With this episode, it seems like the first arc of the story is completed.
(I initially wanted to write a review but it somehow turned once again into a quick recap; therefore, this is just a summary of sorts and leaves out certain details, but I hope it’s useful anyway!)
Truthfully, even less happened in this episode and it seems more of a chill, cool-down episode to fully settle the first arc of the story. I’m okay with that, so long as it picks up the pace immediately next episode, instead of focusing too much on the romance.
The episode opens with Hee Joo walking home in the rain and through flashbacks, we see that Yoo Ra unleashed her bitch fury on Hee Joo in full force, and Secretary Seo told her to return home first. Shockingly however, Jin Woo turns up in the middle of the night at the hostel asking for his contact lens. While Hee Joo retrieves it for him, Hyung Seok appears again but Jin Woo manages to escape another confrontation by staying in the car.
Hee Joo passes him his lens, which he puts on and proceeds to drive off. Hee Joo immediately rattles off non-stop about how dare he insist on driving with an injury and being medicated. Jin Woo asks if she too has an illness, “The amount of ramble when you are angry sounds like you are singing.” HAHA, love it. Hee Joo angrily demands for him to cancel the contract; she would rather live happily than to take his money and have to first see him fall through the floors and next worry about him dying from driving. So he better opens that car door. Jin Woo obeys immediately and admits that he will appreciate her company because he’s scared too.
They drive to an antique store which is closed and Jin Woo thrashes the front door on the pretext that he urgently requires an antique – we see that it is actually a weapon store in the game and pursuant to his level, he was only allowed to pick up a dagger and a spinner. Jin Woo practises with the spinner and Hee Joo sees him practising with AIR. She’s seriously worried about his mental health right there and then. But I also liked this bit because I feel like we haven’t gotten to know more about the game in general, other than about the death of users bit.
When she goes off to talk to the store owner, Hyung Seok appears and Jin Woo cleverly hides behind a door to stab the dagger in Hyung Seok’s neck, before stabbing the sword once and for all in his stomach. I’ve killed Cha Hyung Seok one more time. And now he levels up. It is so utterly morbid for Jin Woo to have to kill Cha Hyung Seok multiple times and it’s interesting because each time, it is a different feeling with which he raises his sword.
Jin Woo is exhausted from the ordeal; he just wants to live and he never asked to kill anybody. And Hyung Seok is just going to appear again…and again.
Next day, Hyung Seok’s dad stares at the bench on which he died, and thinks back to his conversation with Soo Jin. We learn implicitly that Hyung Seok’s dad wasn’t initially approving of the marriage. More importantly, that he trusts Jin Woo and that as the family of Hyung Seok, him and Soo Jin should not ask for an autopsy. Because just by the mere act of asking for an autopsy, they are going to cast negativity on Jin Woo. He later asks for Sun Ho’s opinion and Sun Ho swallows his doubts about Hyung Seok’s death, “That kind of suspicion…is impossible.” I wish he just straight out asked so that Jin Woo can explain about the game.
Jin Woo’s voice narrates that while he was heavily sedated, everyone left Granada – the father, Hyung Seok’s body, Soo Jin, and Sun Ho. And no one dares, till the end, to ask him what happened. He stays asleep as a form of escapism and when he wakes up finally, it’s only him and Hee Joo left.
He covers the dozed-off Hee Joo with a blanket and finds Min Joo happily frolicking in the pool outside. He learns from Min Joo that in his sick state, he had held on to Hee Joo and not let her go from his side. Because he’s scared of being left alone. There’s something quite sad about this whole predicament, that he’s really so alone and in fear. Min Joo hilariously asks why he married Yoo Ra, and he was frustrated to hear that Yoo Ra had even gone to the hostel to throw a drunken tantrum. She also points out sharply that Jin Woo is an expert at leading her sister on.
Sang Beom appears at the villa, obviously displeased with Jin Woo, and Jin Woo finds out that it is Hee Joo’s birthday. When she wakes up, he insists that she leaves the villa to celebrate her birthday and even sends Secretary Seo to buy a gift from city centre. But left alone with an awakened mind, no medicine and not even wine, Jin Woo feels super unsettled. Hee Joo calls to check on him, and the next scene shows him answering the call in the shower. Awww, Hyun Bin is really nailing all the scenes of being unsettled, being in fear and just generally being resigned and exhausted. When he’s all huddled up under his blanket or when he’s sitting on the toilet floor, I genuinely feel for him and just want to give him a hug.
I guess this is why he finds himself gravitating towards Hee Joo. Due to a combination of factors such as her just being in the right place and her actively caring for him, Jin Woo feels secure only when she’s around. And it’s touching to see that because Jin Woo clearly put up walls after the betrayal by Hyung Seok and Soo Jin, but is now slowly and not-clichely letting them down in front of Hee Joo.
Jin Woo semi-hangs up on Hee Joo but Hee Joo almost immediately receives the bouquet of flowers from him and is pleased. Meanwhile, Hyung Seok appears once again and Jin Woo pleads with the NPC character to stop hunting him down, “Just how long do we have to keep fighting each other?”
When Secretary Seo returns, he is alarmed to find Jin Woo alone in the showers and Jin Woo is determined to leave Granada. Hee Joo is happily celebrating her birthday but still thinks of Jin Woo and calls Secretary Seo to check on him. She learns that Jin Woo is leaving by train that very night and runs the heck (with the aid of a cab) to the station. But while Jin Woo notices her from within the train and is visibly touched, Hee Joo doesn’t get to see him before the train leaves.
Till the very last moment, Jin Woo cranes his neck to catch the last glimpse of Hee Joo. Ah! Is this scene of Park Shin Hye desperately running in the trailer? I kinda thought the running would have been for a bit more dramatic purpose – like Jin Woo being on his last train ride or something. But heh it’s okay, hopefully more things are to come!
I wonder what the preview means? Did they SERIOUSLY develop the game even though Jin Woo knew the repercussions? Also questions for the whole drama in general – when is Emma going to appear again? Because she had such a fabulous entrance, I really hope her second appearance is going to be crazy good. Give me the goosebumps.
I’m also liking how most of the episodes have been ending with a train ride or to do with the train setting. It adds physical movement as well as a constant theme to this magical, fantasy world setting. At this moment though, I feel like there is no reason for the overlap between reality and virtual reality; it could really be that it just happens. But I’m looking forward for a good explanation if there is one!