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Extraordinary You: Episodes 29-30

As the manhwa draws to its inevitable close, our hero is running out of time to help his lady regain her memories. His nemesis is trying to take advantage of the situation, and reinforcing her belief that he’s her true love. But he’s determined to set things right before the story ends, even at his own expense, because her happiness has always been his only wish.

 
EPISODE 29

After dying in the Shadow, Dan-oh returns to the story, but without her self-awareness or any memories of Haru. She’s wearing her engagement ring again, and Kyung seems happy to see her excited about marrying him onStage, but when the Stage ends he jumps away from her, expecting her to do the same.

But Dan-oh just repeats the line she just said about Kyung’s mother’s ring fitting her perfectly. Haru runs over and asks her to talk for a minute, and when Dan-oh acts like she barely knows him, Kyung realizes that something is terribly wrong.

Kyung tells Haru that this is probably for the best, since Dan-oh won’t suffer anymore between her Stage and Shadow selves. But when he’s alone, he thinks about how he almost killed Dan-oh purposely to make this happen, then changed his mind and put the oxygen mask back on her after remembering that he was the one who killed her in Flower.

Soo-hyang runs across Mi-chae in the hall and helps him carry the groceries to the kitchen. He asks why she keeps approaching him, and she says she just noticed him and wanted to be his friend. Mi-chae declines, but Soo-hyang refuses to take no for an answer.

Later Haru tells Mi-chae that Dan-oh lost her memories, and Mi-chae says that Haru reminds him of his past self when the same thing happened to his love. He’d told Haru in the Shadow during Flower that he wished his story would end differently, and now he says that he’d hoped Haru could change the story in Secret, but he didn’t realize how much Haru had changed.

Haru asks what happened when the story ends. Mi-chae explains that they fall into a deep sleep until the Writer draws them again. Haru realizes that this could be his and Dan-oh’s last story if the Writer never draws them again.

Mi-chae says that there’s a higher chance they’ll be drawn again if they make a big impression on the Writer. He believes that’s why Soo-hyang was added into Secret near the end of the story — she must have made an impression, or Mi-chae was so pitiful that the Writer added her because they felt sorry for him.

He gently warns Haru that when a story nears its end, the Writer stops drawing some characters so they disappear from the story. He tells Haru to stop attracting the Writer’s notice, especially since he’s an extra with a small role, otherwise he could suddenly disappear before the story is over.

Haru remembers that he wasn’t the one who killed Dan-oh, and that after she died he’d been like a lost soul, wandering to all the places they’d spent time together just to feel close to her. He had vowed to wait until they could meet again, and to remember Dan-oh forever. Now he makes the same promise, though he can’t make himself say the words.

Haru confronts Kyung about the fact that he was the one who killed Dan-oh in Flower, and that Kyung knows it. Kyung retorts that the Writer still intends for Dan-oh to be with Kyung, but Haru argues that it will torture her, like it did back then. He says he’s going to find the real Dan-oh and bring her back to herself.

He begins doing the same things that Dan-oh did when he lost his memory — putting himself in her path whenever possible, introducing himself every time they talk, and repeatedly going over the high points of their relationship even though it confuses her. He tries so hard to be as cheerful as she was, but sometimes his sorrow shows on his face for a moment.

Do-hwa has no idea what’s happened, so he’s confused when he says hi to Dan-oh in the library and she acts like she barely knows him. Later he tells Haru that it’s good that Dan-oh is cured and Kyung is acting nicer, and that it looks like everyone will get a happy ending, but he’s upset that Dan-oh is no longer self-aware.

Haru thinks he’s being punished for changing Dan-oh’s set-up, but he still smiles at how happy it made her. He tells Do-hwa that he’s going to follow his heart no matter what the consequences are.

He continues introducing himself to Dan-oh and spending time with her in the Shadow whenever he can. Sometimes, Dan-oh looks at Haru like she’s trying to remember something, and once he finds her staring at the red flowers, so he tells her that she gave him his name and asks her to remember, but nothing really changes.

Shocking news breaks regarding Nam-ju, and soon the whole school is talking about the fact that he’s not his father’s legitimate son. Oh, so that’s what his mother’s been trying to hide. The students loudly speculate whether this means he’s no longer an heir and if he’s out of A3, but Nam-ju says that he’s still the same person.

Joo-da follows Nam-ju to the hall, and he tells her to close her eyes. When she does, a tear slips down his face, awww. But she opens them again when the Stage ends, and when the Yang bullies come to rub it in Nam-ju’s face, she spits that they only care about money and status.

She pulls Nam-ju away by the wrist (love it!), and they sit in the science lab to talk. Nam-ju admits that he’s been having a hard time from all the pressure of being leader of A3 and protecting her, and it was inevitable that this would happen. He tells Joo-da, “I exist for you,” and she gently takes his hand.

A new Stage starts, and Joo-da watches as Nam-ju’s mother tries to convince him to leave the country. She’s worried someone will see them talking about it (so then why are you having this conversation in the middle of the school foyer??), but Nam-ju bellows and draws a crowd. He tells his mother that he’s glad this came out because now he can be himself.

Joo-da interrupts and tells Nam-ju’s mother that she needs to let him accept who he really is. She says that she doesn’t care if Nam-ju is a chaebol or a regular guy, “To me, you were always mine.” She hugs him right in front of everyone, and tells him, “I love you.”

When the Stage ends, she just hugs Nam-ju tighter and says it’s probably been hard to be the main character. Turning to his mom, Joo-da says she can’t use her son like a tool. She encourages Nam-ju to say what he’s thinking, so he announces (because of course it’s an announcement) that he’s going to live his life simply, “With the love of my life, Yeo Joo-da.”

Kyung asks Dan-oh what she wants to do together, and when she says there’s too much to remember, he feels bad for never asking before. Since they’re in the Shadow, he says that he’s going to believe her affection for him is real even though she’s told him it’s not.

In the library, the sunlight hits Dan-oh’s heart monitor and she absently plays with the reflection. Haru sits nearby, and something about the way he flinches when the light hits his eyes makes Dan-oh think that she’s seen him do that before. She whispers his name and her eyes fill with tears (she’s remembering!) but she doesn’t seem to know why.

Later she’s sitting under the ancient tree with Sae-mi, who says she’s never seen Nam-ju as happy as he is with Joo-da, so she’s giving up on him. She runs away sobbing, and Dan-oh suddenly hears voices talking about how they’ll meet under this tree every year.

Soo-hyang approaches Dan-oh and seems mildly surprised that Dan-oh doesn’t remember her. She says that the tree has seen thousands of students in its three hundred years, and that you could probably hide from the tree if you hid among them. Dan-oh says she wants to find her own path in life and not hide, and Soo-hyang asks if that life includes Kyung.

Of course, Dan-oh says it does, but then she frowns and adds, “Maybe?” Soo-hyang tells her that it’s not up to them — it’s up to the Writer who created them. OMG, she’s self-aware! She admits that she was scared when she first learned the truth, and she just wanted to be with her love, but they couldn’t escape or change anything. But she says that if your love is strong enough, you can overcome it.

After school, Do-hwa meets with Joo-da, and he asks what will happen to them. Joo-da says that she likes Do-hwa, but she also likes Nam-ju, and she doesn’t have the courage to fight back after using up all her courage just getting through her story. She says that Do-hwa can be happy without her, but Nam-ju can’t.

She doesn’t want to lead Do-hwa on by asking him to be friends, but Do-hwa does it himself. Joo-da thanks him for being her guardian angel, and he says he truly did like her, both onStage and in the Shadow.

Kyung takes Dan-oh on a Stage date to do whatever she wants, and when her heart monitor beeps, she says that it’s only because she’s with someone she likes a lot. Kyung looks happy as they spend the day enjoying each other’s company, and in the evening, he tells Dan-oh that he’s glad they finally found each other.

The Stage ends, and Dan-oh thanks Kyung for turning her from a sick girl with a crush into a healthy woman in love. But she accidentally calls him “Haru,” and she doesn’t even realize she did it, which bothers Kyung.

EPISODE 30

In class the next day, the students wonder why one of their classmates didn’t come to afternoon classes. A few kids start to contact him, but he’s no longer in their phones’ contact lists, and nobody can remember his number. Haru realizes that it’s started — characters who have nothing more to add to the story have begun to disappear.

He passes Dan-oh on the stairs, and her heart seizes up, making her fall. Haru carried her to the infirmary and waits by her side, and when she wakes, he notices that she skinned her knee. He kneels in front of her to bandage it and tells her that he did this once before, the first time she asked him to change her fate.

He asks her to remember him, and tells her again that she’s the one who named him Haru. Her heart monitor beeps and Dan-oh asks him to leave, since she thinks he’s the one making her heart hurt. Haru goes, looking heartbroken, and Dan-oh suddenly remembers another time when he bandaged her knee.

A strange wind kicks up while Haru is looking through Secret on the catwalk. He turns to see the portal hovering in midair again, and he understands that this means the story is coming to an end very soon. He doesn’t see Dan-oh standing below, looking up at the portal, in a reversal of the first time they saw it there.

Later Kyung finds Dan-oh sitting at Haru’s desk, though she says she’s just enjoying the view out the window. She asks him what kind of person she’ll become now that she’s no longer sick, and Kyung looks worried that she doesn’t seem to remember that she still has heart palpitations.

After school, Dan-oh sees Haru’s name on his locker and touches it tentatively. Haru approaches her, and yet again he introduces himself with a brave but sad smile. Dan-oh leaves the building, and when she notices that she’s crying she runs back inside, but Haru isn’t there.

Haru passes Dan-oh again in the hall the next morning, and her heart goes crazy. She stares after him, sighing that her heart has never hurt this much before. Later she and Kyung notice Haru sitting under the ancient tree and Dan-oh asks why he’s always there. Kyung says, “It’s obvious — he’s waiting.” He notes that she still looks for Haru even though she’s lost her self-awareness, adding, “I’m all alone again.”

They ~BLIP~ into a Stage where Kyung is walking Dan-oh home, and they pass a wall where they measured their heights as children. The marks are still there, and they remember how they’d pinky-sworn to measure themselves again in ten years. Dan-oh had been sure she’d be taller then, but now she jokes that she’s barely grown at all while Kyung is much taller.

Kyung asks Dan-oh to meet him at school for a date tomorrow night, since it’s the ten-year anniversary of measuring their heights. He thanks her for being by his side all this time, and leans in to kiss her…

But just before their lips touch, the Stage ends. Kyung backs off, so Dan-oh asks what’s wrong. He says that he desperately wanted everything the way he remembered, and he’d hoped the Stage was the reality, but now he knows that Stage Dan-oh isn’t real. He continues, “Wanting to keep you with me, knowing that you’re not yourself, makes me a monster.”

At school the next day, Dan-oh complains to Sae-mi that she keeps doing things that help Nam-ju and Joo-da get together, like someone else is controlling her actions. Haru listens in, wondering if his plan to get Dan-oh’s memories back so she can live her own life is working.

That evening, Dan-oh waits under the ancient tree for her date with Kyung. Eventually her heart monitor beeps again, then she sees him standing nearby in his familiar long coat. She goes over and leans on his back to measure their heights, and when their backs touch, her memories rush back all at once. She looks up… and sees Haru smiling down at her.

Haru says he wanted to see her one more time, and that he’s okay if he disappears in the manhwa so long as she’s happy, even if she doesn’t remember him. But Dan-oh does remember him now, and how he changed her fate, and she sobs that he promised never to leave her. Crying himself, Haru hugs Dan-oh tightly, sobbing, “Every moment of my life is meant for you.”

Soo-hyang comes to the kitchen the next day and surprises Mi-chae, but this time he smiles and says he’s missed her. He lays out a huge meal he made for her, and as Soo-hyang eats, he watches her with open love in his eyes. He says that they don’t have much time left, so he’s glad he could spend a little of it with her, because it’s impossible to pretend not to know her. Soo-hyang only smiles back sadly.

Dan-oh grows worried when Kyung doesn’t show up to class. He’s in the A3 hideout, thinking about last night — he had given Haru his coat and told him to go see Dan-oh in his place. He’d said he was doing it for Dan-oh, not Haru, and because he hates the Writer. Kyung had told Haru that if he’s the only one who can change the Stage, then to go do it again.

Dan-oh finds Kyung and returns his ring, and this time he doesn’t argue. He says dejectedly that he’s been a monster to her, and she counters that they were just playing their roles, but that she knows who they truly are. She tells Kyung, “That’s why Dan-oh of Secret wants to thank you, and Dan-oh of Flower forgives you. Those are just your characters created by the Writer.”

Kyung is crying now, and Dan-oh holds out a hand and hopes that he can find his real self like she did. Finally Kyung is able to touch her hand, and he smiles at her through his tears.

Later, Dan-oh sits outside with Haru, complaining that he made her miss out on the good bread at lunch because he was being too slow. Haru reaches for his drink to share it with her, and he spills it on his jacket. He reaches for it and notices that his nametag is blank again… oh no. Oh no.

He flips his jacket over so Dan-oh can’t see it, but she reaches for it, so he jumps up and hugs her. He tells her, “Dan-oh-yah, I don’t mind, no matter what the price is.”

They go to the art room, which Dan-oh says is her favorite room because it’s where Haru made her wish to see the stars come true. Haru thanks her for being with him in all of his scenes, and she thanks him for helping change her character and allowing her to live the fate she chose for herself. She asks Haru to be with her on her final page, and he smiles sadly.

They leave together, then they hear a strange sound come from the art room. Haru nervously opens the door… and the room is gone. Random props float in blackness, but they begin to disappear one by one as Haru watches in horror.

 
COMMENTS

Oh, this is breaking my heart! I know they’re going to get split up, it’s inevitable as the manhwa finishes, but I just don’t want to watch it happen! Thankfully there’s not much left in Secret so Dan-oh won’t be alone for long, but then their memories will be erased. They’re going to have to find each other all over again in the next story, and what if the Writer decides to make one of them a main character and one an extra, or leaves one of them out completely like they tried to do with Secret? I just want Dan-oh and Haru to have a chance to be together, even if it’s just for one story, even if it’s only for a little while.

I’ll admit that at first, I was upset when I realized that Joo-da wasn’t going to be with Do-hwa and would choose Nam-ju instead. But then she explained that she likes them both, and that her knee-jerk reaction against Nam-ju was just because she didn’t want the Writer telling her how to feel offStage. But then she realized that she needs all her courage getting through all the bullying and hardship of the story, and she didn’t have enough left over to fight the Writer. And she’s right that Nam-ju needs her more than Do-hwa does — Do-hwa is happy and has plenty of friends, while Nam-ju always knew he’d lose the people who claimed to love him when the truth came out about his birth. Joo-da is the one person who can understand how it feels to be an outcast, so she’s the perfect person to be by him while he goes through this.

I’m so proud of Kyung for realizing that even though Dan-oh thought she likes him when she wasn’t self-aware, the Dan-oh he was with wasn’t the real Dan-oh. He tried to be happy with the un-self-aware version of her, but he couldn’t do it, and in the end he not only chose Dan-oh’s happiness over his own, but he even helped Haru remind her of who she is. I’m glad for Kyung’s sake that Dan-oh forgave him, because that will help him continue to become a better person in the next manhwa. As frustrated as I’ve been at Kyung through this entire drama, I always had hope that he would learn from his mistakes and try to be better, and ultimately that’s exactly what happened. I hope that in the next manhwa he gets a different love interest, and that she becomes self-aware and loves him back (might I suggest Sae-mi, whose Shadow self is the sweetest?).

I think this episode really highlighted Haru’s quiet strength and his dedication to Dan-oh’s happiness even at the expense of himself. We’ve known this about him forever, but at this late stage in Secret, it would have been easy for Haru to do as Mi-chae advised and sit back, let the story end, and hopefully find Dan-oh again in the next manhwa. But even knowing that drawing the Writer’s attention again could get him dropped from the story, he still chose to try and coax Dan-oh’s memory back, because it matters more to him that Dan-oh end the story fully self-aware and in control of herself than that he see the end himself.

I feel like Soo-hyang’s talk with Dan-oh was really important, and it backed up everything that Mi-chae has been saying since the beginning — their lives aren’t up to them, and no matter how hard they try to fight it or change it, ultimately they’ll fail. But there’s also hope in that maybe they’ll be able to find each other again in the next story, and this time the Writer will let them have the life they want. The story of Secret ends soon, but there will be another story, and hopefully Dan-oh and Haru can find each other again and be happy the next time around.

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😭😭😭😭😭😭😭
Yes, I'm that weird person who cried during Kyung's date with Dan-oh because while it happened on Stage, it felt so much like a goodbye on his part. I'm not sure why I feel so much for Kyung despite my usual rolling-eye reaction towards jerk lead male. I don't like many of his actions and choices, but I can't deny that Kyung felt just a little bit more relatable and fascinating among all these characters.

I do admire Dan-oh and Haru's determination and steadfastness, but Kyung who had a hard time accepting the radical changes in his life and unknowingly clung to Dan-oh, the only constant good thing in his life? I feel that. The way he demanded other people to stop changing things around because it uncomfortably changed his life too? I understand that. I envy Haru and Dan-oh for being able to be so sure of their love for each other and for knowing what they want. But Kyung's confusion over his own feelings, his jumbled thoughts that he couldn't even interpret himself, that hit me right on the feels. I know what it felt like to want one thing because that's how it supposed to be, only to realize the moment I got it that it was nothing like what I truly wanted. Feeling so much but couldn't find the nice words to convey it? Realizing how precious something is only when you lose it because you've taken it for granted? Hating what you did but couldn't stop yourself? Been there, done that.

I never wanted Kyung to end up with Dan-oh, because I know that redemption and him realizing that he needs to change is more of a happy ending for him. It's not about love, it's about him finding his real self. And I'm glad we got that. I'm eternally grateful that Dan-oh is a girl with such big heart, that she has it in her to forgive and thank him and still be his friend. *sniffle*

On another note, oh Juda, my girl. It's probably felt somewhat anticlimatic that she still ended up with Namju after she awakened. But I think what's important is how she got to choose for herself what kind of romance she wanted. She is a practical girl who has been shaped by her unfortunate situation, and as expected, she made a practical choice. I'm surprised the writer decided to bring Namju to Juda's world instead of the other way around (which I'm sure also played a part in her decision). He might still be much richer than her, but she is the one who knows how to navigate a world without privileges and even be happy with that. And I'm sure Juda is happier to be the one leading and teaching him this time around.

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*swoops in with all the Kyung fan-club accoutrement*

Yes to this. So much yes to all of this.

I totally get people's frustrations with Kyung, but I still think he's the most compelling character of them all. Except for a few episodes in the middle where he backslid - I feel like his story progression from 2D mean dude to fully fleshed out complicated human was the most consistent.

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What an amazing, insightful comment, gadis. Yes, yes, and yes to everything you said! I especially love your insight into Kyung, because I have not been a fan of his character at all (although I am a fan of the actor who played him).

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I wanted Do-hwa to get the girl because I like Do-hwa more, but I also thought it was important that she got to choose. I think it helped that there was that time when Nam-ju left the country and the two were separated and Ju-da had some time to breathe and figure out who she really was. And it also helped that Nam-ju's birth status became exposed and he became vulnerable. There was less of a power and social status imbalance now. And you're right that Juda would be happier leading the way.

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Kyung was never my favourite, in fact I was super frustrated with his character in the earlier episodes although I can’t really blame him because it’s the way the Secret writers wrote him (to be a SUPER jerk to Danoh), but even after he gained self-awareness I saw this selfishness in him as he tried to cling onto Danoh and didn’t want her to change her story. But it’s only now after these last few episodes that I’ve come to realise what he has been going through. I understand him, the way he wanted Danoh (the only good thing in his characters story) to be with him and for the story to not change because he was afraid of what the change would do to his characters story.

I was upset with the last episode when Danoh lost her self-awareness and had forgotton Haru, I was like ‘Oh here we go again’ (sorry but those episodes where Haru had forgotton Danoh were so painful for me to watch) so I wasn’t really looking forward to this episode, but I understand now why that had to happen. The only way for Kyung to get closure and realise that the Danoh that ‘loved’ him was never real and it was time for him to let her go and try to find his own happiness. And that character development(!) when Kyung let Haru enter the stage as him. Kyung really had been a victim of the writers and when I think about it I wonder how much the actions of his past characters have been eating away at him, even though he wasn’t aware.

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I'm glad there was a point to her losing her self-awareness. It was a good way to prove to the stubborn Kyung that he would not be happy with a Dan-Oh who was a Kyung-loving shell of herself. And him holding Dan-Oh hostage was just being a terrible friend to the Dan-Oh he fell in love with. This would be obvious to a lot of people, but despite his mature-looking face, Kyung is ultimately a teenager.

Their handshake here brought me to tears. I remember being pissed at Kyung a few episodes ago because Dan-Oh was dying and she wanted them to be good friends, but he didn't shake her hand.

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[Warning: rant incoming]

1) Show lost me when Juda chose Nam-ju over Do-hwa. To me, Juda spent the entire show fighting back against her Candy label. Standing up for herself, actively seeking out Do-hwa, refusing Nam-ju confession. She has very much been fighting against and despite her setup even since she became self-aware. Her choosing Nam-ju over her own happiness felt a bit like she was giving up and to me, looked like the most Candiest of move. All of which throws her entire character development out the window.

2) “their lives aren’t up to them, and no matter how hard they try to fight it or change it, ultimately they’ll fail” - That’s what bothers me. Show started with Dan-Oh realizing that she lives in a comic book and deciding to take control of her own fate. And that’s what I wanted. A driven, headstrong heroine who would fight back. Somehow the message turned into “true love can survive anything” which is not bad but it’s not really what I signed up for.

I am interested to hear what people thought though. Am I the only one feeling that way or can some people relate?

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I think the story is clear : They're in a manhwa. There is a part they have to accept and a part they can change. Juda is the main character, she's the one with the most stages scenes and she has to fight during those scenes. So I think choosing what the best for her doesn't mean she's giving up. She likes the both guys and she can have the love of Nam Joo and the friendship of Dohwa. It's less romantic but it works too. It correspond better to her character. She's different from Danoh.

2) Danoh fought during all the story : she loves the person she wants and not the one the writer chose for her and she lives, her wish to live was fulfilled. Little changes made the story to change too.

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I think Ju-da's development was more about standing up for herself and not being wrist-grabbed around in Shadow, since she couldn't do anything about Stage. I liked that she will be the boss in their relationship, and that Nam-ju is quite the befuddled teddy bear in Shadow.

I have no strong opinions about her choosing Nam-ju over Do-hwa, because ultimately it doesn't matter what happens in the manhwa world, they're all puppets of the Writer/Fate. How depressing. *crazy laugh*.

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Unpopular opinion, but the show never lived up to its standards. Whole drama everyone was making fun of the manhwa storyline, but really, how is that any worse than what was going in Shadow?
Female lead who loses her whole agenda after meeting the love of her life? Check
Main male lead being her only saver and hope? Check
The love triangle where one guy is a childhood friend and the other her destiny? Check
Amnesia after every second episode coped with terminal illness? Check
Half of an episode being wasted on useless fluff? Check
Don't even make me start about how little time Dan Oh spent with her dad. This man lost his wife and was losing his only child. As cute as Haru is, he doesn't need your attention 24/7.
The latest "death" doesn't even make sense. Someone dies so they become the same exact character in Shadow? I, at least, expected her to be just an extra without a name. It doesn't make any logical sense even within the drama rules.

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I disagree with a lot of that, but one thing I do agree with is the whole male saviour thing. I love Haru, but isn't it just a little offensive that we are given a bold, unique, dynamic heroine and then told that only men are capable of changing her fate. Back when Haru was Frankenstein's monster, I didn't really mind, but the show kind of explained away his potential to change the stage like "well, he's an extra, so the writer doesn't notice him much". Well, so is Dan-oh - that's her whole problem. So really, was there actually special about Haru, or did Dan-oh just need saving for plot's sake?

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I feel like when someone dies in Shadow, it is a failsafe mechanism for the manhwa to protect itself from potentially drastic changes by making it more difficult for that character (or that character's partner-in-crime) to change the story. I guess it's like restarting a program on your computer?

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To see Danoh in zombie mode was sad, her spunky side is the best! Even Dohwa who was scared by her in the beginning loved this side of her and was missing it!

Baek Kyung started to have feelings when Danoh became aware, he fell in love with Shadow Danoh, not the Stage one. He didn't want to see they were two different persons. So I'm happy he could accept this fact and let her go. For me, there never was a love triangle because Danoh never showed any feelings for BK. His story was about redemption for what he did in Flower and Secret.

Danoh-Haru scenes were sad and in the same time made me remind all that happened between them, the classroom scene for the chemistry classroom when Danoh wanted him to change their fate with the flowers blooming outside, the infirmary scene when Danoh said him her name for the first time, the back scene, etc So many beautiful moments between them! It made hard to see the start of Haru's vanishing and him knowing what it's happening...

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Do Hwa is my most favorite character in this show. And I wanted Ju Da to choose him. Even though I have always felt sympathy for the second lead, I have almost never never shipped them with the female lead. Cause it is her choice to be with the Male Lead. It is both the leads choice to be with each other. But in this case I still would have liked Ju Da to end up with Do Hwa. But I understand. I have always felt bad for Nam Ju, he is not self aware. He had no idea. But he has no one. And it's Ju Da's choice to be with him. It's no different from how even though it was the writer who had Do Hwa love Ju da in the Manhwa, he still chose to be interested in her in the Shadow. It's the same for Ju Da no? Choosing Nam Ju is what she thought will make her happy. And Do Hwa was fine with her choice and I am okay with that. So it makes sense to me.

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I sympathized with Baek Kyung this episode. Even though he wanted Dan Oh to be with him he realized that she doesn't actually love him and that it wasn't her true self. I wanted Him to be redeemed and he has. I loved that Dan Oh forgave him and thanked him.

Soo Hyang is definitely self aware. And hearing her say there are no rules makes me disappointed cause I wanted answers for why their world was the way it is. Regardless even though I didn't like it I understand why they had shown amnesia twice. Haru trying to make Dan Oh self aware again and make her remember him, it all paralleled with what Dan Oh did for Haru. I felt so bad for Haru that he could not keep his promise to be with Dan Oh till the end. Now I just need to watch the last episode to see the resolution. Atleast the show was enjoyable. And I can't wait to find out how it ends.

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I don't really get this "he has no one" argument. He has A3 and would probably have a lot more people with him if he was less than a jerk majority of times. This goes for Baek Kyung as well.
I got Ju Da's decision, there was more reasons why she chose Nam Ju, but it is off-putting that she named that as one of them. It's not girls' responsibility to shelter every lonely boy and make them happy.

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True

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It was always weird how he and Do Hwa and Baek Kyung became friends but the manhwa writer decides that the 3 rich hot guys have to be friends even if they don't anything in common because that's what rich, hot guys do. Do Hwa and him were love rivals and he was a jerk to Do Hwa when he found out that Do Hwa also had feelings for Juda. You're right that he's been a jerk a majority of the time, so no friends.

It is annoying to make the girl responsible for making sure the guy is emotionally taken care of. For this story, I can see why Ju Da picked him. Ju Da wants to feel in control and a lonelier, not-so-alpha-anymore Nam-ju suits her. He was able to comfort her before (grandma's surgery) and it's the path of least resistance.

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I keep finding myself wondering, what would Nam Ju be like if he became self-aware? Would he even like Ju Da at all?

He is as single-minded in love as Dan Oh was in her Stages. If she could change so radically in her tastes, couldn't he?

And isn't it weird for Ju Da to accept his love and be in a relationship with him? Isn't it like being in a relationship with someone under a spell, or hypnotized, or just unable to make their own decisions because they are not in their right mind?

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As Do-hwa and Kyung both like their love interests in the Shadow, I believe Nam-joo would still like Joo-da if he became self-aware. Joo-da chose Nam-joo because she was moved by his love. Even if his set-up was created by the Writer, main characters don't seem to change as much as extras. While Dan-oh is like night and day, Do-hwa and Kyung aren't that different from their real selves.

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As you say, "main characters don't seem to change as much as extras." Great point!

The only place I might differ in my opinion is maybe that Ju Da, who is the female lead, did change quite a bit. I feel like Candy characters often start out feisty and spunky, then turn into doormats later when love comes into play. I like that Ju Da started as a doormat and then (when she became self-aware) got mad and started fighting back, and became not such a virtuous heroine: being materialistic/practical, being vengeful, smirking at her tormentor, being sarcastic. She didn't turn bad, though - she turned complex and human.

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I loved this episode for the sole reason that it wasn't a repeat of the same scenes over and over. Un-self-aware Dan-oh brought new scenes. I loved Kyung and Dan-oh's Stage date especially how he put on the rabbit ears hat without complaining. He was so cute when he pushed her ears back. "I had hoped the Stage was the reality." After Kyung gave Dan-oh up for her happiness, it felt really cathartic when she thanked and forgave him for playing his character created by the Writer. I believe Kyung already found his real self.

I loved Nam-joo and Joo-da's cliché Stages. "Close your eyes." single tear "To me, you were always my man Oh Nam-joo." I feel sorry for Do-hwa for getting his heart broken, but I want to protect Nam-joo more. How can Joo-da not fall for "I exist for you" when it was even said in the Shadow? I'm thankful Nam-joo's secret was a life-changing secret and not something piddly.

Thanks a bunch for the recap, @LollyPip!

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Things I miss:
* Kyung's meanness
* Kyung's rage
* Kyung's dysfunctional family
* Dan Oh's spunk
* Do Hwa's violin
* Literal Haru
* Rules
They all disappear along with my hope that they will explain things and give us some answers.

Things I don't miss that keeps showing up:
- Dan Oh's heart monitor turning into love alarms.
- Black hole portal
- Writer's alter ego popping up to tell us he/she is invincible and has absolute power. I got it. YOU RULE!!!

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What is this black hole purpose? It perplex me and I keep waiting for some sort of explanation. I guess you get a glimpse for the other manhwa world? But for what? They get a glimpse of that from reading the actual manhwa or just from vision/dream.

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Probably no purpose like everything else in this universe. Writer probably think it's cool and mysterious.

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For me, it's wormhole that connects the 2 manhwas together. Haru could have come by there. In the first episode during the first 5 minutes we don't see Haru, but then there are 2 noises of turned pages and everyvody is frozen, then we see Haru (not very well...).

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It can't be a wormhole. As Mi Chae explained in this episode, characters exist when the writer draws them in and they disappear when not drawn. Haru was an extra who appeared in Secret because writer drew him in. At least that much is established. When they are not drawn, they are in deep sleep, which is kinda a nicer way to say, you don't exist.

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But Mi Chae can't explain how Haru can change the Stage. Haru is not like the others. He was invisible until Danoh gave him a name. Then, the writer gave it officially.

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It is some kind of not-well-defined or (maybe more likely) not-thought-through portal or wormhole connecting the two manhwas. Amnesia-Haru reached into one and got his hand sliced open again at one point.

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The whole show, I was expecting the wormhole to be a a portal to the real world.
Sorta wished, Dan Oh would one day understand how clichéd her life was, reached the ultimate self awerness, walked in a portal and ended up in a set of Extraordinary you. The Bandersnatch style.

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I lke this version. Let's go for this version.

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I'm happy they didn't choose this solution. She already understands how cliché is her world. I like the fact they had to accept they can't have all they want but still make little changes.
I like the bittersweet side of this story.

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It's definitely the best part - it brings up all kinds of existential questions that most "youth" dramas wouldn't be expected to tackle.

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I feel like it's the author's imagination/brain/idea-bucket. It's where her other story exists and it is also where she can pull things from?

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Your guess is as good as mine. :)

I tend to think it as the evil step mother mirror in Snow White. It just tells you useless things.

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I'm glad I've told myself to stop thinking too much about the rules in this universe because the drama writer clearly doesn't think too much about it either. Thankfully the characters are still compelling enough for me to enjoy it till the final eps.

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Even with forsaking all the rules, an 11th hr character "development" is way too convenient.

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You miss mean, raging Kyung? I want tsundere Kyung forever.

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AHHH! Loved this episode to death!
First off, I am so proud of Kyung! I always wanted him to find his true self and to be a better person, and I'm so glad he did! This was the first episode I truly felt for him and his Stage date with Dan Oh made me feel so sad for him; he wanted to be with the one person he felt made him feel less alone and it just wasn't meant to be. (Haha if I were the Writer, I'd somehow allow Dan Oh to just date Haru and him... I feel like that'd be the dream resolution for a love triangle haha)
I really felt for Haru throughout the episode. You could tell how much he loved Dan Oh and how he'd never give up on her. I was so glad that Kyung helped both of them out and helped Dan Oh become herself again.
I didn't expect Ju Da to break off with Do Hwa! It was very mature of both of them though; I liked this development a lot because it showed how much they both grew as people in the Shadow.

I enjoyed the drama so much, I didn't realize that this was the second to the last week. I was hoping that they'd take the time to flesh out the Writer or somehow have the characters find a way around their creator but it looks like it wasn't meant to be! I was also hoping for other characters to become self aware but it seems like that wasn't the direction the drama was going for!

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Awww Haru being such a puppy and their reunion 💔💔💔
And that last handshake with kyung... My heART.

But ANYWAY, I get Juda's reason to chose Namju but that really just put her whole "I want you to hope" stuff to Dohwa absolutely trash. Nah, you had me for 2 episodes Juda.

AND HOW LOVELY ARE MICHAE AND SOOHYANG

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Even though juda choose namjoo over do hwa in this episode, but still this is ky fav episode so far.
Haru's effort to made dan oh remember him was so so sooo sad. His eyes speaks too much that he really loves her and he will do anything for her (credit for Rowoon, he's really can act). I can't imagine how sad they are when they know that their time together will end soon.
.
and dan oh line to kyung "dan oh in secret says thank you and dan oh in flower forgives him" not only Kyung cries but so did I.

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Highlights of this episode
1- Ju da choosing Nam Ju over Do Hwa- I really felt so bad that Do Hwa got rejected both in the stage and the shadow. Really felt for him. I was even more surprised with Ju Da choosing Nam Ju. Her reasoning was good, that Nam Ju exist for her and her only and she is the only can who can take care of him. Nam Ju needs Juda.
I think this is the first time i have liked Nam Ju and Ju Da Scenes. I always eye-rolled so much in their cliched stage scenes, but when in this episode, i finally connected with them.

2- Kyung's stage date with Dan Oh - Their scenes made so bittersweet, even though the stage date was so fluffy and cute. Kyung finally had the chance to go on a date with his love, but it was on stage and with un-self aware Dan Oh. All Kyung needs is the real Dan Oh. Felt so much pity for him, even though i hated his jerk moves. I loved loved the part when they were leaning on the wall to check their height. I just wished that these two were in some another drama.

3- Haru trying to make Dan Oh remember him- Places swapped, and now Haru was the one trying to make DanOh remember his name. It was heartbreaking to see him like this. He really loves her and can go any length to achieve her dreams.

4- Su-Hyang being self aware- OMG, this was so shocking. I thought she was not self aware at all. Whatever she said to Dan Oh was so true.

5- DanOh gaining her memory back - The back of Haru sure has so much power that Dan Oh gained her memory back. Heaved a sigh of relief that Dan Oh was back to her normal self.
PS: Rowoon's back look so sturdy, i would do anything to have feel his back.

6- DanOh forgiving Kyung- I ugly cried while watching this scene.

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Ahhh. The feels! The last few episodes have been my favorite because so much is explained!

I can totally get with the “you can’t escape fate” even if the fate is dictated by writer-god. There really is no other way to go. They can’t say that a writer doesn’t have a say in the stories they write.

But I didn’t get the “Haru saved Danoh this time around” part. He didn’t do anything at the end. She died. It was a good death ultimately cuz she had to “forget” her heart condition but still, he didn’t actually save her. That’s probably why the middle part of the story felt draggy. There was high hope he’s going to actually change something. And he did, technically, with his “butterfly effects”. And yet since they were butterflies, it felt unsatisfying.

Anyways, what’s up with the plot/black holes? That’s the only thing not being explained. All it does is signals the beginning and the end of the manhwa? It’s not a plot hole? With the plot hole being that characters are self aware and therefore do things that are not logical to the story?

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Haha, I love that you call them actual plot holes, as that's really what they seem to be.

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When I saw that scene between Dan-Oh and Kyung I sobbed my heart out. I had been shipping them platonically for Kyung’s sake, but now I realize that Kyung does not necessarily need Dan-Oh by his side. He just needed her forgiveness to finish their engagement set-up and her encouragement to move on to greater things. Now that he has received all that he can find his true self and figure out what he wants for himself.

A huge contrast with Nam-Joo, who cannot live without Juda. I never got into this love triangle because Ju-Da went from boring candy to a bully herself (I simply prefer to ignore enemies rather than sink to their level = bully them back, but that is my personal opinion), but she won me over this episode with her support for both guys. The real Ju-Da is not a candy, and her decision can be seen as selfish, but you have to be practical when are stuck as the female lead in the manhwa world with limited options. I appreciated how blunt and direct she was with Do-Hwa about the matter and how Do-Hwa understood and wanted to remain friends.

I have been a fan of Jin Michae for a few episodes now, and I am pleased that he got to show off his swoony side this episode. Find yourself a man that cooks for you and stares at you like you are his universe! ;) I had the privilege of hearing the sexy delivery of his lines through headphones, and I applaud Soo-hyang for her self-restraint. :P

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That almost kiss scene between Kyung and DanOh was so sad on Kyung's part. He really wanted the real Dan-Oh to be with him and he even admitted himself being a monster just to keep Danoh beside him, It was good to see him back off without really kissing DanOh.
Man, i just need a spin off of this drama, where Kyung and Dan Oh is some other manhwa as leads. My heart breaks seeing Kyung like this.

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My favorite part in this drama is no doubt, Kyung and Danoh' closure and acceptance scene. Kyung needed to hear Danoh's forgiveness for him to able to forgive himself. When Danoh said those "Danoh of Secret thanks you, and Danoh of Trumpet Creeper forgives you," I honestly lost it. That part was just too emotional. I love how they finally came to terms and acknowledge the world, setup and character they had to live in. Kyung really taught me that there are people out there who, despite growing up in such (abusive) environment which is full of negativity that can influence your whole character, there is still a chance for change. That no matter how other people perceive others as monster, there are still those who have innate goodness inside of them. Danoh taught me that forgiveness is sometimes the best gift you can ever give to someone for them to also forgive themselves. It was tbh the best way to conclude Danoh and Kyung's tragic storyline from Trumpet Creeper to Secret

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That "if you die in the shadow, you lose your awareness" twist is GREAT. It is, it makes total sense, because OF COURSE you wouldn't cease to exist - the stage must go on!
But the show could have handled it way better. Mi-chae's backstory, for instance. Any route it could have taken would be better than the one it did. What does it mean that Soo-hyang died twice? How does that make it more heartbreaking - oh, wait, we need to justify his hatred of Baek Kyung. Rightttt. But can't you just claim that the assassin who killed her in the shadow was sent by Kyungie? Doesn't that fix it?
I don't know, the whole execution of Mi-chae's story was all over the place. He is what the plot needs him to be. Creepy, funny, vengeful, you name it.

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I agree about what you said about Mi Chae in the Show/Shadow being whatever the plot needs him to be. There was nothing coherent about how he was presented.

It's similar to his Stage characters in both manhwas: how he went from king in Flower to "dried squid fairy" extra in Secret. Really - his whole point in Secret was to be a good looking guy who occasionally showed up to serve squid in the cafeteria. So I guess the Writer just found it easy to draw him?

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Thank you for the recap! Lots to squee about, which has already been mentioned by others. I really liked how you highlighted Soo-hyang and Mi-chae's words/roles in this episode. As we neared the end without any big blowout or the characters climbing out the pages and bludgeoning the manhwa writer, it started to occur to me that the manhwa will continue as is and the characters can't change it. The focus here really is on how the characters deal with free will and the way they handle what feels so unfair and immutable.

I was wondering what the point was to have Soo-hyang enter so far into the drama. Soo-hyang is an extra here and she is obviously self-aware and knows about the past manhwa. Instead of sharing Mi-chae's "on-edge"/bitter attitude about it, she has been cheerful and trying to make the most out of the little time they have left. Her free will and seeing Mi Chae again is a blessing for her.

(I have to say that a student and a hottie school staff member getting that close is sort of creepy even though I would have eaten this up in my youth)

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This episodes is all about Kyung. I always like Jae Wook, he can potrayed Kyung very well. Sometimes I hate Kyung but at the end I will always love him. I cried a river watching their date and when he lets go Dan oh T______T

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Hi everyone! I feel that there are some unanswered questions and I hope some of you can help me.
1. In Trumpet Flower, is Baek Kyung self-aware? 2. In the stage scene of Dan oh’s death, BK was asking Haru to prove that he’s not coveting his woman. Did Haru’s character on the stage also fell in love with Dan Oh?
3. In the comic book Trumpet Flower, It was written then Haru said he will find his own answers. But if what is written in the comic is The Stage, why did he say such lines on Stage?
4. How did the comic books get into the Comic? Did the writer deliberately draw them into the Comic?

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Oh I’ve another question. Why did Kyung kill Soo Hyang in Trumpet Flower?
And why was there an assassin that kill SH in the shadow??

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1) I don't think Baek Kyung was self-aware because Haru asked to stop his plan and to remember their discussion. But I think he was not far from this.
2) Haru was the second lead in Trumpet Flower with the usual love triangle, so yes I think Haru was in love in the both Stage and Shadow.
3)I think it was about his past. I don't remember well the scene (and I'm at work) but it looks like Haru was the kind of character who grows up with the hero.
4) For me, it's an Easter Egg from the writer.

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Thank you for your answers!! Uh..... I see... I was wondering what answers were he seeking on Stage. Now that explains!

Kyung’s brother said he was a nice guy in the past. How can that be?

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For some reason, I didn’t cry with Haru and Dan Oh when Haru vanished. But I cried when Kyung and Dan Oh had their last date and when they shook hands. Anyone else like me?

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