A Sickly Sweet Ending
Extraordinary You delivers a sickly sweet finale, one that keeps the unlikely door open for a sequel but offers just enough to round things out for a compelling finish to the this tale, even if it’s not the most satisfying conclusion. It was always going to be difficult to deliver a completely perfect conclusion to this one, especially given the nature of the story, but if I’m honest I actually wish the writers had gone for a more bold ending to this one, finishing things with a bittersweet conclusion rather than a happily-ever-after.
Hiding the faded room from last episode, we begin with Ha-Roo and Dan-O sharing their dreams for the future together. To her embarrassment, one of them says “kiss 100 times”, which she quickly hides from him. However, there’s no hiding from the writer erasing this world, as more students end up disappearing from the school. However, this isn’t enough to dampen the spirits of Dan-O, who kisses Ha-Roo before quelling Do-Hwa’s concerns outside the classroom, pumping fists together and living in the moment.
After the incident last episode, Kyung and Dan-O share a tender moment together too, discussing the shadow and scene before she hands him a figure from the stage. Eventually Kyung utters a thank you and they make a silent promise together that they’ll meet again in the next scene.
Nam-Joo gives Joo-Da a gorgeous hair clip before confronting the “boring” trio of bullies and lamenting their behaviour. Soon after, she goes on to speak to Do-Hwa about the love triangle she finds herself in while Kyung and Ha-Roo are summoned in by Jimmiche. He tells them to stop exhibiting resentment for one another and put the past behind them, especially given the story is ready to be resolved. Begrudgingly, Kyung shakes his hand before leaving the room. After calling him by his name, Ha-Roo leaves too as our characters prepare for the end.
After tucking away a watch in his locker, paying no attention to the missing name-tag on the front, Dan-O and Ha-Roo hug outside where she finally tells him she loves him. Holding hands, they head in together but as she stops to tie her shoelace, he seems to disappear from the story. However, as the shadow turns back to the scene, Dan-O breathes a sigh of relief as he shows up sitting in class. Nam-Joo and Joo-Da finally express their love but as the scene changes back to the shadow, Ha-Roo disappears from the classroom and re-appears in the library.
As the lights all begin to go out, they run together to the main atrium where Ha-Roo’s scar disappears and their memories begin to fade too. With tears flooding down their cheeks, Ha-Roo and Dan-O utter each other’s words and prepare for the story to take them. They hug one last time before he disappears completely from the story.
We then cut forward 1 year to find the students celebrating their graduation. Kyung catches up with Dan-O in the hospital and he reminds her that today is a good day and she needs to smile. A3 then make a pact to stick together, reducing Do-Hwa to tears. As the good feelings continue, Su-Hyang admits to Jimmiche that she’s been self-aware all this time. After commenting on how emotional he’s become, they hug each other.
After an equally touching send-off between Kyung and Dan-O, Joo-Da and Nam-Joo share the spotlight for their story. Dan-O finds Ha-Roo’s book of sketches, depicting their various dates and moments together, with a message at the end just for her. She thanks him for being her first love and clutches the book tightly to her chest as the scene fades to black and the story, presumably, is over.
We then skip forward to Hani University where the various students comment on Nam-Joo’s strange choice of clothes – a jumper with strawberries on. Despite Joo-Da being drawn to him, the various students sit together eating food while Dan-O grabs a book from the library and begins reading in the park. Spying a butterfly nearby, she chases after it before we see it land on a picture of her and Ha-Roo together.
Wondering what it all means, she sits on the bench under the familiar tree after seemingly passing Ha-Roo on the stairs, missing the faint glimmer of the portal returning. It’s here she begins to get fragments of her memory back, becoming self-aware about waiting at the tree at the scheduled time. Ha-Roo steps out and faces her. “Found you” she utters, as she passes the picture to him and calls out his name. Grabbing her hands, they stare one another down as a new story begins.
“I missed you, Ha-Roo,” Dan-O beams, as they embrace and for now at least, ignore what’s coming next in the Writer’s story.
Although Dan-O and Ha-Roo received their happily-ever-after, seemingly destined to repeat this same charade every story that the Writer conjures up, a small part of me wishes the story ended on a tragic farewell instead. The ending to episode 31, with the threat of fading to black and the story ending, would have made for a much more dramatic and bittersweet send-off, as our characters fade from the story one by one. I would have loved it if Extraordinary You boldly did this, ending with a fade-out to the storybook closing and a glimpse of our writer from behind. Perhaps at a desk with a note-board littered with storyboards and sketches of our characters.
Despite my own fantastical ideas for the finale’s end, Extraordinary You has been an enjoyable drama nonetheless, one littered with plenty of well-written twists and turns. Although the ambiguous ending is likely to leave a lot of people with questions when the credits roll, Extraordinary You does a pretty good job wrapping things up nonetheless. It may not be the perfect finish some may be expecting, but it is enough to make it worth watching through to the conclusion, and a surprisingly decent Korean drama overall.