Extraordinary You is a great example of how to take an interesting idea and run with it, adding layers of intrigue and mystery to the perfect blended recipe of comedy and drama. On the surface, Extraordinary You is another k-drama set in a school with romantic woes and slapstick comedy but underneath that facade is a much deeper and intricately layered story that continues to deliver week after week.
With Kyung now self-aware, we see it was him who ripped up the pages of Ha-Roo’s book and threw them in the pool. After his humiliation with being pushed in the water, all of this leads to Kyung throwing the Secret book at Dan-O in the library. It turns out Kyung knew for a long time, all the way back during the early episodes too which comes as quite the surprise.
Not knowing who else to talk to, she tells Do-Hwa that Ha-Roo has disappeared and together they talk to Jimmiche about what’s happened. It turns out he vanished because Dan-O changed the story. As she heads down the hallways, she makes it to the tennis court and begins weeping as Kyung spots her from afar. Conflicted, he falls out with his parents over a gift for Dan-O before our protagonist heads back to Jimmiche and pleads with him to help find Ha-Roo. While she mopes around school, Kyung offers her a drink just before they begin music class.
Class begins but Number 13 is mentioned, prompting Dan-O to lose it as he’s not Ha-Roo. Kyung grabs her by the hand and takes her outside where she weeps for the missing character again. This continues too as she heads back inside and sits at his desk. However, she hallucinates soon after, seeing him on the window-sill until Kyung comes in and snaps her out of her trance. Determined to cheer her up, he takes her out for dinner but can’t understand her fascination with Ha-Roo. It’s here Dan-O spills the truth about her illness, as the watch goes off once more.
As the story continues, Sports Day arrives and the school goes absolutely bonkers. Dancing, singing, rock music and Jimmiche overwhelmed with sweets all make up the festivities. However, before the games can begin, he notices something in the story has changed and looks on with wide-eyed shock.
As the races and different events get underway, the story takes another turn as Dan-Oh holds a sign for Kyung. She tells him she’s happy but as the scene changes back to shadow, she screws up the sign and throws it in his lap. As the three-legged race begins and Dan-O comes back on screen again, they lose the race and Kyung leaves her stranded on the ground alone. As she weeps, Ha-Roo steps forward and throws her the shoe she lost partway through the race. However, he doesn’t recognize her or anyone else. It turns out the writer has turned him into a worse version of Kyung and he has no knowledge of who she or anyone else is.
Nowhere else is this more apparent than during the dodgeball game where Ha-Roo steps up after eliminating everyone and looks set to hit her straight in the face. However, he freezes at the last second and hits her waist instead. After learning he really isn’t self-aware during the shadow, Kyung watches in awe as Ha-Roo excels at football, prompting them to discuss Dan-O together alone where he sees he doesn’t have his scar anymore.
As the story begins to unravel, Jimmiche ponders over what this all means and whether Ha-Roo really doesn’t remember anything or if it’s all for show. After finding out for himself, Dan-O and Kyung continue to play out their engagement as the story wants, despite the latter none too happy with his Father’s involvement.
With the secret book in his possession, Kyung heads back to school and finds Ha-Roo at his locker. He asks him outright whether he’s ever seen the book and after a slight pause, Ha-Roo tells him he hasn’t. Despite Kyung’s initial suspicions, he lets it go for now while Dan-O cries infront of Jimmiche as they discuss Ha-Roo.
As the episode closes out, Ha-Roo hears the familiar sound of page-turning before heading into the library and finding the portal. Could this be the moment he remembers again?
With plenty of questions left unanswered, Ha-Roo’s return has really thrown a spanner in the works this week. The tantalizing cliffhanger is the perfect place to end this one too and with Dan-O becoming a more central figure to the story, there’s plenty of scope to continue exploring this relationship during the stage segments. Is the writer self-aware of what’s happening in the shadow too? Having not read the source material, I do think this is what the drama is leading too – a scripted version of events playing out on and off the stage.
Given we’ve been told numerous times what the shadow is, I can’t help but feel there must be a reason behind it. Still, even if there’s not, there’s no denying that Extraordinary You is shaping up for a dramatic second half and quite what tomorrow’s episode will bring remains up for debate.