In the magical world of comics, is every action, even in the shadow, just to serve the bigger stage? No matter what happens though, trust that Dan Oh and Ha Roo to not let even destiny get in the way of their freewill to claim their own personal lives!
Episodes 21 and 22
A montage of Baek Kyung is shown that he stayed by Dan Oh’s side all the time she was in the hospital. His feelings for her are getting deeper but it’s a shame that he can’t fully display his emotions whenever she’s awake. Dan Oh admits that she got initially attached to Ha Roo because he could change her stage. Baek Kyung takes note of this and thinks that she will grow to like him too if he can change her fate, oh boy.
After getting confronted by Baek Kyung, Dried Squid recalls his past in the Trumpet Creeper comics. As mentioned by him, the same set of characters are established in the story, from the names and protagonist/antagonist set-up, down to the relationship between characters. Baek Kyung is a Prince and Dried Squid is his elder brother and soon-to-be the nation’s Crown Prince! Baek Kyung’s father is an adviser in the Royal Court and he is the one who coaxes him to covet the crown from Dried Squid by finding out his secrets. Nam Ju’s mom is the Queen Dowager and she is also as despicable there as she is in Secret.
With their official confessions out in the open, Dan Oh and Ha Roo enjoy each other’s company at school. Dan Oh is all giddy about the latest development in their relationship despite the uncertainty of her time left and continues to have heart racing moments whenever Ha Roo says her name fondly. Meanwhile, Ha Roo continues to have dreams about his past and it explains why his new set-up is being loyal to Baek Kyung since he had a similar role in Trumpet Creeper. He naturally got attracted to Dan Oh while following her around (based on Baek Kyung’s orders to curry favor with her father) and even felt uncomfortable when Baek Kyung finally introduced himself to her. Ha Roo also became self-aware there too and his feelings for Dan Oh just grew the more time he spent with her.
There is a breakthrough moment between Baek Kyung and Dan Oh as she worries about him when he doesn’t go to school on the day of his mom’s death anniversary. She brings a bouquet of flowers to her grave and finds Baek Kyung there as well. He does subtly try to convey his feelings towards her but stops himself from doing so. Baek Kyung realizes that some of the lines exchanged between Dan Oh and Ha Roo currently in the shadow are the same words used in the other comic.
Episodes 23 and 24
Continuing his quest for the truth, Baek Kyung tells Dan Oh that she will call off their engagement in front of her dad. She is curious if he can see the storyboard too but he just insists that he is the one who can change her fate. The villain taunts Ha Roo further by making him doubt if he could really change the stage or if things are just going the way the writer wants it to. Our fighting hero doesn’t give in though and defends his actions and that to him, Dan Oh is the main character.
We see more glimpses of Ha Roo and Dan Oh’s growing affection in the Trumpet Creeper comics as the latter slowly becomes self-aware herself. Prince Baek Kyung ultimately tries to win Dan Oh’s heart when she calls off their engagement, just like what Baek Kyung in Secret read. Dan Oh feels as if she is ill because she hears page turning sounds and at times can’t say or do what she pleases. Ha Roo has a copy of the comics and shows it to Dan Oh as they realize the same thing there with their characters here. They spend time together in the shadow but are unsure of what to do when the story continues to progress and Dan Oh has to marry Prince Baek Kyung.
Nobody in the self-aware circle is still conscious of Ju Da being awakened from her bullied and damsel in distress character. She defends herself now by speaking her mind and even seems to taken a liking to Do Hwa in the shadow. Returning from Paris since he had to handle a business transaction there, Nam Ju declares to reporters and to his classmates that his inspiration for the successful collection is Ju Da. The last thing that happens before the shadow commences is him holding her hand but when the shadow enters, Ju Da immediately looked at Do Hwa who was on her right side.
Dan Oh gets a preview of the storyboard of Baek Kyung formally proposing to her thru a video presentation in front of their classmates. She, Ha Roo, and Do Hwa promise to change the stage to prevent this from happening. Ha Roo switches with the person tasked with putting the spotlight on Dan Oh but he is dismayed when his hands move on its own to continue the stage. Dan Oh gets up on stage with Baek Kyung holding a box with a wedding ring inside. Ha Roo tries with all his might to remove the cable to dim the lights even when the wound on his hand started bleeding again. He is able to do so and as the lights went off, the stage resets but instead of Baek Kyung and Dan Oh being the couple, two of their classmates replace them instead on the stage.
After the event, Baek Kyung deduces that the stage can be altered due to a number of factors:
- An extra can move more freely in the stage without the writer noticing
- Interference in the shadow before the stage
- A replacement person/people steps in to fill the spot of the main characters once the stage resets
When Dan Oh and Ha Roo convene together that night, she gets another look at the storyboard of her possibly dying on the operating table when she undergoes heart surgery. She is genuinely scared and hugs Ha Roo longer than usual. He doesn’t probe any further as he also remembers flashbacks of their past in the other comics where Dan Oh seemingly dies getting stabbed by a sword.
There’s no doubt that Dan Oh and Ha Roo’s feelings towards each other is real but for them to say and experience the exact same things from Trumpet Creeper, despite being in the shadow in Secret, is alarming. Is what Baek Kyung said true that everything happening is exactly what the writer wants? Maybe it’s the effect of being created by a one and only creator that a person expresses the exact same words in different works. It doesn’t diminish the feelings and emotions of Dan Oh, Ha Roo, Do Hwa, and even Baek Kyung towards their life in the comics now. I still think that they have the power to change the “tragedy” from happening having gone through the same events once before.
I could be wrong about Ju Da still ending up with Nam Ju in the shadow because we got a lot of hints in these set of episodes that she is actually interested in Do Hwa. Could they repeat the same romance where the female lead falls for the 2nd leading man? I hope they realize that Ju Da has become self aware so they can share their experiences and help each other out. I like that the show is finally giving her a chance to stand up for herself, whoever she ends up with, I’m sure that she can at least fend for herself.
When the stage was modified and someone else took over the proposal, Dan Oh’s heart started acting up again. What if her heart problems get worse when she changes the stage? That is a plausible theory and it could coincide with Baek Kyung always saying that he’s the one who can truly change her fate. What a redeeming ending it would be if Baek Kyung indeed could save Dan Oh’s life and set her free instead because he has accepted the fact that she loves Ha Roo?