Extraordinary You: Episodes 19-20
Extraordinary You brings up a lot of questions about the nature of being human, and what it means to be in charge of your own destiny. The self-aware manhwa characters want nothing more than to be in control of their own lives, and they’re willing to stake their continued existence on it. Unfortunately, it seems as though their Writer may be more aware of their rebellion than they know, and determined to make sure the story goes as they plan.
Kyung blows up at Haru for beating him at tennis, and they end up fighting about Dan-oh. Haru asks if Kyung likes her, admitting that he does. Kyung goes up to the roof and kicks over a barrel, and he sees the mostly burned copy of Flower spill out.
He salvages a few pages that are still readable, including the one where Dan-oh’s character is happy to be marrying someone. He recognizes the lines from the night the two families had dinner at his house, which practically recreated the scene from Flower panel by panel.
He finds Do-hwa in the library, reading yet another romance manhwa, sighing that only main characters are given the cool scenes. Do-hwa tells Kyung that he really should stop reading these because he identifies with the second male leads and they make him miserable.
In class, Kyung glares at Dan-oh, who keeps sneaking adorable little peeks at Haru. Kyung takes out the charred pages from Flower, thinking about how Do-hwa said only the leads get great romance scenes, and we see that one of the scraps has three characters standing together who look just like himself, Dan-oh, and Haru.
He goes to the roof and shows the pages to Mi-chae, whose eyes go wide with fear. Kyung asks if Flower was another manhwa by the same Writer as their story, but Mi-chae says it doesn’t matter because Flower has ended, and the two stories have nothing to do with each other.
Kyung asks why Mi-chae tried so hard to hide Flower if it has no power. Mi-chae asks what Kyung wants, so he says he wants back what was taken from him, and for everything to go back to the way it was.
Later, Dan-oh finds Haru doing his English schoolwork, which he struggles with. Dan-oh says she’s good at English and offers to help him. She explains that the word “extraordinary” means that something is amazing, and Haru says that the word is like the two of them — a pair of ordinary extras who met and created something special.
He says, “So to me, you aren’t just an extra… ‘extra-ordinary you.'” LOL, Dan-oh floats on that swoon for hours. She reads a poem later that perfectly describes the way she feels about Haru, calling that feeling love, so when Haru comes over to say hi, she panic-flails around the library like a pinball.
At lunch, Haru shows up moves in close to wipe the crumbs off Dan-oh’s lips. Dan-oh chokes and reaches for her drink, but Haru closes his fingers around hers and opens it for her (okay, cheeky boy is doing this on purpose). Dan-oh’s heart monitor beeps and she runs off, and when Sae-mi comments that she keeps acting awkward around him, Haru smiles knowingly. Yep, he’s totally flustering her on purpose.
Haru watches Dan-oh nod off in class, and later he sits and mirrors her position, laying his head down on her desk so he can look at her up close. He closes his eyes, and when Dan-oh wakes, she leaps to her feet in surprise and tries to run away again, but Haru’s hand catches hers.
He asks why she’s so shy today, smiling like he already knows the reason. She doesn’t answer, but his friends come to get him for tennis practice, so he ruffles Dan-oh’s hair and says he’ll see her later.
Mi-chae spots Dan-oh literally dancing just from thinking about Haru, and he mutters that she hasn’t changed at all from the previous story. He complains that the Writer lacks creativity, writing the same story over and over again. To Dan-oh, he says that she likes Haru too much, but she doesn’t want to hear from him about how extras don’t matter.
He tells her that everyone, leads or extras, have the right to like someone. Dan-oh asks if he likes someone and he admits that he used to, but that the Writer didn’t put her in this manhwa world. He says sadly that he’s better off not seeing her again, but Dan-oh says that even the Writer can’t keep her from seeing the person she likes.
And ~BLIP~, she’s in a new Stage, and she wonders if the Writer is punishing her for badmouthing them. She waves Haru away so she can talk to Kyung, and as he goes, he gives her a little nod like he knows it’s just her character.
Kyung takes the tennis racket she bought him from his locker, and Dan-oh tells him that Haru helped her pick it out. He grumbles that he doesn’t need another racket, then tells her to stop collapsing and needing to go to the hospital, because being there makes him crazy.
Nearby students exclaim that they feel bad for Dan-oh when she hangs her head, and Kyung says she always makes him out to be the bad guy. He storms off and the Stage ends. He immediately turns back, but Haru is already there, and Dan-oh tells Kyung tearfully that she knows he doesn’t mean it, but that his words are still hurtful.
Haru warns Kyung to stop bothering Dan-oh, and Kyung grabs him angrily. Class president Ban-jang rushes over and begs them to stop fighting, and Kyung realizes that they’ve drawn a crowd. He lets go of Haru, asking sarcastically when he became a lead character.
Later, Kyung compares the character page from Secret to the salvaged page from Flower. Other than having different haircuts, it’s obvious that he, Haru, and Dan-oh are in both manhwas.
Haru falls asleep in the library and dreams of a scene from Flower. He watches from a distance as Dan-oh talks to someone about the stars, looking up at them adoringly. She thanks the person for remembering her wish, and Haru can see the trumpet creeper ornament hanging at her waist. Haru wakes, and he remembers Mi-chae saying that the secret of his beginning doesn’t exist in their current world.
The next day, Kyung catches up to Dan-oh to apologize for what he said onStage, though he can’t get the words out. Dan-oh sighs that it might be better to be an extra, because even though her set-up is pretty bad, Haru can change the Stage because he has no set-up. Kyung bristles at her mention of Haru, and he asks if she likes him, but he immediately takes it back.
Do-hwa brings Kyung a romance manhwa he thinks he should read, and when Kyung refuses (Do-hwa: “But we’re in a romance manhwa!”), he says he’ll lend it to Haru to give him some ideas for getting a girlfriend. Kyung asks why Do-hwa pays so much attention to an extra.
But Do-hwa says that he’s jealous of Haru… for example, he’s embarrassed every time A3 has to walk together with the cheesy lights and music. Suddenly they’re in one of those Stages, and the Writer is making Do-hwa wink and flirt so much that he wonders if he’s being punished for what he said, HAHA.
Joo-da approaches them and thanks Nam-ju for helping her in the science lab, and Do-hwa figures that Nam-ju saved her like a true protagonist. Nam-ju tells Joo-da to meet him in the auditorium after school, and he spots Sae-mi sending Joo-da a death glare so he pulls her closer to him protectively. But Joo-da says she’s fine, because she knows that whatever happens, he’ll save her.
Do-hwa ends up playing his violin while he whines internally that he should throw the damn thing away. Joo-da shows up right on cue and Do-hwa asks her if she and Nam-ju are dating. She denies it, making him wilt in relief.
She asks about the song he was playing, and he says it’s called “Love’s Sorrow.” He plays another few measures until the Stage ends, then he stops and complains that the Writer always gives them the same scenes, and he’s always playing that stupid violin.
He tries to leave, embarrassed, but Joo-da stops him and says that to her, his playing is comforting. He says it’s fine for her since she only remembers positive things, and she tells him that she likes the song he played before, the one called “Love’s Joy.”
In their hideout later, Do-hwa tells Kyung that since Nam-ju and Joo-da are the romantic leads, he’s decided to support them and wish Joo-da happiness. Kyung asks about Do-hwa’s confession at Nam-ju’s party, and Do-hwa explains that his public confession to Dan-oh was really supposed to be Nam-ju and Joo-da’s scene, but Haru changed the Stage so Kyung and Dan-oh were pulled in.
Do-hwa doesn’t know how Haru changed the scene, so Kyung goes to see Mi-chae. But Mi-chae tells him smugly that not everyone can change the Stage, and that he has no idea how Haru does it. He says that maybe it’s because the Writer tightly controls the main characters, and Haru slips his notice because he’s just an extra, but that it doesn’t ultimately matter since the changed Stage is also drawn by the Writer.
Suddenly Kyung ~BLIPs~ into another Stage and finds himself sitting beside Dan-oh, who’s asleep in the infirmary. Haru brings him something, and Kyung asks what he would do if he didn’t have much time left. He says he wants to do everything Dan-oh wants, and Haru replies that she probably wants to be with him as much as possible.
As soon as Haru leaves the infirmary, the Stage ends. He tries to go back to Dan-oh, but Kyung stops him and tells him to stick to his role. He says that Haru is only good for doing what he says, and that he’ll never beat him, because he’s just an extra.
Some test results are posted, and the students are all curious who tested in first place. They assume it will be Kyung, but first place goes to Haru. Their teacher wants the first-place student to help Dan-oh catch up on her missed schoolwork, and Haru can’t resist asking Kyung why he couldn’t beat a lowly extra.
Dan-oh catches Haru daydreaming and she assumes he’s upset about her recent collapse. She says that her chest pain is worse lately, and Haru replies earnestly that he wants to change her character. Dan-oh is scared he’ll disappear again, but he says that he has a role as Kyung’s friend now, so he won’t disappear so easily.
He asks Dan-oh, what if Kyung is the one who can change her fate and not him. But students suddenly flood the main room and Dan-oh’s heart monitor beeps, and Haru says a Stage is about to begin. He muffles Dan-oh’s heart monitor with his hand and says he’s going to change her story, then he leads her to Sae-mi. He tells Dan-oh that she’s probably supposed to collapse in the Stage and that Kyung will save her.
Haru takes off her monitor, which keeps beeping even after it’s off Dan-oh’s wrist. He straps it onto Sae-mi’s arm, and it starts beeping even faster. Then a bunch of things happen at once… Kyung walks in, Dan-oh sinks to her knees, Haru catches her, and the Stage starts up.
Kyung sees a crowd of students huddled over someone lying on the floor. Across the room stands Haru, and Kyung thinks snidely, “Let’s see if the main character of this Stage is you, or me.” He rushes through the crowd, but the person lying there is Sae-mi, not Dan-oh.
She sits up, claiming that she collapsed because Nam-ju is so gorgeous, ha. The Stage ends and Kyung sees Haru carrying an unconscious Dan-oh out of the room. Whoa, he actually did it — he made himself the hero.
After school Nam-ju waits for Joo-da to give his confession, but his mother shows up instead. She acts like his feelings for Joo-da are a personal insult to her, and Nam-ju accuses her of seeing him only as something to make her look good. She tosses a plane ticket at his feet and tells him that he can explain about Joo-da to his father, because she can’t afford a single mistake.
By the time Joo-da arrives, Nam-ju is gone and isn’t answering his phone. When the Stage ends, Do-hwa goes to see Joo-da at work, figuring Nam-ju’s confession must be over, but her boss doesn’t know where she is. Do-hwa runs back to the school, and he yells at Joo-da for waiting for Nam-ju for so long.
He says that he knows she’s not self-aware, but she should still put herself first. Joo-da asks what she can do when she gets bullied at school, and after school she has to work to pay her grandmother’s hospital bills, when she’d rather have friends and be a real Seuli High student. She says that Nam-ju was the first person to offer her friendship, so she can’t help but wait for him even if he isn’t coming. Do-hwa hugs her, crying, unable to say anything.
In the morning, Joo-da enters a Stage, and Nam-ju’s mother shows up and slaps her. After she snarls a few hateful insults, the Stage ends. Joo-da wipes her tears, and with contempt in her voice, she orders Nam-ju’s mother to stop this because she won’t change anything. I’m convinced — Joo-da is definitely self-aware.
She goes back to school where Nam-ju is pacing nervously. She tells him not to say any more things that could give people the wrong idea, because there’s nothing between them. Nam-ju starts to complain about everything he’s given up for her, but she cuts him off and tells him to clean up the room, then leaves.
At the hospital, Dan-oh barely hears Dr. Lee’s instructions because she’s too busy thinking about Haru. Things get serious when a Stage starts, and Dr. Lee recommends that Dan-oh be admitted for a full physical. Back home, she experiences another painful heart episode, and she worries that they really want to do surgery.
She goes to the school looking for Haru and complains that she hates her character, but Haru says that he likes her character because she’s cute, pretty, and honest. Dan-oh chirps at him to keep going and makes him laugh, then they decide to hang out together since it’s the weekend.
They do a lot of nothing much, and end up outside with Dan-oh posing for pictures. LOL, Haru falls over when she flashes some leg at him. They try to take a selfie in front of a tree, but Haru is so tall that Dan-oh doesn’t show up in the frame, so he has to crouch down to her level. They draw picture of each other in the art room, then lie down on the floor and just talk.
They go up to the roof after dark, and Dan-oh asks Haru to tell her his dream. He says he’s not sure, but Dan-oh says she just wants to be an ordinary person who can enjoy ordinary days like today. She wonders how their story will end, and whether she’ll even live to be nineteen, but Haru says that she’ll be beside him when she’s nineteen, and twenty, because they’re making their own story.
Looking through her photos, Dan-oh tells Haru that the tree they posed in front of will turn three hundred years old on October 10th. She says they should meet at the tree on that day, and that thinking of it makes her feel like they’ll be able to be together for a long time. Haru says they can do it again when they’re nineteen, and twenty, but Dan-oh just nods sadly.
When she’s alone later, Dan-oh squeals to herself that Haru’s line about being with her when she’s nineteen and twenty was practically a confession. She looks forward to seeing him tomorrow, but instead, she ends up in the hospital in yet another Stage. What’s worse, the calendar on the wall says it’s October 10th.
Haru waits under the old tree all day for Dan-oh, but she never shows up. She tries to leave the hospital when her Stage ends but another Stage starts almost immediately. This time, the calendar tells her it’s October 13th, then another Stage takes her to October 17th.
Meanwhile, Do-hwa tells Haru that Dan-oh is in the hospital, but every time he tries to go to her, another Stage snaps him back to the school. Sae-mi and Soo-cheol are able to visit Dan-oh, but Haru eventually gives up trying to get to her. Instead, he sits under their tree night after night, begging whoever is listening to let him see her.
On October 31st, Kyung visits Dan-oh with flowers, but as soon as the Stage is over she jumps out of bed. Kyung tries to stop her, but she says desperately that she needs to go see Haru, and he lets her go.
She runs all the way to the school, ignoring her beeping heart monitor and thinking that if her time is limited, she wants to spend what time she has with Haru. She can’t find him anywhere inside the school, so she goes to their tree, but he’s not there, either.
Dan-oh breaks down and cries, and the sound of her sobs brings Haru out from where he was sitting on the other side of the tree. He calls her name and they run into each other’s arms. Haru says, “I missed you. I like you. I like you,” and Dan-oh goes up on her toes to kiss him.
Surprised, Haru doesn’t respond, and Dan-oh backs up and apologizes. But he pulls her close and swoops down for a longer kiss, and when her heart monitor starts beeping, he just muffles it with his hand and keeps kissing her.
These two are just such a sweet couple, and I’m so invested in their romance it’s not even funny. A lot of it is the way they’re played by Rowoon and Kim Hye-yoon, who look at each other like just seeing the other one is all they need to be completely happy. They make me believe that Haru and Dan-oh have loved each other for a long time, through multiple stories, and will always find each other no matter what story they’re written into next. Normally by this point in a drama I’m dying for a kiss scene to confirm the characters’ feelings for each other, but with Haru and Dan-oh, I’ve felt the pure honesty of their feelings for so long that the inevitable kiss was almost a surprise (and I do love the fact that Dan-oh went for it first — that’s our fearless girl!).
I originally thought Joo-da was a bland Candy-character, and I’ll admit that my opinion was heavily influenced by my deep and intense hatred for Jan-di from Boys Over Flowers, the character that Joo-da is based on. Joo-da was just such a doormat, and even knowing that it was the character given to her by the Writer, I didn’t find her very interesting at all. But now she’s rapidly becoming one of my favorites, because she’s proven to me that she’s self-aware, though it’s still unclear whether she knows the exact nature of her situation. I feel bad for Joo-da because she’s quite the little badass in the Shadow, especially with the way she stood up to Nam-ju’s mother, but onStage she’s forced to submit to bullying and can’t stand up for herself. She’s stuck in this manhwa where all the other kids are rich and spoiled, yet she has to work every day and finds herself doing and saying things she doesn’t even mean, with a guy she doesn’t like, while the guy she does like (I’m convinced she likes Do-hwa and you can’t change my mind) thinks she doesn’t care about him. That’s truly got to suck.
Mi-chae said something in this episode that I’ve wondered about myself — that changes to the story don’t really matter, since even the changed Stages are drawn by the Writer. Of course, the Writer has to know what’s happening on some level if their story ends up different than they planned (and how many times do real-life writers complain that their characters never behave the way they want them to?). There were several times in this episode that it seemed as though the Writer were punishing the characters for thinking or acting on their own, such as when Do-hwa thought how much he hated doing the A3 strut, only to immediately find himself in one of those scenes. It was funny, but it was also a bit too well-timed to be a coincidence. And it was so scary to see Haru and Dan-oh kept apart for weeks by the Stages, which did feel like retaliation for Haru’s changing the story again.
This show raises many existential questions, a lot of which I’ve written about before, and I really hope it intends to offer some answers. We’re most of the way through the story now and we’re still asking questions and not getting many answers. I’m not sure that Mi-chae is correct that Haru can change the story because he’s just an extra and the Writer doesn’t notice him. If that were true, then other extras would also be able to change the story, and as far as we still know, that ability is uniquely Haru’s. Besides, he apparently changed the story in Flower, and he may not have been a major character but he at least had a name and a set-up. I think it goes a lot deeper than that, and I don’t think we’ll discover the answers until we see more of what happened in Flower.
- Premiere Watch: Tale of Nokdu, Extraordinary You, My Country: The New Age
- Kim Hye-yoon rebels against her storyline in Extraordinary You
- Kim Hye-yoon pieces the truth together in new promo for Extraordinary You
- 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