Mi-rae’s Choice: Episode 4
There’s a lot more of the cute as the relationships get even more complicated in this hour, giving us more insight into our pairings in the initial timeline. Our characters are even more layered than we anticipated, and our hero gets his own shining moment (apart from the bright lightsaber, yes). This show leaves me wanting more with each minute that passes, to the point where I’m twiddling my thumbs to find out what comes next. It’s starting to feeling like I’m the one who’s aging a month a minute.
Even though the hilarity has upped its game, the numbers continue to slip as Episodes 3 and 4 ticked in at 8.5% and 7.3%, respectively.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
At the sight of Mi-rae and Se-joo’s closeness, Shin yells that there’s no dating among team members. He gets all huffy, saying that there must be certain boundaries in the workplace and seeing them together makes him all confused.
Shin walks out with his head held high, only to wonder what’s gotten into him once he’s alone.
Meanwhile, Mi-rae is formally introduced to the team as the maknae writer. She isn’t officially part of the team just yet, however; she’ll go through a week-long trial run after which Writer Bae will make the final call.
Yoo-kyung drops by her usual drinking haunt where she sees Se-joo sitting at the bar. Er, do bars make good study spaces? She’s surprised to hear that he frequents this bar since it’s really expensive, and sidles up to him, figuring that he must be well-off despite his VJ status.
Her words drip with aegyo as she asks coquettishly for his help when she’s back on the air next week. Batting her eyelashes at him, she points out that they are team members, after all.
At home, Ajumma Mi-rae drags her younger self up to the attic to finally show her the Master Plan drawn on the window. She’s violated some serious time-travel laws when she took that experimental time machine to the present. All for what? “To save you! To live my life!”
Aha, so it must have been a cop or time-keeper of sorts coming after Ajumma in the elevator. Her days are numbered, she stresses—she only has a month, two at most, because each passing day adds one month to her own present.
She asks why Mi-rae is simply content with her entry-level position, which is when her heart starts racing again. What will she do if she loses Se-joo to Yoo-kyung? Mi-rae answers that it isn’t likely, to which Ajumma Mi-rae asks, “Even if that means Se-joo and Yoo-kyung were originally meant to be?”
She explains that in her timeline, it was Yoo-kyung whom Se-joo fell in love with. Mi-rae says that she still finds all of this hard to believe. Fed up, Ajumma Mi-rae tells her to go and be content with losing both men and stay at her maknae writer job then.
Back at the bar, Se-joo finds out that his bill is already paid for. Yoo-kyung leisurely drinks in her chaste gesture, saying how a poor VJ like himself shouldn’t spend his money so excessively even if he hails from a rich family. Se-joo: “I’ve had three drinks.” HA.
Yoo-kyung stutters nervously in response, and when she checks the bill, suffice it to say, she freaks out. It’s hilarious. Astounded by his rather expensive taste, she drops to banmal, even more offended when he offers to pay for a potentially cheap dinner instead.
That takes them to another fancy Japanese restaurant, and Yoo-kyung reminds him yet again that working at a broadcasting station doesn’t automatically make him a celebrity. He needs to learn how to spend his paycheck wisely or else end up with a mountain of debt.
She pours his water and sets his utensils for him while she says all of this, and the gesture isn’t lost on Se-joo, who then takes her wrist to tell her to stop. She thinks it’s because he doesn’t want to be nagged, but he notes that this courtesy seems like a habit.
Yoo-kyung replies that she does it out of habit, and that all the reporters do it to get into a PD’s good graces. Se-joo interrupts her to tell her not to do it in the future.
They’re just two people, he explains, and women, or Yoo-kyung more specifically, shouldn’t feel that they have to act this way. He advises her to let go of the thoughts that her identity is defined by how other people see her because she’s already impressive and confident as it is.
Then he places the utensils in front of her instead, and Yoo-kyung wipes a tear from her eyes, stunned by the chivalrous gesture.
Mi-rae lies in her bed thinking of the Master Plan until she falls asleep. In her dream, she’s gently woken up by Shin lying next to her on her hospital bed. They tease each other for a few sunny and sweet moments… until Oppa’s voice echoes to ask what they’re doing.
Both of them bolt awake in their separate beds, clutching a hand to their chest, puzzled. Huh, so they’re sharing simultaneous dreams now. Shin cracks open his dictionary to the word “mi-rae” (future) and hangs on the word “afterlife.”
They greet each other politely at work, and when he sees that she’s running an errand, Shin takes it upon himself to guide her to her destination. He even waits for her outside, and then takes her on a tour of the building. I love how they run into Oppa getting his haircut and Shin promptly shut the door. Hahaha.
They head to the prop storage room next, and Mi-rae excitedly runs around to explore the place. As for Shin, he walks up to the Darth Vader mask with eyes of wonder. OMG, are you a Star Wars fanboy?
Cut to: Shin, donned in the Darth Vader suit, wielding a lightsaber. HAHAHA, oh this is awesome. It’s just… I can’t even. Total WIN.
Mi-rae pops out in a pink princess dress, which looks a bit gaudy on her in my opinion, and asks what Disney Princess she looks like. She frowns when he tells her she looks like “Mulan who stole Cinderella’s clothes.” HA.
Shin defends that Mulan is even better than the other princesses because she saved an entire nation on her own, but Mi-rae isn’t listening because her hair is caught on her dress. He tries to help, but she grows frustrated, and ends up getting her sleeve caught in his costume instead.
They hobble together to free themselves, which results in a torn lace sleeve. Turns out Shin also knows how to sew as he mends the tear himself. Mi-rae instinctively pulls back when he tries to bite off the thread, but they both become aware of the charged moment.
Mi-rae is called away just then, and Shin stops her to ask if she’s free one day so that, um, they can work building the basics. They agree to meet at the entrance. That sounds an awful lot like a date there, Vader.
Then we cut to chairman Lee screaming her head off at her employees for landing one of their top clients in the hospital due to a food allergy. Whoa, they don’t call you Miranda for nothing, do they? Still furious, she wonders if the company needs some major restructuring.
Ajumma Mi-rae has already anticipated this as she reads in her diary about her past worries about whether Kim Shin will end up fired. “It’s a good thing if he does,” she muses.
Mi-rae is busier than ever at work, handing in drafts (one of them covers a suspicious note lying on a laptop), running around the workplace without coming home for days. Ajumma Mi-rae finally manages to corner her to warn that all her hard work is for naught since she’ll just end up fired anyway.
But those words go in one ear and out the other, and Mi-rae runs off. Which is when Ajumma Mi-rae’s heart acts up again, and she notes how it’s getting worse by the day.
Yoo-kyung sets down the last of her meal coupons after having lunch with Shin. They’d agreed upon them in exchange for the car repairs, and she points out that he’s been saying good things about her. He says it’s all true, just as long as she curbs the aegyo. Thank. You.
The rumor mill has been churning out that they’ll end up married, and Shin looks up in surprise when he hears that Mi-rae has heard the same. He tries his best to sound casual as he asks what Mi-rae thought about that, and Yoo-kyung says she’ll tell… in exchange for more coupons.
As they walk back, she pouts, coupon-less, and then lies through her teeth, saying that Mi-rae was happy about it and congratulated them.
That answer troubles him, and he stops in his tracks to see Mi-rae and Se-joo having lunch together. Yoo-kyung suggests that they go say hello despite his jealous, pissy reluctance. Hehe.
He scares Mi-rae out of her chair (literally), and wonders if the maknae VJ has enough time on his hands to help out the writer. I love how Yoo-kyung pretends to help Mi-rae dust off (and half-hitting her instead), and Mi-rae in turn calls her out on her nasally cutesy voice.
But there are more pressing matters at hand, and the broadcast employees reel in shock to learn that more than half of them will be fired.
Se-joo immediately takes it up with Grandma, who says they must place their hotel and resort as top priority. Why have FDs and writers around when the PDs can do it all themselves?
Ajumma Mi-rae lingers outside the office to pick up some clues and hears grandma ask if her grandson knows any fortune-tellers. Bingo.
Inside, Se-joo calls his grandmother out on how little she knows about the system despite the fact she runs a broadcasting network. She tells him to run the company immediately then, and when he refuses, she tells him that he can quit.
Ajumma Mi-rae finds Mi-rae outside, who asks how she knew about the mass layoffs. Mi-rae is still determined to see her final days here and then start anew again, but Ajumma Mi-rae says that doesn’t matter if she marries Se-joo.
To that, Mi-rae asks, “You want me to live my whole life depending on men? Isn’t that how you ended up like this?” Ooh. She points out that her future self would have had a comfy life on an announcer’s salary.
Ajumma Mi-rae argues that her younger self is attracted to Shin anyway, but Mi-rae boldly declares that no—she’ll build herself up first.
The announcers rally around Shin to talk to chairman Lee on their behalf, but Shin says that he’ll have to take care of himself from now on. He passes by Mi-rae sitting in the editing room, busy watching her name in the credits over and over. He thinks back to her promise to do her best and that gives him an idea.
The morning team gathers to greet chairman Lee, who arrives less than ten minutes to air. She keeps Oppa on and moves through the rest of the team, stopping to praise Se-joo’s upbringing. Did… Grandma just shoot Mi-rae a sharp look?
She asks where Shin in, who walks in and apologizes for his tardiness. It’s their job to put out a good show, and Shin worries whether they’ll have enough manpower after the layoffs.
Five minutes to air. Shin asks that she make a decision about their team or he won’t go on the air. That’s why she came down here just minutes before the broadcast, wasn’t it? Thinking she was dealing with a bunch of yes-men?
Three minutes. There’s a saying that the show must go on, Shin continues, so the chairman is free to replace the broadcast with something else or an empty studio. Oppa looks like he’s going to pop a vein any second now.
He calmly invites the chairman to have a seat, and suggests that they cover YBS’s restructuring instead. Good workers always produces a good show, which means high ratings.
Thirty seconds. Finally Chairman Lee relents to keep the morning show team as is. And though the others sigh in relief, Shin isn’t quite done yet; he’ll go ahead and relay the facts as so: while their team remains on staff, the others aren’t so lucky.
Realizing her predicament, chairman Lee agrees to pretend the whole thing never happened. At that, Shin rushes to take his position and addresses to the audience the importance of taking a stand in the face of injustice.
Writer Bae remarks that every word coming out of Shin’s mouth is all improvisation. And while chairman Lee stalks off, we see Mi-rae falling for Shin at that very moment, impressed, as Ajumma Mi-rae looks on.
Writer Bae is impressed to find that Mi-rae has already finished the tasks assigned for their next broadcast. When she asks for Mi-rae’s write-up, Mi-rae recalls how she planned to save her best draft for last, but Shin told her to stick to her principles and take initiative as if she was the main writer.
So when Writer Bae comments on her improvement, Mi-rae comes clean about her tactic. But Writer Bae says she already knew, and then happily announces Mi-rae as their new maknae writer—she’s hard-working, smart, and above all, honest.
Mi-rae tells Ajumma Mi-rae the good news, but she grows uneasy when she’s asked if she’s certain that everything is in order. Sure enough, one of their guests can’t come in and they need a replacement shaman. Cue Ajumma Mi-rae.
Shin recognizes Ajumma Mi-rae when she arrives on set. She apologizes for their last encounter, but assures him that he’s sure to be surprised this time around.
Needless to say Mi-rae is shocked at this turn of events. She hunts Oppa down, insisting that they have to switch out features, but there’s no time. So she tries to tell him that the random ajumma is actually from the future, but he gets called away.
Chairman Lee is at home when the show starts, and she’s intrigued about the morning show’s shaman guest. The staff realizes that they don’t have a name, so when Shin asks for it, Ajumma Mi-rae answers truthfully: “Na Mi-rae.”
Shin notes the coincidence and repeats that there are two camps of people: those who believe in fortune-telling and those who don’t. He identifies himself as the latter, and the staff grows increasingly nervous as she continues to veer off-script: “Shall I make you believe?”
Shin invites her to try, and so Ajumma Mi-rae talks about his childhood story of his father, and then his morning pronunciation exercises. He confirms it, but is slightly spooked when she points out he read out the definition to “mi-rae” recently.
We see that Ajumma Mi-rae had written about it in her diary, and in the present, Shin confirms it again as chairman Lee eats it up. Mi-rae takes a call from Se-joo, who says that he’s on his way.
At the same time, Shin allows Ajumma Mi-rae read into his future, which is far more uncertain. It’s a long, silent minute before Ajumma Mi-rae turns directly to the camera, and as if directing her answer straight at Mi-rae, she says, “You’ll be ruined.”
Now that’s a blatant warning as any. It sounds more like a warning to Mi-rae not to marry Shin because she’ll end up in a financially-stricken state like herself. At least, that’s what I presume from her insistence to marry the chaebol vs. the celebrity, which really doesn’t sound like a huge dilemma on this side of the present. I like that we’re beginning to face the consequences of Future Mi-rae’s meddling this week, both in the appearance of the Black Man (who seems like a Time Cop right now) and the physical toll on her body. Her constant interference with the present couldn’t go unnoticed that much longer, and I was surprised at how freely she talked about what society is like in the future (e.g. giving out stock advice) while withholding so much information from Mi-rae. Right now the rules seem a little lax around her, but that note suggests some pretty severe punishments if Future Mi-rae gets caught. Eep.
On a technical note, I’m sort of sad to see that the poor lighting does no favors for any of our actors, least of all our heroine. I wanted to wait a few episodes to judge whether it was a trick of the eye, but unfortunately, it’s true and it ages them for the worse. It’s not always the case of course (most of the outside and brightly-lit shots are gorgeous), but a chunk of the indoor shots drain their faces of color rather than revitalize them. It’s a small gripe in the grand scheme of what is a strong show thus far, but man if I could wish that our Pretty could also be shown as pretty.
I especially liked how we were shown how our initial pairings came to be in this episode. Seeing Yoo-kyung and Se-joo romantically involved seemed like a far-fetched idea, but his understanding to her vulnerabilities made a great deal of sense. So while I do think both boys don’t harbor any romantic feelings for Yoo-kyung at this point, I can see how Yoo-kyung is/was (I know… it’s the timeline thing) attracted to Se-joo. She’s still deliciously fun to hate with her puzzled reactions to how a VJ could enjoy such luxuries, but she also makes for an intriguing and compelling second lead.
On to our other pairing, I really do love how Shin and Mi-rae’s relationship is evolving from bickering to intrigue to interest. Lee Dong-gun and Yoon Eun-hye have a fantastic chemistry onscreen, and I love how both of their characters stand up for themselves (and others) when it counts. Their shared dream makes me wonder if it’s a lost memory for both of them or a subconscious longing that has yet to be realized. It’s a whimsical fantasy to be lost in, if only for a moment, and then hurled back to reality to realize that dream is stuck in a galaxy far, far away.