Unnie Recap: Extraordinary You (Episodes 3 and 4)

With the startling revelation of her true role, how will Dan Oh handle her life as an extra? There’s more than meets the eye with in this comic book world and if anyone can get to the bottom of things, it’s our lovely heroine supporting character Dan Oh!😅

Episode 3

Scurrying towards the school kitchen again, Dan Oh gets a hold of the comic book before Dried Squid can get to it. She finally reads the introductory page and confirms the fact that she is indeed just an extra character with her image belonging on that side of the category. With her being self-aware, she admits that her classmates’ names were kind of surreal. She argues with Dried Squid that she doesn’t want to be an extra and badmouths the writer incessantly for making her that way.

Before she can rant any further, Dan Oh is transported to an intended scene in a painting room. She is irritated at the fact that her existence is only to help Nam Ju and Ju Da get together. This is proven when she tripped going to the front of the room to be the model and she knocked over a pen to the floor, only to have Nam Ju and Ju Da simultaneously pick it up and touch hands. When the class focuses on Nam Ju’s beautiful drawing of Ju Da, Dan Oh starts doing wacky poses to get their attention. She accidentally breaks one of the plaster casts situated behind her and breaks another one as well, but a page turning sound erupts and the scene of her just sitting down to model is restarted.

Dan Oh is curious on what happened and has a bone to pick with Dried Squid about it. Probably tired of her rants, he takes out a diorama that looks like their high school and explains the rules of the comic book world:

  1. Stage – Characters say and does things according to what the writer wants. In essence, this is the the main flow of the story. This is why Dan Oh hears a page turning sound and suddenly becomes timid to Baek Kyung or is accommodating to Ju Da in certain scenes.
  2. Shadow – This is outside the stage where unwritten scenes are yet to be created. Characters can move and act freely in this space since the next scenes are undetermined at this point in time.

Dried Squid warns Dan Oh that despite being self aware, things always go back to the way the writer wants to happen in the stage. She basically declares war on the writer and decides that her fate lies in her own hands.

More unfortunate than being a character who does things to further the main couple’s love story is the fact that Dan Oh has to put up with Baek Kyung constantly taking his anger out on her. She knows that he’s a jerk but can’t do anything since it’s her character’s fate to be blindly in love with him. Dan Oh is appalled that she’s talking to him so nicely when he is clearly harassing her; despite her thoughts wanting to talk back at him, the stage scene ends with her heart aching and looking pitiful. Because of this, she vows not to give up on taking control of her life.

Feeling down, Dan Oh wonders if she would have been happier if she was just not self aware like her classmates. Ultimately though, she dismisses the thought because she knows she is happier now knowing about her current state. She gets another vision into the future of her breaking her leg because she cushioned herself to protect Ju Da from falling down the school stairs. A memory of Dried Squid telling her that the “future” she witnesses is called a storyboard: A rough sketch of what the writer is planning to write next. He also adamantly reminds her that even if she foresees such events and tries to change it, things will always go back to the stage’s intended scenes. What a bummer!😕

Episode 4

The next day at school, Dan Oh spots Ju Da dancing while cleaning their classroom. The other member of A3, Lee Do Hwa, walks by and also sees her saying that she’s cute and is different from other girls. Dan Oh teases him that he fell in love at first sight with Ju Da, but technically this is the 2nd time since he was admiring her in the library the other day too. She goes on one of her famous monologues again and tells Do Hwa that 2nd leads always fall short but there are readers who appreciate his role. He doesn’t understand her babbling, haha, and only gazes back at Ju Da.

Try as she might, Dan Oh fails to set the stage her way as the storyboard she saw plays out with her and Sae Mi conveniently positioned at the middle of the stairway. She tries to move away from her position but her body stays in place. Nam Ju walks by but retreats when his horde of fangirls, including Sae Mi, flock to him. Ju Da walks by as well and as Dan Oh pleads in her mind for the events to change, mysterious guy walks past her down the steps. Dan Oh’s watch begins to beep and she finds herself drawn to him. She is somehow able to move her body this time and follows him but Sae Mi pushes Ju Da, consequently pushing Dan Oh, down the stairs. This time though, her fall is cushioned by mystery guy!

Before she gets a glimpse of his face though, she faints from the accident and when she opens her eyes, she is inside the nurse’s room. Instead of wearing a cast like the storyboard, she has a gauze on her leg instead. Dan Oh looked incredulous when Nam Ju made a big deal of Sae Mi pushing Ju Da since the latter only has a small bandaid on her leg, haha! It was the perfect opportunity for Nam Ju to tell Ju Da to stay by his side as not to get hurt.

Dan Oh teases Do Hwa for standing outside the nurse’s room, obviously concerned about Ju Da’s well-being, just like a good 2nd lead is supposed to act. When she sees Do Hwa’s back, the flashback of her falling onto mystery guy gives her an idea. She bumps her own back against Do Hwa’s to test her theory, but since her heart isn’t reacting, she knows that he is not the mystery guy. She is hopeful again and thinks that her fate can change if she meets him.

Our determined extra hilariously bumps her back against every guy that she encounters, much to their unwarranted surprise, so that she can find her mystery guy. She teases Do Hwa that Ju Da is at the schoolyard and their connection develops a little bit. After several unsuccessful tries, Dan Oh becomes tired and decides that he can come find her instead and joins in on the class’s dodgeball session. On the sidelines, Nam Ju and Ju Da continue to flirt as their romance develops too.

Dan Oh tries her best to get hit with the ball, hoping mystery guy will save her from being hit. Right on cue, he blocks her from getting hit and her head lies on his left arm. Her watch starts to beep again but before she sees his face once again, a page turning sound is made and Dan Oh realizes she is back in the classroom. Ugh, so close! Another stage scene is set up and Dan Oh is stuck lying down on a bed inside the nurse’s room. Ju Da is locked inside by Sae Mi and the other girls but once the scene is over, Dan Oh gets up and unlocks the door. I suppose she can do this because she’s not meant to be locked in yet she stops Ju Da from getting out because she knows Nam Ju is the one meant to rescue her.

Another attempt is made by the mean girls to humiliate Ju Da (I guess this is the sole reason for their existence) and ever the persistent one, Dan Oh tries to prevent another accident from happening. Ju Da ends up being splashed by a bucket of water despite Dan Oh shielding her from it with an umbrella. Dried Squid’s words that nothing will change resonates within her and she is irritated at her situation in this world.

After walking around and remembering that mystery guy is the one who helped her out with the fallen books, Dan Oh heads for the library. She smiles spritely and goes outside again when she catches a glimpse of what looks to be her mystery guy at the garden. No one is around but she notices the umbrella that she used awhile ago stuck on a branch and she tries to get it. As fate would have it, mystery guy ends up helping her. She runs to catch up with him, opening the umbrella in the process. The mystery guy looks back at her, just as she raises the umbrella high enough to finally behold at the person who can change her destiny.

Thoughts

Have I already mentioned how much I adore Dan Oh as a lead character?❤️ Her determination to be more than an extra and her monologues of talking to herself is adorable for me. It must be frustrating to do something you don’t want but have no say in changing it. I know that this just means Baek Kyung’s father is not intentionally hurting him, and so is Baek Kyung to Dan Oh — it just so happens to be their character arc. But even if they don’t purposely mean to be harsh, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t painful when being told off nonetheless.

For someone who just found out that she’s an extra in a comic book world, I think she’s still handling it better than most people would, haha! Mystery guy must be another supporting character who gained consciousness and from the snippets of scenes we were given, it seems that he has taking a liking to Dan Oh. What if he is able to change her stage scenes because they are a potential separate love story? As much as I want Dan Oh to succeed in changing her status by herself, I suppose a little help won’t hurt.

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Unnie Recap: Extraordinary You (Episodes 1 and 2)

*Read about my recommendation post for Extraordinary You and I guarantee you’ll want to start watching this kdrama!

Once upon a time, in the fictional and exclusive Seuli High school, a popular and warmhearted heroine named Eun Dan Oh studied. She is kind, pretty, and an only daughter of a rich family; despite having a weak heart condition, all is well and dandy with her life💃🏻

As all romance stories go, all that’s left for her to do is to find her Prince Charming and live happily ever after… but as with every fairytale, a plot twist exists. And this plot twist will change our heroine’s life forever.

Episode 1

A white car pulls up and a student named Dan Oh struts confidently at the school’s front lawn. Her fellow students admire her presence and fawn all over her, with her narrating a heroine’s plight as to have hot guys vying for her attention. She talks with her friend inside the school hall just as the school’s 3 most popular guys, the so-called “A3”, walk in the hallway as well. Girls scream and gawk at the guys but a female student carrying a heavy box trips and falls onto their leader, Oh Nam Ju, even kissing his right cheek by accident. Dan Oh steps up and comforts the poor girl who Nam Ju berates.

As Dan Oh walks away, she abruptly feels a shift of change and hears a weird sound in her head. She looks back and sees that her fellow students have been frozen in place. Before she can react any further, she is suddenly sitting inside a classroom. She looks around her surroundings and is surprised when her friends say that that there’s an exam. She doesn’t remember studying when she checks her textbook to be full of notes and highlights. Once she receives the test paper and looks at the chalkboard, a page turning sound is made again and the exam is over. She checks to see her test and wonders again why there are answers already.

A father and son talk inside a car and it is revealed that Kyung is 1/3 of the A3. His dad scolds him for not accompanying Dan Oh to the hospital because it might affect his business deal with her father. Meanwhile, Dan Oh hears another page turning sound and like a robot, she automatically becomes all demure as she approaches Kyung. He is not friendly towards her and mentions their engagement, yikes! Wouldn’t want to be tied down to a guy who clearly hates me and a scheming father-in-law to boot. Another sound resonates, something like magic disappearing, and Dan Oh starts getting angry at him.

All throughout the day, Dan Oh experiences more shifts of events in her day and is starting to freak out on what is happening to her. As time passes, she acknowledges that time can skip 2 hours or even several days in the blink of an eye for her.

A male student is shown admiring his hand, with his back towards the camera, as he sees Dan Oh enter the library. She reads several books to check what is wrong with her when suddenly, she sees another book that catches her interest. Entitled “Secret”, she flips the pages over and unexpectedly has an epiphany. In a foreshadowing of events, she sees Baek Kyung grab hold of her hand and getting spilled by food all over her in the cafeteria. Dan Oh is shocked at what she just witnesses and trips over some books, only to have Baek Kyung catch her. True enough, her vision of Kyung grabbing her happened just now and she runs away from him, stunned. The mysterious man featured earlier bumps into Kyung but the latter doesn’t confront him in the end.

Dan Oh washes her face in the restroom and frees the bullied female student, Nam Ju Da, out of one of the bathroom stalls. She is again astonished as she hands out some wet wipes to Ju Da, only to recognize that she didn’t even have that item to begin with. With the numerous times she’s been skipping memories and the recent incident in the library, she thinks that she has gone insane.

We are introduced to another character as a chef known as “Dried Squid Fairy” serves food to the students. Dan Oh nonchalantly mentions that she’s losing her memories and the man looks at her as if he knows what she’s talking about. Dan Oh thinks that she can see the future and tries to prevent her vision from coming true by switching her not eaten lunch to her friend’s empty curry bowl. She puts her plan into action by preventing Ju Da from tripping but she is powerless to stop the event from unfolding. Nam Ju interrupts the crowd laughing at them and offers a helping hand.

Dan Oh experiences another page turning event and gets called out by Kyung in the hallway saying that he doesn’t like her. She begins to wonder why she can’t speak up to him in such moments and only acts nice. As Dan Oh is talking to herself again on the school bridge, she is startled to see a mysterious black hole in front of her. She notices Dried Squid looking at it too from afar as well.

Episode 2

Catching him inside the school kitchen, Dan Oh confronts him about the blackhole. She sees the book called Secret on the table as Dried Squid quickly sits on it and doesn’t directly answer her questions. She goes back to the library where she first found the book and sees another black hole in place of where the book was located in the shelf. Feeling certain that all of these things are connected, she sneaks back inside the kitchen and reads the book. With her mouth wide open, she discovers that the images and scenes portrayed inside the pages are about her.

Dried Squid comes clean and confesses the truth to Dan Oh. The memory losses that she feels are the gaps between scenes in the comic book, she feels the shifts because she’s become self aware of her being. He says that they’re not humans but rather characters in the book. Dan Oh thinks that he is a lunatic and outright rejects his explanation. Dried Squid follows her around to try and explain things further but proves his point when the cellphone he drops from the school bridge flies in midair, much to her bewilderment. She calls out to her friends below and they don’t believe her because she was holding her phone the entire time that she’d been talking. Poor Dan Oh, haha!!😅

Dan Oh goes through another out of body experience when Nam Ju tells her that he’s giving her a chance to thank him but try as she might, words are not coming out of her mouth. She sneaks up behind Dried Squid and reads the exact same scene that just happened in the comic book. When she tells her friend, Sae Mi, the reality of their situation, the class teases her about it. After numerous time jumps, Dan Oh relives the exact same reactions and lines that her classmates said the first time she confessed — which means that she’s the only one who is self aware among everyone.

The next morning, Dan Oh holds her chest and feels her heart beat. She reminds herself that nothing will change and goes to school with a new positive attitude. Given her awesome background of being a heart surgery survivor, studious, and well-loved by her classmates, she embraces the role of being the main character of the comics. She proudly helps out Ju Da from getting bullied again and begins to wonder who her leading man is. She muses who between the 3 guys of A3 will capture her heart but her good mood gets disrupted when all 3 of them just walk past her, hahaha!

After fainting again due to her weak heart, she wakes up at the hospital and irritably sees Baek Kyung sitting inside the room. Dan Oh complains to Dried Squid how it’s possible that she has such a hard time when she’s the main character and he stammers to give her an answer. She goes on a monologue again about how unfair it is to be a weak heroine and when she turns to talk to him, Dried Squid has disappeared.

At the school grounds the next day, Dan Oh helps Ju Da carry a plastic bag and she hears another page turning sound. As the other students gang up on Ju Da, Nam Ju comes to save the day. Thinking that he is approaching her, Nam Ju actually puts his arm around Ju Da and warns everyone to stay away from her. Dan Oh sees a burst of light shining on the 2 of them, Nam Ju and Ju Da, and finally gets the picture that they are the book’s main characters! In a flashback of relevant scenes, Dan Oh realizes that Nam Ju has been referring/talking to Ju Da all this time, and not her!😜

Thoughts

I already said that I have high expectations for this kdrama and boy did it NOT disappoint!😁 I know that Extraordinary You is based on a webtoon but the way the story was executed is impressive. I am rooting so hard for Dan Oh as she deals with the fact that she’s only a comic book character that follows the writer’s will, plus she’s just a supporting character! I think anyone would be shocked to find out that they aren’t the hero/heroine of a story, especially when we see the world in our own eyes. I am in love with her character already, especially when she rambles and goes on a monologue rant as she tries to figure out what is going on with her🤣

I’m curious about the mystery guy that obviously takes notice of Dan Oh. Is he a supporting character too who is self aware or could he be someone more important? I’m not sure if Dried Squid Fairy is a good guy as well since we we’re given no explanation of why he knew so much about the comic book world already. Is the black hole a portal to the real world? Gimme more episodes, stat!!

Unnie Recommends: 3 Reasons Extraordinary You is a kdrama to tune into!

It’s comforting to know that we are the heroes/heroines of our own story, but what if you find out that you’re merely the supporting character of someone else’s fairytale? Would you resign yourself to the grand scheme of fate or will you try and change the path laid out for you? Our protagonist, or rather, supporting heroine, Eun Dan Oh, gets the shock of her life when she discovers that not only is she a character of a comic book, but that she’s only an extra!🤯

Extraordinary You offers a fresh perspective on leading roles as a supporting character realizes that she isn’t human and her life’s purpose is to serve as a bridge between the real leading lady and man of the book . Funny, entertaining, and has stunning cinematography and comic book style graphics, this kdrama is certainly a page turner in its own league.

Current Impression

*As of this writing, I’ve only watched until episode 4 of this kdrama.

It’s an age old question of destiny vs. freewill as Dan Oh goes to great lengths to change her predetermined fate as a student with a heart condition and is engaged to one of her classmates.

1. Ever wondered if a minor character told the main story in their perspective? In this comic book universe, this is how extras live and feel their existence.

Dan Oh first realizes that something is not right when she experiences memory loss such as when she was about to take a test in class; in the blink of an eye, she is done with her exam, with answers and all. With the help of another extra character, she learns that she has become self aware and that’s why she recognizes these gaps between scenes.

She also finds out that despite her nice background of being rich, kindhearted, and well loved by her classmates, she is not the heroine of the story. Entitled “Secret”, the comic book is set in Seuli high school where a love story between two of her other classmates, Oh Nam Ju and Yeo Ju Da, takes place. Along with this revelation, she comprehends the rules governing the comic book realm and realizes that despite wanting to say or feel something else, she speaks and acts how she ought to according to how her character is supposed to act.

Although she can act freely at times and upset the course of the comic book’s story, things always go back to how the writer intended events to occur. Actions such as not paying attention in class, wanting to buy strawberry milk, and avoiding accidents are attempted by Dan Oh but she hears the sound of a page turning a few seconds later and she goes back to her original planned scene and story. Frustrating right? That is, until one fateful day…

2. You’ll surely root and hate the characters of the comic book as each person has a distinct role to fill.

Like any book, each tale has a set of characters to pique our interests. It follows the bullied heroine and the bad boy with a heart of gold type of romance, complete with a 2nd male lead who falls in love with the leading lady. From left to right, meet the cast of “Secret”:

  1. Eun Dan Oh – The main, supporting character
  2. Yeo Ju Da – A transfer student who frequently gets bullied and is the actual heroine of the book
  3. Oh Nam Ju – Leader of his gang, “A3”, and develops a romantic interest on Ju Da
  4. Baek Kyung – Dan Oh’s fiance who doesn’t like her and is part of A3
  5. Lee Do Hwa – The other member of A3 and is the 2nd male lead who falls for Ju Da as well
  6. Ha Roo – The mysterious classmate who helps Dan Oh change her fate in the comic book
  7. Sae Min, Il Jin, Sam Jin, Ae Il – Dan Oh’s classmates in school

It is because of Ha Roo that Dan Oh doesn’t get her leg broken when she was supposed to and she goes on a manhunt to find him. She believes that he is the key to changing her fate. I think that he’s also a self aware character at this point and it will open up a whole new story with her, Ha Roo, and Baek Kyung as the love triangle. Oohhh, I am so excited for this show’s potential!

3. Just because we are supporting someone else’s story doesn’t mean we can’t become a main character in our own story. We are our own person no matter what!

Dan Oh’s character is someone who talks to herself a lot and has an animated persona due to her saying her thoughts aloud and doing hand gestures to express her being dumbfounded or determination in lots of scenes. It’s not that she wants to be the main character in the book itself, like replacing Ju Da or ruining the main leads’ romance, but she just wants to live a life that is decidedly hers.

Will Eun Dan Oh defy the odds of her supporting role and become her own lead character of her own story? Or is she meant to be a bystander in someone else’s story? I have such high expectations for Extraordinary You and hope that like how Dan Oh is forging her own fate, we pen the chapters of our life with choices and memories that we willingly make✨

Unnie Recommends: Gender Switch Shenanigans for The Tale of Nokdu

Pretending to be a member of the opposite sex usually falls as a woman’s responsibility in Joseon dynasty shows, but this kdrama has a male take center stage for a gender role reversal👨🏻👉🏻👩🏻 Based on the webcomic Nokdujeon, Jang Dong Yoon pretends to be a woman to infiltrate a widowers only village to find the people that are hunting him and his family.

Before I go any further, can I just say that Jang Dong Yoon is beautiful as a girl?😍 You’ll enjoy this korean drama, The Tale of Nokdu, as the first few episodes dives right into the story and features Jang Dong Yoon’s character, Jeon Nok Du, struggle to fit in as a woman, deal with his first romance, and at the same time find his enemies.

Current Impression

Living on a remote island, Nok Du and his family are attacked by masked assassins. He manages to fight them off and slashes the legs of one of them who he finds out is a woman. Against his father’s wishes, he chases after her all the way to Hanyang. He meets Dong Ju (Kim So Hyun’s character) at a bad timing but helps her get out of a sticky situation that involved almost killing the King. In his quest to find the person responsible, he ends up disguising himself as Ms. Kim when he discovers that a secret group is inside the village: Ordinary women by day, mercenaries at night.

Having watched his previous kdramas (School 2017 and A Poem, A Day), I’m so happy that Dong Yoon is finally the leading man this time. He is smart and determined to achieve his goals as he thinks of ways to become chummy with the girls who he suspects is involved with the secret group. Nok Du is the funniest when he gets awkward and stammers to avoid eye contact when the girls of the village are so casual in taking off their clothes. It’s a stark contrast for women who disguise themselves as men because while they need to come off smug and strong, Nok Du tries his best to be reserved and keep his physical distance from the women😅

Dong Ju is a reluctant gisaeng in training at the widowers village. It’s not yet explained whose side she is aligned with because although she tried to assassinate the King, it seems like she isn’t part of the secret women’s group. Her character is a bit of a troublemaker and does things her own way, even cutting off her long hair to save another girl from being taken away. She and Nok Du end up as roommates and fight like cats and dogs, but asks later on if she could treat him as an older sister — which makes me think that she’s lonely and doesn’t have a real friend in the village. I’m curious about her backstory and hope that she can shine as an individual in this kdrama!

We’ll have to see when or how the women will find out that Nok Du is a man, but even if he’s been kind or isn’t a pervert, I’m sure the consequences will be hilarious and bad for him🤣 I have a feeling that the mystery surrounding Nok Du’s true identity could be similar with another kdrama (I’m looking at you Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency) where Nok Du is of royalty but let’s wait and see if my hunch is correct.

The Tale of Nokdu narrated its first few chapters with fun, laughter, and a little danger. Let’s enjoy our hero’s journey and watch his eventual happy ending unfold weekly😁

Unnie Life Lessons: 4 Woman Empowerment Tips by Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, empowerment is defined as “the granting of the power, right, or authority to perform various acts or duties.” I believe though that empowerment is not about just taking action, but it’s also being able to listen and realize when your deeds are wrong and doing something to correct it💪🏻

Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung gave women a voice — an influence and power that one can only dream of in a dynasty such as Joseon. Not only Hae Ryung, but supporting characters such as the Queen Dowager, Mo Hwa, Sa Hui, and even the Crown Princess, who stood up for themselves at one point in time and didn’t let other people deter them from speaking their mind when it was necessary. The men here (Prince Lee Rim, Crown Prince, Officer Min, etc) were also nothing short of gracious and respectful to our heroines — without their help, a woman’s revolution at the time would have been impossible.

I cannot emphasize enough my high regards for this because of the unique angle given to women, the romance, and the overall fresh storyline💞 Read about my recommendation post for this kdrama if you’re interested in watching this. My recaps for this show is also available for your reading pleasure!

Unnie Life Lessons

1. Just because you know and speak the truth doesn’t mean other interpretations or opinions are necessarily wrong. Sometimes, understanding the reason for such actions can open our eyes to an issue/perspective.
  • Hae Ryung is a smart and knowledgable female lead who rarely hesitated to voice out worldly facts. I appreciated the fact that she loved to read books but it also isn’t wrong if someone has a different opinion about a particular topic.

  • In the historian exam, Hae Ryung wrote that a solar eclipse was a natural phenomenon and that it’s not something that a King can control simply by performing a ritual. But when the Crown Prince explained that not everyone in Joseon can have a good education like her (Since Hae Ryung is a noble), they wouldn’t know that fact. There are poor people all over and the ritual is meant to calm the villagers nerves and assure them that everything will be okay.
  • Yes, what Hae Ryung answered was true but it also makes sense that not everyone can have access to that information. I know that back then was a different time because now, information is readily available for anyone to peruse. But we can’t expect everyone to perceive an issue the same way — there could be different solutions to a problem and both could either be right or could be improved upon.
  • Even when it doesn’t make sense to us, putting ourselves in another person’s shoes can give us more insight on their situation giving us clarity about their actions.
2. Doing the right thing is not always met with everyone’s approval. Be prepared to take responsibility for your actions and be mindful if your decisions can affect other people too.

  • Hae Ryung submitted a petition that got her into trouble because it involved palace politics. She was made to do all of the tasks left by the assistant clerks and was frowned upon by her male historian peers.
  • Like Officer Min pointed out, one must be ready for the responsibility of such deeds. Don’t complain or lament that you only did the right thing because every action, no matter how good the intention, can elicit a consequence that you must be ready to handle.

  • Doing the right thing is not a crime, but we must consider the effect our actions can have on other people and try exploring other ways to deal with a problem. Hae Ryung could have approached the stipend corruption in a different manner and pondered some more about how the petition can affect her coworkers as well.
  • All throughout the kdrama, Hae Ryung insisted to help and divulge the truth and true enough, she humbly accepted any praise or backlash (if there was) that came along with it. Like her, Sa Hui was bold enough to make her feelings for the Crown Prince known even if it meant people would gossip about her. I know this example is not a “right thing” per say but the fact that she was ready for any punishment is owning up to her actions😁
3. Accepting the fact that there are things in life we cannot change and that this shouldn’t stop us from continuing to live our best days.

  • Mo Hwa comforted Hae Ryung when the latter found out that her decision led to a child’s death. She felt responsible because she could have taken the child with her back to Haeju, but because of Hae Ryung’s concern that the kid might already have smallpox and infect others, she decided against bringing her there.

  • Death is a permanent part of life. Hae Ryung thought of what was best for everyone but it doesn’t mean that if she had decided to take the child with her, that the child would have survived either. If someone we love passes away, we mourn and feel sad about it. But we don’t let such an event weigh us down forever, we have to make good use of our time and do what we can to live well.
  • It would be unfair for us (the living) to deprive ourselves of what life can offer, both joyful days and hardships, by blaming ourselves for things that are out of our control. Let’s use the time we have to continue to work hard and pursue the things that make us happy🦋
4. Be true to yourself and don’t compromise your values just because there are people/situations who/that put you down. Your sincerity and honesty will attract good karma & people into your life.
  • Hae Ryung’s character was never shy in speaking the truth and fighting for what she believed in. She fought tooth and nail to be heard and ruffled up a few government feathers along the way but eventually won over the good graces of people. In the scene below, she was bold enough to persuade the King to stop hating the historians because their role is not to criticize the Royal family, but rather, to write their good traits as an example for the next generation.
  • Even when the King had given her a hard time, she was still perceptive enough to impart such a realization without compromising any values as a historian.✍🏻

  • In relation to tip #2, when Hae Ryung submitted the petition to request for a special investigation regarding the past, she was supported by her fellow historians. It was a risky move but because it was the right thing to do and she did it properly, everyone backed her up and they were eventually rewarded with a happy ending.

Like I mentioned in my last episode recap for the kdrama, Hae Ryung was an imperfect character that also learned a lot from her experience as a historian. In the end, I do think that she and the other women have come a long way since the 1st episode. They are now respected and treated as equals who possess thoughts that matter as well✨

Just like the traditions of the past, it’s not always easy to speak one’s mind and have the courage to be ourselves now in a world where social media triggers comparison and hateful comments. But I believe that as long as we’re mindful of our words, don’t treat mistakes or odd comments as a negative but rather a learning experience, we’ll live an empowered and loved life😊💕

Unnie Recommends: Melting Me Softly

It’s 1999 in South Korea — a world on the cusp of a booming digital age, flip cellphones were still a thing, and the possibilities for scientific progress are endless. Melting Me Softly tells the tale of 2 people who wake up 20 years after being frozen in a cryo chamber🥶 The plot reminds me of the Hollywood movie, Passengers, where the leads also went into hibernation only to be awakened with no one to tell them what really happened to them. The similarity ends there though as Melting Me Softly applies a different setting, time, and angle.

Going into the 1st episode, I wasn’t sure what to expect but thankfully, any hesitations went away as Ji Chang Wook’s charm as Ma Dong Chan is simply irresistible, hee. I first watched the actress Won Jin A in her previous kdrama, Rain or Shine, and I’m happy that she’s portraying a spunkier and more outspoken person here as Ko Mi Ran.

Current Impression

I liked how they depicted the 1st episode through flashbacks and not a linear story telling style. In the first few minutes alone, we see both Ma Dong Chan and Ko Mi Ran participate in a cryogenics project of a Doctor Hwang, freezing themselves in a chamber for only a period of 24 hours. How they got to this point unfolds piece by piece when we see glimpses of Dong Chan and Mi Ran’s life before getting frozen.

Dong Chan is as a talented and out-of-the-box thinking PD (Production director) directing a very popular variety show. He is passionate, hardworking, talented, and has an equally supportive girlfriend. He veers away from the ordinary and prides himself in doing things that no one in TV land has done before. He is very interested in cryogenics as it is a very new technology in 1999 and wants to be the first one to show the world its revolutionary effects. He volunteers to be a test subject himself to make it more believable for viewers and enlists the help of another person to go in with him.

Enter Mi Ran, a 24 year old woman who takes the dangerous jobs that no one dares to do in Dong Chan’s variety show because it pays a lot of money. She is enjoying her youth while struggling to find a permanent job in between participating in the show’s experiments, happily hangs out with friends, and takes care of her little brother who gets bullied from time to time. She is initially reluctant to volunteer but when Dong Chan mentions that an effect of cryogenics is curing diseases, she thinks of her brother and is all in with the project.

Something goes wrong as the Professor is chased by a car and supposedly killed on the same day that both go into the chamber. He is the only one who can unfreeze both Dong Chan and Mi Ran to administer a special shot to prevent their bodies from reacting negatively to being frozen for a day. With the Professor still alive 20 years later, he finally sets them free…with a consequence that their body temperatures must be maintained at 31.5 degrees Celsius🤒

Both Ji Chang Wook and Won Jin A portrayed their frenzied and pale 2019 selves very well when the former calls his assistant PD to continue shooting and the latter trying to find her family. They are in for the surprise of their lives when they both finally realize that so much time has passed since their awakening! They can’t exactly resume their lives as if nothing has happened and have to adjust to a more progressive Korea and an older generation of their loved ones.

Melting Me Softly is an intriguing korean drama that combines sci-fi elements with romance and comedy. There hasn’t been much interaction between our 2 leads yet so let’s anticipate the temperature of their love to heat up and see how they navigate their 2019 together!😊

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 39 & 40) – Ending

History has proven that dictatorships or countries with a King can fall and be rebuilt into a new nation for the people. The Second State Councilor has his own plans to put into action but our protagonists will not go down without a fight. The only constant thing in this world is change, whether we are ready for it or not — we can either embrace such an occurrence, or die trying to reject it.

Episode 39

We are treated to another flashback 20 years ago showing how the Second State Councilor caught and threatened Jae Kyung as a kid to change the contents of the King’s letter. King Yi Gyeom patiently awaits for his child to be born as Mo Hwa congratulates him for having a son. No time to celebrate though as the invasion happens moments after and King Yi Gyeom is killed for supposed treason. Although Jae Kyung reports back to Seoraewon about what he did, it was still too late. Yeongan entrusts him to take Hae Ryung far away so they can live a new life, just as Prince Lee Rim was saved by Sam Bo and Mo Hwa.

An officer and several guards barge into the Office of Royal Decrees and arrest Officer Min for causing “trouble” at the Royal Court. Despite the historians’ protests, Officer Min doesn’t fight back and simply turns himself in quietly. He has a stare down with his father outside, the latter being pressured by his minions to punish his own son for reading the petition.

Also worried for the Prince’s safety, Hae Ryung seeks aid from the Military Commander to sneak Prince Lee Rim out of Nokseodang. They successfully dodge anyone who can catch them in the Palace and hand in hand go to a safe hideout once outside. Both are greeted by the Queen Dowager and the Prince’s loyal followers, swearing their allegiance to help him. Mo Hwa discloses to the Prince that they plan to end things once and for all at the banquet to commemorate the King’s 20th year of reign to be held in a few days. She warns him that if things go awry, they cannot protect him anymore and must therefore escape.

A discussion occurs between opposing side between the King, Crown Prince, and the Second State Councilor. As usual, the latter insists on continuing the banquet to front that the Royal family is not affected by the issues plaguing them. The Crown Prince worries when he declares that he and his father should accept whatever happens to the Queen Dowager and Prince Lee Rim that day, but the Second State Councilor reminds them that it is because of him that they can be in their positions now. Unnerved and burdened, Crown Prince Lee Jin visits Sa Hui that night to ask her a question about the daily records. He doesn’t ask to see it but Sa Hui does not mind letting him read a copy of the actual text.

The Prince and Hae Ryung discuss their future, with the latter telling the former that she’ll follow him whereever he goes if things go south. In a role reversal, it is Prince Lee Rim who declines her offer saying that she shouldn’t move with him. It’s not a blatant rejection but he explains that he was never locked up in Nokseodang but rather, he was waiting for the right person, Hae Ryung, to come find him. If he ends up running away, he can get through anything knowing that they’ll meet again one day. He seals his promise with a kiss. Selfless and content, I think the Prince wouldn’t want Hae Ryung to have a hard time as they run away together and he understood what she meant when she said the exact same thing to him a few episodes ago.

Episode 40 (Last Episode)

It’s the day of reckoning as the banquet is held with officials, historians, eunuchs, and court ladies witnessing the event. Jae Kyung bravely walks to the middle of the place, on his knees, confessing to the King that the letter allegedly sent by the King was fabricated. He points to the Second State Councilor as the culprit and even presents evidence that the King did not believe in Catholicism and simply wanted Seoraewon to be a place where they can study different cultures. The King is unable to speak yet and the officers argue on whether or not to believe Jae Kyung or not.

In a heated exchange between the Queen Dowager and the Second State Councilor, Prince Lee Rim surpisingly marches inside and announces that he is the son of Prince Huiyeong. He bravely states that the reason why his Majesty hasn’t killed him after all this time is because he also thought deep down that stealing the throne and death of his own brother was unjustified. The King stands up in fury and orders the historians to stop writing or else they’ll be beheaded. They don’t listen though and continue to jot down history unraveling before their very eyes.

Side by side, Hae Ryung kneels beside Prince Lee Rim and unwaveringly speaks that killing them will be of no use because the truth will live and resonate in the hearts and minds of the people of Joseon. All the historians join in the protest, backing up Hae Ryung. The Second State Councilor brands them all as traitors and orders for their death but the Crown Prince orders the guard to drop his sword aimed at Hae Ryung’s neck. He walks down from the steps and gets down on his knees himself, pleading the King to investigate the truth of what happened before. Other officials bow down and in a majestic moment, they all simultaneously chant and ask their leader humbly to right the wrongs of the past and move forward with a just conscience.

The next scene shifts to the Second State Councilor telling Officer Min in his room to pour him a drink in his memorial ceremony yearly. This must signal our heroes’ success in persuading the King and our villain’s acceptance of his fate. His son asks how he could change from someone noble to becoming an insatiable man seeking power. The latter explains when he gained influence himself, it was hard for him to let go of it. He does stand by the decision he made to have killed the King before as he believes that Yi Gyeom violated the principles and pillar teachings of Joseon with the study of Western culture. Officer Min cries in disagreement saying that a new world will arise and pays his last respects to his father.

Mo Hwa and Hae Ryung visit Jae Kyung in prison and inform him that the special investigation will commence with every person involved in the dethronement process will be interrogated. Hae Ryung tells him that she is trying to keep it together despite everything and Jae Kyung assures her that he never took care of her out of guilt. They are each other’s brother and sister no matter what happens.

Meanwhile inside the Palace, the Crown Prince announces to the Queen Dowager that he will step down from his position once the investigation has finished. Suddenly, Prince Lee Rim goes inside her room and asks for his dethronement as a Prince because he wishes to live life as an ordinary and free man. The Queen Dowager does not accept his decision and convinces him otherwise. I know that she means well but like I said in the previous episode recaps, her forcing him to be King is annoying! He can always learn the ropes in governing a nation, yes, but he clearly doesn’t want to involve himself in politics.

*** 3 years later ***

It’s business as usual for our hardworking historians!✍🏻 Hae Ryung looks to have been promoted as she has her own table now while A Ran and In Im have also become a junior ninth rank. They aren’t as afraid to speak their minds when Officer Hyeon, who is no longer a historian but is the same rank as Officer Yang, barges in the Office and tries to bully the girls. Sa Hui is not a historian anymore and is teaching kids instead. Her father comes bearing books saying that someone from the Palace (*Ahem* Lee Jin *Ahem*) keeps sending these for her. She smiles and graciously accepts the gift.

We can assume that the Second State Councilor had been executed as Officer Min and the now single and annulled Crown Princess is in mourning clothes. All the historians visit Officer Min and asks him to come back and work as per the order of his Majesty. They all laugh in unison as Officer Min grins back at them. The Crown Prince is now King and he has taken on the task to introduce Western beliefs and practices to Joseon. He remains optimistic and vows that Seoraewon shouldn’t only be a dream that they cannot attain.

Lee Rim comes back from his travels and surprises Hae Ryung with a trail of flowers leading up to him on her mat. He expresses how amazing it was to see dolphins on his trip but doesn’t reveal anything more so she ought to buy the travel book he wrote instead. It seems that the book isn’t doing too well compared to his romance novels, haha, but at least he is doing what he loves for a living. Lee Rim pretends to leave to give Hae Ryung time to rest but she asks him to lock the door instead for some sexy time, haha!💋 They aren’t married yet but that’s okay as they are taking their time enjoying each other’s company.

The next morning, Hae Ryung is awakened by Lee Rim realizing that she is late for work. She gives him a morning kiss on the lips before running off to the Palace. Once inside, she stops for a moment and takes a deep breath to prepare herself for what would be another great and eventful day working as a historian.

Thoughts

A happy ending for our lovers and Joseon🎉 I thoroughly enjoyed watching Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung for its fresh story, plot twists, and girl power!🌸 In the end, the power of the people overruled the tyrant that is the Second State Councilor and the truth shined as bright as the sun. Timing is everything and perhaps it will still take time for the people of Joseon to accept another culture; but after 23 years and no other villain in sight, I’m sure the future of their country is headed toward a positive direction.

If I had to nitpick this kdrama, maybe it would be that I wished some of the side stories would be further explored or solved. Like the stipend corruption that was never mentioned again, what happened to the kid that Hae Ryung helped in the first few episodes, and that Jean Barthelemy was simply a passing foreigner who wished to bid farewell to his brother but was never a crucial part of the overall story. I guess these instances are just meant to be accepted for what they are, an experience that may not mean so much in the big picture, but individually helped shaped our characters’ development.

Cha Eun Woo, the actor playing Prince Lee Rim, could have displayed more facial expressions in some of the show’s more tense or dramatic moments. I read that he was criticized for his poor acting skills earlier when the show just premiered but there’s always room for improvement. His character was sweet and loyal but also didn’t give up even when he had to eventually escape if they did not convince the King of their cause.

Hae Ryung had her fair share of right and wrongs as a character but the fact that she was consistent in speaking the truth & doing what’s right is her best trait for me. She and the Prince never really had a major conflict except of course when he was forced to marry but other than that, their personalities and beliefs always complemented each other. I’m glad that they showed a unique angle where women were emphasized and given a bit of power in a male dominant time proving that women, just like men, are capable of doing work equally and have valid opinions as well.