A much more exciting episode this time!
This is a New Year’s Eve post so no recap this time! Just a quick review.
First off, how can Seo die!! I think my highlight of the show was when Jin Woo happily stumbles to his feet, grateful that Secretary Seo is alive….until he sees Seo’s image flickers, the multiple arrows in Seo’s back and how he does not die even after being attacked by the prisoners. Damn you show!! When Jin Woo’s tears fall, I can feel them straight through my heart. HOW could you kill the puppy Secretary Seo???? UGHHH. What a way to kill the most innocent user, who just stumbles into the game and cutely requests for an alliance so that he can help Jin Woo out. NO. I’m also still holding out judgement on whether that’s a flawed game rule at the very end because we don’t know what Jin Woo saw exactly – and how that interplays with the rule that Seo will appear when Jin Woo is in danger (since I don’t believe that Jin Woo died at the end of EP10 anyway). However, I do think that Se Joo shouldn’t have appeared in this episode just yet, because the ending of EP10 didn’t quite match up with that moment in terms of chronology of events.
Second, I did enjoy the coming of full-circles in this episode. For one, I liked the flashback which reminded us and linked us back nicely to Jin Woo’s prediction in EP2 – back then, EP2 ended with a flashforward which created suspense and a sense of foreboding (because it was made to look like Jin Woo died). Now that we are in that exact moment, I appreciated the coming of full-circle, by having Jin Woo reminisce about how different his current state is compared to his prediction – which creates a different mood of regret and fear. It’s amazing because now that we have 9 episodes of backstories, watching Jin Woo in the same moments which we have already seen in the flash-forward, creates a totally different mood. And I like that.
I also loved how Jin Woo talked to the same NPCs he tried to talk to way back when he was just at level 4, and how we see a totally different side to these NPCs. And oooh that feeling when Emma actually TALKS after Jin Woo says, “Hi Emma,” is amazing. But I want MORE. The fact that Jin Woo gains recovery points after talking to Emma seems indicative that she might play a bigger role in the future in healing players – and I hope it will be that. I’m going to riot if Emma ends up just being a pretty figure playing the guitar mesmerising players – because she has so much more potential. I guess it seems a little stereotypical to relegate the female character to a Healer (based on the little I know from my friends gaming), so at least let Emma be a phenomenal character.
I am still absolutely loving the graphics. I’m not a gamer but I’ve played a few video games myself and I do like the first person perspective which the drama creates. There’s also a sense of agency, where the game prompts the user at every point to make a choice. It’s also hilarious that the drama works in comic relief in some form or another, like how Yang Joo explains the whole 9 episodes in geeky terms to Hee Joo.
Finally, amazing performance by Kim Eui Sang on playing the creepy father-in-law who cannot be deciphered on his exact thoughts. I’m still wondering if he is involved with the game. Also loving the nuanced sides of Sun Ho, whom I initially thought has turned on Jin Woo but is actually still fighting hard for his friend. The fact that Jin Woo sends Sun Ho his will also speaks volume of the trust he has placed in his friend. The scene which he speaks so harshly to Hee Joo is also interesting because he is speaking in a very detached, cruel manner unlike his usual self, but which betrays his very fears.
Frivolous questions/notes of the day:
- Why does Jin Woo always have to visit the loo when he’s reaching Granada station?
- Why couldn’t Jin Woo just have waited inside the toilet which would have created an obstacle?
- But I guess it wouldn’t be much fun, and he wouldn’t have time to wait all day.
- Did anyone else feel amused, even just the slightest, to see Jin Woo hopping out of the train with a gun? I’m sorry but I did for some strange reason (edit: OMG silly me, I must have realised subconsciously that Jin Woo lost his limp which was why I was amused. Didn’t occur to me at the time of watching; all I knew was I wanted to laugh because something was odd.) (thoughts: this shouldn’t happen technically because Jin Woo’s broken leg is proven scientifically and cannot be healed magically just by virtue of being in the game/on the quest. But this surely has to be explained away by the scriptwriters)
- The corpses of the Alhambra prisoners scared the cray out of me. Why did no one tell me this is actually a horror show??
- Hee Joo still isn’t playing an important role and the show has got to let her step up soon. Like pronto. Have hopes for EP11, so don’t dash it please.
- Also, game mechanics question – NPCs (other than Hyung Seok) aren’t supposed to deal blows which hurt right? Then, why did the NPCs manage to kill Seo? I hope the scriptwriters have a plan in mind and that this is not just a twist done for twist sake, because that would be awful.
So so sad that Secretary Seo really died. The irony is that he truly became of help to Jin Woo in the end. Because he is a NPC, he can appear any time when Jin Woo is in danger and cut down those enemies without suffering any physical damage. Hyun Bin’s moments of being broken, just staring at Seo and basically losing his will to fight really cut to the heart. You will be missed, Secretary Seo.