A simple premise tangled with complicated emotions, FAILling in Love, is a kdrama told from the perspective of 2 friends who seemingly like each other but because of wrong timing, awkward moments, and, well… life, getting together is not as easy as it seems.
It’s been awhile since I recommended a new korean drama since all the current ones premiered around the same time. FAILling in Love only has 10 episodes so delving into this when you’ve already got a stacked line-up of TV shows to watch shouldn’t be a problem!
Wanting to have a girlfriend already, the male main character perspective is told by Kang Pa Rang, an 18-year old high school student who has been rejected by every girl he asked out. Feeling fed up, he decides to ask out his close friend, Lee Si Won, who happens to be the main female perspective of the show. Si Won does like Pa Rang ever since they were kids but she’s never admitted it to him. When he asks her out, she denies the fact that she likes him and this leaves him confused.
There’s also a rumor that Pa Rang’s friend, Lee Si Eon, is gay since he has never shown an interest in girls and seems to be rudely affectionate only to Pa Rang. I’m not yet convinced that Si Eon is gay because there are little signs that he likes Si Won. It would be interesting if Si Eon indeed liked Pa Rang more than as a friend but we’ll see as the episodes progess. I like that even in the 1st 2 episodes, we got to know a little bit of each character’s personality already😊 Pa Rang as an awkward teen who has separation anxiety issues, Si Won is a popular and caring friend, while Si Eon is aloof but mindful towards the people he cares about.
FAILling in Love applies the familiar premise of high school students getting their first real taste of love, uncertainty, and making mistakes. The light comedy and subtle display of emotions are fun and not at all boring to watch. If you’re looking for something laid-back to tune into yet still has substance, you can’t go wrong with this kdrama💫
It’s good to have Ha Roo back but Dan Oh isn’t too thrilled as he is a completely different person now. Despite this setback, Ha Roo seems to be still drawn to Dan Oh and tries to figure out why. Baek Kyung uses this opportunity to show Dan Oh his sincerity but will he win over our heroine’s heart?
Picking up the same flower that he sees in his dreams, Ha Roo notices the drawing of Dan Oh on the wall. He is lost in a daze as he meets Dan Oh walking in the school hallway. She does call him by his name fondly but tries hard to dismiss any hope of the old Ha Roo coming back. She’s saddened by the fact that he speaks to her only to say that Baek Kyung has already left.
Girls are fawning all over Ha Roo as Dan Oh helplessly watches him in class. He opens a jar lid for her and she begs him not to be kind to her or she’ll think of him as the old Ha Roo. Baek Kyung interrupts their brief moment probably out of jealousy and to save Dan Oh but he’s just so aggressive that it comes off as a disrespectful gesture. Even the 2 girls who were into Baek Kyung before moved on to crushing on Ha Roo, driving Dan Oh crazy with jealousy herself.
Ju Da runs into Nam Ju’s mom and the latter makes her feel inferior by commenting on her dirty shoes and expressing that she wants a girlfriend for her son who is similar in status. An angle that is only used when our characters have their own thoughts while on stage is displayed on Ju Da. Wait, does this mean she’s also becoming self-aware too?🤔 She even smiles triumphantly at Sae Mi when she was bullied in the shadow by her friends and her.
A stage scene has Nam Ju in the broadcast room announcing to the whole school that Ju Da is the only woman for him. So the intended stage scene for them still happened after all, with Dan Oh and Do Hwa accepting what just transpired easier than ever before. Dan Oh tries her hardest to deflect Ha Roo, who unconsciously sits across from her in the library. He moves to another seat because of Dan Oh’s annoyance, but admits to himself that she is on his mind. He has a dream of catching Dan Oh falling while getting a book on a bookshelf: it’s their characters from the Flower comics!🌸 Talk about déjà vu as the same thing happens to them a few minutes in the library.
In a surprise visit, Baek Kyung goes to Dan Oh’s house early morning and they spend the time actually having a good conversation. Baek Kyung narrates that when they were kids, she would take her medicine because he casted a “spell” on her (like Cinderella’s fairy godmother) that would give her a healthy heart. She is surprised that he even remembers such a memory and Dan Oh thanks him for his sincerity. She confesses that she’ll try to forget Ha Roo, Baek Kyung’s rudeness, and how she tried to change the story. All of this happens in the shadow so props to Baek Kyung for making an effort to build a decent relationship with her.
When Ha Roo witnesses Baek Kyung tell Dan Oh in school that he’ll pick her up again tomorrow, he instinctively utters “No” and places his hand on Baek Kyung’s hand. Baek Kyung is of course annoyed, Dan Oh is shocked but says nothing, but it’s Ha Roo who is the most stunned when he tries to figure out why he just did that. In class, Ha Roo has another dream of his alter ego in Flower buying the same floral ornament in the market. Apparently, the flower is called “Trumpet Creeper” (Sounds creepy and not at all romantic but okay) and he wakes up from his dream smiling as he clutches it in his hand.
Baek Kyung steps up his making amends game by gifting Dan Oh with presents. This would have been a perfect redeeming moment for him if only he hadn’t had Ha Roo go to where they are as an errand boy to buy a bouquet of roses for Dan Oh. Damn, just when you think he’s trying to be a better man😒 Dan Oh coldly tells Ha Roo to leave and she walks away from both men in the park.
A few seconds after, a stage scene sets up Dan Oh and Ha Roo buying a gift for Baek Kyung at a sporting goods store. Once they are out of the stage, Dan Oh explains that it’s only her set-up that she needs to like Baek Kyung. When Ha Roo says that she can just change what’s already determined, she adamantly states that she doesn’t want to anymore because she doesn’t want to lose him. Ha Roo is confused because Dan Oh keeps repeating that he isn’t the same Ha Roo and doesn’t explain any further.
Going back to the comic’s leading lady, Ju Da doesn’t disclose to Nam Ju that she is at the hospital visiting her grandmother. They flirt (again) over the phone and Nam Ju confesses that he has a wish that he wants granted but he needs time to prepare for it. Ju Da sighs as she sees photographs of stolen shots between Nam Ju and her as a threat from his mom reminding her that they are the ones paying for her grandma’s hospital bills. She is clearly lonely and looks at Do Hwa’s picture on her phone. She’s already self-aware at this point I think but it’s just that no one can help her get through it.
Having another argument, Dan Oh keeps rejecting Ha Roo’s act of kindness towards her. He is also getting infuriated at the fact that she keeps saying that he is not Ha Roo when that is his name. She is upset at this fact because she said that to him in the shadow, which means he is now self-aware. Just not aware enough to remember their memories. I can’t imagine Dan Oh and Ha Roo getting into a lovers spat ever since they’re always so considerate towards each other but I understand that they are in a special kind of situation.
Taking matters into his own hands, Dried Squid burns the Flower/Trumpet Creeper comic book since Ha Roo has already accidentally touched it while Baek Kyung actually read 2 pages of the book. On the same night, Baek Kyung and Dan Oh’s families have dinner together as dictated by the stage. She declares to everyone that she can marry Baek Kyung the next day, something that he read in the Flower comic book as well. Dan Oh never falters to tell him that her words and feelings in the stage are not real, and Baek Kyung gets irritated by this because he has real feelings for her.
Walking alone at night, Dan Oh observes other people on the street for having stories of their own but they have no choice but just to succumb to the writer’s set-up for them. Dan Oh contemplates on what if she only remained as a clueless extra. Just then, Ha Roo speaks that if that happened, then he would also just be a nameless No. 13. Dan Oh is crying with her mouth open from the shock as Ha Roo takes her hand in his… revealing the scar that he has on his hand. Finally, he’s back!!❤️
Each episode reveals the fate of our characters little by little so if on the previous recap, I say something different from the current one, please forgive my changing comments too, haha!✌🏻 I feel bad for Ju Da because even though she’s the lead in the comic book, her life doesn’t scream sunshine and rainbows. I’m not saying that Dan Oh’s feelings are not valid but it’s not as if Ju Da is living her best life too. Dan Oh’s situation is pitiful too because of her heart condition and being an extra, but if she took the time to observe Ju Da’s position, maybe she wouldn’t feel that life is so unfair for her.
If there’s something about destiny that Dan Oh can fully embrace, it’s the fact that she and Ha Roo have somehow found their way back to each other. I’m not sure if they were meant to be the leading lady and leading man of the other comic or if Ha Roo was actually the 2nd lead. Is it possible that they also became self-aware characters in Flower and they both tried to change their stage there so they both disappeared and ended up as extras in Secret as punishment? Now that he’s regained his memories, I hope they find a way to still change the stage.
Distinguishing what’s real and what’s fake can get blurry in the comic book world and with the stage changing, there’s no telling what can happen next. Ha Roo disappearing hits Dan Oh hard, even Do Hwa starts to contemplate what he truly wants to do in the comics. Will this finally be the trigger for our self aware friends to stop changing their destiny?
We backtrack a little bit and get a glimpse of Baek Kyung’s perspective the day that Ha Roo went missing. It turns out that he was the one who tore out the drawings in Ha Roo’s notebook into the school pool. Baek Kyung also knew for quite some time about the truth and even lectures Dan Oh about being bold enough to change things when she’s just an extra. Jerk!! Dan Oh and Do Hwa talk to Dried Squid about the situation and he gives it to her straight that it’s because she wanted to change the stage that’s why Ha Roo disappeared.
Baek Kyung starts acting up in the shadow now that he knows his family’s memories will be erased once the next stage scene commences. Dude has a lot of pent up anger, I almost (but not quite) feel sorry for him. Dan Oh is devastated and crying at the loss of Ha Roo and she asks Dried Squid for help to find him. He only repeats his words that the consequence of her altering the story lead to this.
Things don’t look too good for Do Hwa as well because even if they somehow altered the story between Nam Ju and Ju Da, the stage dictates Do Hwa to tell Ju Da to forget about his feelings for her. Do Hwa apologizes to Nam Ju in the shadow as he feels awful about everyone affected with what happened at the party. For a second lead, he is perfect as a leading man. Maybe in another comic book?😁
Dan Oh constantly thinks about Ha Roo and is in a somber mood all day at school. Surprisingly, Baek Kyung tries to comfort her, in his own methods, and volunteers to help her change the story. Dan Oh explains that she can die anytime when the writer wants her to but instead of being able to spend the time she has left for herself, it’s used to build up the main or supporting characters of the book. I think this is the 1st time that Baek Kyung actually understands why she’s trying so hard to change her fate😢
It’s a sports festival at Seuli high school and everyone but Dan Oh is excited to participate in the activities. A stage scene has Dan Oh and Baek Kyung competing in a three-legged race but along the way, she loses one of her rubbershoes and her heart rate starts to increase. To make matters worse, Baek Kyung leaves her in the middle of the field. Dan Oh cries in despair when suddenly, someone approaches her to give back her shoe. It’s Ha Roo!! But is he the same person we knew from before?
Dan Oh catches up to Ha Roo who happens to be talking to Baek Kyung. It’s a weird sight to see Ha Roo be nice and comfortable with Baek Kyung but cold towards Dan Oh. Do Hwa comes running to them and he shows her the comic book with a new addition to the list of extras — Ha Roo. This is not good😐
Secret’s comic book leading lady gets bullied as usual and Do Hwa comforts Ju Da over strawberry milk. He also apologizes to her as he continues to mull over the changed story, especially now that Ha Roo has a different character altogether. I know I said that even if Ju Da was self-aware, she’d still choose Nam Ju. But with how mature Do Hwa is handling things, a small part of me wishes that she’d fall for him in the shadow.
A dodgeball session plays out and Dan Oh tries to jog Ha Roo’s memory of him saving her from getting hit by the ball last time. He doesn’t protect her this time but he does lightly throw the ball at her. Baek Kyung is suspicious about Ha Roo’s new attitude and tries to test him if he has really forgotten about his past or if he’s merely pretending to forget. It seems that for now, he really has forgotten about his previous appearance in the comics.
Later that same night, Dan Oh visits Dried Squid to talk about the comic’s latest development. She shares that she had a good time whenever she and Ha Roo changed the story and that maybe she could change her set-up of having a terminal illness but ever since he disappeared, she’s become afraid. She could live her life as a quiet extra but she fears getting killed off as well. I feel bad whenever Dan Oh becomes sad because she’s such a positive and persistent heroine that doesn’t deserve this, huhu😓
On the other side of the school, Ha Roo finds himself drawn to the library. He finds himself at the spot where he used to tape drawings of the comic book world and Dan Oh. The mysterious portal that keeps popping up from time to time is there and it showed a scene with Ha Roo and Dan Oh, but they’re wearing what appears to be Joseon period garments. Dan Oh utters a line that she has said in this comic book world already. So both of them are from the Flower comics after all!🌸
Since there’s a rule about the stage being an inevitable occurrence in this world, it’s excusable for Baek Kyung to be a jerk because that’s his set-up. It’s only natural that his brash and mean spirited character can spill over to his shadow so it’s sometimes hard to blame him for being who he is. I don’t know if Baek Kyung really likes Dan Oh for who she is or if it’s like Do Hwa’s feelings for Ju Da, who since he likes in the stage, he also learns to admire her in the shadow. Since Baek Kyung is used to Dan Oh liking him in the stage, it is second nature for him to think that too in the shadow. But for our heroine, Dan Oh, she deserves someone who is kind and patient to her, no matter how sincere one’s feelings are for her.
If Dan Oh and Ha Roo are characters from another comic book, does this mean that they were reincarnated/reused for this one? Maybe the reason for Dan Oh becoming self-aware is not by chance but because she was the leading lady of another tale. Ha Roo disappearing momentarily was possible perhaps so the writer can give him a new character to include him in Secret but not to Dan Oh’s preference. For whatever reason, I don’t think this writer likes happy endings… but Secret is supposed to be a romcom genre. But if Ha Roo can alter someone else’s story, e.g. someone’s free will, then maybe one’s destiny isn’t as predetermined as we’re led to believe. I hope that Ha Roo can remember Dan Oh and they, together with Do Hwa, fight back towards the writer.
With an all new stage and Ha Roo starting to have a more prominent role in the comics, things are finally going on a positive trajectory for Dan Oh. She remains oblivious to the threat that something will go wrong if she keeps changing the intended storyboard and someone else might have to pay for her actions.
Cheers erupt as Baek Kyung makes his announcement for Dan Oh. Ha Roo’s hand start to ache again and he drops the tray with the champagne glass on the ground. Baek Kyung tries to stop Dan Oh from leaving but the former tries to process what the latter said that she never liked him willingly and that it’s only what the writer wanted. Dan Oh catches up to Ha Roo and she is hopeful that they have definitely changed the stage this time. She doesn’t see Ha Roo’s concerned look though as this is the 1st time that he looks genuinely scared of their actions.
Ju Da tells Do Hwa that she likes him too, but only as a friend. She admits that something feels off and this is where Nam Ju finds them both. He decides to cancel the party and is in a sulky mood when his mother scolds him for being MIA. Later that night, Ha Roo visits Dried Squid and he says that the pain indeed is getting worse when the stage changes. He divulges that both Dan Oh and the flower (The one in the keychain and the one present in the school garden) feel familiar to him. Dried Squid cautions him again that even extras have levels, like Dan Oh, and that Ha Roo is the only one who’ll disappear.
Do Hwa feels bad for both Nam Ju and Ju Da seeing them miserable as a result of what happened last night. He mumbles that he thought confessing his feelings would make him feel better, but I guess in the end he feels worse for having interrupted the comic book’s OTP romance. Meanwhile, Ha Roo continues to ponder about his fate until Baek Kyung decides to provoke him by mentioning that he’s just playing with Dan Oh’s emotions. Man, I cannot believe how rotten this guy truly is! And this is in the shadow too.
Ultimately, it’s wanting to protect Dan Oh that makes Ha Roo decide that he wants to continue helping her change the story. He feels happy seeing her smile and I think Dan Oh’s determination to change her role as a dying extra has infected him too (in a good way). He professes to Dried Squid that he couldn’t keep his distance from Dan Oh and that he’ll find the answers that he’s looking for with her. Awww!❤️ This doesn’t bode well with Dried Squid who thought that Ha Roo finally conceded defeat and won’t aid her anymore.
Feeling something beyond friendship, Dan Oh’s heart rate increases whenever Ha Roo is physically near her, haha! With a cleared mind and mission, Ha Roo is becomes more comfortable in talking to Dan Oh and he even (handsomely) initiates saying “Hi” to her at school. The sparks between these 2 are definitely evident and endearing to watch⚡️It’s too bad that things are not going well for our other self-aware character as Nam Ju informs Do Hwa that he doesn’t need Ju Da anymore and this leads to a confrontation between the 2 of them. Do Hwa punches Nam Ju in the face while reiterating that he likes Ju Da. Unfortunately though, the stage takes control and the exact opposite happens as it’s Nam Ju who ends up punching Do Hwa because the latter cannot declare his feelings out loud for anyone to acknowledge.
Little by little, the butterfly effect is working its magic on the comic book’s stage. Nam Ju announces that Do Hwa is now out of A3 and that he’s looking to add a new member to the group, even asking Ha Roo. Ju Da tries to fix the issue with Nam Ju but the latter misinterprets her gesture as concern for Do Hwa and walks away. Baek Kyung consoles Do Hwa about him getting kicked out, not realizing that his words (again) about not remembering anything could be triggering Baek Kyung’s self awareness.
Ha Roo is getting noticed in class for having aced an exam, playing the flute really well, and being a natural at painting. His classmates even know his name already and Dan Oh notices that his name tag is already visible too. This time, it’s Ha Roo who gets nervous around Dan Oh as she unconsciously sits near him and motions her face very close to his, haha! I just don’t know if Ha Roo becoming a character in the comic book is a good thing since this means he can change the stage more often and the consequences for that must be bad.
Baek Kyung asks out Dan Oh to the movies as part of a stage scene. Sae Mi helps Dan Oh get ready and even gives her tips to flirt subtly for her date. On the way to the movie theater, Baek Kyung states that he doesn’t think he can marry Dan Oh. His father is enraged and orders him to get out of the car which in turn leads Baek Kyung to call off his date with Dan Oh. Devastated in the stage but once in the shadow, Dan Oh nonchalantly wipes her tears away and is back to normal, haha!
Before she leaves, like a true prince charming, Ha Roo suddenly shows up and rescues Dan Oh from having a dateless night. It’s the two of them who end up watching a movie and Dan Oh is flustered when they accidentally fulfill Sae Mi’s flirty tips😈 It turns out that the conversation between Baek Kyung and his dad happened in the stage because he now comes running inside the theater to look for Dan Oh. They don’t even realize that he must be self-aware at this point to have gone to the movies, but Dan Oh doesn’t think to much about it.
Another stage scene sets up a face-off between Nam Ju and Do Hwa. It’s a swimming competition to see who finishes first but before the race ends, Dan Oh notices that Ha Roo’s name tag in his school uniform is disappearing. UH OH. The school’s alarm suddenly goes off and everyone evacuates the gym. Dan Oh is pushed into the water by accident due to the chaos and Ha Roo dives in to save her.
When she wakes up, she sees Baek Kyung beside her, sobbing and being genuinely worried. He has a flashback of his childhood days where his mom was also in her deathbed in the hospital and he mutters that everyone eventually ends up leaving him. I’m not sure if this scene took place in the stage or shadow but when Baek Kyung comes back to check on Dan Oh, she has already left the hospital. Raining and gloomy, Dan Oh desperately tries to find Ha Roo in school. Still in her hospital pajamas, she is shocked to see another classmate sitting on Ha Roo’s seat and claiming that he is No. 13. When she goes to the school pool, she discovers Ha Roo’s drawings ripped out and floating on the water.
Like a woman possessed, Dan Oh hurries to the library to find the comic book. As she goes through the bookshelves, she is met with Baek Kyung who throws the book on the floor towards her.
NOOOO! Ha Roo’s gooonnnee🥺 Just when Dan Oh and Ha Roo are growing closer, they are separated direly from one another. Dried Squid never explicitly stated to Dan Oh or Do Hwa what it would cost Ha Roo if he helped them, but that’s not much of a relief no matter how they spin the truth. Now that Baek Kyung is fully self aware, I’m curious to see if he’ll help or stop Dan Oh navigate through the comics. Whatever he decides to do, I’m sure it won’t be pleasant.
It just also occurred to me why Dan Oh is the only one who gets a preview of the storyboard. Not Do Hwa nor Ha Roo can have these visions, so why her? I know that Dan Oh is special not just because she’s this kdrama’s main character; but I have a feeling she, like Ha Roo, might actually belong to another comic book where they are the main characters. I’m not sure how she ended up in Secret but perhaps it’s the writer who intended them to split up.
With this new development, I am also wondering if we’ll ever get to see the “writer” of Secret. Ha Roo was erased from the comic book world because he kept interfering with the stage but why let it happen in the first place? Shouldn’t the writer be powerful enough to prevent this he/she wrote the book? I hope he finds a way to come back and be with Dan Oh🙏🏻
Getting what you want by working hard for your goals ought to be a rewarding experience but in this kdrama, is it considered a good thing? Dan Oh, Ha Roo, and Do Hwa take on a new challenge to change their predestined lives this week but they’ll learn the hard way that every action elicits a consequence that one must be ready to deal with.
Opening this episode is Ha Roo as his first few days in the comic book world of Secret is highlighted. He doesn’t know who he is and wanders around Seuli high school, eventually seeing Dan Oh from afar. He is drawn to her somehow and even knows her name at a time when she was still not yet self aware.
Do Hwa runs into Baek Kyung and asks him innocently if he doesn’t wonder why he is the only one drenched (From the scene earlier because it rained) while other students are not wet at all. Do Hwa comforts him that he’ll be dry once the scene changes and Baek Kyung looks confused.
Dan Oh is ecstatic that Ha Roo actually remembers her, hahaha! Another stage scene happens and it is Baek Kyung asking Dan Oh for forgiveness. She wants to end their engagement and also says sorry to him because a one-sided love is also tormenting to the person receiving it. Once the stage scene ends, Dan Oh does a complete 360 of her attitude just a few seconds ago as she feels incredulously happy that her character had the balls to say those things to Baek Kyung. She walks away and bumps into him, his gift of a heart rate monitor watch dropping to the ground, and he goes after her. Baek Kyung tells her to take back what she said but she just dismisses his order and leaves him.
Back at the classroom, Do Hwa gives Dan Oh strawberry milk and even cries because he read the part about his brother telling her about her heart condition getting worse. Hilariously, it is Dan Oh who ends up reassuring him that an extra like her can create a butterfly effect and change this world. Baek Kyung is furious at what Dan Oh said to him and goes on a rampage against his classmates. Ha Roo stops him from punching the glass window and tells him that it’s because he feels bad for Baek Kyung. Sorry but I can’t imagine a scenario where Baek Kyung will be a viable contender for Dan Oh’s affections, ugh!
Dan Oh and Ha Roo talk more comfortably the next day at school with Sae Mi and Su Chul joining them. Dan Oh teaches Ha Roo how to buy food at the snack bar since the line is always ridiculously long and she ends up cutting her way through to buy soda and sandwiches for the two of them. They eat their snacks outside and Do Hwa joins them. Dan Oh explains that he is 1/3 of the love triangle between Nam Ju and Ju Da, who they saw a few minutes ago.
At night, the self aware trio hang out at the school kitchen as Dan Oh imparts to Ha Roo knowledge about the comic book world’s rules. Dried Squid comes in and doesn’t look happy again and gives a forced greeting to Ha Roo. He even reads a new comic book entitled Flower where Ha Roo is a character as well! Wait, whaaaat?🤯 Could the mysterious portal that they have been seeing a gateway to another comic book world? Once alone in the school hallway, Dried Squid is dead serious in warning Ha Roo that his pain will only get worse and that his purpose is to stop Dan Oh from changing the stage.
Shifting focus from our main supporting characters, the main comic book love triangle also progresses. Ju Da and Do Hwa get to hang out at the school rooftop and Nam Ju walks in on them. He threatens Do Hwa that he hates it when other people touch his things and Ju Da goes after him when he leaves. They have a heated argument even further with Nam Ju looking genuinely hurt that Ju Da is clueless about his feelings for her.
Getting another preview of the storyboard, Dan Oh forsees Nam Ju confessing his feelings to Ju Da at his birthday party. She lets Do Hwa know and they plan to change his stage with Ha Roo’s assistance. He’s becoming more and more anxious of his role as the 2nd lead and is upset that his set-up prevents him from confessing his feelings to Ju Da. Uh oh, I’m all for Dan Oh changing her fate as an extra but attempting to modify the main love triangle’s direction could be dangerous🤔 As pointed out by Ha Roo, he doesn’t want to get involved because of the possible consequences meddling can entail. In the middle of their conversation, Baek Kyung tries to talk to Dan Oh forcefully but Ha Roo steps in between them as she doesn’t want to talk to him. Getting protective over Dan Oh, Ha Roo then declares that he’ll go to the party and help her.
Poor Baek Kyung as he grows more confused when Do Hwa scolds him about being nicer to Dan Oh. He keeps rehearing the words stage, shadow, and not being able to remember or do anything that unbeknownst to our self aware characters, he is slowly becoming one himself. Do Hwa vents out his frustrations on Ha Roo who happens to pass by them and Baek Kyung is surprised that Do Hwa knows who Ha Roo is.
It’s the day of Nam Ju’s birthday party and everyone is dressed to impress at this exclusive event held at his house. Dan Oh, Ha Roo, and Do Hwa talk about their plan to change tonight’s storyboard despite Do Hwa’s uncertainty in being able to do so. Once the stage is lit though, Do Hwa is already inside with his violin in hand and Dan Oh goes inside with Baek Kyung. Once in the shadow, he is unsuccessful in getting Dan Oh to stay with him outside the garden since she wants to look for Ha Roo and his 2 fangirls come running to him.
Ha Roo pretends to be a waiter to get into the party and he is successful in getting inside. Ju Da arrives at the party but before Nam Ju’s mom can interview her, he takes her hand and leads to her a private room. Just like in the storyboard, he gifts her with a gorgeous pair of custom made shoes and helps her wear them. As the party continues, Ha Roo tries his best to prevent Nam Ju from confessing but Baek Kyung stops him from doing anything at first. Do Hwa arrives and is shocked at how Ha Roo sneaked inside and with this short distraction, Ha Roo spills wine on Nam Ju’s shirt to buy time. Our 2nd lead runs off to confess to Ju Da and he is finally able to admit his feelings at another spot in the house. Nam Ju calls Ju Da’s cellphone desperately and he eventually finds her and Do Hwa together.
Without control, Dan Oh stands up as a reflex and walks towards the stairs in the garden… just like what she saw Ju Da did in her vision. Before she knows it, the waiter holding a strawberry cake trips and Baek Kyung fills in for Nam Ju as he takes Dan Oh in his arms and saves her from getting hit. Ha Roo is right beside them when this happens and Dan Oh is stunned when Baek Kyung proudly announces that she is the only girl for him.
Could there be an Extraordinary You multiverse?👽 I didn’t expect Ha Roo to be a character from another comic book but for now, that’s my theory based from these 2 episodes. It explains why he doesn’t have a character description and why he doesn’t know who he is in Secret. I can’t pinpoint though if he’s the main character in Flower though or just an extra that can be used to float around between worlds. The argument that I have though is why allow characters to become self aware in the process? Surely, the forces that came up with this comic book world is smart so wouldn’t he/she/it/they (hahaha) have thought that characters would want to change their fate?
As much as I hate Baek Kyung, I do feel sorry for him because the people around him are spewing out aspects about the comic book world but to him it sounds like gibberish, haha! It’s the opposite for him and Dan Oh because the latter likes him in the stage but hates him in the shadow. For Baek Kyung, he hates Dan Oh in the stage while he might learn to like her in the shadow. I feel like he’s the one who will step up to stop Dan Oh from changing her fate once he becomes self aware.
Now that it’s Baek Kyung and Dan Oh who took the storyboard’s scene, I’m wondering if that means she’s finally successful in making herself more than an extra. I have conflicting feelings for Dan Oh’s mission now because at one end; I’m happy that she was able to (finally) change the stage 100% but at the same time, the main story has become messier. I don’t think she’s going to replace Ju Da though but her butterfly effect has indeed happened — and just like a movie and video game that uses this theory, the results here are also dire.
Whether it’d be a person, event, or self-actualization, the moment that we need something to believe in, life has a funny way of giving us exactly what we want at its own timing. Just when Dan Oh felt depressed for being unable to change her fate, No. 13 makes his presence known and gives her hope that perhaps if they live in a comic book world, then anything is indeed possible.
Dan Oh gets another preview of the storyboard of her getting lost in a forest, further developing Nam Ju and Ju Da’s romance, and having Baek Kyung find and scold her. Despite being with Sae Mi, she goes on her monologue rant towards the writer. No. 13 is seen exploring the forest himself and goes through an off limits section, though what he saw was not yet revealed.
Nighttime comes and the students prepare for the couple trekking activity. Dan Oh decides to get things over with and she gets Baek Kyung to go to the forest with her already. As the stage is set, Dan Oh’s heart starts to ache and Baek Kyung leaves her alone. Once back in the shadow, she explores the forest a little bit until she gets to the spot that she saw in the storyboard. She screams really loudly from there so that right on cue, Ju Da leans on Nam Ju for comfort.
Despite memorizing the forest routes, Dan Oh still gets lost navigating her way among the woods. No. 13 eventually finds her, scared out of her mind, and they end up going to the place that he found earlier. Dan Oh realizes that the story was altered because it was supposed to be Baek Kyung who finds her, but she’s with No. 13 now. The off limits section turned out to be a beautiful secret spot where red flowers bloomed and a waterfall was situated. Dan Oh scoots down near the water and slips while trying to get up, No. 13 also slips and they end up lying on the grass beside each other. She calls him “Ha Roo” (Yes, he finally has a name!), meaning one day, because he has the power to change her day😍 He looks at her intently but before he can respond, a page turning sound is made and Dan Oh switches to another stage scene altogether.
It is the following morning and the class are visiting a temple this time. Being in the shadow, Dan Oh wonders why Baek Kyung is telling her the lines he was supposed to say in the stage if he found her last night, he even asks her if her heart is okay. Ooohh, looks like someone is slowly becoming self aware too🤔 Dan Oh finds Ha Roo and she reintroduces herself again, still thinking that he has probably forgotten about her. She ends up following him and they find a treasure box with a keychain inside. Dan Oh observes that it’s adorned with the same flowers they saw last night in the forbidden area, and Ha Roo suddenly drops it, seemingly getting hurt by touching it.
Another stage scene interrupts their moment and Dan Oh is transported to the train station. Ha Roo and her lock eyes and she feels like he remembers her but doesn’t jump to any conclusions. On their way home, Baek Kyung looks at Dan Oh while she looks at Ha Roo. Once she turns away, Ha Roo looks at her as well.
Dan Oh’s friend, Su Chul, took polaroid pictures of their trip and sells it to his classmates. Sae Mi takes two pictures for Dan Oh and she is excited with one picture of her that has Ha Roo in the background. Baek Kyung asks her why she won’t keep the other picture, one with her and him, and the look of confusion is apparent on his face of her hot and cold behavior towards him. Dan Oh doesn’t understand why Baek Kyung storms off but she just continues to adore her photo with Ha Roo😏
Do Hwa and Dan Oh hang out at the school bridge and he asks her how she deals with their set-up of being extras. Dan Oh is firm that things can change and she tells him to talk to Ju Da since he is complaining that he always just sees her back. He does chase her down and is just glad to see and talk to her. Meanwhile, Dried Squid is informed by Dan Oh of her changing her fate with Ha Roo and he isn’t happy about it. He warns her ominously that naming an extra is dangerous but our favorite heroine isn’t deterred by his words.
Dried Squid is reading the comic book in the library and he notices papers of drawings getting scattered on the floor. He follows the trail and discovers a wall filled with Ha Roo’s drawings. Back at the classroom, Dan Oh admires the polaroid picture while looking at Ha Roo. When he acknowledges her gaze, she is caught by surprise. she mouths the words “What are you looking at?” and he responds with a “You”. They also interact with each other in the library and Baek Kyung gets annoyed with them. He pushes Ha Roo against a bookcase and his head starts to bleed. Dan Oh faints from this encounter and wakes up in the hospital again. Her doctor is hesitant to tell her about her condition getting worse but she speaks ahead and admits that she knows she doesn’t have much time left.
A memory of Dan Oh as a kid is her planting flowers with her mom in their garden. She comes home from school one day and is shocked to see that the flowers are gone and that her father also doesn’t have that memory any longer too. She begins to think about the incident where Ha Roo also got hurt and becomes discouraged. She cries to Dried Squid (Because she is slicing onions, haha) that things are indeed worse because of her and that she will stop talking to Ha Roo No. 13 altogether.
A family dinner between Dan Oh’s dad and Baek Kyung’s family is held sans Dan Oh. Baek Kyung’s father gets annoyed at him because this puts a damper on their business deal with Dan Oh’s dad. He punches his own son because Baek Kyung tells off his stepmother as well and he gets a cut on his lip. As usual, he takes out his frustrations on Dan Oh the next day at school. Out of nowhere, Ha Roo punches him for disrespecting her and takes her hand to get away from Baek Kyung. Down on the ground, Baek Kyung yells out who the hell he is and Ha Roo replies that he won’t remember anyway because:
Sometimes I don’t know on whether I should include the main couple’s, Nam Ju and Ju Da (At least in the comics), development in my recaps!😅 I’m not a fan of Nam Ju’s leading man prototype character of being the aloof jerk who is really a good guy; while Ju Da is tolerable, her innocent doe eyed character is not sitting well with me. Technically, they aren’t this kdrama’s leading characters but I just want to commend the show for doing a fantastic job of balancing their exposures and storylines on screen. With Do Hwa being self aware and having a nice personality, I’m kind of rooting for him and Ju Da. I don’t think that’s possible though, even if Ju Da becomes self aware, so I hope that Do Hwa also gets his own happy ending without a romantic partner.
Is Dan Oh selfish for wanting to change her status in the comic book? I honestly don’t think so because like I said in my recommendation post, it’s not like she’s trying to replace Ju Da as the main character of the comic. She just wants her own story — a life that she voluntarily chooses to have, and not dictated by the writer. She just doesn’t realize the bigger ramifications of her actions yet but with what happened in these 2 episodes, she is making an impact more than she thinks. It can be tedious to watch her go from giving up to immediately having a shred of hope, but given her status of fighting an unknown force of destiny and meeting Ha Roo, I think it’s understandable🥺
I really don’t like Baek Kyung’s character but yes, it is his set-up to be a jerk and getting pressured by his family. I’m not sure what he’ll really feel towards Dan Oh once he learns the truth of being self aware though! Maybe a love triangle is possible but given his crude and selfish nature, there’s no way in hell I am rooting for him and Dan Oh.
Finally finding her mystery guy/fate changer, can Dan Oh really change the course of her supporting character trajectory with his help? More things are happening around the comic book than Dan Oh thinks as she gets another unlikely source of help in this week’s episodes!
Because of course things don’t always go her way, Dan Oh is transported to the hospital before she can introduce herself to her mystery guy. She and Do Hwa talk on a bench outside and she immediately heads back inside once their stage conversation ended. He mentions that it isn’t cute what she did when she bumped her back against the boys in school and she she stops on her tracks. Dan Oh tells him all the same things that she experienced when she first became self aware and Do Hwa doesn’t deny it. She bumped her head against his and his nose started bleeding, but she confidently told him that everything will restart anyway once the story proceeds. He recognizes the truth in her words when he goes to talk to his brother (Dan Oh’s doctor) and his nose is fine.
The next day at school, Dan Oh runs into mystery guy and discovers that he is her classmate. He doesn’t have a name on his uniform nor in the yearbook and she wistfully thinks that he must be more insignificant than her to not even have a name. Do Hwa has his own moment with Ju Da too where he was crying while playing the violin and they were able to talk for a bit.
Later that night in the shadow, Dan Oh and Dried Squid are talking to each other in the school kitchen. Do Hwa finally finds them after going back and forth of transporting to different scenes. Dan Oh gives him the comic book to clarify his misunderstandings because like her, he also assumed that he’s the main character. When he reads the pages, he gets the picture that it’s Nam Ju and Ju Da’s romance. Before they can discuss further, Dan Oh is transported to her own stage scene and has to hear from her doctor that she doesn’t have long to live due to her heart condition getting worse. She doesn’t give up though and tells herself that she can still the stage no matter what.
Now known as No. 13 because of his jersey number, Dan Oh sees mystery guy sitting on a bench the following day. Do Hwa comes up to her and feels much better, seemingly accepting his 2nd lead role with ease. Dan Oh has another vision of a storyboard where she knocks over a box of dried ice in the laboratory and sees No. 13 in the scene. She goes to find him and keeps reintroducing herself because like an unaware character, he most likely won’t remembe her. She instructs him to hold the box so it doesn’t fall over. No. 13 is not much of a talker and he quietly just listens and gazes at Dan Oh all the while she’s talking.
As envisioned, the stage plays out the scene in the lab. She signals for him to come near her when Nam Ju goes closer to Ju Da and they both retreat backwards. No. 13 manages to stop the box behind Dan Oh from spilling, but instead accidentally pushed the box on his right side. Nam Ju is able to steer Ju Da away from the spilled dried ice as they both hit the floor. Dan Oh is uncertain if she did change the story but to me, that’s a win on her part💪🏻
A hot topic for Seuli high school lately is the much awaited class school trip. The venue will take place in Korea this year and Do Hwa declares that it’s because of him that Nam Ju decided to do this. He helped Ju Da with a mean customer in the place that she was working part-time the night prior at and even accompanied her home. Nam Ju saw this development and probably got jealous, so he decided to spend more time with Ju Da by making the school trip free.
Dan Oh and No. 13 have their own moment at the nurse’s office when she tends to a cut on his hand. He also sterilizes a wound on her knee and she repeats her name to him. In a series of events, Dan Oh keeps introducing herself to No. 13 so that he’ll remember her, an admirable effort but if she only knew that he’s self aware of himself, haha😼
As a page turning sound is made, Dan Oh finds herself waiting to go to their school trip’s destination. She is ecstatic that she is able to go this time, but is devastated when she discerns that her role there is to get humiliated (again) by Baek Kyung. He stomps on a keychain she bought for him and as the stage’s magic disappears, she laughs hysterically like a crazy person with smeared mascara all over her face due to crying a few seconds ago. I swear Kim Hye Yoon is so talented in this role!🤩 She also gets to interact with Ju Da on the train ride when Nam Ju gives the latter food and the former accepts it for the latter saying she’ll share it with her.
Dan Oh gets a peek at the storyboard again as she sees herself going to the water to get a relationship stone that Baek Kyung throws in the beach. Sae Mi tells her that if you break the stone with the one you like and build a tower with it, a person’s wish will come true. She also catches No. 13 in her vision witnessing the entire thing. This gives her an idea to speed things up and find him on a rock formation near the beach. She asks him to stop her from going in the water and is excited to change her fate again this time.
It’s showtime as the stage plays out for Dan Oh and Baek Kyung. He breaks half of the relationship stone she gives him and angrily throws it in the water. She can’t control her body from going into the water and is helpless when No. 13 only stares back at her. She manages to find half of the stone though, but her thoughts are going haywire from pushing thru with the experience. She cries in despair because she couldn’t change the storyboard after all😥
Nam Ju and Ju Da build their own rock tower as their love story develops. Dan Oh goes to the rock formation and tries to build a tower of rocks herself. She changes her wish written on the rock from Baek Kyung to liking her to wanting to live. No matter how many time she tries though, the rocks keep tumbling down. It’s such a heartbreaking moment for her to acknowledge that she was mistaken in thinking that she could change anything. When No. 13 goes to help her, she tells him to don’t bother. When she leaves him alone and he builds one for her, the rock tower does not collapse. He finally also speaks, calling out her name for the first time.
I didn’t expect the show to have another character, Lee Do Hwa, become self aware. He’s also taking the blow of being the 2nd lead well and I’m glad that he and Dan Oh have each other to confide to regarding their wacky truth. It did cross my mind to think that what if every supporting character became self aware, what would happen to the comic book then?🤯 I’m a bit wary of Dried Squid’s character and wonder if he’s merely an extra or perhaps a gate keeper of sorts to protect the comic book world as is. I don’t think he’s a villain in the conventional sense, he just wants things to remain the way they are and Dan Oh is interrupting the natural flow of things.
No. 13 holds more power than he thinks because he can alter Dan Oh’s stage if he wants to. Also, other extras have names so why doesn’t he?🤔 I think he’s figuring out his place in this world since he seems constantly lost in thought and drawn to Dan Oh. Can’t he and Dan Oh have a separate love story and star in another comic book instead?