Extraordinary You: Episodes 5-6
It turns out that our heroine isn’t alone in becoming aware of her manhwa world. The good news is that there’s someone else who knows what she’s going through, but unfortunately, her quest to change her fate suddenly becomes much more urgent as she starts to get an idea of what the Writer has planned for her character. The stakes are higher now, and she’s got to find a way to change her fate before it’s too late.
Dan-oh finally finds her mystery boy and gets to see his face, and it’s well worth the wait. She actually gasps, “Wow!” then claps a hand over her mouth, hee. She says hi… but ~BLIP~ and she’s in the hospital again. ARGH!
Do-hwa spots Dan-oh throwing a tantrum in the hospital hallway and asks if she’s sick again. She grumbles that she doesn’t know, she can only do what the Writer says, confusing Do-hwa. He asks if he should call Kyung for her, and LOL, her face as she realizes that she got yanked out of school at precisely the wrong moment just to talk about Kyung.
A light shines on Dan-oh and a harsh wind blows as she’s compelled to say that she’s bothered that Kyung won’t visit her. Then she chirps that she can’t think of any more lines, and says Do-hwa, “I guess that’s all we had to do. Bye!” This is hilarious.
Do-hwa says she’s been acting weird, like she’s someone else lately, and grumbles that it wasn’t cute how she bumped backs with all the guys. Surprised that he remembers that since it happened in the Shadow, Dan-oh marches back to him (HA, Do-hwa looks terrified of the tiny tornado).
She drags Do-hwa inside and backs him into the wall, making him stammer that he likes someone else. She leans closer… and head-butts him in the face, giving him a nosebleed. She asks if he’s experienced any recent memory loss, and he stares at her with wide eyes as he asks how she knows.
OMG, it’s happening to Do-hwa, too, isn’t it? Dan-oh tells him that he’s becoming self-aware, and that they’re characters in a manhwa. He doesn’t believe her, of course, but she just tells him to watch what happens when the story starts up again.
He follows her out of the stairwell… and he’s delivering some spare clothes to Dan-oh’s doctor, who happens to be Do-hwa’s older brother. Mention of Dan-oh reminds him that he left the bag of clothes outside, and he wonders how he’s holding it now. For that matter, his nose isn’t bleeding anymore…
Dan-oh goes to school the next morning, practicing what to say when she sees her mystery boy. She’s startled when he reaches past her shoulder to open the classroom door and she realizes they’re in the same class, ha. She asks him if he remembers her, but he just stares at her expressionlessly.
She notices that his name tag is blank, then with a ~BLIP~ she’s in her own seat and Kyung is asking her about being in the hospital last night. He blames her for being reckless and exacerbating her condition, and she thanks him in character for worrying about her while internally she sneers that it’s a lie.
Kyung mentions that their families are having dinner again soon, but only to snap at her not to let her heart condition ruin it. This jerk, I swear. After he leaves, Dan-oh is free to snarl about being forced to like him, but when she realizes she’s in the Shadow, the mystery boy is no longer in his seat.
A look through the school yearbook turns up his picture, but besides being listed as student #13, the name space is blank. Dan-oh feels bad that she’s been expecting him to help her, when in fact, he seems to be the one in need of help.
At recess, the boys play soccer, and while all the other girls cheer for Nam-ju, Dan-oh watches NUMBER 13 (Rowoon) with a worried frown on her face. She points him out to Sae-mi, who’s never noticed him before and doesn’t know his name.
On the school roof, Do-hwa plays sad violin song, muttering that he needs to find Dan-oh and wondering why he’s compelled to play violin instead. He has no idea why he starts crying, and when Joo-da shows up and offers to listen if he ever needs to talk, he’s shocked by the flowers that appear in the air all around her. He’s suddenly able to act freely, and he tells Joo-da about the flowers, but she can’t see them.
Later, Dan-oh pages through the “Secret” manhwa in the kitchen. Mi-chae asks if she found her guy, and she sighs that she did, but he’s a very minor character that wasn’t even drawn properly. Awww, she’s found him in the manhwa, and he doesn’t even have any facial features. Mi-chae says that he told her she wouldn’t be able to change the story, but she refuses to give up.
Do-hwa stumbles into the kitchen, exhausted after trying for hours to get to the cafeteria and getting teleported away every time he got close, LOL. Mi-chae smirks that this happened faster than he expected, and Do-hwa gapes at meeting another self-aware character.
He’s about to have a nervous breakdown from the stress of being self-aware, and Dan-oh jokes that he’s a very old-fashioned character type — sunny on the outside, tormented on the inside. Do-hwa wails, “How can this be the world of manhwas?” Mi-chae and Dan-oh say in tandem, “Everyone reacts that way at first.”
Dan-oh realizes that Do-hwa has the same problem she had… he thinks he’s the main character. He also assumes she’s the female lead and that the two of them are supposed to get together, hee. Frustrated, Dan-oh tells him to read “Secret,” and when he realizes that the leads are Joo-da and Nam-ju, he bursts into tears (“I knew their names were weird!!”). Awww, poor second lead.
He tells Dan-oh that he did think it was weird that Joo-da was in every moment of his life. Mi-chae gets out his diorama, and Dan-oh tells Do-hwa that if he sees the world from his perspective, then he is the main character.
~BLIP~ Dan-oh is in Doctor Lee’s office with her father, having chest pain, so the nurse takes her for treatment. DL tells Chairman Eun that Dan-oh’s heart is being overworked and incurring a lot of damage. He gently tells Chairman Eun to start preparing himself (for Dan-oh to die), and unfortunately, Dan-oh overhears.
That night, she finds her father talking to her mother’s photograph. He says that Dan-oh has always been just like her mother, even chasing Kyung the way her mother chased him. He breaks down crying, begging her to help their daughter live.
Dan-oh is stricken at first, but then she tells herself that this is just her character arc. She notices that the diorama puppets (she has two now, a girl and a boy) have fallen over, and as she sets them up, she hears Mi-chae saying, “Nothing changes in this world. Never.” But she still feels that if she changes the Stage, she can change her fate.
At school in the morning, Dan-oh mopes when she doesn’t see Number 13 anywhere. She finally spots Number 13 reading on a bench outside, but she can’t even enjoy the view because ~BLIP~ Nam-ju nudges her aside to moon at Joo-da, who’s in the garden watering the flowers.
The Stage ends quickly and Dan-oh is joined by Do-hwa, who seems to be adjusting to his role as second lead. He sees how Dan-oh is watching Number 13 and guesses that he’s the back she was looking for, but Dan-oh pouts that he’s not in the character list, nor is he fully-drawn, so she can’t look for him in the manhwa.
Suddenly, Dan-oh has another storyboard vision… she helps Joo-da carry styrofoam containers of dry ice to science class. Dan-oh bumps into Nam-ju and makes him drop his phone, but when Nam-ju imperiously orders her to pick it up, Joo-da tells him to pick it up himself. Kyung and Number 13 watch as Nam-ju looms over Joo-da and Dan-oh, and Dan-oh knocks over the styrofoam boxes.
As soon as she comes back to the present, Dan-oh is excited — Number 13 was on the storyboard! She chases Number 13 down, and when she trips, he reflexively catches her arm. He stares at his hand as if he’s never touched another person before, then goes along obediently when Dan-oh wrist-grabs him and pulls him to the science room.
Even though she assumes Number 13 won’t remember this later, Dan-oh recites her character profile, and says that she thinks she can change her fate with his help. He’s silent as Dan-oh complains that everything she does is to help the main characters, and she wants to break free of that.
She tells Number 13 to keep the boxes from falling over during class, so that they can change the story. In return, she promises to make him more than an extra if the plan works. She gets frustrated when Number 13 just blinks at her, wondering why he doesn’t talk, but his attention is diverted by some flowers out the window that bloom as he watches.
When it’s time for class, Dan-oh lights up with excitement when Number 13 walks in. Kyung notices the way she’s looking at Number 13, then ~BLIP~ the scene that Dan-oh saw on the storyboard begins. She helps Joo-da carry the boxes of dry ice, she bumps into Nam-ju, he drops his phone and orders Dan-oh to pick it up. Joo-da steps in and tells Nam-ju to do it himself, and the two start to argue.
Joo-da calls Nam-ju arrogant, and the whole class gasps. Nam-ju advances on her, causing Joo-da and Dan-oh to back up, and Dan-oh gives Number 13 a tiny nod. One more step… and Number 13 reaches out to stop the boxes of dry ice from falling.
But he overcorrects and shoves the boxes, knocking them, and Joo-da, forward. Joo-da gets hurt and Nam-ju bellows at their classmates not to stare at her, but Dan-oh realizes that it worked. She and Number 13 changed the scene!
After school, Number 13 sits in the library among the floating Shadow props, drawing a detailed picture of the flowers he saw blooming.
Dan-oh and Sae-mi go shopping, and once again Dan-oh is relegated to just agreeing with everything Sae-mi says, so she gets frustrated at the abnormally long Stage scene. Eventually they spot Joo-da working a part-time job in a cafe, and Dan-oh sighs with relief that her job — to see Joo-da — is over.
A difficult customer demands that Joo-da materialize a product she’s out of, and just as he’s about to throw a sandwich at her, Do-hwa bursts in and rescues her. He walks Joo-da home later and asks why she lets people walk all over her, and again she calls him her guardian angel. Do-hwa calls Joo-da pretty, but internally he cringes, understanding now why Dan-oh hates all these cheesy, trope-y lines.
Nam-ju has been waiting for Joo-da, and he asks Do-hwa what he’s doing with her. Do-hwa smirks and makes a smartass quip, then leaves them alone.
In the morning, Chairman Eun asks Dan-oh if she wants to travel the world with him. She says that she likes school because it makes her feel normal and that she really wants to go on the annual school trip, since she’s never been able to go. He says yes, and Dan-oh grumbles that it really only matters whether the Writer will draw her on the trip.
Her spoiled classmates are disappointed that the trip this year is to somewhere in Korea, since they’ve previously gone to places like Egypt and Switzerland. Apparently Nam-ju chose the location and is paying for the entire class, no doubt so that Joo-da can participate.
Dan-oh chirps her one line, that Nam-ju is totally awesome, then the Stage ends and Do-hwa teases her for being such a hardworking extra. He wishes he could see the storyboard, too, and could have avoided his second-lead humiliation of the night before, and Dan-oh laments that she’s tried.
She’s surprised to find Mi-chae in the library this time, and he explains that he’s there a lot because the “Secret” manhwa keeps returning to its shelf. Dan-oh tells him that Do-hwa is adjusting well, but she’s still struggling because she heard she’s dying. Mi-chae has read that scene, but she orders him not to look at her so pityingly because she’s still planning to change her fate.
She spots Number 13 out the window and says that she hasn’t changed anything yet, but she’s still going to try. She leaves to talk to Number 13, and when Mi-chae looks out the window and sees Number 13, his smile fades.
Number 13 cuts his hand in the garden, and as Dan-oh chases him down, she trips and skins her knee. She pops back up and follows Number 13 to the infirmary. The first aid kit is on a high shelf so Dan-oh grabs a very unstable chair to stand on, because this is a manhwa and everything is set up in the most trope-y way possible.
Predictably, the chair wobbles and Dan-oh topples over, only to be caught by Number 13. Their hearts flutter at the close contact, and Dan-oh recovers first. She bandages Number 13’s hand, saying that they’ll be healed in the next scene anyway, but Number 13 leans in very close again and she freezes up.
He’s just reaching for the medicine, and as he cleans up Dan-oh’s knee, she pouts, “It would be wonderful if you could change my fate, with your handsome face.” She says that she’d like for him to remember her, and tells him her name. Number 13 just stares at her.
In the next Stage, Dan-oh notices that not everyone is invited on the class trip (Number 13 isn’t on the list, as he doesn’t have a name). She stops Number 13 and notices that his wound is gone, so she assumes that he doesn’t remember her. She introduces herself again, bouncing up and down to meet his gaze since he’s so much taller than she is, hee.
Dan-oh waits for Number 13 again later, introduces herself yet again, and asks him to help her carry some books to the library. On the track at recess, Dan-oh jogs alongside Number 13 and introduces herself (this is getting hilarious), but he continues to stare blankly at her.
During class, Number 13 looks over at Dan-oh and their gazes lock, but she still assumes he doesn’t remember her. But something feels strange, and she asks herself, “Would it be weird of me to feel like something is gradually changing?”
On the way to the bus station for the class trip, Kyung’s dad, Chairman Baek, gets a text that Chairman Eun is postponing his investment in Chairman Baek’s company. He yells at Kyung to take better care of Dan-oh, believing that his company’s fate is determined by how happy Kyung makes her. He drops off Kyung at the station curb, snarling “You’re useless,” before driving off.
~BLIP~ Dan-oh wakes up at the station surrounded by the other students, and she’s embarrassed by the amount of luggage Sae-mi is hauling around (Soo-cheol: “Are you emigrating?” HA). She knows the Writer only let her go on the trip to be a “love bridge” for Joo-da and Nam-ju, so Dan-oh is so excited to be included that she screams.
When they stop for lunch, Soo-cheol gathers all their friends to eat some yummy foods. Nam-ju notices Joo-da watching them and looking hungry.
Dan-oh finds a gift bag in her hands and ~BLIP~ she’s compelled to approach Kyung and offer him the gift. Do-hwa watches, amused, as Dan-oh simpers at Kyung, ha. Kyung opens the gift and asks Dan-oh if she really expects him to carry around a cutesy keychain, then he grinds it into the dirt with his shoe. OMG, he just gets worse and worse.
Dan-oh bursts into miserable tears in front of the entire class, and Do-hwa follows Kyung. As soon as he’s gone, the Stage ends, and Dan-oh busts up laughing and tells everyone she’s fine.
The next Stage ~BLIPs~ and Dan-oh is on the bus, staring morosely out the window. Joo-da asks if she’s okay, and Dan-oh snarls at the Writer for using her to highlight Joo-da’s kindness.
Nam-ju offers Joo-da the food he saw her salivating over, stammering nervously, and Dan-oh rescues him by grabbing the snacks and promising to share it with Joo-da. Dan-oh is annoyed at how she’s being used, but she sighs that at least she got to go in the trip because of these Stages.
Soo-cheol starts a bus dance party, and though she hates this kind of thing, Dan-oh is forced to get up and dance. LOL, Nam-ju slumps in his seat, but even he can’t stop his shoulders from bopping to the music. He peeks at Joo-da and seeing her having fun makes him grin.
They reach their destination and Dan-oh scans the crowd, but she still doesn’t see Number 13. Do-hwa asks if she’s okay after the incident with Kyung, but she says it was on the Stage, and that if you get hurt by every little thing, you won’t survive the world of manhwas.
Do-hwa confirms that Number 13 probably didn’t come on the trip since he wasn’t on the list, and Dan-oh starts cursing the Writer. Do-hwa whines that she’s a scary person in the Shadow, and Dan-oh snaps back sarcastically, “I’m happy for you that you’re not!”
Later, Sae-mi sits with Dan-oh and shows her these stones that are supposed to break with your significant other, and the size you end up with indicates how much you like the other person. She says you can write a wish on the stone and make a tower with the relationship stone on top, and your wish will come true.
Dan-oh has another storyboard vision where she sees herself breaking the stone with Kyung, ending up with a tiny piece while his piece is huge. He throws his piece in the ocean, and Dan-oh swims out to get it. She also sees Number 13 standing on the shore, watching her.
Excited, Dan-oh decides to get this Stage started. She asks Do-hwa to tell Kyung she’s looking for him (poor Do-hwa is so confused, lol), then runs off to the beach.
Meanwhile, Nam-ju creates a stir among the female students when he buys a relationship stone. Do-hwa buys one, too, and they both stand in sparkly sunbeams as they refuse to say who they have in mind to break the stone with. Do-hwa finds Joo-da first and asks her to break the relationship stone with him, while Nam-ju watches, fuming.
Dan-oh finally locates Number 13 standing on a small cliff looking at the ocean. Once again she introduces herself and her character setup, and says that if they change the story they can stop being extras. She tells Number 13 that she’ll be in the water later, but that he should stop her before that happens. He doesn’t indicate that he understands, but Dan-oh is positive that this is her chance.
Kyung lounges by a pool (thank you for the abs, Director Kim!), ignoring the screaming girls trying to get his attention. Do-hwa obediently tells him that Dan-oh is looking for him, but Kyung growls that he doesn’t care. Nam-ju confronts Do-hwa, asking if he likes Joo-da, and though he says she’s just a friend, Do-hwa thinks, “I’m spitting out words that I don’t even mean! These are the lines Dan-oh told me about. I move according to how the story is fixed in the manhwa. That’s my fate.”
Dan-oh waits on the beach with her relationship rock until the ~BLIP~ indicates that the Stage has begun. Kyung approaches her, complaining that she only came on the trip to annoy him. He breaks the stone, ending up with the large piece, and Dan-oh says she’s very happy. Just as Dan-oh saw, Kyung throws his piece of the stone into the ocean and tells Dan-oh to stop wasting her time.
As the Stage forces her to walk into the ocean, Dan-oh nods to Number 13 to stop her, but he doesn’t move. Internally, she starts begging him to save her as she wades into the deep water, but he just stands there. Dan-oh finally finds Kyung’s half of the relationship stone, and she looks up to see Number 13 still standing on the rocks, just watching her. Inside, she wails that maybe she can’t change anything after all.
Students have left wish towers all over the rocks, and as Joo-da stands holding her relationship stone, Nam-ju snaps it in half, ending up with almost the entire stone. She tries to get it back, but he gives her a pen to write a wish on her piece, saying, “I’ll think about it if you follow my lead.”
Dan-oh’s stone tower collapses every time she puts her relationship stone on top, on which she’s written Please make Baek Kyung like me. Nearby, Joo-da claps when her and Nam-ju’s tower stays up, but when she asks Nam-ju what he wished for, he just says, “It’s a secret.”
When their Stage ends, Dan-oh crosses out the wish on her stone and writes something else under it. She stacks the stones again, but they keep collapsing no matter how many times she tries. She thinks about Mi-chae saying that nothing in this world changes, and she starts to cry.
Number 13 approaches her tentatively and starts stacking her stones. Dan-oh tells him to stop, because a tower can’t make her wish come true. She sobs, “I thought it was you. I thought you could help me change this. I was wrong.”
She walks away, leaving Number 13 behind. He stacks the stones again, and when he puts Dan-oh’s wish on top, it stays upright. On it, Dan-oh has written, “I want to live.” Oh, sweet girl.
Number 13 stands, and we see his backpack and a book that’s fallen out. The book is a copy of “Secret.” He looks back and says his first words: “Eun Dan-oh.”
OMG, Number 13 knows. Does he know? He must know! He’s got a copy of “Secret,” after all, so he’s got to be at least a little bit aware of living in the manhwa world, and his speaking Dan-oh’s name indicates that he remembers her, which is only possible for self-aware characters. The scar on his palm and the fact that scenes have changed when he was there indicate that Number 13 may have even tried to change his own fate before, like Dan-oh is doing now, but he wasn’t able to do much without even a basic character description. But now Dan-oh comes along and gives him a face and a voice, and I have a feeling that soon Number 13 will be helping Dan-oh make all sorts of changes.
Is it too soon to be completely head-over-heels for Number 13? I love his character progression so far, which seems to rely heavily on Dan-oh’s awareness of him. First he was just a shadowy figure, but once she noticed him, he started becoming more and more substantial. He only gained a face when she became determined to find him, but he still didn’t have a voice or a name. Yet, at the same time, the clues are there that Number 13 has been self-aware for quite a while, like the way he draws in the Shadow. And Rowoon is so perfect as Number 13, because even though he spent this entire episode with a seemingly “blank” expression, I could tell when he was feeling curious, confused, or even amused at Dan-oh’s antics and affected by their encounter in the infirmary.
It makes me wonder if Dan-oh’s awareness is “infecting” the other characters, and that’s why Do-hwa is now self-aware. Mi-chae has mentioned others who fought against their pre-ordained fates, but for all we know, those were characters in other manhwas. It’s possible that Dan-oh becoming self-aware is influencing those close to her. Number 13 is the most obvious example, because she’s given him a face and now a voice, and he’s evolving from a wide-eyed blank canvas to a character who acts independently, like when he bandaged Dan-oh’s knee or came to stack her stones. Dan-oh also talked to Do-hwa a lot in the Shadow, and now he’s also awake, and Kyung seems to be noticing that things aren’t quite right after spending some time with Dan-oh in the Shadow. It’s possible that Dan-oh is inadvertently spreading the self-awareness to everyone that she talks to about the reality of their existence.
Poor Do-hwa – he’s now torn between knowing that he’s the second lead and destined to get his heart broken, and the fact that his feelings for Joo-da may not even be genuine (and this my first time seeing Jung Gun-joo, but I’m going to fix that with a quickness, because he’s freaking funny). His expression when Nam-ju told him to back off of Joo-da was pretty miserable, but it’s still hard to tell if it’s because he’s feeling constrained by the Stage, or because he really does like Joo-da. Regardless, I’m glad that Dan-oh has someone she can talk to that’s not Mi-chae, because that guy is starting to worry me.
On the flip side, Kyung is quickly burning through my limited amount of patience for his behavior. I’m sure that most of his animosity towards Dan-oh is because of his father’s relentless pushing and criticism — I’d feel anger in that situation too, if I were him. But he’s so hateful and cruel to Dan-oh, and he does the meanest things to her in front of the entire school, and it’s making me furious. I can’t entirely blame him, because it’s the way he’s written, but I’m ready for him to become self-aware so we can learn what he’s really like underneath all that seething fury.
Extraordinary You continues to be pretty much perfect in execution, storytelling, and characterization, in a way that I haven’t seen in a drama in a very long time. Every moment feels thoughtful and significant, and I’m never confused, except when I’m supposed to be. Each scene is tight and well-planned, with no extraneous fillers. The humor is subtle and intelligent when it would have been easy for the writers to fall back on slapstick and pratfalls, and I appreciate that the audience is trusted to get the many-layered jokes. It’s just a pleasure to watch (and to recap!) in every way, and I can see this drama rocketing to the top of my favorites list very easily. Let’s hope it continues this way!
- Premiere Watch: Tale of Nokdu, Extraordinary You, My Country: The New Age
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- Character stills from A Day Found by Chance
- First stills for fantasy youth romance Day Found by Chance
- Fresh-faced cast assembles for youth drama A Day Found by Chance
- Lee Tae-ri, Kim Ji-in head to high school with Kim Hye-yoon for new MBC drama