been stung, as he hears the sound of rapidly flipping pages.
Meanwhile, Kyung thinks about how Dan-oh said the exact same words onStage tonight as he read in the Flower manhwa. He tells her that the flower on the charm is a trumpet creeper and asks about what she said about marrying him, but she says wearily that those are the Writer’s decisions, not hers.
She sighs that she hates this, and Kyung grits his teeth to ask calmly what she means. She says that liking him is only her set-up, so he can drop the act in the Shadow. She tells Kyung that no matter what Stage she ends up on next, even if it’s a wedding hall, it’s not the real Dan-oh.
Kyung asks, if she’s really never shown her real self with him, when who was she when they were kids? He asks if his memories are real or fake, but Dan-oh cries that she doesn’t know, but everything that happens on future Stages is only what the Writer wants.
She leaves to walk home, and at a busy intersection, she wonders about all the people around her. She thinks that they all have their own stories, but they’re forced to do what the Writer wants. She stops in the middle of the road, ignoring the honking cars zooming by, until eventually she’s all alone.
As she stands there, she says, so sadly, “If I remain as Eun Dan-oh, just an oblivious extra inside a romance manhwa… ” But another voice finishes, “Then I would have been just a nameless Number 13.” OMG, it’s Haru!
Dan-oh turns, and Haru meets her in the middle of the street. Taking her hand, he says, “This time, I’ll change your story.” Dan-oh sees that there’s a new slash in his palm, and she realizes that this is her Haru, back somehow.
He says that he’s sorry he’s late, and asks her to look at him. When she does, he says softly, “I’m right here. I won’t go anywhere.” and he pulls her into his arms.
Oh thank goodness, Haru is back! Seeing Haru with a completely different personality was heartbreaking (though kind of fun to watch Rowoon exercise his acting chops), so I’m glad that it didn’t take him long to regain his memories. I think that Dan-oh and Do-hwa needed to see what the consequences of their thoughtless actions could be, and I’m sure they’ll tread much more carefully from now on, but the story was missing a little of its spark without the old Haru around. I’m not sure what finally made him remember, but his return was so perfectly Haru — gentle, sweet, and exactly what Dan-oh needed. Nothing dramatic, just reassurance that he was back and wouldn’t leave again.
What is up with Nam-ju’s mother? Almost every self-aware character seems deeply disturbed, if not outright frightened, by her. My guess is that she’s been the villain of the manhwas they’ve been in before, so even if they don’t quite remember her, something in them recognizes that she’s dangerous. Even Mi-chae looked terrified when he encountered her, which is the first time I’ve seen him look scared of anything. Nam-ju’s mother doesn’t show any signs of being self-aware right now, but there’s definitely something going on with her that makes me scared of her becoming self-aware eventually.
It makes me so sad that Dan-oh and Kyung share childhood memories that never really happened — they only “remember” what the Writer wants them to remember. But they have such a rich history together, and obviously Kyung used to be thoughtful, between giving Dan-oh candy and coming up with a “magic spell” to make her feel better about taking her medicine. I know that he had to watch his mother die alone, and that’s why he’s become so angry and dismissive of Dan-oh’s illness, but every time I start to soften towards him, he does something that makes me dislike him all over again. A perfect example is when he made Haru bring the flowers for Dan-oh — the only reason for that was to rub it in Haru’s face that Dan-oh is his girl now, and to hammer home to Dan-oh that this new Haru is loyal to him, and not her. Instead of just, you know, being nice and trying to win Dan-oh over fairly, Kyung keeps falling back on manipulation and cruelty to make his points, and I just can’t muster up much sympathy for him because of that.
I’m beginning to wonder what’s going on that’s causing all this mayhem in the manhwa world. Until now I’d been assuming that the self-awareness and chaos caused by changing the story was just some sort of natural evolution, or maybe consequences to an event that happened in a previous story, but what if it’s more deliberate than that? It’s definitely strange that Secret has gone missing, then Flower appeared on its shelf out of nowhere, just when the absolute worst person was there to find it. Could the Writer have an enemy out there, purposely sabotaging their story? I suppose we won’t know until we know more about the nature of the Writer themselves, but it certainly gives us a lot to think about.
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- Character stills from A Day Found by Chance
- First stills for fantasy youth romance Day Found by Chance
- Fresh-faced cast assembles for youth drama A Day Found by Chance
- Lee Tae-ri, Kim Ji-in head to high school with Kim Hye-yoon for new MBC drama