If Marry Him If You Dare (Mirae’s Choice) doesn’t right the sinking narrative ship, this drama might turn out to be the biggest disappointment of the year. I love three out of the four leads, the screenwriter helmed my favorite K-drama last year, and the directing hasn’t done anything before I thought wasn’t visually pleasing. Rounding the corner at the midway point, MHIYD is a steady study in muddling everything up instead of making the journey clearer. I don’t understand what drives the heroine Mi Rae whether in her present or future form. Yoon Eun Hye feels adrift in this performance, not good or bad, though I’m going to say her unattractive hair and attire isn’t the problem at at. It’s that her character feels illusory, like she is what others see of her. Oppa sees her as aimless and bumbling, Shin sees her as intriguing, Se Joo projects his fantasy woman onto her, and Yoo Kyung sees her as a rival that she can’t even properly rival. Coupled that with future Mi Rae who is more villain than catalyst, the drama fairly sinks under the weight of a combined female lead without much to recommend her. It’s telling that Yoo Kyung is shining even more when placed next to Mi Rae, and sadly Shin sinks into an untenable position because of her.
Se Joo probably has it the best, his character getting more interesting as the drama goes on, and finally in episode 8 I thought Jung Yong Hwa showed signs of life and spark. He was already doing mildly better here than in his other two dramas, but it wasn’t enough to be engaging of a character. He’s good looking but there is an equally good looking and infinitely better actor male lead in Lee Dong Gun in this drama, so to actually out-spark the male lead Jung Yong Hwa needed to pull out all the stops. He hasn’t and likely won’t, but at least Se Joo made me sit up and take notice in episode 8 when he confronted Shin and later when he and Yoo Kyung butted heads during the filming. I’m starting to understand his rather precipitous interest in Mi Rae and continued pursuit of her. She was interesting initially as a representation of the freedom he doesn’t have, and now she’s a prized goal for him to win. There is nothing wrong with either his motivations, but at least now he has one that I can relate to. Sadly he’s really missing out on the better girl for him in Yoo Kyung when he has eyes only for Mi Rae. I was hoping Mi Rae and Shin’s issues would start getting resolved after their haunted house jaunt, but judging from the latest stills it doesn’t look like it if she’s crying with Se Joo around. Oh wells, until the OTP gets it act together, I’m currently getting off any ship and standing by the shore.