Beanie level: Fan club president

I finish up my reviews of 2021s best show, Beyond Evil, a piece of wonderfully produced television with fantastic performances

Open Thread: Beyond Evil Episode 13-16 (End)

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Joo-won feels responsible for yet another death and is determined that his pursuit of the case will not risk any more lives. But with Dong-shik back in the game, the two can now try to find out what happened 20 years ago and how it resulted in what’s happening now
Open Thread: Beyond Evil Episode 11-12

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    So true. Beyond Evil focuses on an unresolved loss and the ripples that continue to radiate out, washing up against every life in the town. Dong-Shik is stuck. Choi Dae-hoon’s portrayal of Park Jung-jae was stunning and gut wrenching. I’m re-watching it all and marveling at the writing. All the pieces are there from the beginning and from one episode to the next, they are put in their right place. When I first watched, I now realise, I was a bit bewildered by what seemed like switches from one suspicious person to the next. Now it seems more measured and less manipulated. My lasting impressions will be the interactions between Joo-won and Dong-shik, from being antagonists to becoming partners; from taunting each other with their mutual suspicions, to a deep and lasting affection born out their mutual responsibility, integrity, and shared grief. I’m loving it all again. How is it so good?

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I decided to spend my weekend watching this fun cohabitation romcom between a man and his mother!
It was so sweet and romantic!
I think Korea should do more incest, it’s so good at it!
*rant below*

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    This is the text of my MDL review mostly
    https://mydramalist.com/profile/ChinguMode/review/145857
    Hey Korea! That Dark show was good, wasn’t it? Really broke our minds and broke our hearts. The timey wimey of it all. The tragedy! The emotion! The incest!

    Let’s try to remake it but in a way that’s, you know, Korean.

    So what would that look like?

    Well, for a start our plot has to make no sense. Like absolutely no sense. Because for the plot to make sense and for time travel to be eliminated then our male lead would have never been born. We can’t have that though! He’s the male lead! He’s supposed to beat the bad guys and win the girl! The girl is his mother but Dark told us incest was okay! (This is the opposite of what Dark told us by the way. All of Dark’s incest was unintentional and tragic and doomed and what show did you watch?)

    So our male lead’s mother invents time travel and then travels through time not knowing she’s pregnant. She raises him back in the 90s and he becomes a super special magic snowflake (well, he is a Korean man) and his mother raises him the very bestest she could despite the emotional problems caused by radiation damage (due to the aforementioned in utero time travel).

    She’s murdered when he’s 19 and he becomes a cop to find out who did it and then a decade later he meets a woman who looks exactly like his mother. Because she is his mother. She is his mother from this timelime. But even if she wasn’t, she looks exactly like her. As in a carbon copy of her.

    There’s a brief moment of powerful emotional resonance around this. His mother was the only one he had any semblance of emotion for due to his brain damage and her death affected him more deeply then he’s capable of expressing. And suddenly this doppelganger is before him dredging up all that inadequately processed grief, loss and guilt.

    So what does the show do with this powerful emotional moment? It turns it into an inexplicable, utterly gross cohabitation romcom. By this point he knows this woman IS his mother from this timeline but the show still devotes episode after episode to the romcom version of incest, complete with the psycho second female lead who freaks out because the guy she likes is spending time with his mother. It’s weird, it’s creepy, it’s gross. I have insufficient synonyms to express its awful.

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    And to get sidetracked for a moment by the second female lead, she’s one of only four female characters in this show – the male lead’s mother, her alt-version in this timeline, his best friend who’s always liked him and an agent in 2050 who’s in love with his father, (who still working for Alice). Written out like that, you can sense a theme here. Every single one of these female characters is defined solely by her relationship to a man. Mother, lover, spurned psycho. The writer can conceive of no other role for a woman: no aspirations, no second dimension, no real depth or character. She’s either trying to get a man, in a relationship with a man or taking care of her children in a way that’s utterly self-sacrificing. This show could have been written by Moffatt, it is that rife with embedded misogynism.

    By the end, his mother’s invention of time travel becomes some kind of offensive allegory for pregnancy, as though she gave birth to it when she gave birth to her son (everyone knows this is a woman’s only real skill so even her amazing scientific achievements are framed as such). The woman invented fucking time travel but it’s still used as a metaphor for life coming out of her womb. Does she kill this life or not? Well, of course she can’t! She’s a mother! So now the whole thing is merely an anti-abortion screed. It’s offensive and sexist and misogynistic and it also makes no sense. She invented time travel, not her son. Killing him is irrelevant to its invention and to the establishment of Alice. So as well as being offensive it also doesn’t make any sense.

    Anyway this show is supposed to be about Alice. So what about Alice? Obviously our male lead’s mother is Alice or maybe time travel is Alice. Or maybe he is Alice. Oh who knows. Alice is the name of an organisation based in 2050 that sends people back in time to help them resolve their emotional traumas – for money of course. The male lead’s mother helped invent time travel but who set up Alice? Where did it come from? Who runs it? Where is it? None of these questions are answered. And since this show becomes about destroying Alice as some kind of proxy for destroying time travel then this matters. It matters a lot.

    We find out early that there are other players in time travel. Rebels who let people travel outside of the network set up by Alice. A prophecy that predicts the end of time travel. A mysterious figure who seems to be trying to kill our male lead or his mother-girlfriend. (Oh at one point we discover that his mother was planning to adopt her alt-universe version and raise her as her own, which makes her also his adopted older sister – Yay for incest!).

    None of this is brought together in any way that makes sense.

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    For those who haven’t seen Dark, I don’t want to spoil Dark. I’ll just say that the outline of this plot is very obviously inspired by Dark. But those elements have been ripped from it thoughtlessly and without context so the whole thing comes off as glossy, nonsensical and shallow. There are some nice themes hiding in here and even some nice dramatic moments as well. The acting at certain points is absolutely top notch.

    For a brief moment, the show’s grasp of the multiverse theory of time travel isn’t too bad either and you start to wonder if the show might pull this whole thing off (and you’ve fast forwarded all the bizarre romcom cohabitation tropes between him and his mother so you’re just pretending that didn’t happen). But as the show heads into its final two hours you soon realise it’s not going to make any sense. And then – like almost every other time travel show coming out of Korea – it opts for utter nonsense in its pursuit of a ‘happy ending’.

    And since, in this case, the ‘happy ending’ involves a romance between a man and his mother, I wish I could burn the whole thing from my brain.

    The shorter version of this review.

    Just watch Dark.

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    I didn’t know it was inspired by Dark but now that you laid it out, it seems obvious and I’m upset I didn’t catch that. I dropped Alice as soon as the incest became a thing and I am so glad to have done so.

    I cannot, for the life of me, imagine how one watches Dark and takes away from it that incest is good, holy hell. What a complete misunderstanding of that entire tragedy.

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      I’m not sure the writers or the network ever said outright it was inspired by Dark but to me the parallels are obvious. I think they were aiming for Dark’s tragic incestuous love affair whereby Jonas and Martha’s love is stymied by the revelation they’re Aunt and Nephew. But that only works if you fall in love with each other not knowing that you’re related and the knowledge keeps you apart. They both knew at the minimum that she was a walking copy of his mother. It just made it super weird and creepy instead.

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        It was a very super weird show for me. A real mess.

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    Also, this was a fantastic review. That comparison to Moffat was especially great. His misogyny is a whole different breed and I refuse to watch anything written by him anymore. You just KNOW that every woman in the show will have no agency or identity beyond their relationship to a man. Will definitely avoid Alice’s writer from now on too.

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    This drama was a mess. Kim Hee-sun likes time travel dramas, that’s my conclusion. But FAITH was way better than this.

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      In terms of how it treated the time travel elements, Faith was definitely better. It executed a single universe self-contained time loop successfully and as of today I still haven’t seen another show out of Korea do that. They all opt for a nonsensical happy ending that breaks all their world building rules.

      I mean, Faith had its own issues and wasn’t a great drama. But in this respect it did well.

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    I love time travel and I like this cast so I really tried to like this. I spent the first episodes thinking it wasn’t about that. It couldn’t be. It could not be going that direction. Right? I mean, they call a simple date a scandal, they wouldn’t dare.

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    Another one for the endosolistration list, as @sicarius would say.

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    Thank you – scathing reviews are such fun to read! And now I will avoid this one like the plague. It’s a shame because I’m intrigued by the premise of sending people back in time to resolve their trauma. Is the idea to relive the moment that causes the trauma so that people can make different choices or respond differently?

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      Nothing so interesting, nor is it fleshed out in any satisfying way. It’s also nothing but a side plot.
      They go back in time to e.g. see their child who died too young or their wife that they miss. Because it’s a different dimension then there’s no impact on their timeline.
      It’s an interesting idea for a story, actually. I mean a real one. Not this dreck.

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        Such a lost opportunity!! Why would they sideline the most interesting bit (IMO, at least!). Ugh. I mean, just the idea of visiting the past without being able to change it, and then whether and how that impacts subsequent emotional trauma is more interesting than incest. But I guess incest is a pretty low bar…

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          This reminds me of a set of really crass jokes that members of my family make.
          Sex is boring.
          Incest is relatively boring.
          Necrophilia is dead boring.

          It goes on, I can’t remember them all.

          The people sent back in time kept murdering their doubles and trying to replace them instead of going back to the future. There was a lot about Alice that was interesting but none of it was fleshed out or explained.

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    Is it appropriate to say I enjoyed your rant? Anyway, I did!

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Thanks to those who participated in the DAYS demographics poll. The results are now on my blog

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    I didn’t know you’re a social statistician by trade. That sounds like a cool job! Also very challenging, if my current experience working through “Causal Inference in Statistics” by Pearl et al is any indication.

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    I love this so much! Thank you for teaching me about statistics and putting your skills to good use here!😁 I’m surprised that so many love it, given the number of beanies who seem to dislike it (on the wall).

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      I posted about the poll here, on db and on mdl. I wouldn’t be surprised if a large chunk of the ‘love’ vote came over from MDL. It would have been interesting to see this with a larger sample I think.

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        I was really impressed you had 95 respondents! But yes, larger sample would be even better – what would be a good size, would you say?

        I think what I enjoy most about data like this is that it leads to more questions…(although perhaps that’s also frustrating!). When shows garner such mixed responses, it really makes me wonder about those shows that are widely loved or widely panned, and what thread in these shows ties people from diverse backgrounds in agreement. The link to geography and/or culture is such an interesting one. Drawing conclusions about respondents from North America is probably very different from drawing conclusions about a country like Japan, due to their difference in homogeneity (this is a generalisation, or course).

        This reminded me of how much I enjoy your writing! I’ve read a few more of your blog posts, and found them so thought-provoking!

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          Oh thank you! I’m so glad you enjoy my writing. I wish I could do more of it but it’s something I have to fit in around everything else unfortunately.

          Re the survey: the size of the sample is less important than its representativeness. There’s no way to get a representative sample from this kind of survey so the larger the sample the better. Still, it’s more important to understand the ways in which your sample is biased and make sure that’s clear in your analysis.

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    Love the stats lesson – the number of times I have had to explain to people why their data is not as meaningful as they think it is 🤯

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      Oh yes it’s frustrating. And when I looked at the data I thought, “mostly this just tells me the demographics of who completed the survey, not the demographics of who loved or hated it”. But that would have made a boring post I think !

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Sell Your Haunted House became such a beautiful and powerful show about putting the past behind you, connecting with those around you, and moving forward. I’m so glad I watched this show.

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    The theme was nice but pace was too slow for me. The ghost of the week and the ML didn’t really interest me and despite Jang Nara doing an awesome job as always, her character was maybe the darkest heroine ever. She had no real life of her own because she carried so much guilt from something she was never to blame. I’ve only watched until ep 5 and the ghost mom really annoyed me, whether the kid stabbed her or not, if she could move objects maybe she could have found a way to get her daughter out of that house or at least make her presence less common. Not a fan of the correlation between virginity and a medium skills either.

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      On the latter point I completely agree. The show overall actually had issues in its portrayal of women and there were two episodes in particular where I nearly dropped it because of it.
      Regarding Jang Nara’s character though, I liked that she stayed dark and was still given a happy ending. I admit I’m a little over kdramas telling women they have to be happy and stoic and martyred. Ji-A got to build her little family without changing who she was and I like that a lot.

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After a delay for May to be awful, I’m back with my recap/weecap/review/meanderings of BeyondEvil. The link to episodes9&10 are below. Sorry for the wait!

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2021 Mid-Year Drama Challenge
Best 2021 Drama (so far) 
Best or favourite? Best is Beyond Evil. Favourite is TBA but probably Vincenzo just for the sheer entertainment value. I’m still hoping both of these can be topped.
Best Scene from your favourite drama
The whiteboard scene from Vincenzo has to be one of the funniest pieces of physical comedy I’ve ever seen. I watched that about five times.

Favourite OTP
Joon-hwi and Sol A from Law School even though they weren’t really an OTP. I mean they were but the show decided not to go there.
But they did. In the postscript we never got to see. They absolutely did.
Favourite OST
Vincenzo’s OST is a work of art in every respect
Drama(s) you dropped 
Sisyphus, Taxi Driver, Dark Hole

Drama you hate-watched (and finished)
These days I don’t finish hate watches
*presses play on next episode of Doom*
*Whistles innocently*
No hate watching here!

Drama many loved but you didn’t
The answer to this is definitely going to be Doom
Drama you loved but most didn’t
I don’t know if there’s been one this year. I don’t feel like I’ve had to explain why I love something like I did last year with A Piece of Your Mind and School Nurse Files.
Drama you’ve rewatched this year
Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung and Tale of Nokdu in my sudden February fusion Sageuk craving.

Last Drama you finished 
Law School

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    I read all these answers for mid-year drama challenge and realized that I haven’t finished any 2021 drama at all so far. I practically tried new dramas at the beginning of each month, and somehow never went pass eps 4. (I do hope Sell Your Haunted House will change this dismal record.)

    As for your non-watching… ahem I’m definitely not enjoying the way beanies get suck back into the Doom world (ha!) despite their better judgment. Nope. Not at all.
    (We should all just blame Seo In-guk’s inability to be not charming.)

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    Thanks for joining, LT! Favorite OTO indeed!!!

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    So we never really discussed Beyond Evil’s ending, and your overall thoughts, although it seems everyone else got more out of it than I did (typical, so typical)- have you done a final blog post on it yet, or do you care to share a summary of your thoughts hither?

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      In fact writing the final blog post for this show is on my To Do list for this very weekend. After I wrote my mid-season OST post I found myself kind of tapped out for stuff to say about it.

      Overall, I find these dramas get too process driven in their back half and they tend to jettison important character moments for plot. I do think it had some themes around adulthood and responsibility that it took through the drama. But it lost some of that gothic small town vibe that I loved so much in the beginning. It was pretty coherent though, I just didn’t love it in the end as much as I did in the beginning.

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    Pepper company forever.

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    OMG, I still think about A piece of your mind and the gorgeous intimacy every time I see two kdrama characters supposedly in love standing in front of each other. Also School Nursing Files was so delightful, I need to rewatch.

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    “ But they did. In the postscript we never got to see. They absolutely did.”

    As Mr. Oblivious, I really wanted to see the dawning moment when Sol A realizes how oblivious she had been.

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Sorry, your bullshit made me choke

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Imagines an entire generation of Koreans trying to draw on the fifth amendment to the Korean constitution in criminal cases…
Law School

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    Comment was deleted

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    LT I am not watching LAW but as a crime genre guy this Fifth Amendment business in kdramas has always intrigued me. Like in the example above I always wonder if that ‘take the Fifth’ is actually in the script or a choice of the subtitler/translator.
    Anyway I googled ‘fifth amendment to the Republic of Korea Constitution” and got this:

    Article 5
    (1)The Republic of Korea shall endeavor to maintain international peace and shall renounce all aggressive wars.
    (2)The Armed Forces shall be charged with the sacred mission of national security and the defense of the land and their political neutrality shall be maintained.

    However, in Article 12 there is this:

    (2)No citizens shall be tortured or be compelled to testify against himself in criminal cases.

    Article 12 appears to be the section concerned with the rights of defendants.
    Here is the text of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea:
    https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b4dd14.h

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      It’s absolutely the subbers. Like the ones that change Weibo to Twitter.

      As you can see, the Korean constitution definitely has something in it about self-incrimination but it isn’t the fifth amendment (as your reference shows). If Wikipedia can be trusted then the fifth amendment was to remove a reference from the constitution to the April Revolution.

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We exist today in a new universe. One where Kim Bun can act, we enjoy watching him, and hope he gets more parts soon.
This Brave New World brought to you by Law School and Nine Tailed

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The fifth what?
Law School

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See what you have to understand is that it\’s not bad writing. It\’s just that the male lead is not an actual character but merely a personification of… oh wait, that IS bad writing…

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Been a while since we had a drama as polarising as Doom At Your Service so I decided to collect some demographic data on it
https://leetennant1.survey.fm/days-survey

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    Done, LT. hahaha!

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    This is so cool. Looking forward to the results 😀

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    Done!
    Tag me in the results, pls!

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    Watch Gumiho. I’m more invested in the fantasy romance there. As far as “goblin vibes,” getting it much more with Gumiho than Doom.

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    Dun dun dun!

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    I couldn’t care less about the main couple, but I’m invested in the new brotherhood that’s forming. I mean, I wouldn’t say no to a supervisor like that… 😀 In then end, I put ‘on the fence’.

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I’m not sure I can get past Breakup Probation‘s egregious misuse of probability

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Finishing up Faith and surprised how much I enjoyed it in all its flawed cracky goodness.
What’s next?

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Can\’t wait for my Girlfriend\’s Cousin\’s Roommate is a Nine-Tailed Fox…

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Audience insert

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THIS MAKES NO SENSE
ARRRGGHHHH
*tears out hair*
I’m not sure I can handle much more of this nonsense

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    LT has it ever crossed your mind that the hair of the ML looks like seaweed? Why does it always remind me of seaweed? I think it’s because of the color…

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    Nothing makes any sense. Don’t tear out your hair. At least not for this drama….

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    Pretty masochistic

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    Reminds me of this:
    https://youtu.be/ArSczmxCv3Q

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    If she loves him (and he becomes the person she loves the most) he’ll die as per the contract if she doesn’t wish to doom the world. The contract states that if she doesn’t wish for the end of the world the person she loves the most at that time will die instead of her. He’s decided that her plan to love him is a good idea since it would save both her and the world from doom and he would get what he actually wants, which is to dissapear. Since the beginning his true motivation was for him to find a way out of being Doom and dissapear and the contract was just a means of achieving that, he doesn’t actually care about ending the world just his own life/being. If she can achieve his death this other way, by her loving him, then he’s offering to go along with it and die for her.
    Sorry, I probably made about as much sense as the writing in the drama.

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      🤣🤣🤣
      I’m afraid so

      The only way she can “break the contract” is by dying without making a wish and then her penalty is a loved one dying. So he would be dying in place of her loved one not in place of her – she would already be dead. By this week’s episodes she’s bouncing around talking about ‘living’ and… that’s not what the contract said!

      I have no problem with him wanting to doom the world or just doom himself but they keep changing what the damn contract said in every second scene.

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        That contract must have the same magic properties as Myeol-mangs hair😂
        Cause yeah, it did say at the begining she would die anyway, but not judging from the latest episodes. And now I’m confused too lol.

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    Embrace nonsense, LT. You’ll be happier.

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Watching Doom

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    I get your pain. I can’t understand what’s the deal between the main couple. Who does, who lives when they love each other and hwil actual physical destruction happen, and what’s the wish got to do in the equation.

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      Nobody knows because every time we think we’ve established something they contradict it. And don’t get me started on the bizarre nonsensical conversations the two leads have with each other.

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        Ive only seen ep 1 and that scorching kiss posted above but I think youre supposed to be distracted by SIGs mouth moving when hes talking and not notice that nothing makes sense. Like I said, I have no idea what happened in ep 1 except SIG kept saying that he’s handsome and I would nod like, YOU ARE SIG. YOU ARE.

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        Oh… and apart from the main couple I don’t get the “God” character as well. Why is God acting as a miserable teenager? I only like the one sibling apart from SIG. at least he’s funny and easy to comprehend

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Me watching every drama at the moment

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