Mi-rae’s Choice: Episode 3
Our heroine has her hands full as she tries to avoid one suitor while chasing after the other with one vague hint. But that’s no easy balance when all of them are working under one broadcasting station. We learn some more about Shin that suggests that there’s more to him than meets the eye. With so many other factors that threaten the present, it’s no wonder the future’s so uncertain.
SONG OF THE DAY
Jeon Geun-hwa – “사랑을 캐스팅해요 (Casting Love)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 3 RECAP
When Se-joo asks if Mi-rae is okay after her bold declaration to prove her worth, she tearfully admits that no—she’s not okay and sick of pretending that she is. He offers a latte in consolation, saying that something sweet is the best remedy in these situations.
Instead, Mi-rae chooses beer as her pick-me-up and is remarkably pragmatic about why she was fired: it was likely because of her lack of skills rather than her age. Deciding to start over from square one, she gets up to finish her first and last project, only to realize her stuff is still at the office.
Shin is surprised to hear that Mi-rae was fired because she was too old, the same reason behind his reassignment. Mi-rae’s presence hardly goes unnoticed during their team meeting, as she searches for her bag on her hands and knees. Then Shin surprises her by giving her the floor to suggest a new feature.
He passes on all of her ideas, including one particular grandpa who hits anybody seeking to cover his story with water. Shin argues that no one’s willing to tune into that, but she insists that they give it a try, even if it means a (literal) splash to the face.
When Shin counters that he hates any attack to his face, she tells him to just admit that he doesn’t want to risk his vain celebrity image. He’s not an anchorman anymore, and if he wants viewers, he has to be willing to “ruin” that image and stubborn pride. Girl has a point there.
It’s a tense few seconds before Shin says that she’s right. He agrees to feature the story and tasks Mi-rae as the staff writer, to everyone’s surprise. Oppa PD is up in arms about the decision, arguing that Mi-rae is too old for the job, to which Shin points out that he himself is, too.
Mi-rae meets with her brother at a nearby restaurant where he directly demands to know how she knows Shin. His eyes grow wide at her answer of “We were in an accident,” momentarily thinking they slept together, and she says exasperatedly it was a car accident.
He all but rolls his eyes at her threat to cut their family ties, and tells her that she’s not up to the task. Mi-rae scoffs at that, saying that he barely lifted a finger to help her earlier—how can he still call himself her brother?
But she soon realizes that it upset him more to see his own little sister being treated like a speck of dust. Aww, you do care.
Taking his hand, she pleads with him for a chance—she’ll do a good job, really—and Oppa reluctantly gives in; however if she screws up, she’ll quit, move out, and marry the guy he chooses for her.
Excited, she agrees without question and the siblings drink to seal the deal.
Thus Mi-rae heads to work with an extra skip in her step. The Jokey PD pays her a few uncomfortable compliments, but thankfully Se-joo steps in to show her to her seat. She gets to work on the feature, and spends her day scrounging up past drafts to use as a reference.
Mi-rae is still busy with work at home, ignoring Ajumma Mi-rae buzzing around her with questions about her progress with Se-joo. Fed up, Ajumma Mi-rae hangs up on the call she’s on, to Mi-rae’s annoyance.
Oppa hears the two fighting, and I love their synchronized reaction to show that everything’s fine. Then it’s great how he tries to explain to the ajumma how guys don’t always want to be called “oppa” from all women, not realizing that Ajumma Mi-rae has been addressing him appropriately this entire time.
Ajumma Mi-rae is alarmed to hear that Shin has mentioned her, and that Mi-rae knows that he’s “that bastard” she was to avoid. Mi-rae says she got laughed at when she confronted Shin about it, and now she reckons that she doesn’t believe a word of Ajumma’s ridiculous claims anymore.
She wants to see clear proof, and when Ajumma Mi-rae can’t give it (thanks to some pesky time-travel restrictions), Mi-rae suggests that she go seek professional help. Realizing that she won’t get through to her younger self, Ajumma Mi-rae agrees not to interfere anymore and suggests they go their separate ways.
Once she’s alone, Ajumma Mi-rae’s heart starts to beat irregularly, and she wonders to herself: “No, this can’t happen already.” Oh, does that mean time-travel also takes a physical toll on the body? That certainly hammers in the “risking one’s life” to a certain degree, doesn’t it?
She then puts in a call, and it’s only now she learns that Yoo-kyung was the other party in the first fated car accident.
The production team arrives on location the next day, and they’re surprised to see their host show up so early. As Shin introduces himself to the grandpa, I love how certain he is that his celebrity appeal will work… and then he gets hit with water again and again and again. It’s hilarious.
That effectively sets off another round of swears from Shin, who demands to know where Mi-rae is. She shows up just then with a puppy and shoves the box of puppy toys in his hands. And that’s what piques the grandpa’s (and his little puppy’s) curiosity.
Meanwhile, Se-joo updates a secret document that evaluates the morning show and staff. Hmm. He nearly gets caught by Jokey PD, who’d rather slack off than do actual work. Once he’s gone, Se-joo makes a note to revise the PD entrance examination. Ha.
The grandpa allows the team for a chat but strictly restrict them from filming. Unbeknownst to him, they do anyway. This time, Shin notes in a kinder voice that the old man’s humble shop contrasts with his rather sizable charitable donations to the disabled persons fund.
He learns that the old man’s disabled son has since passed away, and when the grandpa reminds him not to film them, Shin reveals that they already are. He adds that they would need his permission to broadcast any of this.
Shin echoes the old man’s sentiments, and shares his story about his own sick father. The broadcasting network had promised to pay for the hospital bills if he permitted them to film everything about their poor and penniless lives.
But he had an image to uphold as the class president, so in the end he said no, and his father inevitably passed away. “It as if I killed him myself.”
There’s an genuine and earnest quality in Shin’s voice as he says that’s why he always does any feature to collect donations himself. He knows how painful it is to reopen old scars, but encourages the old man to make his son’s story known to raise awareness so others can donate as well.
That’s how they secure the story, and in the editing room, Mi-rae asks Shin if his childhood story was true. He doesn’t give her a straight answer, but spins her around to say that in broadcasting, one must be able to see the hidden truth in the background.
He invites her to look directly at him to guess whether it was the truth or not. She stares for a minute before she looks away, suddenly growing uncomfortable.
But Shin takes her by the chin to look back at him. “I saw something in your eyes,” he says. “I only see a silhouette, but it’s dark. As if you can fall into it like a black hole.”
Then he leans closer to study her eyes (while she tries to avert her gaze, ha), saying there’s something written on them. He utters, “Ill… fate,” and pushes her away.
Mi-rae lets out an empty laugh at his joke, but then he suddenly rises to stand behind her chair to point at the screen. That’s when she notices his Adam’s apple and the veins his arms, slightly thrown off by their close proximity.
She involuntarily smiles when he ruffles her hair… and she cries at the realization that she hasn’t washed her hair in days.
She tries to shoo away the janitor ajumma as she washes her hair in the sink. She practically jumps out of her skin to see Ajumma Mi-rae, who notes that she sure looked cozy with Shin earlier. At this rate, they may even end up married, “Like me.”
Mi-rae asks why Ajumma didn’t tell her earlier outside in the hallway. Ajumma Mi-rae sadly notes it was a marriage gone wrong before declaring that it’s all a lie anyway.
When Mi-rae presses her for more information, Ajumma Mi-rae wonders why she’s so curious—has she already fallen for Shin? Mi-rae vehemently denies it, but Ajumma Mi-rae knows better. It doesn’t matter anyway, she adds, because fate has already changed its course and Shin will likely end up with Yoo-kyung.
So Mi-rae tries to oh-so-casually ask about Yoo-kyung to her sunbae. Not that she needs an explanation of course since Yoo-kyung waltzes into the office just then (à la evil Mi-shil music from Queen Seon-deok) all smiley and cutesy with the male staffers.
That is, until she comes face-to-face with Mi-rae, and the Evil Queen soundtrack becomes more apparent as her thinly veiled barbs about Mi-rae’s age (in banmal, at that) carry an air of a viper. Ooh, so there’s more to Little Miss Perfect Reporter than her pretty face.
So Mi-rae asks how old Yoo-kyung is then, and she pops up a V-sign: “12!” earning laughs from the men. Then Yoo-kyung swoops over to Shin’s side, taking him by the arm.
Mi-rae can barely stomach the oozing aegyo from Yoo-kyung, and points out to Shin that they seem to be on friendly terms. He asks that Mi-rae be a friend to her since she doesn’t have any close female friends. Oh gee, I wonder why.
Shin says he feels bad because her injuries from their car accident will take a full six months to heal. Mi-rae scoffs in disbelief at that, and walks out in a huff. Mmhm nope, you’re not jealous at all.
It’s actually pretty satisfying to watch Se-joo shoot her an Are you kidding me? look as Yoo-kyung confirms dinner plans. When Yoo-kyung spots his eyes fall upon her legs, she deliberately recrosses them in front of him.
Se-joo covers her with his jacket instead, saying they need to concentrate, but she lets the jacket fall on the floor. Se-joo scoffs and then surprises her by asking, “Do you want to sleep with me?” Well now.
His insinuation that her seduction tactic won’t work on powerless VJ like himself ruffles her feathers, and Yoo-kyung stews silently for another minute until Mi-rae knocks on the door. She doesn’t miss their friendly rapport.
Yoo-kyung wastes no time to confirm whether Mi-rae is just friends with Se-joo, making her plans to pursue him perfectly plain. She asks Mi-rae to keep it a secret.
When Mi-rae hedges, Yoo-kyung pulls the sunbae card, talking down to her in banmal. So Mi-rae lures Yoo-kyung outside just far enough that allows her to speak freely. She gets a few barbs in before Yoo-kyung hopes behind the line to say fine—she’ll speak in jondae to Mi-rae, but she’ll get both boys on her side.
But that means Mi-rae might lose both men to Yoo-kyung, so she rushes to complain to Ajumma Mi-rae (who’s been giving out stock advice to the other ajummas, haha) about the viper reporter girl.
Ajumma Mi-rae asks why she’s seeking her help, still worked up. She softens a minute later and says they need to refocus their efforts on Se-joo. She teaches her the keyword to Se-joo’s heart: “Water.” Then Mi-rae asks, “Do I have to drink it? Spray it?” Ha.
As Se-joo drives Mi-rae home that evening, she racks her brains and uses a water bottle to try out any connection with water. I especially love how she spritzes herself and accidentally sprays Se-joo too.
He asks if she has a few minutes to spare and takes her… to a carwash? Well I suppose there’s water there too. He turns on the stereo and it all seems perfectly romantic… until Mi-rae opens the car window. Ha, is this your idea to incorporate water for him to fall for you?
They end up back at the office to dry off and finish their work, and aww, he even set out candles. Then Se-joo wraps her with a blanket, and Mi-rae insists that they use it together.
Noticing her scar through her shirt (it’s more innocent than it sounds, I promise), Se-joo asks her where it’s from. He says she doesn’t have to tell him, but Mi-rae doesn’t mind. She accidentally got burned while her parents were arguing, she explains, and because she was so young at the time, she naturally thought it was her fault.
Her parents were sorry, but they’ve long since passed away, Mi-rae continues. She’s okay but not okay with it at the same time since she’s aware of people’s judging eyes. When he says it must have, she playfully teases that she’s been found out “because of water.”
Se-joo says she’s fallen into water twice now, and a flashback teaches us that Mi-rae nearly drowned from her moonlit ocean swim. She had been rescued by a patrolman, and Se-joo had watched her sleep peacefully.
Mi-rae asks if he’s heard from Yoo-kyung, who’s told her about her intentions to date Se-joo. She describes Yoo-kyung as that pretty girl guys would easily fall for, and he replies that she’s not his type.
Shin walks by just then to see the two laughing on the couch. And when Mi-rae notices him standing there staring at them, she laughs a little harder next to Se-joo. Do I sense a hint of jealousy or perhaps even, a longing?
Then we see an older gentleman walk into the same time machine, traveling back to 2013. Omo, is this older Shin?! If not (’cause time has really not been a friend to you), then who are you?
We roll the clocks back to the day of the fated car accident, and given how Shin rams into Mi-rae’s car instead of Yoo-kyung’s, this must be the reality that Ajumma Mi-rae remembers.
It’s Mi-rae he visits at the hospital now, and he notes apologetically for adding another scar to the one she already hates. Then Shin turns her face towards him and kisses her… to wake up in his bed, confused. Wait, so that was a dream?
Shin places his fingers to his lips, then breaks open his dictionary to a random page as usual. The second definition of the word “dream” leaves him stunned: “Something you want to realize; a hope or an ideal.”
It weighs on Shin’s mind when he gets to work and Mi-rae rushes into the same elevator. He tugs at her sleeve to confirm his suspicions, and asks how long she’s had that scar. Feeling a bit violated, she gets off in a huff.
The feature story about the grandpa broadcasts over the air as Shin provides the narration Mi-rae wrote. Mi-rae can hardly believe that this is really happening, and Se-joo assures her that it is—hundreds of thousands of viewers are watching the show.
Then after Shin’s signoff, Se-joo shows her the best part: her name in the credits. Mi-rae jumps excitedly and hugs him, something that Shin doesn’t miss.
Having had enough, Shin slams a hand on to the table and shouts: “I told you, no dating team members!’
How this show continues to surprise me and it’s barely been two weeks. It’s a nice feeling to be taken for the ride, allowing the story to present itself to me. It allows plenty of room for speculation with so many questions that await answers along for new ones to be introduced. I like that we’re getting an intricate weave of different timelines and alternate realities; so while it’s bad for my head (gah, the headaches!) it makes for a potentially rich storyline that can take us anywhere. Almost. Just as long the story doesn’t go all willy-nilly later. *fingers crossed*
How much do I love that Yoo-kyung is actually hateful? She’s the type of evil that you love to hate, and I wondered what kind of second lead we would get from the brief glimpses we got last week. A part of me wondered if she’d be nice, but that makes for such a boring character, so I like the veil of viciousness about her. What also makes it great is that Mi-rae doesn’t take her standing down, and puts her in her place (outside the YBS building, that is). Not only that, both boys regard Yoo-kyung in a platonic way, which is sure to be a big pill for the reporter princess to swallow. Her introduction was a great way to learn everything we need to know about her. I can’t wait to see more of her and how she’ll spice up the place. Ajumma Mi-rae didn’t refer to Yoo-kyung as “that bitch” for no reason, after all.
I like that we got to learn more about Shin in this episode, especially after the first week did a fantastic job of painting him as a target. He knows that Mi-rae is denied a chance to pursue her dream for the same reason why he was ousted, so I appreciated that she gave her the shot to prove herself. I’d like to believe that his childhood story about his father was genuine in both its telling and purpose, not as some tactic to convince an old man to talk. Even back then, he had an image to uphold, and that choice led to such dire consequences. Given his overall serious nature, I want to trust his words of his earnest desire to reveal and share the truth to the rest of the world. And then I can understand his frustration when he’s denied that in the workplace.
While we’re on the topic of Shin, the sequence of the rollback to the fated car accident to the hospital, only to reveal it was just a dream honestly confused me. Because that scene was intercut with our other mysterious time-traveler (who I’ll get to in a minute), I momentarily thought that Shin had his own Future Self giving him advice about Mi-rae; I couldn’t tell what was the past, the present, or the dream until Shin woke up. Apart from that, it’s interesting that a dream awakens his feelings for Mi-rae. It begs the question of whether they were dormant until now and if it didn’t matter particularly when he met Mi-rae since he would be attracted to her anyway. And now that his romantic feelings have opened, it paves the way for Jealous Shin, which, eee!
As for our mysterious time-traveler, the question becomes: if he’s not Shin, then who is he? One possible theory is that he could be Jokey PD, whose flirtatious overtures made me a tad too uncomfortable. The way he looks at his futuristic cell phone (is he watching Ajumma Mi-rae perhaps?) just makes me uneasy. But if he’s not, then there’s a possibility he could be a loan shark since we know that Ajumma Mi-rae isn’t rich and we’ve been given more than one reminder that she risked her life to come back. It’s still rather early to be certain, but let the speculation rounds begin!
On a lighter note, I’ve been enjoying Se-joo more and more with each passing episode. Jung Yong-hwa has a natural presence onscreen, a large improvement from his early days in dramaland. It’s always nice to see idol-actors come into their own as the years pass by, and while I’ll be hard-pressed to buy his cold chaebol side, I’m seriously falling for his nice boy next door character. And from the way Se-joo keeps staring at Mi-rae, I keep thinking that he thinks she might float away like bubbles if he looks away. Oh hell, I’m already drowning.