I’ve finally cottoned on to what is so utterly aggravating about Marry Him If You Dare (Mirae’s Choice). The writing is flawed but it’s not horrendous, with a veritable avalanche of shitty dramas lined up way ahead of it. The acting is solid but marred by frustrating characterizations. But ultimately what’s killing my love for it (and I did love it when it first premiered with such hope for what’s to come) is that this is a drama lacking in romance. There is sooooo little romance and so much angsting about whether to even embark on the romance. Before Shin and Mi Rae even have a chance to dip their toe into dating for real, they’ve forced apart by future Mi Rae’s machinations coupled with Se Joo’s persistence. The only saving grace is that the misunderstandings have been kept at a minimum now, so it’s really Shin’s own burden to bear that he’s not pursuing Mi Rae, while she thankfully remains consistent in liking Shin despite his recent coldness towards her. The last two episodes have dialed down the romance to next to nothing, while a brief walk down memory lane from future Mi Rae shows us the romance that did happen in the original time line. How beautiful Shin and Mi Rae were as a couple, how utterly in love they were.
But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns as episode 10 revealed more of the hard marriage of Shin and Mi Rae to come. He did lose his job, he did give up on life, she did end up being the breadwinner. That might not have been enough to push her down this re-write the future path, but there was a very mysterious accident that happened on the street while Shin and Mi Rae were arguing and not paying attention. This is probably the he/she who died that future Mi Rae referred to long ago. Is it Oppa? Their daughter? We’ll have to wait until the drama tells us. I get that future Mi Rae is suffering and torn between her love for Shin and whatever that was so horrible she wants it to never exist. Her plight is meaningful to her but not to us or the present time line characters, because she’s castigating Shin to a life based on actions he hasn’t taken. The ending of episode 10 was the most thrilling in many episodes, with both Shin and Yoo Kyung deserving of all the affection they’ve earned from me. These two have the courage to fight, and Mi Rae has shown me that she also is the same though she lacks focus and preparation. Here’s to hoping Se Joo finally gets a clue and starts investigating further so that he can make the correct heart and mind decision that the other three characters are all struggling with.
Episode 10 recap:
Future Mi Rae conspires with Se Joo to bring Kim Shin to witness Mi Rae having dinner with Se Joo and Miranda. All’s fair in love and war, I guess, though having future Mi Rae as a co-conspirator is a pretty deadly weapon.
Shin sits down with future Mi Rae and cuts to the chase about what is going on? Future Mi Rae says its just like Shin saw for himself, Park Se Joo is Miranda’s grandson. Se Joo calls Shin on the phone from within the restaurant.
Se Joo asks if Shin was shocked back there and says he didn’t mean to lie to everyone about his real identity? Shin asks if Mi rae knows his real identity? Se Joo laughs because Shin is using jeondaemal (polite language) with him now. Se Joo doesn’t answer his question and ends the call with an even bigger smirk on his face asking him to keep his secret.
Miranda dines with Se Joo and Mi Rae and tries to gather more information. She asks why Mi Rae keeps sneaking peeks at her and Mi Rae admits its the first time she’s dined with someone like Chairman Lee. But she doesn’t want to feel awkward because hearing Miranda supported Se Joo makes her think she’s a good person. Miranda asks if Mi Rae ever wants to quit her job and marry into a rich family. Mi Rae says no, she doesn’t want that because she can’t do what she wants. Miranda asks doesn’t all women want that. Mi Rae asks if Miranda is happy now, and whether her life ended up being according to her original dreams
Shin goes outside with future Mi Rae to continue their conversation. He knows that when Se Joo becomes the Chairman of YBS, he’ll fire Shin and then his life will be over. Shin asks if future Mi Rae set up this dinner for him to see? She could have just told him Se Joo’s identity, why do all this towards him? What did Shin ever do to her? Forget Park Se Joo, why is she doing this to make him feel ever worse?
Future Mi Rae asks if he’ll listen to her because he always thinks she’s crazy. Shin says people blame others for what they are doing, so what did Shin do to her? Shin points out all the times future Mi Rae seems to be setting him up for failure. Future Mi Rae says Shin has done things he doesn’t remember (know about). Shin asks what it is?
Future Mi Rae flashes back to her marriage with Shin. She was very supportive when he lost his job, but Shin’s pride made him withdraw from her and push her away.
Future Mi Rae comes home from a long days work and her hubby is just sitting on the couch drinking beer and watching TV.
Shin and future Mi Rae have a fight in the street when suddenly there is the sound of a massive car accident around them. Both turn and stare, with Shin reacting first and running towards the accident. Future Mi Rae tries to run but she falls down in shock.
Shin tells future Mi Rae that whatever she gets from stepping on someone, it won’t last long. He begs her to stop being mean to him from now on. Future Mi Rae counsels Shin to bend to Se Joo for once in his life. She tells him that this is not like any other battle, this is Park Se Joo. Shin will never beat him. Shin smiles wryly and admits he won’t ever beat Se Joo. He tells future Mi Rae that whether he kneels before Se Joo or goes another way, he’ll decide for himself.
Mi Rae and Se Joo chat during dinner and Miranda asks if she likes Se Joo? Mi Rae says she sees him as just a friend. Miranda asks if Mi Rae likes someone else? Mi Rae doesn’t answer and Miranda says Mi Rae must really like that person. Se Joo shoots his grandma a look and she stops talking.
After dinner, Mi Rae takes her leave in a car driven by the driver and Miranda and Se Joo talk outside.
Miranda chides Se Joo for liking a girl who sees him only as a friend. She asks if he has no pride, liking a girl who doesn’t like him and is just a maknae writer. Se Joo says there is nothing to be embarrassed about that he likes a girl so openly. Se Joo asks his grandma what her dream was, it couldn’t have been to become a chairman? Miranda says she wanted to become the wife of a chairman. Se Joo gives his grandma the thumbs up and leaves. Miranda asks her minion what his dream was as a kid and he says a dinosaur archeologist.
Yoo Kyung keeps reading future Mi Rae diary (and tears out a page) when future Mi Rae returns and catches her. Yoo Kyung says future Mi Rae was very envious when Yoo Kyung married Park Se Joo. Future Mi Rae says she is just writing a story and the same phone number as Mi Rae’s cell was written on the book because she asked her. Yoo Kyung says this diary looks very old and future Mi Rae says she kept it somewhere damp. She asks why Yoo Kyung is so persistent and Yoo Kyung says perhaps she’s upset that her destiny was taken away from her. Yoo Kyung stares down future Mi Rae and says time will tell if the diary contents really are just fiction. Yoo Kyung leaves and catches her breath outside. Whew, that was rightfully intense.
Mi Rae comes home from the dinner and talks with Oppa. He asks if she met Shin but Mi Rae says she dined with Se Joo. She reveals Se Joo studied abroad with financial support from Miranda. Oppa asks if she said nice things about the Morning Team. Mi Rae begs Oppa not to send her to the other production company. She wants to work hard and earn the experience so that Oppa can be proud to have her for a sister. Oppa asks what kind of writer she wants to become? Mi Rae says the kind that can work even as she ages, the kind people will ask for. He asks what genre and she still doesn’t know.
Mi Rae sits before her computer and brainstorms. In the past she wanted to do variety, but now it’s more human stories, or even social exposes. She doesn’t know what type of writer she wants to be anymore.
Shin and Se Joo arrive at YBS studios in the morning and run into each other in the lobby. Tension galore. Shin asks if he needs to greet Se Joo properly from now on but Se Joo says no need since he’s still pretending to be a VJ. Shin says okay and then walks away.
Yoo Kyung goes to Mi Rae’s desk and takes out her still relatively new diary and reads through it. She’s puzzled that the events are different than in future Mi Rae’s diary. She realizes Mi Rae avoided an accident on the same day Yoo Kyung had an accident. She takes a picture of a page and emails it to a professor she interviewed last month. She asks him to check if the paper and writing she gave him earlier is the same as this in this picture.
Mi Rae grabs newspapers to think of new story ideas. She reads a story about a counterfeit alcohol ring. Mi Rae heads to the police station to talk with an officer who busted it. He tells her that the Grace bar in Cheongdamdong isn’t just selling counterfeit alcohol, it might actually be making it inhouse. He thinks that if he was older he would go undercover to bust them. Mi Rae goes to guy some surveillance camera equipment that is built into glasses.
Mi Rae cuts and straightens her hair to disguise herself as a country girl. She goes to the bar to apply for a job working in the kitchen.
Mi Rae goes to the Morning Team meeting and reveals her new haircut and story idea with this program being about food. Mi Rae suggests the fake alcohol story and busting it. She tells everyone that she is already undercover working in the kitchen of the bar. Oppa is rather upset but PD Lee says this is a great idea. Oppa drags Mi Rae outside to talk and tells everyone that Mi Rae can’t go undercover since it’s his younger sister. Writer Bae confirms to the entire team that Mi Rae is Oppa’s real younger sister. Se Joo hears this and looks concerned.
Oppa pulls Mi Rae outside to discuss and she says that this story is something she is serious about while she is trying to figure out what type of writer she wants to be.
Oppa chews her out for having an idea and running off to do it without careful planning and consideration of consequences. Se Joo comes and offers to help and he’s actually thought of how to execute it. He promises to stick next to Mi Rae and protect her when she goes to the kitchen job at night. Mi Rae doesn’t want to involve Se Joo but he says its no big deal. Oppa asks if Se Joo can fight and Se Joo reveals he’s got plenty of belts in all the martial arts and can beat his foreigner friends at fights. Oppa is happy that Se Joo is more capable than he looks. Oppa puts his sister in Se Joo’s care and Se Joo promises to take good care of her.
Shin hears from PD Lee what Mi Rae is planning and runs to go find her. PD Lee is still shocked that Mi Rae is Oppa’s younger sister and thinks that he’ll get fired for switching Mi Rae out as the writer for that haunted house program. Shin runs out and sees her goofing around with Oppa and Se Joo. Shin makes a phone call to Oppa and asks if he’s going to let her do it. Oppa says he is going to allow it with Se Joo’s assistance.
Mi Rae and Se Joo go check out their surveillance mission. Se Joo takes her to a restaurant to show her how to record using her glasses camera without the footage being so shaky. He tells her to keeps still while she does her job to record the footage.
Se Joo drops Mi Rae off at home. She thanks him for teaching him a lot. She starts her undercover mission next week and Se joo says he’s looking forward to the script she writes for the program. After his car pulls away, Mi Rae starts thinking of Shin and the script she wrote for the haunted house program and how Shin read it on air. She wonders why he hasn’t contacted her once since the program aired.
Mi Rae leans against the wall of the house and takes out her phone. Turns out Shin is sitting in his parked car near her house and can see her standing outside. He asks to himself if she’s happy? He reluctantly says that it’s reassuring that “he” (i.e. Se Joo) is there to take care of her. Mi Rae grouses that its so wrong Shin hasn’t contacted her in all this time. She turns in and walks inside.
Future Mi Rae talks with Miranda wanting to know who it is that Mi Rae likes? Future Mi Rae at least doesn’t throw Shin under the bus this time and says she didn’t see the person. Miranda wants furure Mi Rae to go to sleep now and dream about who Mi Rae likes, what Se Joo’s future is, which of her subsidiaries will do well. If future Mi Rae won’t do it, the Miranda wants her to pay her back for the medical treatment she provided.
Yoo Kyung spots future Mi Rae being driven out of Miranda’s house and follows her. As future Mi Rae drives through Hongdae, she gets out and sees her younger self and Kim Shin happily strolling through the street feeding each other popcorn. The image fades to a very nostalgic sepia color. They are very in love and the memory walks right past future Mi Rae. Why doesn’t this drama give us more of this!
Future Mi Rae walks down to a speakeasy joint and sees her younger self with Kim Shin sitting there drinking martinis and listening to old records as they cuddle.
Future Mi Rae sits there alone and cries. Just because you can cry doesn’t mean I’ll feel sorry for you that easily.
Yoo Kyung and Time Cop are both spying on her, with the Time Cop looking very sad for her. Yoo Kyung sees him and he runs away so she gives chase. Time Cop can’t outrun a girl in a skirt and heels? And in this many episodes he hasn’t captured future Mi Rae to take her back yet? Time Cop even tosses rocks at Yoo Kyung like a kid and tells her to go away! This is so ridiculous its not even absurdly funny. Time Cop makes a report back to headquarters that people in this era are so scary and he wants to go home and can’t they send someone else. He wants to return to doing desk work. Yoo Kyung overhears this part about “this era”. She gets a call from the professor that the writing is the same and its from the same person’s hand. She hears that the paper in the diary is 25 years old.
Yoo Kyung goes to talk with Se Joo about the suspicious ahjumma that is future Mi Rae. She tells him that the diary is 25 years old, the writing is the same for both Mi Raes, and the contents of the diary are the same until August 14th. Se Joo asks what happened that day? Yoo Kyung says she had an accident that day with Shin. In Mi Rae’s diary, she wrote that a crazy ahjumma claimed to be her from the future and she met her that day. Se Joo asks what the ahjumma said? Yoo Kyung says the ahjumma said Se Joo and Yoo Kyung would get married. Se Joo laughs and says that is absurd and she’s a crazy ahjumma but he will use her to help him win Mi Rae over.
The Morning Team receives a GBU award for their subway fire coverage.
As the team is celebrating, Writer Bae says everyone worked on the program but how come only the regular employees get official recognition and can get a part of the award. Oppa takes the award from the ones who got it and decides to use the prize money for an overseas vacation. It’s not enough so they decide on a MT team retreat in the mountains. PD Lee keeps trying to butter up Mi Rae now and says she needs to be fed before her undercover mission. Se Joo asks Shin if he’s going and he says of course, why would he miss it. He asks if Se Joo is asking as a team member.
The entire team rides there together in a minibus sans Shin, who drives alone behind them. He mutters that they really made him go alone, but then sighs that its better alone. The guys divide up the rooms and the rookies are told to go sleep in the car.
At the retreat, the team all gather outside to play games, except once again Shin sits alone in his room. Don’t be such a poopy loner, Shin! He tries to not be interested in what is going on outside but is lured by all the laughter.
Shin walks out on the balcony and sees Mi Rae happily enjoying herself with the rest of the team. He wonders if they don’t realize they are missing someone (him) and are playing all happily.
Shin finally goes down to join everyone and but still doesn’t participate in the games. This time the winner gets to relax and the losers have to prepare for dinner. Mi Rae walks over and asks if he won’t join them. Shin says he wants to just stand there but then another rookie drags him into the game. They go in a circle and when the music stops people are supposed to grab each other. Mi Rae is grabbed by Yoo Kyung and Se Joo, which leaves PD Lee running to grab Shin hilariously. Shin is out and says he’ll go chop wood, which is the least popular chore that everyone was complaining about earlier.
Everyone is preparing dinner and Oppa looks happy to see Se Joo and Mi Rae in the kitchen preparing salad together. Se Joo is called out to grill and he tells Mi Rae to take it easy since she’s going on assignment soon. Mi Rae sighs and wonders why she’s been sighing a lot lately.
Mi Rae goes to grab some charcoal and Shin is there chopping and he sucks so much he gets frustrated and kicks the wood away. He asks if she cut her hair to go on assignment and then tells her not to do it since nothing will come of it just like last time. Mi Rae wants to and asks him what he thinks she should do with her life if she doesn’t become a writer? Shin asks if she thinks writing is her destiny but Mi Rae says no, she doesn’t believe in destiny. There are many Na Mi Raes out there – the one who worked at the call center, the one who Oppa wants to marry off randomly, the one who may have two kids and then stop pursuing her dreams before even trying. So she is proud of this Na Mi Rae, continuing what she wants. What her dreams are, what her goal is, who she likes, she wants to keep going down the same road. She encourages Shin to do so as well. She knows he’s been being distant and curt towards her because of some reason. If it’s not that he dislikes her, then there must be another reason. She hopes that Shin remains someone who is candid and forthright.
Se Joo runs into Yoo Kyung in the minibus as she comes with the flashlight to help him. Se Joo reveals he introduced Mi Rae to his grandmother so she can meet the girl he likes. He didn’t tell Mi Rae who she was, just that she supported Se Joo financially, but Miranda is angry that Se Joo likes her. He asks Yoo Kyung to tell Miranda that Mi Rae is a good girl. Yoo Kyung swallows her pride and says she’ll do it. As she’s about to leave, Se Joo asks her to bring Mi Rae over. Yoo Kyung finally stands up for herself and asks why she needs to do it. Is she that easy for him to step on? Se Joo says no, she is his good friend that he can talk about Mi Rae with. Yoo Kyung says she doesn’t want to hear about Mi Rae from the person she likes. Why does he need her to say it so clearly and make her seem even more pathetic. Yoo Kyung sniffs back her tears and leaves the bus.
Everyone gathers around the dinner table but Shin, Yoo Kyung, and Se Joo are all preoccupied with their own thoughts. Only Mi Rae is chowing down rather oblivious.
It’s campfire time and everyone continues to sit around deep in thought. Oppa decides on playing a team bonding game where everyone says what they feel. Oppa picks Writer Bae to go first but Shin interjects and asks to go first. Shin looks straight at Mi Rae and says without any preamble “I like Na Mi Rae.” OH DAYUM. Everyone stares in shock.
Shin looks at Mi Rae and addresses her directly, asking what she feels? Mi Rae stares back, and then we have a nice four-way staredown.
Thoughts of Mine:
This was the strongest episode ending scene to date in this drama. Finally we have forward movement for all the characters. Mi Rae knows both Se Joo and Shin likes her, and she’s also certain she likes Shin back and it’s never wavered despite Se Joo being a good friend to her. She proactively absolves Shin of his recent coldness by saying she knows he has a reason for his recent behavior change. That really solidified their emotional bond for me, that she knows him better than anyone else, this lonely arrogant man who prides himself on always doing the right thing. Yoo Kyung knows that she was Se Joo’s intended bride, and finally tells him that she likes him. I doubt Se Joo would be that clueless and self-absorbed to think Yoo Kyung likes him for his money, but I hope he works through why he likes Mi Rae before letting that romantic thread go. I don’t want Se Joo to be pulled whichever way based on future Mi Rae’s machinations, I want him to be as strong as Mi Rae, Yoo Kyung, and Shin has become and make his own decisions. So far he is doing everything to win Mi Rae over, which is fine since she’s single and he has every right to pursue her. I hope that Se Joo doesn’t use his real identity and power to hurt Shin (and thereby validate future Mi Rae’s concern) down the road. I like to think he’s better than that, and if the old Se Joo would be that kind of person, perhaps his detour in falling for Mi Rae also changes him for the better. Mi Rae seems to affect people positively with her artlessness and I’m hoping some deep friendships can come out of all these crossed wires in the end.
I think the only way for future Mi Rae to get me to support her quest would be if her plan was to save someone in the future. No matter how rough her marriage was to Kim Shin, she’s already endured it. Why go back and change? I also hope her rationale makes sense, that not marrying Kim Shin can accomplish her goals. Because of her interference, I’m missing out on watching what was surely a romantic and sweet courtship between Mi Rae and Shin, and if the next 6 episodes doesn’t pile on the romance then I’m calling foul. This drama has so much romantic tension to milk but it’s energy is sapped by future Mi Rae playing with their lives so everyone hesitates to act. I love that present Mi Rae is going around undoing some of the complications caused by future Mi Rae, especially how she pushed Shin to be true to himself. Conversely, I don’t like Se Joo when he’s around Mi Rae just presenting one side of himself. When he’s with Yoo Kyung, I adore his comfort and candor with her. Miranda has become such a throwaway character, always around to push her power onto others, whereas Oppa keeps getting more interesting and awesome with each episode despite starting off so rocky. When I watch MHIYD, I acknowledge this drama is different enough, and there are lots of potential to make it truly memorable, but the execution has been so unsatisfying that it leaves me digging around for the nuggets of goodness to sustain my interest. It’s not a waste of time since I love the main leads and have come to quite enjoy watching the two second leads as well. But with the affection comes more pain, that such a great cast can’t be given more meaty material to chew through and deliver something truly exemplary.
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