There are two sets of Hong Sisters in K-drama writing teams, the more famous pair does the trendy dramas like The Master’s Sun, You’re Beautiful, and My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, while the less splashy pair did more serious work with Beethoven Virus and The King 2 Hearts. It’s one-half of the latter Hong Sisters duo that is writing Marry Him If You Dare (Mirae’s Choice), and I honestly see little similarity or resemblance to what made The King 2 Hearts so compelling (and my favorite drama of 2012). Did one sister write the action and the other the character development? In MHIYD, there is no action to speak of, with nary a scene that lingers after it’s done. TK2H has a gasp-inducing ending at the end of each episode, but here I’m scratching my head wondering who the heck is editing this drama because there is no tension to flow into anticipating the next episode to come. Episode 8 was less uncomfortable to watch than episode 7, but it continued to explain nothing and reveal nothing. It does show me that perhaps Mi Rae and Yoo Kyung should become lesbians and pick neither guy, because so far both female leads are better people than insecure and immature Shin and arrogant and relentless Se Joo. What did I like about this episode? Oh yes, I like watching Yoo Kyung and Mi Rae work at their jobs of being a reporter and writer, respectively, staying true to their fundamental principles but learning to work in a real world setting requiring compromise.
In this way, both men are so lacking still even if each has more power vis-à-vis the women. I appreciate the drama showing us flaws and more flaws with all the characters rather than glossing over the surface, but digging deeper doesn’t help when the drama elects to continue keeping the big reason for future Mi Rae’s time-travel from the audience. I think this is where the drama is fundamentally flawed – without the audience being in the know and able to dissect the story line on its own merits, it leaves us playing guessing games and trying to pair people up based on personal preference. The little clues and future Mi Rae’s constantly changing strategy makes the outing unnecessarily convoluted. I thought episode 8 would at least end Se Joo’s interest in Mi Rae but instead he’s in it to win it even more while he manages to question Mi Rae’s feelings for Shin. As the viewer we’ve seen both Mi Rae and Yoo Kyung develop feelings for their intended husband without any ulterior motive or hinting. Mi Rae liked Shin from the video room staring onward, while Yoo Kyung liked Se Joo after their udon dinner. It was that simple, but the drama wanting to keep mucking up the emotional lines decelerates the narrative flow when it needs to be sped up now so that the original couplings can fall in love AND change their futures together.
Episode 8 recap:
Se Joo asks Shin what he would do if their situations were reversed – if Se Joo had the more powerful background? Shin says if that’s the case, if hypothetically Se Joo was the President of YBS or its largest shareholder, then Shin would naturally get on his knees and beg. Se Joo is pissed thinking that Shin is someone who exerts his powerful over the weak but capitulates to the powerful.
Shin takes out his phone and tells Se Joo to call a good doctor he knows who can treat his delusions. Se Joo scoffs that there is definitely someone here delusional, who thinks he’s still as famous as he once was, who thinks reporting anything is fine as long as he gets a paycheck. Se Joo has a different mindset now after talking with Shin. The network can’t take care of every employee, some really need to go. Se Joo sarcastically thanks Shin for his “advice” today and gives him a bow before leaving.
Se Joo calls Secretary Choi and announces that he’s returning to his rightful position earlier than expected, likely next month.
Mi Rae thanks Yoo Kyung for her concern and says she’ll handle things herself. Yoo Kyung says its not just Mi Rae, she left without saying anything and it was so hurtful to Se Joo. Mi Rae was taken by surprise as well but Yoo Kyung asks her to please just tell Se Joo what she really feels.
Shin drives home and thinks about his park conversation with Se Joo. He calls the office and asks for Se Joo’s resume. Shin arrives home and future Mi Rae is waiting for him there. She looks pleased with herself and lies that she was visiting friends here.
Future Mi Rae asks if he had fun tonight with Mi Rae? Shin asks if it really was Mi Rae who invited him tonight? Future Mi Rae starts to trash Mi Rae’s personality, calling her a sly fox who set it all up, and likely pretended to leave her cell phone at home today. Shin wonders why future Mi Rae would insult her own relative? Future Mi Rae says she knows Mi Rae well, she’s very vicious and heartless. If she doesn’t like her own husband, she would even leave him. Ha, pot meet kettle.
Shin comes straight out and says Mi Rae didn’t set this up tonight, isn’t that right? Future Mi Rae asks why Shin trusts Mi Rae so much? Shin says Mi Rae may play some tricks but she’s fundamentally very innocent and not someone who would flat out lie yet. Future Mi Rae hears the “yet” and murmurs “then it’s too late for me” indicating her comfort and propensity for lying these days. Future Mi Rae tells Shin to believe what he will, but love will change and so will Mi Rae. She warns Shin that if he wants happiness in the future, then he needs to stop seeing Mi Rae. She leaves Shin looking perplexed at her latest comments.
Future Mi Rae walks and remembers Shin saying that Na Mi Rae is a very innocent person. She looks very sad.
Mi Rae arrives at work and happens to run into Se Joo coming out of the subway. She stops to greet him and he nods with a smile before walking past her.
Mi Rae enters the elevator and Shin is already there. She gets in and both are very awkward and silent around each other. Yoo Kyung dashes into the same elevator and Shin tells her to get in since they are headed to the same meeting. He purposely ignore Mi Rae and asks Yoo Kyung if she got home safe last night? She wonders how he knew the bar and Shin loudly says Na Mi Rae, their maknae writer, told him to go. Mi Rae looks angry and storms off when the door opens.
Yoo Kyung realizes that a fighting Mi Rae-Shin is not good for her own plans, so she chases after Shin to clear up the misunderstanding. Once Mi Rae is gone, Shin admits he knew Mi Rae didn’t invite him, and he’s sticking with this misunderstanding for a bit as revenge. Yoo Kyung points out how very immature Shin is being, LOL.
Shin walks into the Morning Team meeting and sits down next to Se Joo, the two guys ignoring each other. Mi Rae arrives and sneaks at glance at them both.
The Morning Team decides to do a one-hour documentary as their new program, with everyone throwing out ideas from Miss Korea to the latest consumer craze. Mi Rae suggests a show like picking the perfect groom, while serious Shin wants to a documentary on the never-ending Afghan conflict.
Everyone talks over each other until finally Writer Bae tells everyone to shut up and then perfectly poh pooh each and every one of their ideas. Ha, she’s awesome. They settle on the idea of Pandora’s Box, the box that shouldn’t be opened and once it does out comes fear, disease, hunger, and death. But that last item inside is hope.
They decide to have three segment focused on life’s problems, and the first will deal with the problems of modern urban housing. The team fans out to do their research on the major considerations with home building and some new and notable homes. Writer Bae sees a picture of a famous home and turns out it’s the mansion of Miranda.
Mi Rae calls future Mi Rae and asks what homes are like in the future? Does it float in the air? Future Mi Rae refuses to tell her anything else about the future since Mi Rae doesn’t listen to her. Miranda has been bugging future Mi Rae’s room and hears her talking to present Mi Rae. She then finds out from her assistant that Se Joo is reportedly interested in a maknae writer on the Morning Team also called Na Mi Rae.
Miranda plays golf with future Mi Rae and lays the cards on the table about Se Joo and present Mi Rae. She asks if the two Mi Raes are trying to land a rich husband? Future Mi Rae says she’s not very close to present Mi Rae, and then sticks with her “I dreamed of your grandson” story. Miranda calls up Se Joo and asks if he likes Mi Rae? Se Joo wonders how his grandma knows and admits it when Miranda threatens to fire Mi Rae.
Miranda looks over Mi Rae’s resume and then angrily thwacks her golf ball. She is furious that her grandson would like a girl who is over 30, went to a no-name college, and is just a junior writer. Future Mi Rae says her grandson has seen women all around the world and likes Mi Rae, there must be something there. Future Mi Rae suggests Miranda meet present Mi Rae. Miranda says there is nothing to see, she’s got crazy hair like a hussy. Future Mi Rae says hair can be fixed at a salon, it’s what’s inside that matters. Miranda needs to understand why her grandson likes that girl.
Miranda leaves immediately to go find Mi Rae, leaving future Mi Rae running into her room to call Mi Rae and warn her to expect Miranda. But Mi Rae is in the library so she doesn’t answer the phone. She sends a text that a strange grandma is going to see her and she needs to be on her best behavior like a gently bred lady.
Mi Rae doesn’t read the text since she’s busy on the phone with her work colleague. Mi Rae is at the bus stop when Miranda comes and asks for help finding the right bus. Mi Rae looks at the bus route while Miranda checks her out. Miranda keeps trying to talk with her, but then the bus comes and Mi Rae helpfully shoves her on the bus and even hands her a bus ticket.
Poor Miranda is stuck on the bus while her minions drive after the bus to rescue her. Miranda is rude and insults everyone on the bus and the driver for the poor driving. She finally gets out at the next stop and her minions arrive to rescue her. She initially wants Mi Rae captured and brought to her and then changes her mind. Miranda calls future Mi Rae and says she likes Mi Rae and approves of Se Joo dating her. It’s not sure if she’s being sincere but it makes future Mi Rae very happy.
Future Mi Rae runs into Yoo Kyung, who correctly guesses that it was future Mi Rae who set Shin up to crash the confession. Future Mi Rae says it has nothing to do with Yoo Kyung, but she says it does because Se Joo was really hurt. Future Mi Rae realizes Yoo Kyung likes Se Joo. Yoo Kyung asks if she’s not allowed to like Se Joo? Future Mi Rae says she can but she won’t have a happy ending with Se Joo.
Yoo Kyung brings up future Mi Rae’s dream that her future husband is Kim Shin, and this time future Mi Rae says maybe they won’t end up together as well. She’s not sure anymore, maybe her dreams about Yoo Kyung aren’t accurate. She tells Yoo Kyung to date any guy she wants, just not Park Se Joo. She leaves and Yoo Kyung looks pissed.
Mi Rae is eating and going through her research. Her waitress suggests that it’s Summer so don’t do anything too scary. Turns out the waitress used to be a program writer as well until she was 40, but she was never the best so got replaced by the youngsters. Mi Rae asks if most quit around 40 and hears that unless one is established its going to be very hard.
Writer Bae is screaming in the meeting room that there are no good ideas. She asks Mi Rae who suggests a haunted house where a woman in a wedding dress appears every full moon and the sound of a man moaning has been heard. Writer Bae likes the idea and compliments Mi Rae as being good at thinking of ideas. Mi Rae asks to write some dialogue and fairly begs Writer Bae even if this is overreaching. She promises to do her best and will stake her life on it.
Oppa talks with Writer Bae and thinks it’s too early for Mi Rae to debut as a writer. It’s also rude for Mi Rae to beg for the chance. Writer Bae says Mi Rae has good ideas and she supports it. She knows Oppa keeps blocking Mi Rae because he’s uncomfortable to work in the same team with his sister who knows all his flaws. And if Mi Rae debuts, people will think he gave her special treatment. Oppa wants to protect her but doesn’t know how. Writer Bae says there is another team that has an opening for a maknae writer and he can send Mi Rae there. Oppa says no since that team mistreats its junior writers.
Oppa and Mi Rae go shopping and she keeps apologizing for overstepping her bounds. He picks out warm jackets for her with the intention that she will tag along with the team for the filming because she’s going to write some dialogue and hence make her official debut. Mi Rae happily models the clothes she likes and Oppa buys it for her.
Shin reads Se Jo’s resume and sees that he’s studied abroad for years. He starts making connections about who he is but Oppa pulls him aside to talk. He wants Shin to look out for her at the first filming for the haunted house which will be her debut as a writer. Shin agrees.
The team is going through the filming protocol and the idea is to send only Shin and Mi Rae to film through the night and not the entire team since it’ll ruin the scary mood with so many people. Shin doesn’t think it’ll work but Mi Rae speaks up and says she can do it. PD Lee says having an amateur like Mi Rae film makes it look more authentic. Shin asks if Mi Rae can use a 6MM camera?
Se Joo walks in and PD Lee tells him to teach Mi Rae how to use a 6MM camera. Shin offers to teach but PD Lee points out Shin is a gadget idiot, it took him a month to learn to use his smart phone. Mi Rae follows Se Joo out, and immediately Shin gets up and throws a seat cushion at PD Lee. LOL forever, he’s such a kid.
Se Joo and Mi Rae sit on the park bench and he shows her the controls. He advises her to just maintain the camera steady. Mi Rae apologizes for what happened but Se Joo says it was his fault as well for not taking into account her feelings. Mi Rae remembers Yoo Kyung telling her to be up front with Se Joo. Mi Rae says she’s thought about it, but she thinks Shin….
Se Joo cuts her off and asks why she likes Kim Shin? Does she like a really mean guy with a sharp tongue? Ha, good one Se Joo. Mi Rae says no, that’s not it. Se Joo asks if it was love at first sight then? Mi Rae says no, he helped her a lot since she entered the network. She reveals to Se Joo that the fortune telling ahjumma (future Mi Rae) told her that Kim Shin is her future husband. Of course that’s not all of it, but Se Joo just scoffs.
Se Joo tells Mi Rae that she might not have liked Shin first, she may have heard that and started to like him. Mi Rae says no, that’s not the case. Se Joo goes back to showing her the camera. He tells her that there is many types of love, but to fall in love because of what someone said, is that really love? He leaves Mi Rae sitting on the bench mulling over his words.
The Morning Team does a hwaiting cheer before heading out to film their new show. Mi Rae and Oppa exchange a smile. Mi Rae and Shin run into each other heading out the door and she lets him pass before toddling behind him. Yoo Kyung runs up to Se Joo to start working on their segment. He pretty much ignores her.
The team is interviewing people who live by the haunted house and everyone says a women in a wedding dress shows up during the full moon and there is also male moaning to be heard. During a break in filming, PD Lee tells Mi Rae to move a yellow wheelbarrow blocking their view. Shin wants to do it but Mi Rae runs off to do the task.
After Mi Rae moves it to the field, she slips down an embankment where some weeds are being burned. She burns her shin and ends up wrapping a cloth around it before heading back to join the team. Shin notices immediately that she is limping and asks if she’s hurt. She says its nothing and heads off to the haunted house for the night. Shin runs up to her and grabs the heavy camera bag from her.
Shin and Mi Rae walk up to the haunted house and she asks if he’s scared. He insists that even if he runs into a ghost he’ll still vanquish it. They walk in with Mi Rae telling herself that she can do this.
Se Joo, Yoo Kyung, Writer Bae, and Oppa are gathered around the living room to start filming a family that is very poor and recently got help. The family is dressed in their finest because they are going to be on TV, and Oppa and Writer Bae says it won’t work since they are supposed to be poor. Se Joo is sent to tell them to change.
Yoo Kyung stops him and says they can’t sell out people’s poverty for ratings. She asks Se Joo what he thinks? Se Joo says they need to change, this is not a charity but a network program that makes money. Oppa tells Yoo Kyung they don’t want to do this but they are selling empathy to the audience. Yoo Kyung looks at Se Joo and is disappointed that he’s always going to put financial gain first. She asks the filming to go as planned ands she’ll sell the empathy in her interview.
The family is welcomed into their renovated home and everyone looks so happy. Yoo Kyung interviews the halmoni and says she looks more beautiful than the new home and asks if everyone put on their best clothes for the show? Halmoni says yes, and she’s wearing what she got married in. Yoo Kyung jokes that everyone looks great and she thought it was a chaebol family visiting. She takes everyone to see the other rooms and Oppa, Se Joo, and Writer Bae are all impressed with how she handled it.
Shin and Mi Rae enter the haunted house which is deserted and a mess. Mi Rae films while Shin walks ahead with a flashlight. He asks if tonight really is the 15th and a full moon, if so a ghost will show up. Shin spots something red and turns out the crew came earlier to install cameras around the house already. Shin turns and comes to a dead stop. Mi Rae asks if he’s seen a ghost and turns out Shin is scared of spiders and asks Mi Rae to please remove it. She pulls the web down and Shin whines to ask how long he has to stay here. Mi Rae says until 6 am.
Mi Rae gets a text from Se Joo “Mi Rae, your heart, have you confirmed it yet?” Mi Rae texts back “Not yet” but she thinks Se Joo may be right. Yoo Kyung finds Se Joo reading his phone and asks if she did well. He says she did but still doesn’t think they should have done it that way. They go for drinks and he thanks her for teaching him that when there is a conflict, there are different ways to resolve things other than direct confrontation.
Yoo Kyung asks if Mi Rae spoke with Se Joo and he confirms she told him that she likes Shin more than him right now. Yoo Kyung assures him that there are lots of women in this world. Se Joo shares a story about his favorite toy race car that broke when he was a kid. He saw another kid holding a race car that came out of a vending machine egg and he really wanted it.
He could buy the same car but he just wanted to win it from the egg, so he played the machine all day long and didn’t even go to school. Yoo Kyung asks if he ended up winning the toy car? Se Joo takes out his keychain and on it the toy car hangs there. Se Joo says he will never give up if he wants something. He asks if Yoo Kyung will help him and she blinks back tears and says yes, of course she will.
Future Mi Rae goes to look for Oppa around the network and can’t find him. She sees drunk Yoo Kyung in a cab outside and goes to help her. Yoo Kyung is muttering about how she liked Se Joo first, long before she saw him at the party. Future Mi Rae puts her in the cab and says love isn’t about who was first. She tells Yoo Kyung to take good care of Kim Shin before sending the cab away. Yoo Kyung drunkenly asks how she can help Se Joo. It’s good that he’s a chaebol, but what about her heart. She starts to cry.
Future Mi Rae walks away and tells Yoo Kyung to spend her time on Kim Shin. She takes off her cloche hat because it’s hot revealing a head of newly grey hair on top. She looks in the window and realizes that even if she just dyed it a few days ago, she’s aging quickly.
Oppa comes by and says everyone is being so odd lately. He reveals Kim Shin and Mi Rae are off at a haunted house filming alone. Future Mi Rae flashes to her time line, when she and Kim Shin went hiking and got stranded by the rain. Mi Rae snuggles with Shin and kisses him on the cheek when she thinks about them spending the night in the mountains. Future Mi Rae asks why Oppa is always pushing Shin and Mi Rae together.
Shin and Mi Rae are filming and he wants to re-do it. He notices Mi Rae’s awkwardness walking and sits her down on the stairs to look at her ankle. He sees that she’s tied up a cloth around it and she’s burned herself badly. Mi Rae says it’s a small burn but Shin says it’s a third degree burn and needs to be treated immediately otherwise she’ll leave a scar. Mi Rae doesn’t want to give up this opportunity for her writing debut since she’s already 32 years old.
Shin sighs and starts to tend to her wound. He chastises her for lying to him all the time which is why he doesn’t believe her. Mi Rae explains again that she didn’t tell him to go to the bar that night. Shin says he already knows, and he’s only angry is all. He’s angry that she was with Park Se Joo.
Se Joo goes home to see Miranda and she asks him who he is planning on marrying? Se Joo asks how Miranda knows about Mi Rae and she says its from the fortune telling ahjumma. Se Joo asks what Miranda thinks about Mi Rae and she likes her. Se Joo says he’s going to speed up taking over the network because there is so much to do.
Back on the street outside the network, Oppa asks future Mi Rae why he can’t let Mi Rae and Shin spend time together? Future Mi Rae tells him the truth – she is his sister from the year 2038.
Shin helps Mi Rae up and they stand on the staircase looking at each other. Shin slowly leans in to kiss Mi Rae and the damn scene ends RIGHT THERE. ARGHHH!!!
Thoughts of Mine:
The last two episodes of MHIYD have been a rough watch with nothing substantive happening and a lot of things that should have been made clear still up in the air. I’m relieved this drama is airing on KBS, which a track record of at least being hands off even in dramas that are lower rated and letting the production finish their project without midway interference. Part of me wants to watch the story as the writer intended to tell, even if it’s frustrating as all hell right now. I do not want a sudden mandate to switch up the OTPs so that Mi Rae ends up with Se Joo and Shin with Yoo Kyung due to viewer comments or a misguided attempt to try and shake up the ratings. The ratings are a done deal in that it was pretty much DOA. Not sure why, but the ratings drop is clear due to its all-over-the-place narrative and fandom predisposition for a character played by their favorite actor. It’s frustrating watching a drama that isn’t always being analyzed on a character-level but I try to keep it there because a good drama lives and dies by how well the characters come to life. It’s been hit and miss with MHIYD and that is one reason for the plodding sensation of much ado about nothing. Se Joo really shone in the first two episodes, an interesting chaebol heir with a twist. Shin ratchet up his appeal in the next four episodes, as he and Mi Rae tumbled into attraction rather precipitously. But these last two episodes have dumped both leading men into the time-out pile as far as I’m concerned, and its all thanks to future Mi Rae.
Let’s start with Shin – tempestuous, immature, and sharp-tongued Shin. If Shin was a girl, he’d be a totally high maintenance girlfriend type not on material goods but on mental and emotional engagement. I appreciate the drama not wallowing in angst, allowing Mi Rae and Shin’s fight to just end because the misunderstanding was resolved, and they tip-toed around each other until it was time to talk about it and move on. But these two episodes show us that Shin is very flawed, always speaking from the gut first, and he’s no egalitarian angel. Which gets me to Se Joo, who is every bit as imperfect as Shin in his own way, making him finally interesting to me. The way he challenged Shin at the park was awesome, but his ego and reason for his confidence stems from his hidden background rather from any real belief in the things he chides Shin for. He both resents his chaebol background for keeping him from sincerity in living his life, yet he has no qualms about borrowing a lift from it when needed. His hypocrisy mirrors Shin except he has an easy escape route whereas Shin has to play by the rules. If the male leads have been revealed in their complicated glory, then Yoo Kyung is the one to shine in the last two episodes, fully winning my heart with her ability to navigate the contradictions in her heart and her professional life. She clearly likes Se Joo for who he is, chabeol or no chaebol, and she’s torn between wanting him to be happy and helping him with Mi Rae, but also knowing Mi Rae doesn’t like him back and thinking it all so unfair since she does like him. If the drama is doing anything right, it is showing us that both guys learn and grow when they are with their respective OTPs.
Mi Rae is probably one of the least memorable Yoon Eun Hye heroines in recent memory, and the fault lies in the schism of showing us Choi Myung Gil’s future Mi Rae as a completely different person in every way possible. Present Mi Rae is a study in contradictions which shows me she’s not written very well, at times confident and outspoken, other times rather unobtrusive and demurring. The relationships around her are not mapped out well, especially with Oppa who went from being unsupportive and cold to suddenly being considerate and gruffly thoughtful. As the titular lead of this drama, I find her character the least compelling and engaging, even if I’m rooting for her to buck the odds and find professional and personal happiness. I like her, she’s probably the least complicated and likely nicest person among the four main leads. But there is a cloudy quality about her, like the image of Mi Rae the character is murky and unformed. Se Joo’s attitude annoyed me in this episode when he questioned why Mi Rae liked Kim Shin. I loved that he asked her outright rather than beating around the bush, but to question her feelings and put doubt into her mind is a pretty self-serving thing to do. The straight up way would be to ask her why she doesn’t like him? Ask about their time together – the movie, the car wash, the hanging out to write the script – doesn’t she feel anything towards him? That is the more important question, and not why she likes the other guy. Mi Rae’s confusion is understandable but adds to her inconsistency. She should know that she liked Shin before learning he was her future husband, why would Se Joo’s words cause her to doubt her own feelings?
I find the directing for this drama really odd all around, a disjointed flow and tension-less endings. I appreciate it’s from the hands of a female PD, but she’s not directing the cast in pretty or engaging ways. Take the last scene from episode 8 – ending on an almost kiss is ridiculous considering the two lead characters are 35 and 32 respectively in this drama so this isn’t some chaste high school drama. Same thing with future Mi Rae’s confession to Oppa, which obviously she’ll find a way to back track otherwise I can’t image her identity getting revealed that quickly. I wish this drama would just come out and tell the audience what exactly happened to Mi Rae and Shin in their marriage. And no, I don’t want to hear future Mi Rae tell me because she’s a self-serving narrator who is unreliable in her rendition of events. I need a flash-forward right about now ala Lost. The audience should be treated as smart enough to render their own preferences as to whether future Mi Rae’s desire to change her future is right, and then let the events unfold in this time line to build up the angst as to whether she’ll succeed or not. Right now there is nothing to anchor this story to an emotional center but for a fervent hope that the second half can right the sinking ship and give the audience a well-deserved emotional payoff for sticking to this story.