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Extraordinary You: Episodes 23-24

In order to change their fates so that they can be together, it’s imperative that our star-crossed lovers figure out how they’re able to change the Stages. It’s a weakness that they’re not sure how it works and unable to control the outcomes, which sometimes make things worse instead of better. The worst thing that could happen is if that information falls into the wrong hands before they can figure it out themselves…

 
EPISODE 23

While playing with the “starlight” in the art room, Dan-oh tells Haru that she’ll never forget he did this for her. As they smile at each other, Kyung watches from the hall.

He compares the things that Dan-oh says to Haru, which are the exact same lines from his salvaged pages of Flower… only there, she’d said them to Kyung. He goes to Mi-chae again and demands to know who Dan-oh ended up with in Flower, and who Haru is, exactly. Mi-chae says vaguely that Haru is someone who can bring change.

Kyung claims he can change the Stage too, and Mi-chae gets angry. He growls that that’s how he lost everything precious to him, and when Kyung asks him to be clear, Mi-chae grabs him: “Because of you, I… All because of you!” He tells Kyung to leave, refusing to say any more.

Kyung looks through his burned pages and finds one where Dan-oh tells her father that she refuses to marry Kyung. Kyung informs Dan-oh that soon, she’ll call off their engagement onStage, but even Dan-oh can’t believe that the Writer would create such a scene. He says that she still can’t be with Haru, because he can change her fate himself, as a main character and her partner in this manhwa.

After school, Dan-oh asks Haru to tell her more of the old “story” he mentioned before, so he takes her to the school library and shows her that the cover of Secret has the same emblem as the ornament they found. He tells Dan-oh that in his memories, he gives her this ornament, and that he believes he originally kept seeing the red flowers as reminders to remember her and wait for her.

We visit another scene from Flower, as Haru brings Dan-oh some oranges. She simpers at Haru, until a Stage begins and she asks if Kyung sent them. She dismisses Haru, but she calls him back the moment the Stage ends and complains that she keeps doing and saying things against her will.

Later, Dan-oh brings Kyung a gift at the palace, but he says he’s very busy and asks her not to visit the palace without notice again. Another time, Kyung visits Dan-oh’s home and she pours tea for him, but again he seems distracted and uninterested.

Lord Eun joins them, and Dan-oh announces that she no longer likes Kyung and tells him not to visit her anymore, but her father believes that she’s just sad from waiting for him. Dan-oh says it’s not true, and that she wants to call off the marriage.

Later Kyung tells Haru that he talked her out of it, and that he needs to step up his game. He remembers Dan-oh’s desire to see the stars, and he orders Haru to give her gifts from him to truly dazzle her. Haru takes Dan-oh a box full of jewels and silver ingots, but Dan-oh is unimpressed and only looks more upset.

Haru asks Dan-oh if she hears strange noises or has memory lapses, or if she’s ever unable to move as she likes. He shows her a copy of Flower that he’s found that seems to record the same moments when he can’t move or speak on his own.

They figure out that they are the only ones who can remember things that others don’t seem to remember. Haru offers to help Dan-oh whenever she needs it, saying that she’s important to him because she’s important to Kyung. She smiles stiffly at that.

Another time, they sit together in their flowered grotto after dark, and Haru offers Dan-oh his coat when she shivers. They get caught up in each other’s gazes, and Haru leans in as if to kiss Dan-oh, but he’s only plucking a flower from her hair. Hee, that looks familiar.

He grins when she’s obviously flustered, and says it’s because she’s pretty. He gives Dan-oh the ornament he saw her admiring in the market and tells her, “Like this flower, I will always wait for you. I will protect you.”

Back in Secret, Haru reveals that Mi-chae told him that he was created in another world, before this manhwa was written. Dan-oh wants to read it, but Haru says he’s never seen it, and that he only remembers bits and pieces of scenes. Dan-oh tries, but she can’t remember a thing, and she makes Haru laugh by guessing that they were a prince and princess.

Haru tells Dan-oh that the scenes he can remember where they’re together make his heart flutter. Dan-oh is certain that they’ll have a happy ending in this story, too, and Haru says that he’ll make sure of it.

Kyung corners Haru the next day wanting to talk, but Haru is tired of arguing and says that aside from Stages, they have nothing to discuss. Kyung sneers that Haru seems to be having fun pretending to be a protagonist along with Dan-oh, but Haru snaps that he’s known her a long time and for Kyung to leave her alone.

Kyung says that he won’t, but as he walks away, he asks Haru if he’s truly changing his fate, or if things are going exactly how the Writer intends. Haru asks why, if he’s only meant to do and say what the Writer wants, he feels things that the Writer didn’t draw for him.

He snaps that his desire to care for someone and protect them didn’t come from the Writer, but from Dan-oh. Kyung retorts that Dan-oh is his fiancee, but Haru says that she’s not Kyung’s nor the Writer’s, she’s just Dan-oh.

Kyung points out that Haru can change the Stage, but that nothing turns out the way he intends, so in the end, they’re still following the Writer’s story. Haru insists that he’ll never stop trying, for Dan-oh’s sake. He says that Dan-oh is his beginning, and that even if he disappears, he’s okay if she’s also his ending.

Even though it’s the weekend, Do-hwa runs into Joo-da in the school’s music room. She says that nothing is wrong, she just wanted to hang out with him, making him puff up a little. Do-hwa gives her a new pair of white tennis shoes, and he kneels to put them on for her.

While he’s down there, he draws a butterfly on the toe of one shoe, saying that it might be gone when the next Stage starts. He asks if Joo-da has heard of the butterfly effect, where something small can create waves that make huge changes. He tells her that he and Dan-oh have tried to change their fates — that Dan-oh wanted to change her heart condition, and he wanted Joo-da to like him.

He says wryly that he knows it can’t happen, so he’s decided to support her and Nam-ju, but Joo-da stops him and says she doesn’t want that. Do-hwa looks shocked, and Joo-da asks if it’s because she’s not supposed to say things like that.

Meanwhile, Nam-ju is in France at a conference regarding the family business (not school like I assumed, oops). He continues to mope over Joo-da, and his brother Hee-ju tells Nam-ju that their mother went to see Joo-da. Naturally, Nam-ju assumes that that’s why Joo-da turned him down.

At school, all the gossip is about how Nam-ju is competing with his brother to inherit the company, and there’s talk of sending Nam-ju abroad to study. With Nam-ju gone, Sae-mi and the Jin bullies go back to torturing Joo-da, and Sae-mi sneers that Joo-da can’t be a Cinderella, because even Cinderella was originally from the upper class.

As soon as the Stage ends, Joo-da stops cowering and starts giving back as good as she got. She sprays one of the bullies in the face with water, then looms over Sae-mi and asks if they’re planning to lock her up again, shocking the entire classroom.

She stomps outside to do some angry gardening, making Do-hwa wonder what happened. He asks Dan-oh how her heart is doing and she says she’s fine, only to ~BLIP~ directly into a Stage where her doctor is recommending surgery. You can’t convince me the Writer isn’t doing this on purpose.

Her dad sends her out with Kyung while he talks to the doctor. Dan-oh notes that Kyung always comes to the hospital when she’s there, and to her surprise, she finds herself telling her father, “I won’t marry him. I hate Baek Kyung.” She leaves, and Chairman Eun tells Kyung that Dan-oh probably just feels bad that he has to come to the hospital all the time because of her.

Dan-oh gets outside before the Stage ends, and Kyung is waiting for her when it does. She asks how he knew she would do that, but he just says vaguely that he knows something that won’t change. He asks what she’ll do if he already knows her fate, but Dan-oh says that she has something more important than fate now — Haru.

EPISODE 24

In the Shadow, Sae-mi and the Jin bullies have another go at Joo-da, but again she fights back, deciding she’s not going to clean the school anymore because she doesn’t get paid for it. She asks them why they bully her: “Are girls who are poorer than you not allowed to be pretty and smart? Or is it because Nam-ju likes me?”

As she walks away, Joo-da runs into Do-hwa, and he notices that she’s wearing the shoes with the butterfly he drew. Another Stage starts, and Do-hwa sees that now, Joo-da is wearing her old, dirty shoes. Reporters gather as Nam-ju returns to school, and they ask him about the muse behind the new clothing line that he introduced in Paris.

Nam-ju tells them that it was Joo-da, his girl. He goes straight to Joo-da and takes her hand, and the reporters go crazy snapping pictures. But when the Stage ends, Joo-da looks pleadingly at Do-hwa.

Another Stage ~BLIPs~ right away, and now all the students are in the art room learning about pottery. They’re told to team up and Dan-oh moves towards Kyung, but the Stage ends so she and Haru trot off together.

Dan-oh tells Haru that she’s disappointed that his starry curtains are gone, but he says that the times they spent together will continue even if the scenes change. His swoony line and close proximity makes her heart monitor beep again, and nearby, Sae-mi’s heart beats a little fast when she notices that Soo-cheol is pretty good at this pottery thing.

Dan-oh grumbles that all the paired-off students are flirting, but Haru puts his arms around her to help with her sculpture, and she begs her poor little heart not to go crazy. She loses that battle when he suggests they carve their names into their artwork, and it gets her sidelined while Kyung and Haru are partnered together, ha.

Naturally they start to bicker, and Kyung drops the flower keychain that Dan-oh gave him. He huffs that now he knows why it’s always bothered Haru, and tells Haru to think carefully before something serious happens.

Another Stage ~BLIPs~ and Dan-oh is in the school entryway. Her dad is there to talk to the school about her upcoming surgery, and Kyung takes Dan-oh’s hand and tells him not to worry about Dan-oh while she’s at school. He promises to make sure Dan-oh doesn’t try to cancel their engagement again, and Dan-oh wonders if the readers hate her character yet.

Haru witnesses the Stage, especially Kyung holding Dan-oh’s hand. It reminds him of a scene from Flower, where Dan-oh gives back the sachet that Kyung dropped on their first meeting. Kyung tells her it belonged to his mother and he gives it to Dan-oh, saying that nobody told him to give it to her, and that it’s a gift from his heart.

It successfully wins Dan-oh back over, and she tells him, “You are my beginning.” But when she’s alone in the Shadow, she admits that her heart belongs to someone else and wonders why she can’t control what she says when she’s with Kyung.

She hurries outside when she sees Haru’s shadow in the window, catching him before he runs away. They go for a walk and look up at the stars, and Dan-oh says that she has to enjoy them now because she won’t be able to do this in the palace.

She confesses that she doesn’t want to marry Kyung, then gets upset when Haru doesn’t ask why. She sobs that they can’t control how they feel about each other, but Haru refuses to listen to her. He tries to walk away, but Dan-oh stops him and grabs him in a hug.

Haru wakes from this dream in class, and he relaxes to see Dan-oh sitting safely at her desk. But Kyung isn’t in class, and when Haru runs into him in the hall, he demands to know where Kyung’s been. Of course Kyung won’t answer, but Haru notices the singed pages in his hand.

Outside, Sae-mi and Soo-cheol shove Dan-oh at Kyung and run, forcing her to talk to him. He’s still carrying the pages, and Dan-oh grabs for them — when she touches them, she has a storyboard vision. At the school video fair, Haru brings Kyung a ring, which he then uses to propose to Dan-oh in front of the whole school, using (unbeknownst to either of them) the same words he used in Flower to give her the sachet.

When she returns to reality, Dan-oh complains that the Writer is too focused on them getting engaged when they’re only in high school. Kyung says that she’s wanted this for years, but Dan-oh points out that it always made him mad before. She knows that he’s been pretending to like her for his family business, and she says she feels bad for the Dan-oh character who holds onto a heart that could stop beating any moment, and a man who never loved her.

She declares that she’s going to change the story regarding her crush on Kyung. But Kyung tells her that she can’t, because the story requires her to stay with him, both then and now.

Dan-oh tells Haru and Do-hwa that she thinks Kyung is going to propose onStage, but she’s determines not to let it happen. Remembering that Dan-oh didn’t want to marry Kyung in Flower either, Haru gets an idea.

The way the scene is supposed to play out is that Haru brings Kyung a ring, then during the video fair, Kyung will play a montage of photos of himself and Dan-oh, then publicly propose to her. Dan-oh, Do-hwa, and Haru confirm their plans for changing the Stage, then put their hands in for a cheer (and hee, Haru moves Do-hwa’s hand so his is touching Dan-oh’s instead).

Kyung drops his pages of Flower, and Joon-hyun picks one page up and sees what it is. Looking scared, he asks Kyung if he read the whole book… yep, he knows everything. Kyung says that he doesn’t care how Joon-hyun knows about Flower, and that the repeating story and ridiculous set-up are driving him nuts.

He’s annoyed that Joon-hyun is self-aware, and accuses him of enjoying seeing Kyung mistreated by his father. Joon-hyun says that’s not true, and that if Secret‘s story goes as the Writer plans, he knows for a fact that Kyung will end up happy. Kyung says that he doesn’t plan to change anything, and he’ll make sure nobody else does, either.

Before the video fair, Do-hwa gives Soo-hyang (who’s in charge of the videos) a different USB to play during Kyung’s confession. Kyung catches him, and Do-hwa is surprised to learn that Dan-oh didn’t tell Kyung what she saw on the storyboard.

Haru ~BLIPs~ into the Stage where he’s supposed to give Kyung the engagement ring. He tries not to do it, but the Stage goes as Dan-oh saw it play out. Kyung’s confession Stage begins and at first Dan-oh is confident that Do-hwa and Haru followed their plans, but when the video begins, it’s Kyung’s photos.

Haru takes over the video booth, but he panics when he involuntarily starts running the controls correctly. He turns the spotlight on Dan-oh as Kyung brings out his mother’s ring. Kyung says the words he said to Dan-oh in Flower: “Eun Dan-oh, I wanted to give this to you. Nobody asked me to do this. This is sincere.”

Up in the booth, Haru tries to get control of himself, only for the scar on his hand to split wide open. He sees a quick series of scenes from Flower — he, Kyung, and Dan-oh surrounded by armed guards… his hand gripping the blade of a sword… himself, staring in shock at Dan-oh… Dan-oh lying on the ground, covered in blood.

Dan-oh smiles dreamily and goes to Kyung, though inside she’s wondering why the Stage wasn’t changed. She holds out her hand for Kyung to slip on the ring, and above them, Haru uses all his strength to break the Stage’s hold and he pulls the power.

The Stage restarts, but this time when the video plays, it’s pictures of Yang-il and Il-jin, the bully couple. Yang-il goes up with a ring to propose to Il-jin, and Dan-oh is relieved that somehow, this time it worked.

Mi-chae slips into the back of the auditorium to watch, and Soo-hyang passes him on her way out. When Mi-chae sees her face he goes white as a sheet.

Suddenly, Dan-oh’s heart monitor goes off and she collapses, waking up in the infirmary. She jumps up as soon as the Stage ends, but Kyung is waiting to talk to her. He asks coldly if she really wanted to change their story so desperately, because he didn’t.

He asks, “Eun Dan-oh, I’m your beginning, aren’t I?” Dan-oh says she’s liked Haru ever since she met him, and that he’s her beginning. Kyung tells her that she can never be apart from him, but she leaves without another word.

Kyung starts to put together what he knows for sure about Haru changing the Stage. First, Haru is an extra, so he can slip into the Stages without the Writer knowing. Second, whatever Haru does in the Shadow impacts the Stage, like when he put Dan-oh’s heart monitor on Sae-mi just before the Stage began. And last… there has to be a stand-in to carry out the Stage.

Dan-oh and Haru go up to the roof, and Haru confesses that some things he’s remembering from their other story are making him anxious. Dan-oh says that she doesn’t care what happened in a story that’s already ended, and that she’s still sure Haru can change the fate the Writer has planned for them.

Then she collapses on his shoulder and experiences a short storyboard vision — herself on the operating table, her body quickly failing. When she comes to, she holds tight to Haru, frightened at seeing what looked like her own death. Haru holds her just as tight, thinking of another death, in another story.

 
COMMENTS

I’m very scared that Kyung has figured out the conditions necessary for Haru to change the Stage — that he’s an extra, that he has to take an action in the Shadow that will carry over to the Stage, and that there must be someone else who can act out the Stage as it’s planned. That last bit is the key that could allow Kyung to stop Haru from changing any more important Stages, because if Kyung can ensure that no appropriate characters are nearby who can act out the scene, like the bully couple performing the proposal instead, he can prevent the Stage from being changed no matter what Haru does. I don’t like it one bit that the person who wants to keep Haru and Dan-oh apart now has the knowledge to do exactly that.

The more we see of the events in Flower, the more nervous I get about what happened back then, and how it could ruin things in Secret. The stakes felt higher in Flower, where refusing a prince’s suit could get a girl and her family killed if he decided to be vindictive, but Dan-oh’s life is on the line in Secret as well. I’m starting to worry that the future of Secret depends almost entirely on Kyung and how he ultimately chooses to use the information of how Haru changes the Stages. From what Mi-chae said (that everything went wrong in Flower because of Kyung), I’m guessing that Kyung found out about Haru and Dan-oh and went off the deep end, and that he ended up ruining everyone’s lives. It would explain why Mi-chae and Joon-hyun, the two who remember how Flower ended, are so adamant that nobody tried to change the story this time around… but the problem is that if they don’t, Haru and Dan-oh will end up miserable.

At least Kyung seems to have improved since Flower, so maybe there’s still hope that he will choose the road of compassion and forgiveness. In Flower, Kyung was the one pursuing an unwanted marriage for the sake of an advantageous alliance, in an attempt to steal the throne from his half brother. But in Secret, he’s always been conflicted about the arranged engagement with Dan-oh because of his father’s obvious manipulation of Dan-oh and Chairman Eun. The problem is that this time, Kyung’s decided that he wants Dan-oh and can’t/won’t accept that she loves someone else. I can even understand his confusion, since he’s known Dan-oh for over a decade and she’s always liked him, so he came to take her feelings as a given and he’s having a hard time with the fact that her feelings have changed. But I believe that he cares for Dan-oh in this story when he didn’t in Flower, probably because of their long history, so there’s still room for him to change.

I’m glad it’s been confirmed that Joon-hyun is self-aware, and like Mi-chae, and from his fearful pleading fro Kyung not to change anything, he remembers everything that happened in Flower. Joon-hyun and Mi-chae’s terror that someone will change the story in Secret just solidifies my belief that whatever tragedy happened in Flower, happened because the story was changed there. With all the clues that the Writer knows about their characters’ awareness and tends to punish them for acting independently, I still think that Flower‘s ending was a punishment by the Writer, and that if it happened then, it will probably happen again. So I’m right there with Mi-chae and Joon-hyun in hoping that the characters just behave themselves this time. But on the other hand, I want everyone to be happy with their real loves, but I can’t see any way that everyone will come out of this with what they want.

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"if Secret‘s story goes as the Writer plans, he knows for a fact that Kyung will end up happy" Is there any chance Joon-hyun is more than Kyung self-aware brother? I read a theory somewhere that he could be the writer which isn't that far-fetched, right? Some writers do write themselves into their stories.

I wished we had more clues around how characters become self-aware. Like, Joon-hyun and Mi-chae retained their memories, Haru was self-aware but with no memories, Dan-Oh became self-aware later, ... What are the rules, Show?

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I think the same too. Rather than he knows the ending of flower like jiminchae, I assume he prevents kyung to change the storyline because he will make kyung has happy ending as the writer and kyung is his favorite character, in secret and flower.
or maybe I just think too far? 😅

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I don't like the idea that Joon-hyun is the writer, because I don't like Joon-hyun at all, but I do think it's quite possible. The first time I noticed him was when Haru changed the stage at the party, but that allowed Kyung to take the stage in Nam-ju's place. How could he know what the writer is planning for Kyung in Secret, unless he is the writer? If he is, that may explain why the story seems to be written by someone immature. Also, if JH is the writer, I expect Kyung will find out before the end and punish him for all his selfish setups and evil storylines.

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I also think Joon Hyun is the Writer. Assuming that’s the case, how come Mi-chae is the only one who has full memories from “Flower”? (Side note: Kyung is not a great person in “Secret” but I do feel it’s a bit unfair that Mi-chae is projecting his feelings about “Flower” Kyung onto “Secret” Kyung.) Also, Dan-oh is technically an extra, but how come only Haru has the power to change the Stage? So many unanswered questions and so few episodes!

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This drama is like Groundhog Day. As if hearing the same lines over and over in the present is not enough, we have to hear them in sageuk speech as well. I can't connect with Trumpet Creeper because not only do we not know the characters, but Grand Prince Kyung is evil by choice and not forced to use Dan-oh by his father against his will.

Do-hwa, please be the first to figure out Joo-da is self-aware. I love badass Joo-da. Her throwing the broom and dustpan at Sae-mi and the Jin bullies was so satisfying. Did her shoes not disappear because Do-hwa drew the butterfly?

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I agree. These last few episodes feel like a repeat with tidbits of clues dropped here and there. My interest of this show, which was sky high in beginning, slowly waning. I haven't even finish this week episodes where i used to gulp them in.

I hope the writer (the real one, not the one inside the show) will pick up the pace towards the finish line and give us a satisfying cohesive ending.

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This drama is hitting all the right tones for me. Granted it is not perfect, but it does not need to be.

@lollypip thank you for the recap and insights.😁

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At this rate, I'm afraid of a sad/open ending but still hope for the best. Show didn't disappoint us until now so please don't do so in the end where there is only one more week left.

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Listen. I'm starting to feel a little lost now. Lots of new reveals & more mysteries piling up but less unraveling. I wish we'd soon see the way for the characters to somehow escape their doomed fates rather than getting fed with tiiiiny bits of hints in every ep.

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I have to admire Kyung for being able to piece things together by himself and actually ask all the right questions. I think he is the first self-aware character who questioned the true nature of the changes the others have "successfully" made before. He wasn't as easily "fooled" by the freedom they seemingly have in the Shadow. He understood the mechanism of the change pretty quickly and he even grasped the importance of stand-in to carry out the original scene. I think not even Do-hwa, Dan-oh and Haru fully understood the stand-in concept. I'm not sure what Kyung will do with this newfound knowledge, but I'm definitely anticipating more of his sleuthing and experiments in future eps.

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I'm not sure why they keep piling up new revelation last minute, it feels more like we are in the middle and not at the finish line.

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The last scene was pretty sad : Haru saw Danoh's death in the past, she saw her own death in the future. How she died in the past is not very clear for now but it looks very tragical. I love the way they hugged each other :)

Haru is really the one who changes things. In the past, he was the first to be aware and could change some things. In Secret, I thought it was because he was an extra and had freedom to move but in Flower he was the second male lead on the presentation of the characters. Now, the issue is to know if all thoses changes have direct consequences in the future.

I'm curious if Dohwa would have fallen in love with Shadow's Juda. He didn't see her true self yet. She always is pretty kind with him.

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Doctor Hyung calls Do-Hwa 'Baby' at home! :D I wish they had filmed that scene, because I need more light stuff and Do-Hwa in this K-drama. By more Do-hwa I mean Do-hwa as comic relief or as a friend to other characters, because I am actually not that interested in (his relationships with) Juda and Namjoo.

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I was a little worried that the characters saying lines from the past manga indicated they didn't have free will even if they were self-aware, but have decided that it's just that they are the same people, and will respond even unconsciously to similar situations in similar ways. Interesting that Dan Oh appears always initially attracted to Kyung, but then in for Haru one million per cent. A game of FMK is going on, except Dan Oh is the one getting killed...

Dan Oh is now the throne to Kyung--a magic ticket that'll make him happy, rather than a person with feelings and desires of her own. But she IS a person, and he's having how to care for a person modelled to him by Haru's devotion to Dan Oh, and Dan Oh's kindness to Kyung. Past Prince Kyung was capable of love too--he loved Haru, as we can see from him getting emotional when Haru tried to leave--but Haru being his social inferior meant he was given carte blanche to treat Haru like a thing. Now his father still encouraged him to treat Dan Oh like a thing, but given her importance in his life and their status, he isn't able to, not to the same extent. And that has to be good for him.

Even though right now, despite being smart enough to work out how Haru changes the stage, Kyung's own contempt for the stage and insistence Dan Oh adhere to it shouldn't be something he can reconcile in his head--it's flatly contradictory, and he should realise that. But, blinded by what he wants, who knows what he'll do! I'm eyeing his brother--if his brother isn't the writer, which who knows, is he an extra who Kyung could use to change the stage? The brother seems invested in Kyung's happiness. (Dan Oh, Do Hwa, his brother, and even Haru--I would like to see more of Haru's bodyguard instincts coming out--they are all ready to care about Kyung if he would cease being a disaster!)

The viewers respond much more to Kyung (and Nam Ju) than the girls in the story do. Dan Oh and Joo Da both seem very into Haru and Do Hwa respectively. Because if it's entertainment, sure the bad boy who acts out will provide entertainment and conflict! But if it's your life, especially if your life is difficult, you don't want the guy who will make it more difficult. You want the guy who will try to understand you, and help you in a meaningful way, and who makes you smile. (Who cared about Do Hwa in episode 1, but from then on with his self-awareness he's been consistently hilarious and we all love him and wish for his happiness. I was not in for non-self-aware Joo Da and Do Hwa, but now she's aware and can choose, I can only commend her taste.) Of course whenever Joo Da can choose to wear the shoes Do Hwa gave her--the useful shoes, the shoes that symbolise change--she does. I think it was really smart to give Dan Oh a life-threatening illness to combat, because it literalizes the conflict both girls are facing--this is your life, how do you want to live it, how will you fight for it?

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Oof! That heartbreaking ending scene!

I love this drama. Whenever I watch it, I feel like my heartbeats are in sync with all the ups and downs in the story. I'm with Lollypip in suspecting that the Writer is effing with our characters. Why introduce Soo-hyang at this late in the story if not to remind Mi-Chae to stick to the story?

Kyung keeps digging in his heels with the whole "I can change the story too." and "Dan-Oh is meant to be mine. Don't change the story!" He's been saying it so much (it's been getting a bit annoying), I'm starting to suspect that he will end up the self-sacrificing hero in the end. And the Writer wouldn't be expecting it because she had written Kyung to be selfish and even in the Shadow, he is holding onto Dan-Oh and the story.

With Joon-hyun saying that he knows Kyung will end up happy, I wonder if that meant Dan-Oh will live at the very end of Secret. Or is he basing Kyung's happy ending on the Flower manhwa where I'm guessing he became king and presumably killed everyone?

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I do think that Kyung will be self-sacrificing in the end. If JH is the writer, he must really admire bad Kyung. Maybe he even sees himself in bad Kyung. Maybe seeing bad Kyung take power (Flower) and Dan-oh (Secret) gives him some kind of nasty vicarious satisfaction. BUT, although Kyung likes the writer's storyline, he's changing from the character he was written to be. He's actually started to care about Dan-oh, and that's why I think he won't force her to marry him in the end. I think instead of being the cruel winner in the manwha, he'll be the real hero who gives up what he wants to make someone else happy.

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Hum... I think the words "real hero" are kinda exaggerated in this case. Are we really a hero when we don't force someone to marry us?

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He might not only give up his own happiness but take action to ensure hers. That would make him a hero IMO.

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First, in this episode, he did nothing for her. All he did was for him.

Secondly, if, in the future, he will accept her feelings for Haru, it will be great as an evolution of character but I don't think he will make him an hero. He was a jerk for a very long time, so the fact he reacted as a normal and sane person shouldn't be exaggerated too much.

Taking action to make Danoh happy? It's what Haru made since the beginning of the drama.

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Yes, OBVIOUSLY it hasn’t happened yet. latebloomer commented that he was changing, that he’s starting to have feelings for Danoh. She’s PREDICTING that if this continues, NOT ONLY will he accept Danoh’s feelings for Haru but that he will sacrifice his own happiness AND take action to ensure hers. So not just passively giving up. There’s a difference between being passive and being proactive, just like there’s a difference between past, present and future. If Kyung changes his character, his story line and Danoh’s future, he would become a hero and not an exaggerated one. No one is saying that’s happened yet but I agree with latebloomer, it’s a possibility.

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Interesting that it is Haru who was self aware first, and then Dan Oh in Flower. I don't like that Dan Oh knows nothing at all about Flower. Well atleast they are trying to change things now. And Yay, Do Hwa is finally figuring out that Ju Da is self aware. But only four episodes left and the drama isn't getting any closer to solving anything. Is it even going to? While I want to find out what exactly happened in Flower, maybe I should watch the remaining four episodes together?

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Exactly! why doesn't Haru tell the whole story (at least what he knows so far) about the other manhwa FLOWER? maybe, just maybe, that way they could find a solution for their happy ending. But don't use noble idiocy in this case, it's gonna be worse!!! even if what he was trying to do was protecting her...She needs to know the information both (Kyung and Haru) are holding back.

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The ending of this episode was really sad tbh. Haru and Dan-oh both knows that her story's gonna end in a sad way, yet it looks like the only thing they can do is be there for each other despite not having any conversation about this. Dan-oh saw the future storyboard while Haru saw the past and what they've seen pretty much confirms everything at this point.
I've watched all the episodes up to the latest ones and all I can say is that I don't feel good at all that all the theories I made were correct. I've also dabbled upon the thought that Kyung's brother might be the writer but now I don't think he is, although my suspicions against him have raised at an alarming rate throughout these episodes. He just seems like he knows everything, and in not the Jinmichae kind of way.
Also, it's interesting how this drama has so much parallels throughout the episodes. Like in the earlier eps, when Dan-oh was playing with her heart rate monitor and the reflection of the sunlight hitting Haru's face at the library, it's a whole parallel with Haru playing with the sunlight reflection on Dan-oh with the mirror Dan-oh dropped in the Trumpet Creeper story. There are also tone of little details in the earlier episodes that would make so much more sense if you have watched the latest ones. I just love how everything is connected in this drama and not one action does not have any meaning at all.

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Thanks for the recap @lollypip! I have little faith that the drama will answer all the questions it has raised, and if I think too hard the philosophy behind this is depressing: whatever they do, the characters are the creation of the writer and cannot escape whether on Stage or Shadow, or whether they are reincarnated in a new story. If they change or even question the scene they get punished almost immediately, and inevitably the story continues as the writer intends. I don't know if I'm supposed to see this as a metaphor for the writing process: a conflict of wills between writer and characters?

Anyway, the historical manwah bits are pretty. I prefer Kim Hye-yoon's "sageuk" speech because I find her aegyo excessive in Secret.

And I'm still wondering what Nam-joo's "secret" is. It better be good.

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This is one of those dramas that I enjoyed a bit too much till about the ep where Haru looses his memory for the first time.

That episode was the first one where I felt the plot twist was untimely and after that, I have felt the drama has been going a bit downhill with narrative tension.

It is clear that what characters remember is not from 'past' but more like another manga and there are probably several of them. It is possible that the characters have been repeating lines in so many different manga's that they are probably just living different versions of them. These days, the lines in shadow from one manga are the lines on stage in another manga...And I would not be surprised to learn that even their being 'woke' is just characters mixing plots from different manga.

Kyung going around saying 'you are just extra' for like three episodes is not necessarily a lot of value add to the plot. The actor makes the character more than it is currently...

Haru is extremely boring.

The aegyo tone used by Dan-oh sometimes is like chalk on the board but I tell myself, I am not the target demo for that.

But I do want to see how this drama wraps up. I am going to watch till the end.

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I have the exact same thoughts! Good to know I'm not the only one.

And yes, I will finish it because there are only two more episodes and I'm curious to see if it can wrap up in any coherent way.

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Ditto. I loved this till Haru's supposed disappearance, but after that it feels like the cringe worthy school dramas.
But still I will complete this to know what happens, I just might read through Lollypip's recaps instead.

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