Extraordinary You: Episodes 9-10
Our adorable hero is learning what life is like in the manhwa world, now that he has a friend to show him the ropes. But time is running short for our heroine, whose life literally depends on whether she and her friends can change their story. Unfortunately, she’s about to find out that, while she can make changes in the story, she has no control over the consequences of those changes.
Number 13 stands at the school gates, wondering, “Who am I?” In the library, he stares at a scar on the palm of his left hand as he thinks, “I want to know where I came from, and where I’m going.” He peruses the shelves and sees one book that seems to be floating, and when he picks it up, there’s a shimmering hole on the shelf where it was.
Another time, Number 13 sees a larger version of that same sparkling portal floating over the school grounds. None of the other students seem to see it — except for one girl, who’s standing on the catwalk.
Number 13 sees the girl in class, and he and hears his own voice for the first time when he says her name. Dan-oh seems to hear him, but she doesn’t see him. Number 13 notices his blank nametag and wonders how he knows her name when he doesn’t know his own.
He encounters Dan-oh everywhere, and he begins to draw her over and over again. He doesn’t know why he always sees her: “Tell me why it has to be you.”
We flash forward to the day when Kyung accuses Dan-oh of faking her heart condition to get attention. He snarls that it’s not like she’s dying, and Number 13 — Haru now — punches him. Kyung asks who he is, but Haru tells him, “You won’t remember even if I tell you. The scene will change soon.”
Once they’re alone, Dan-oh asks Haru if she heard him right, and he remembers her. He nods, and says that he doesn’t know how long he’s known her, “But I know that you started it, Eun Dan-oh.”
On his way back to the school, Kyung runs into Do-hwa. He asks Kyung if he’s noticed that he’s the only one that’s wet, and Kyung does seem confused, but Do-hwa tells him he’ll be dry when the scene changes again. Do-hwa says it makes him sad to think that Kyung, Nam-ju, and Joo-da will never become self-aware.
Dan-oh takes Haru to the library and asks if he remembers what happens between scenes, and if he hears strange noises and loses time. He nods again, and says that he also remembers every moment he’s spent with Dan-oh.
Mi-chae glares at one of Haru’s drawings of Dan-oh in the kitchen, but he quickly puts it away when Do-hwa pops up with ice cream (Mi-chae: “You’re not my type…”). Do-hwa says he just has questions about Secret, and how the world of manhwa works. He tells Mi-chae that he talked to Joo-da in the Shadow, but when the Stage started, she didn’t remember.
Mi-chae (who’s really into his ice cream now, ha) says that it’s because the Writer doesn’t want Do-hwa to confess. Do-hwa gets distracted when he flips through Secret and finds the page where Dan-oh’s father cries because she’s dying. He wails that it’s too cruel to do that to an extra, but Mi-chae says, “It’s possible because she’s an extra.”
Dan-oh, in the meantime, is over the moon because Haru remembers her. The Stage starts right in the middle of her Happy Dance of Joy, and Kyung approaches and offers her a new heart monitor to replace the one he crushed. Dan-oh refuses it and says they’re over, and her eyes go wide as she’s shocked by what the Writer is having her say, ha.
She says she wants to stop liking him and promises not to let it affect his father’s business. She apologizes for hurting him with her one-sided crush, and breaks their engagement.
Instantly the Stage ends, and Dan-oh asks if Kyung’s face is okay, saying that it must hurt even if it’s not real. Kyung orders her to take it back, but when Dan-oh asks what he means, he just blinks like he’s not sure, either.
When it’s time to take her medicine, Dan-oh sighs at how many medications she’s on. Do-hwa brings her a strawberry milk and asks if she’s okay, flashing her the sad puppy eyes, and she guesses that he read the bad news in the manhwa.
She tells him that the Writer probably added in the part about her possibly dying for color, but Do-hwa completely loses it and wails, “But you could DIIIIIEE!” Dan-oh tells him to just keep making changes in the Stage whenever he can, hoping to cause an extra-created butterfly effect and maybe change her illness, too.
Kyung is so angry over Dan-oh breaking their engagement that he nearly snaps a smaller boy in half just for bumping into him. He turns to send his fist through a window, but Haru stops him, saying softly that he could get hurt. Kyung just turns his fury on Haru, asking why he cares, and Haru says that he just felt bad for Kyung.
At home that night, Dan-oh smiles at her picture of Haru, then cringes when she remembers closing her eyes expecting a kiss when he was only picking a flower out of her hair. She tells herself that she’s not the least bit interested in him, but every time she thinks of him, she gets the goofiest grin on her face.
Haru spends his night in the library flipping through Secret, but mostly he thinks about how every time he’s around Dan-oh, there are those red flowers nearby. He says again, “I want to know why it has to be you.”
In the morning, Haru approaches Dan-oh first for once. He asks her what she remembers, and she goes into panic mode and says she remembers nothing. Nervous, she mutters that it’s chilly, prompting Haru to start taking off his shirt again (petition to continue this running joke, anyone?). Haru says that Dan-oh told him to do that when she’s cold and she snaps that that doesn’t apply at school, giving herself away that she does remember.
She catches him almost-smiling at her and asks what he’s looking at. Haru says, “You. I have always been watching you. I just felt like I should.” Well, swoon. That makes Dan-oh wonder out loud how much he knows about her, so he says she’s engaged to Kyung, has a heart problem, and recently learned that she doesn’t have much time left (and apologizes for reading the book about that part, so sweet.
They’re interrupted by Sae-mi, who notices Haru for the first time. He tells her his name is Haru, and Sae-mi simpers when he reads her name off her nametag in his smooth voice. Soo-cheol gets a little jealous and tries to glare at Haru, but it’s not easy to glare at someone who’s nearly a foot and a half taller than you, ha.
Suddenly, Haru’s stomach growls for the very first time, surprising him (so cute). Dan-oh takes him to the snack bar, but he can’t figure out how to get through the crowd. Dan-oh uses her small stature to duck through the other students and grab some sandwiches, impressing Haru so much he claps.
Haru asks if it’s always that much work to get food, and Dan-oh whines that being an extra is constant work. He looks surprised when he tries his sandwich, then Dan-oh flusters them both when she reaches up to wipe his mouth.
They turn to see Nam-ju and Joo-da playing out a Stage in which Joo-da pays Nam-ju the rest of what she owes for cleaning his uniform. Dan-oh tsks that the Writer is really dragging out this plotline, and when she notices Haru’s confusion, she explains that Nam-ju and Joo-da are the main characters in their manhwa.
They keep watching as Joo-da says she wants to be Nam-ju’s friend instead, and twinkly lights surround them. Nam-ju refuses Joo-da’s offer so she runs off upset, and Dan-oh claps sarcastically at Joo-da’s troperrific behavior.
Do-hwa joins them and starts feeling up Haru’s back, saying that he sees why Dan-oh likes it so much. Dan-oh protests but Do-hwa says that Haru won’t remember this anyway. Dan-oh tells Haru that Do-hwa is the third leg of Nam-ju and Joo-da’s love triangle, and Do-hwa asks why Haru is telling all this to a nameless extra. HA, Haru gives him a cute little, “Cheer up!” and offers him the rest of his sandwich.
Do-hwa figures out that Haru is self-aware, and the three head to the kitchen to borrow Mi-chae’s diorama and explain the manhwa world to Haru. Haru picks up the rules pretty quickly, as well as Dan-oh’s plan to change the story.
Suddenly, the scar on his palm starts to hurt, and he drops the puppet he was holding just as Mi-chae walks into the room. Hmmm. Mi-chae picks up the puppet and tells Haru not to touch things that don’t belong to him, ominously pausing before smiling brightly.
Dan-oh shows Mi-chae the scene in Secret where she broke off her engagement to Kyung, finding it odd how her character suddenly changed. Mi-chae tells her to stop making changes, but Dan-oh argues that she can if she wants to, while Haru keeps staring at Mi-chae in a very strange way.
Haru walks Dan-oh to her car, and after she leaves, Kyung (who was watching them) follows Haru back into the school and asks who he is. Haru tells Kyung his name and says again that he won’t remember when the scene changes, which just makes Kyung angrier. He grabs Haru’s shirt and orders him to make sense, but Haru just says, “Stop this, Baek Kyung.”
Mi-chae sits in the library reading the manhwa, and there’s a character who wonders where he came from just like Haru did. But when Mi-chae closes the book, it’s not Secret… it’s a different manhwa titled Flower. Mi-chae follows a strange noise to a bookshelf, where he sees that Secret is missing.
In the hallway, a paper airplane lands at Haru’s feet, and he unfolds it to find his drawing of Dan-oh. Mi-chae approaches and says that someone else seems to be reading the manhwas. He says that Haru seems to have woken up, and he answers Haru’s questions as vaguely as possible.
Haru says he’ll find the answers himself, but Mi-chae says that can’t happen, and that the more he changes the Stage, the more his scar will hurt. He presses down on Haru’s scar to make his point and growls, “Stop Dan-oh. That’s the reason you exist.”
The next day, Kyung notices when Dan-oh walks by without acknowledging him. She says she wants to at least be herself in the Shadow, though she notices Kyung’s confused expression. Kyung demands an explanation, but Dan-oh just says he’ll get hurt.
The scene ~BLIPS~ to the Stage, where the students gather on the school steps freaking out that Nam-ju’s mother, famous actress CHA JI-HYUN (cameo by Ji Soo-Won) is visiting the school. Dan-oh demonstrates to Haru how to act onStage, and his awkward little stomp-clap-woohoo is adorable. He does a bit better the second time, but when Mrs. Cha passes him, he stares at her like he’s seen her before.
She’s unhappy that Nam-ju changed the school trip destination, but Nam-ju’s father praises him for making a decision that makes their school look more down-to-earth. The principal says that Nam-ju is as smart as Hee-ju, his older brother, and while his father preens, his mother looks deeply upset.
Nam-ju’s birthday party is mentioned, and Mrs. Cha says that she’s planning a small, intimate party, no need to do anything at school. But she shoots Nam-ju’s dad a strange, wary look… I wonder what that’s about?
Dan-oh flips through Haru’s sketchbook and asks why he draws. He says it’s to remember, because he wants to know who he is, where he comes from, and where he’s going. He turns a few pages, looking closely at the drawings, but all Dan-oh sees is him.
Do-hwa helps Joo-da carry her books to class, and Joo-da jokes that he forgot his wings (because he’s an angel, get it?). Nearby (and offStage), Dan-oh cringes at Joo-da’s cheesy lines. But Haru says it’s not so bad because Do-hwa gets to be with Joo-da a lot, while he always had to look for Dan-oh. Dangit, swoon again.
~BLIP~ Another Stage, this time with Do-hwa and Joo-da eating ice cream on the school roof. Nam-ju joins them, and Joo-da stiffens up at his sarcastic comments about their “date.” Nam-ju asks if Do-hwa is the reason Joo-da said she wants to be friends, and he warns Do-hwa again about touching his things.
He storms off, and as Joo-da follows him, the Stage ends. Do-hwa watches as the sky darkens (it was bright blue for Joo-da’s line about her favorite color) and items start floating, indicating that he’s in the Shadow now.
Joo-da catches up to Nam-ju and says that it’s one thing to bully her, but another to treat Do-hwa that way. She takes the blame for thinking they could be friends, but Nam-ju calls her clueless and asks, “Do you really have no idea, or are you only pretending?”
Do-hwa sighs to Haru over the way nobody notices things like a cloudy sky because their lines say it’s blue. He calls himself stupid for liking Joo-da, and when Haru says that’s just his character, Do-hwa points out that he still likes her even after becoming self-aware.
He wonders if anything would change were Joo-da to become self-aware, and asks Haru what it’s like for him. Haru says he just wants to learn more about himself, and Do-hwa says he’s jealous because without a pre-determined character, anything is possible for Haru, when his role is just to watch Joo-da.
The whole school buzzes with excitement, hoping for invitations to Nam-ju’s birthday party. Soo-cheol cheers when he gets a texted invitation, and Sae-mi carries around a life-sized Nam-ju cut-out just because she likes him. Dan-oh asks her why, and Sae-mi says they’re “just meant to be.”
The phrase triggers a storyboard vision of Nam-ju’s party. Dan-oh sees a long line of people in fancy clothes, then Joo-da in a beautiful gown with Nam-ju kneeling at her feet. He looks up at her lovingly and says, “A birthday present for me.”
Then he’s in the kitchen telling the chef to take extra care with the strawberry-covered cake, because “My woman likes strawberries.” Dan-oh sees a waiter tripping and falling with the cake, and Nam-ju pulling Joo-da out of the way just in time. He announces that from now on, Joo-da is the only woman for him, then the storyboard vision ends.
Dan-oh tells Do-hwa and Haru about the storyboard, making Do-hwa worry what will happen to him once the leads are officially a couple. Dan-oh says they need to try to change it, and she and Do-hwa both turn begging eyes on Haru, the only one capable of changing Stages.
But Haru refuses, saying that it’s dangerous. Dan-oh reminds him that she may not have much time left and he’s the only one who can change the Stage, and just when Haru looks about to cave, Kyung shows up and tries to pull Dan-oh away to talk.
She complains that he’s hurting her wrist, but he only twists harder, making Dan-oh cry. Haru grips Kyung’s wrist and says that Dan-oh doesn’t want to talk to him. Haru gently nudges Dan-oh behind him as he and Kyung glare at each other from inches away, then Haru tells Dan-oh, “I’ll go to the party. I’ll help you.”
Later on the tennis court, Dan-oh asks Sae-mi about the confrontation between Haru and Kyung. It happened in front of the entire class but Sae-mi doesn’t remember it, confirming that it happened in the Shadow.
A Stage suddenly ~BLIPS~ into action as Kyung struts onto the court in a halo of light. On the opposite side of the net is Haru, and Kyung lets him serve. Haru’s serve flies way over Kyung’s head, then he barely moves when Kyung serves the ball back, and Kyung complains that he’s bored. The Stage ends, and Haru instinctively corrects his form. This time his serve is on fire, zooming right past Kyung, and Haru asks if he’s happy now, ha.
In the locker room, Kyung takes Haru’s racket and replaces the old, frayed tape on the handle. He tells Haru to play tennis with him from now on, and it actually sounds like an invitation instead of an order. Haru asks why, and Kyung says he wants to know what kind of guy Haru is — but again, the aggression that usually tints his voice isn’t there.
Kyung spends the afternoon brooding in A3’s hideout. Do-hwa guesses his problem is Dan-oh and tells Kyung to be nice to her because she’s seriously ill. Kyung gets angry again, and Do-hwa tells him to be nicer to him, too, since he’s a bigger character, even though they’re in the Shadow.
Kyung shows confusion again at the mention of the Shadow. Haru wanders over and Do-hwa hangs on him, glad for the backup. Kyung asks Do-hwa if he knows that guy, and again, he acts like he’s hearing Haru’s name for the first time.
In class, Kyung is asked to suggest some candidates for the soccer team, so he writes down Haru’s name. He asks Nam-ju if he invited Haru to his party, and Nam-ju notices Haru for the first time.
Secret is back in the library when Mi-chae goes looking for it. He reads the tennis court scene, and at first, the extra that Kyung plays against has glasses and straight hair. But as Mi-chae watches, the panels shimmer, and Kyung’s opponent loses the glasses and his hair goes wavy. Oooh, Mi-chae does not look happy.
Do-hwa is about to cross the street to the sandwich shop where Joo-da works when the Stage ~BLIPS~ into action and he’s frozen in place. He watches Nam-ju pull up on his motorcycle and motion to Joo-da to come outside, where he hand-delivers an invitation to his birthday party. He tells her to come because he has something to tell her, then drives away.
The Stage ends and Do-hwa is freed, but he’s not happy. He says he’s sick of just watching Joo-da, and wants to confess to her at least once.
The day of the party arrives, and Do-hwa, Dan-oh, and Haru arrange to meet outside. OMG, what is Haru wearing?? Do-hwa apologizes for the bright green and maroon suit jacket Haru borrowed from his brother, but they tell Haru that he looks amazing, and his shy grin and puffed-out chest are worth it.
Dan-oh reminds the guys that they need to change something during the party, even if it’s just something tiny. The Stage starts in the middle of her peptalk to stick together, and she finds herself entering the party on Kyung’s arm. She looks back at Haru, but he can’t move until she goes inside and the Stage releases him. He’s stopped at the door by Security, who won’t let anyone in without an invitation.
The Stage ends as Dan-oh enters the party so she looks around for Haru. Kyung notices and grabs her wrist again, and she snaps at him for suddenly caring what she does when he never has before. She’s happy when his two female admirers drag him off, and she tells him to just play the character the Writer gave him.
OnStage, Do-hwa plays his violin while Nam-ju checks a mirror, thinking, “I don’t want to play it, either!” when Nam-ju tells him to stop. Nam-ju tells him that he’s planning to confess to Joo-da today, then notices the upset expression on Do-hwa’s face.
He goes outside to personally greet Joo-da, and his mother stops them and asks who she is. Joo-da smiles nervously, and Nam-ju pulls her inside before she can answer. Do-hwa watches them as he plays with the hired orchestra, and he thinks to himself that everything is still going according to the storyboard.
Nam-ju takes Joo-da to a separate room and gives her a sparkly pair of heels to match her dress. He kneels to strap them onto her feet, and when she objects because it’s his birthday, he says, “Your presence here is a birthday present for me.” He makes himself shy and leaves the room.
Haru is still outside, and he spots some spare waiter’s vests by the catering van. He swipes one and sneaks into the kitchen, where he spots the strawberry-covered birthday cake from the storyboard. The Stage starts up so that Nam-ju can say his line about how his woman loves strawberries, then it ends, and Haru watches as the cake is locked into a case.
He goes to pass out food at the party and look for something to change. Kyung sees him, and Haru heads inside when he sees Kyung frowning at him. He goes upstairs, avoiding Nam-ju, then grabs a tray of drinks from a waiter. He goes to the room where Nam-ju is primping, intending to pour a drink on him, but Kyung has followed him.
Do-hwa joins them and OMG, he has no chill whatsoever, lol. Kyung notices his expression and asks Do-hwa if he knows Haru. Haru suddenly dumps the tray of drinks on Nam-ju, then tells Do-hwa to go to Joo-da, now.
Do-hwa takes his chance and finds Joo-da, pulling her away from the party just as the current Stage ends. When they run out of breath, Do-hwa finally stops and tells Joo-da that she looks pretty tonight. She says it’s the dress, but Do-hwa tells her that she’s pretty no matter what she’s wearing. He finally gets to tell her that he likes her, and she stares up at him in shock.
~BLIP~ Dan-oh realizes she’s in a new Stage, and since the cake has been moved to a table outside, she realizes that she’s missed most of the storyboard scenes. Nam-ju is announced for his big entrance, but he’s not there — he’s frantically searching for Joo-da.
Dan-oh finds herself compelled to stand and approach Haru, who’s back at the party. He’s walking towards her, too, and when they reach each other, Dan-oh realizes that she saw this on the storyboard… only it was Nam-ju and Joo-da, not her and Haru.
Just as she saw in the vision, the waiter carries the cake down the stairs, trips, and starts to fall. A hand grabs her wrist and pulls her to safety, but it’s not Haru’s arms she ends up in… it’s Kyung’s. Dan-oh gapes at Kyung as he stares directly at Haru and makes the announcement that Joo-da was supposed to make in this Stage: “From now on, Dan-oh is the only woman for me.”
Well, damn, this is definitely a huge change to the Stage. I’m not sure what it means or if I can even parse it all out at this point, but this is definitely going to have huge repercussions. Not only did Haru and Dan-oh change the Stage by having Do-hwa occupying Joo-da during what was supposed to be her big scene, but they somehow got pulled into the Scene themselves in the leading roles. But what does it mean that Kyung saved Dan-oh and not Haru?
Kyung is obviously not self-aware, and he’s still following the manhwa story and fulfilling his character role, but there are clues that he’s noticing the oddities going on around him. He doesn’t know Haru after each Stage wipes his memories from the previous Shadow (How many times did he ask Haru who he is in this episode? LOL), but he still finds Haru disturbingly familiar and senses that he’s a threat to his relationship with Dan-oh. I’m guessing that things are going to get a lot more heated between Haru and Kyung now that Kyung has “met” him onStage, and he should have a solid memory of Haru going forward.
Can I just say that I am so ready for Nam-ju and Joo-da to become self-aware, if only to stop the torturous sexist Boys Over Flower tropes. I really want for Nam-ju to be less of a jerk, and for Joo-da to be less of a Mary Sue. Nam-ju calls Joo-da names for things like not knowing he likes her, except that he constantly bullies her and acts like he hates her, so how is she supposed to know? This isn’t a complaint about the writing, because these things are part of the manhwa and are supposed to be ridiculous and tropey, it’s just that I’m sure that Nam-ju and Joo-da will become self-aware eventually and they’re going to be so embarrassed. Plus, I’m just eager for everyone to become self-aware and see who truly has feelings for whom once they get to decide for themselves.
I just can’t stop marveling at how tightly-written this show is. I keep looking for continuity mistakes, for example someone being recognized by a non-self-aware character when they shouldn’t be, because that would be a very easy writing mistake to make. But I never see it, and it’s frankly astounding. I particularly love that Haru was able to use the fact that nobody but Dan-oh and Do-hwa would recognize him to pose as a waiter during Nam-ju’s party to do his reconnaissance. He’s starting this whole “life” thing from scratch, but he’s pretty damn smart and he picks stuff up quickly, and I can’t wait to see how his character evolves.
Speaking of which, that scene with a Haru-like character in another manhwa is a pretty huge clue, though I think it will be a while before we truly understand what’s going on. I’d suspected that Haru might be a recycled character from another manhwa, and it seems like he is… and that he became self-aware then, too. Not only that, but the fact that his wondering who he is made it into the Flower manhwa means that he was self-aware onStage. I’m positive that this is all connected to the flowers that always seem to be around Haru, the flower-filled waterfall, the ancient hair ornament, and his fascination with Dan-oh, who I’m guessing was also a character in the Flower manhwa. Now Haru’s character is also creeping onStage in Secret, and I’m equally excited and scared by what this could mean for him, Dan-oh, and the manhwa world as a whole.
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