We are almost almost at the end of Mirae’s Choice (Marry Him If You Dare). Nation-wide (S Korea) rating still sucks (in fact, it has dipped even looowweer). This may be due to Mirae being released in the same month against star-studded Heirs, and controversy-ridden Empress Ki. OR it can be the show’s own fault.
Characters. Every character that matters in Mirae develops and grows. Mi-rae (the obvious choice) from someone who plasters on a fake smile trying to convince herself she doesn’t mind being a doormat, to becoming the determined young lady who is not afraid to pursue her dreams of being a writer, despite the obstacles in front of her. And of course, her counterpart, Shin. Because Mi-rae is now stronger, she ia able to call Shin out on his bluffs and picks on his faults (instead of juz meekly pretending they don’t exist…like what happened in Ahjumma’s/ her own alternate future). That way, Shin is able to have a mirror to his faults earlier, and he can change those bad habits (like ignoring other people’s feelings and shooting his mouth off) before he alienates himself and destroys those he loves.
Even characters that do not show apparant development reveal themselves to be more than juz a 2D cut-out. Yoo-kyung for instance, is introduced to us (by Ahjumma) as a wily vixen, who managed to charm her way into high society. But the Yoo-kyung we see in present time is not wily by nature, but by circumstances. And I think calling her a vixen may even be over-doing it. She is one of the characters I do like a lot in this show, cos she has strength and vulnerability under that pretty face. Although she does things that make me shake my head and cringe, I can empathise with her struggling to stay afloat in a male-dominated sexist environment. Added to this is her not-so-good (aka POOR) family background, where she is the sole breadwinner struggling to make ends meet. She is in a more “candy” situation than Mi-rae (whose oppa probably earns better as a PD), but she doesn’t show it.
Se-joo is another interesting character. In Ahjumma’s eyes, he is all the gallant Prince Charming cum saviour, but from what we see, he has a pretty dark side too. He may be gentle to Mi-rae, but he is manipulative when it comes to winning her heart — and eliminating competition. The scene where he orchestrated Shin’s “accidental” glance into the VIP box room at the Chinese restaurant where he and Mi-rae are dining with Chairman Miranda, shows him to be pretty crafty and unscrupulous in getting his way. Se-joo also uses the dinner incident as a “back-off” warning to Shin, implying that he is in a better position to provide for Mi-rae and give her happiness than a news anchor who is on his way out. (and per kooriyuki‘s request: Yes, I think Jung Yong-hwa‘s acting has improved a teensy bit. Although most parts he is still doing what he is good at (and getting better) — staring longingly and adoringly at the female lead. But ok, his cold-eye look at sizing up Shin as competition is an improvement from the yearning looks he used to do)
No show should try to do a time travel concept if it doesn’t know how to make it sensible and work it logically into the plot. Especially when Time Travel gets a backseat position throughout the show and then is shown to be a non-essential passenger. Or worse, a shape-changing passenger. In the most recent ep, we learned that whatever Ahjumma does in her past (present) is not going to change her future…so has the time travel concept morph into a parallel universe(s) theme? Cos some things have changed, and if we apply a linear, simple concept to the time travel, Ahjumma will go home as a cheabol’s wife. Or at the very least, a happier, less disgruntled Mi-rae, the scriptwriter. To say that Ahjumma will be going back to the future with nothing to show for her efforts points to a parallel time-space concept, which is going to be hard to put through to viewers with juz 2 more eps to go.
Another stumbling block for Mirae is the pacing. Only near the end of the series do we get the reasons for Ahjumma’s time travel. If it was revealed earlier on, we’d probably have more sympathy for her. The pacing also affected the romantic links between Mi-rae/Shin and Mi-rae/Se-joo. The push-pull between these three continues all the way until ep 14 and may still go on right until the last ep. (yawn) Cos from previews released, seems like Mi-rae did accept Se-joo’s proposal (to be his girlfriend?) at the end of ep 14. Yoo-kyung is the refreshing character in this case; unlike the usual clingy female second lead, she has the good grace to acknowledge that her husband (from another time-space) has been snatched from her and picks herself up to go on from there.
Although the time-travelling hook has become the sinker for this show, Mirae is not an entirely horrid show to watch, not like some other offerings in 2013. The show has some promise (especially at the beginning). Even with the slow pacing at the mid-end, there are still gems in the story. Such as how Mi-rae gains respect from her team as a budding writer and the news team’s cohesive effort at making Pandora’s Box a hit despite all the obstacles they face.