And his slow freak out as his sedatives wear off and full awareness returns and he can feel that growing feeling of panic over something that is not real for anyone else - it’s like a fantasy metaphor for a panic attack. I found it pretty awful that he would rather be sedated and unconscious than face that never-ending duel with the opponent bent on his death that only he can see. It’s especially terrible because he’s been shown so sharp, so in control - and to voluntarily cede all of it out of sheer, all-consuming, almost animal fear - it’s horrifying. And of course the fact that he feels guilt for killing rival (he did not know death in game = death in rl but still, he wanted revenge and look what it got him) and now he has to face the man he killed, the man he feels guilty for killing, with the wounds still on him, over and over and over and over again, like some sort of Banquo’s ghost, only seeking his death.
You can see all of that quiet horror in the sequence after PSH leaves for the party - his staring at her empty seat, because he viscerally associates her with safety, his desperate seeking for medicine and then alcohol but neither is available (he is going to end up an alcoholic if he makes it through - because mixing drugs and booze is not a good idea) and then as his mind wakes more and more, his getting more and more terrified, looking at her empty seat with such desperation and then hiding in the closed shower stall, sitting on the floor - it reminded me a little of It’s OK It’s Love, though obviously that was a very different drama.
The thing that strikes me is that even in the middle of all that terror, he thought of sending birthday flowers to PSH. Ahhhh.
The situation is long-term unsustainable of course - if he doesn’t die in the game, he’s gonna drink himself to death or od on pills or just lose his mind. It’s a truly horrible prognosis here.
I do definitely ship the leads now. In some ways, it’s a very “she is his angel of mercy” set up which is very Victorian but that I adore every little bit of. She is wired to take care of people, due to her family and history, and even more so because she feels obliged for that extravagant to her purchase of her hotel. There is attraction there too (and why not, he is a good-looking, well put together man, at the start) but a lot of it is I think she needs to be needed. in RL, I would tell her to stay the hell away, but in fiction, I nearly melted on the floor when he asked her to stay in his semi-delirium, utterly childlike.
And I melted when he covered her with a blanket.
If you think about it, she’s the only one who stayed by his side, everyone else left.
Also, even though the hotel purchase is now worthless (because that is not a game he is going to make money on; best case scenario he doesn’t die from it), it was worth every penny because it brought her into his orbit and so saved his life and possibly his sanity.
Anyway, this drama is awesome and I need more.
Also, the preview seems to indicate moving places got rid of Rival (is he geographically tied to a place like all NPCs?) but he cannot escape the game even in Seoul. (Which makes sense, the developer was hunted by the game in the train in another city.) Yikes.