This episode brings us straight to the heart of the ultimate question in Mi Rae’s Choice – can the future be changed, or has fate already pre-determined the result? Our heroes attempt to change the predicted outcome for better or for worse and find out just how important even the most seemingly insignificant choices are, as hundreds of lives rest on their every decision. And yes, even their own.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Three sets of stunned faces are riveted to the sight of Namsan Tower as a lightning strike causes the spindle to crack and topple dramatically from its peak.
Ajumma turns to Shin and her following words are meant for both him and the Na siblings, who had called her in disbelief: At 7am on the day after tomorrow, a man will set fire to Byeolgok subway station, resulting in over 100 casualties. This is her “gift” of an exclusive news story that will save their careers, but Shin is outraged at the idea of prioritizing a broadcast over human lives.
Over in her comfortable quarters, Miranda had watched the destruction of Namsan Tower unfold with troubled concentration.
Unfortunately, Mi Rae’s bright idea of how to save the lives of the fire’s soon-to-be casualties is to relay Ajumma’s prediction to the local police. Oh, geez. The policeman is clearly amused at what sounds like the ramblings of a drunk and tells her to get home. Well, that went swimmingly.
Ajumma has a reluctant believer in Oppa, who instructs PD Lee Jae Soo to review CCTV tapes of the past week at the subway station and watch for suspicious activity. PD Lee’s complaints trail off when he spots a red-capped individual strewing lighter fluid across the halls of the station.
Reviewing the CCTV footage sends the members of Team 3 into a tizzy as they brainstorm (read: alternatively hyperventilate and flail uselessly) for solutions. Shin offers to beat up the guy, at which Mi Rae pipes up to say that she’d do it, since he has an image to protect. Oppa shouts disapproval, Lee Jae Soo covers his ears and Writer Bae doesn’t even care – her first worry is making sure her husband doesn’t take the subway tomorrow.
Se Joo finally cuts through their panicked chatter from where he’d been standing quietly in thought in the corner and suggests mildly, “How about we use the broadcast (to prevent the fire)?” He means to use filming as a way to block off the morning rush hour traffic. Se Joo raises an eyebrow as five faces swivel to him, the picture of mute amazement. HAHA. Thank God one member of Team 3 actually uses their brain.
Se Joo makes a quick call to Yoo Kyung with the request that she drop by the Byeolgok station office and obtain permission to film a live fire drill at the station. Yoo Kyung is worried that it won’t work – how would she get officials to agree to shoot at morning rush hour? Se Joo butters her up by saying that he’s sure they’ll agree if she is the one asking and Yoo Kyung is hilariously pleased, “Well, I DO have a lot of aegyo, but…”
Shin catches Se Joo as he hangs up and criticizes his unrealistic ideas. Pffft, Shin is really the last person who should criticize someone else about lacking a grasp of reality.
Se Joo just shrugs it off and ducks furtively into a quiet area, glancing around him (in the most suspicious manner ever, LOL) before confirming that his secretary carried out his orders and attained permission for the shoot from the CEO of the subway. Slick.
Poor Yoo Kyung is frozen in anxious indecision outside the subway office, but finally takes a deep breath and decides to brave humiliation – adorably, her reason is “since Se Joo asked me to.” She gets her aegyo voice ready (HA), only to walk in and be assured that it’s totally okay before she gets a word in edgewise.
Shin is suspicious when she calls him with the news that they had agreed before she could even ask and shoots Se Joo a mistrustful look: “What did you do?” Even Oppa gives Se Joo a long look, but results are what matters and he divides the tasks between the team members. It’s time for action – only 31 hours before the broadcast!
Shin is like a foxhound with his nose on the scent, though, and demands an answer after everyone else has scattered: “Who’s behind you? How high a position are they in?” Se Joo cracks a joke with an easy smile before saying simply that it all worked out anyway; they will save the people, complete the broadcast and get high viewership ratings.
Shin erupts in righteous indignation (“Ratings?!”), but Se Joo cuts him down to size with some cold realism of his own: “This is a for-profit organization.” Saving lives is important, but one would be fooling themselves if they pretended that the viewership ratings do not matter. I think Shin just got schooled.
The next day sees Team 3 working separately to prepare for and hopefully prevent imminent catastrophe. Se Joo and Yoo Kyung survey the subway station and he lets her in on the fact that there’s going to be a real fire. It’s all very hush hush. Mi Rae and Writer Bae try to convince fire trucks and ambulances to be ready on standby while the PDs and VJs are testing the water pumps and sprinklers. PD Lee Jae Soo tests a sprinkler with a lighter and the others duck for cover… except it doesn’t work. Ha.
Shin and Oppa have another face-off when Shin insists on his version of realism; they must reveal the truth to the viewers that they were tipped off by a fortune teller rather than pretending that they were conveniently there. It is the rules and principles above all for this guy.
Clutching at the fraying shreds of his temper, Oppa points out with exasperation that the show will be cut before it even airs if they revealed the unbelievable truth. And how would they save people if the show doesn’t air? “Do you know how much of a pain you’re being to others?” They’re in this mess in the first place because of him, but if all he cares about is his pride and principles – fine. “Live the rest of your life being inflexible, sticking to your principles!”
Shin catches Oppa as he enters the lift and relents; he’ll go to the subway. Oppa had fully expected him to put up a fight, so he just says “Forget it” without thinking… and pauses. “Really?” LOL. They agree on the deal that Shin will cooperate in exchange for Oppa revealing the truth about the predicted arson in the show opening. Oh, and Shin wants Na Mi Rae with him.
Oppa: “Why?!” Cue figurative tug-o-war over Mi Rae, ha. This brother is not going to give his sister away to Shin without a fight. Mi Rae interrupts to say that she’d like to go and learn with Shin and walks off quickly with him before Oppa could grab her. Frankly, I wonder why Ajumma hasn’t thought of teaming up with Oppa yet; something tells me he’d be a willing assistant on her quest to prevent a Shin/Mi Rae union.
As Mi Rae and Shin survey the subway with cameras in hand, Shin launches into a monologue of self-flagellation – he’s ashamed that he was secretly selfish enough to hope that the incident would be the turnaround in his failing career. Mi Rae points out matter-of-factly that he even broke his closely guarded principles in order to film this broadcast and save both his team and innocent people.
He denies it defensively and, when Mi Rae asks him thoughtfully why he feigns the arrogant bad guy in order to push people away, replies without much conviction that “It’s better living alone. Getting involved with people only interferes with my principles.”
Mi Rae’s next question is sulky as she asks why he’s close to Seo Yoo Kyung, then. Shin: “She’s cool, so it’s comfortable with her.” She throws the same answer back at him when Shin asks her why she’s close to Park Se Joo, and at his query on whether they’re really dating, she probes him on whether that’s what he wants.
Shin avoids her gaze and affects nonchalance when he comments that she looks good with Se Joo. That’s not acceptable for Mi Rae, who pushes him for an honest answer, her voice betraying her hesitant hopes: Does he play basketball, provide tours of the broadcast station and teach other rookies this way?
Shin: “It’s because you’re special.”
GASP. Her eyes widen, and he starts backpedalling furiously, “Is that what you wanted to hear?” He just dragged her here because she was so in need of teaching!
The sight of her eyes filling with tears makes him stop short. (Stop making girls cry, you cad!) Mi Rae tries to cover her embarrassment by turning away to wipe her eyes and nearly slips headfirst onto the train tracks, but he grabs her just in time.
Looking into her red-rimmed eyes, Shin admits that she’s the only one that he’s taught; no one else. Aww. Mi Rae gives him a tiny smile and they continue onwards together.
Meanwhile, Ajumma is so alarmed to hear that Mi Rae went off alone with Kim Shin that she even hangs up on Miranda in her rush. HA. She tries to talk Mi Rae out of accompanying Shin on the dangerous assignment, but Mi Rae retorts that they can’t pretend not to know now that she’s told them about it. (A very good point, that.) Ajumma changes tack and confirms that Mi Rae will go down with Kim Shin if she marries him; they are the same person, after all.
Mi Rae: “No. I’m different from you.” Her personality’s changed thanks to Ajumma; now she faces her problems head on. Ajumma tries to argue that Mi Rae changing won’t do any good if Shin’s stubborn inflexibility is the cause of their downfall, but Mi Rae replies firmly that Shin has changed – would he normally have agreed to a broadcast based on a fortune teller’s prediction if he didn’t care about his colleagues enough to try and save them? The revelation that the stuffy and uptight Shin is capable of selfless action leaves Ajumma disconcerted.
It’s certainly food for thought; if Mi Rae and Shin can change so much, is their future really so pre-destined?
Shin is pacing back and forth outside the subway entrance, battling a mounting personal crisis as his two sides argue with each other – his inner By-the-Books Shin ridicules the idea of such a broadcast while the newly-discovered Changed Shin counters that an exclusive on the fire would be perfect for their endangered careers. By-the-Books Shin is aghast that he could harbour such thoughts, commenting that he’s a “crazy bastard” before literally slapping himself. HAHA.
Ajumma tries one last time to reason with Mi Rae, insisting that attempting to change Fate is dangerous and may result in something far more terrible. (Which begs the question – why is she attempting to manipulate people’s futures, then?)
PD Lee and Lackey alert the station manager to the faulty sprinklers, and he in turn reprimands the repairman, demanding that it be fixed. Once the manager walks away, however, the repairman puts a red cap back on his head and whistles slowly as he tweaks the pipes. Uh oh, somehow I don’t think he’s fixing that sprinkler…
Shin flips a lid the next morning when he tunes in to the Morning Show broadcast while he waits at the station with Mi Rae; Tongue-tied Announcer had taken his place and was most assuredly not delivering the truth as Oppa had promised would be on the script.
Se Joo, Yoo Kyung and other members of Team 3 are making last minute preparations for broadcast at the station, while Oppa is pacing around on the verge of outright panic at the studio. Writer Bae snaps at him to calm down and he hilariously replies in between short breaths, “Wait!!! In this situation, we have to calm down!!!” Pffft.
We all know what they say about the best laid plans, however. A panicky Oppa hears from Yoo Kyung that there’s still no sign of the red-capped arsonist and his questions alarm Ajumma, who thinks carefully back to her past when she had watched Tongue-tied Announcer’s report on the fire that day. Wait a minute…
The train has just stopped at the station before Byeolgok. As the passengers file into their carriage, Mi Rae suddenly spots one walking past them sporting a red cap. Her eyes wide, she frantically alerts Shin and the two freeze in eloquent dismay.
With rising horror, Ajumma concentrates – where had the announcer named as the location of the fire? “Breaking news. At 7am, there was a fire in…” THE TRAIN, not at the station. Oh crap. Crap, crap. Crap.
The VJ on the train with Mi Rae and Shin swings his hidden camera towards the red-capped man, who is now crouching on the floor of the carriage and rifling through his backpack with his back turned to them. He turns around then… and begins to douse the carriage with lighter fluid. Oh no.
Oppa rapidly shouts his warning to the crew at the station – they have to turn on the sprinklers!
Red Cap lurches menacingly towards the screaming passengers, lighter in hand, and the VJ abandons the camera in the press of panicked bodies. Sparks fall in slow motion before Red Cap sets the carriage exploding into flame. Shin shields Mi Rae from the blast with his body and, turning, they look full into the face of Red Cap, twisted in maniacal glee. He erupts in a mad, bone-chilling cackle that reverberates through the carriage before turning to run into the neighbouring one.
Shin hurries in pursuit as Red Cap gets busy setting the next carriage alight. Mi Rae drops back to grab the VJ’s abandoned camera, but it’s not working. Making a quick decision, she whips out her phone as a hasty replacement and follows Shin.
The deafening sounds of the siren pierce the subway station and pandemonium breaks out as the emergency crew dash towards the platform.
Screaming passengers pour out of the smoke and flames on the train as it pulls in to Byeolgok station. Se Joo and Yoo Kyung try desperately to push past the security at the ticket gates while Se Joo calls out Mi Rae’s name frantically, but neither Shin nor Mi Rae could be spotted in the mass stampede.
News from the firemen is not promising; none of the sprinklers are working, so they have to run back out for water from the truck.
Thinking quickly, Se Joo bursts into action – where are the water tanks?
Oppa is beside himself at the studio until Mi Rae finally returns his call to explain that she’s chasing Shin and the criminal through the smoky haze that now blankets the station. The camera’s busted, so he’ll just have to air the video that she’s feeding him via video call, which shows Shin sprinting after Red Cap.
Well, try to air, anyway, since Tongue-tied Announcer can’t figure out what the crew wants him to say.
Se Joo finally locates the water tank room only to find the door locked, and his attempts to ram the door open are in vain.
Luckily, Yoo Kyung arrives then and she’s had the foresight to get the keys first (and she lectures him on rushing off without thinking even as she opens the door, ha). The door opens… to reveal the tightly chained handle. Time to find cutters.
Shin finally has Red Cap cornered and wrestles him to the ground. Tongue-tied Announcer makes a brave attempt to report, but it sounds more like a schoolboy imitation of sports match commentary: “Announcer Kim Shin… can he grab the lighter fluid? Yes, he does! Ah, but the criminal takes it away again…”
Oppa: “Are you commentating on a boxing match right now?!” LOL.
Red Cap manages to wrestle out of Shin’s grasp and waves his lighter around threateningly. It’s out of juice, though, and he hurls a traffic cone at them before making a run for it. Dodging, Mi Rae crashes into a billboard display screen and it topples to the ground, pinning her beneath it.
Shin turns back, but Mi Rae slides her phone across to him so that he could continue filming and cries for him to keep at the chase. He promises that he’ll return and runs off. It’s only after he leaves that she sees the open bottle of lighter fluid that Red Cap had dropped earlier; a pool is forming quickly as the fluid drips out, spreading across the floor. And it’s only a meter or so away from where she lies, trapped. Ohhh, bugger.
Se Joo and Yoo Kyung are doing their best, hacking at the chains with their cutters, but the electrical sparks bursting from the billboard display screen doesn’t bode well for Mi Rae’s continued good health.
Shin’s furious pursuit of Red Cap finally results in a slip-up from the latter, who threatens to set the place ablaze while Shin counters that he’s being recorded on live television – does he have the guts? The battle of wills stalls Red Cap long enough for the authorities to finally arrive and subdue him.
Shin dashes back for Mi Rae, who’s trying her best to extricate herself from beneath the heavy billboard screen. He arrives just in time to lift the board off Mi Rae and she crawls out seconds before it explodes behind her. And at that moment, as if it was planned, blessed water bursts forth from the sprinklers; Se Joo and Yoo Kyung have also succeeded on their end.
The firemen finally arrive at the water tank room to find that the problem’s been taken care of. Se Joo can think only of Mi Rae’s safety and he hurries in search of her with single-minded determination, not even noticing that Yoo Kyung has tailed him. And of course, this is the cruel sight that greets him:
The gentle shower of water from the sprinklers frame two very different pairs of people; the first enveloped in a world of their own as their unvoiced feelings and shared joy at being alive form a barrier around them through which no outsider can intrude, while the second pair are forced to look on in heartbreak.
You can almost envisage the happy hopes that Se Joo had harboured crumbling down around him as he is confronted with the knowledge that Mi Rae’s heart lies in another direction. She might have been his first and only thought during the danger, but it is brutally clear that he did not even register as an afterthought for Mi Rae. Yoo Kyung perceives this as well as she takes in Se Joo’s numb expression.
When Se Joo takes an involuntary step towards the happy couple, Yoo Kyung puts an arm out to stop him. What she tells him is exactly what he doesn’t want to hear: that these are two people who have shared something so deep and life-altering that they should be allowed to enjoy their moment uninterrupted. Se Joo’s expression is unreadable as he turns towards her, but he finally leaves without a word.
Shin apologizes for dragging Mi Rae into the mess, but she argues that she had volunteered to learn. At that, Shin replies that he learned, too: “That you… can never die.” He smiles warmly and reaches out to wipe the water from her eyes.
Oppa’s call interrupts the moment – is Mi Rae all right? Mi Rae assures him that she’s okay, and everyone at the studio sighs in relief. That taken care of, Oppa’s mind switches quickly back to the job at hand and he shouts for them to do the closing statement. It’s a live broadcast!
True to form, Shin stands up and reveals the truth: The news crew was there as the result of a fortune teller’s tip-off and had planned the broadcast in advance. Despite things quickly spiralling out of control, there are thankfully no casualties. “The future is… fate is… a lot scarier than anything we can prepare for. But the future can change based on a single moment’s decision. The future is not predestined. Your choice is the future.”
Miranda’s expression is stony as she watches the broadcast end successfully. When queried on whether to proceed with cancelling Kim Shin’s Morning Show, she gives the order for it to be revoked along with the planned staff transfers.
Team 3 is celebrating over dinner and drinks that night, and Shin stuns them all by not only forgiving PD Lee for his rude accusations but praising the crew for their hard work. Even Mi Rae stops chewing to stare at him in shock and Writer Bae offers a joking suggestion that their next show should cover Kim Shin’s personality change. HA.
Se Joo and Yoo Kyung are both noticeably absent at the celebrations, however – Se Joo has a prior engagement and Yoo Kyung had scored an invite to a chaebol’s birthday party. Wanna bet who’s also going to be there?
At the party, Yoo Kyung tries valiantly to appear as though she belonged there with high society, but her friendly overtures are met with barely concealed rebuffs. Awkwardddd. She moves on, smile firmly intact and determined to win in this game of “survival” regardless. That doesn’t stop her from curling her lip in scorn at the ostentatiousness of the birthday boy striding through the center of the guests as he waves and shakes hands, though: “Is he an idol? I don’t think they’d do this even at Obama’s birthday.” LOL.
PD Lee sends Mi Rae to scope out another drinking establishment. She’s easy prey for a persistent nightclub employee, but luckily Shin had followed her and he intervenes… with a hilarious lecture on the incorrect grammar on his nametag. Heh.
The man throws curses after them as they leave and Shin turns back… and surprises again by giving him a scolding about being careful with his words instead of throwing an uppercut. He even gives the man an awkward pat before returning to Mi Rae: “I did well, right?” Yes, yes you did. Good boy.
Shin checks on her injury and admits that he had wanted to send her away from the dangerous situation earlier; the thought bothered him. Mi Rae looks down at their hands, a whisper’s breath away from each other’s, and comments that it bothers her, too. Shin pauses, and then takes her hand before slipping it into his coat pocket. Cute.
Behind them, Ajumma had watched the entire exchange. What is that get-up – the Wicked Witch of the West? Well, it is Halloween…
At the party, Yoo Kyung rolls her eyes at the pretentiousness of it all and slips out of the crowd… then stops dead. There, sitting alone in the corner in a sharply-cut suit and wearing sunglasses is a man who exuded a cool charisma and self-assured confidence that ran counter to his supposed identity as the maknae VJ. “Park Se Joo?”
Really, wearing sunglasses indoors is his idea of a good disguise? Oh, Se Joo. Intelligent you may be, but James Bond you most assuredly are not.
All the pieces of the puzzle fall into place for Yoo Kyung in an instant as her mind flashes back to that time she’d seen him walking from the lift that led to Miranda’s office, Miranda’s obvious favouritism when she’d arrived for her staff inspections and his curt replies to someone who is technically their boss. I knew she’d be the first to figure out his identity. Se Joo being the textbook example of how to ruin your undercover identity certainly helped.
His buddies walk up then to inform Se Joo that they’ve arranged for him to make the third congratulatory speech at the party (not that Yoo Kyung needed further confirmation). As he rises to leave, his eyes suddenly meet Yoo Kyung’s shell-shocked gaze and both parties freeze for an indeterminable moment before Se Joo finally sighs and moves to meet her. His face is calm as she slowly lifts the sunglasses from his face to reveal his true identity. Yoo Kyung: “Hello, Young Geon Group’s future chairman.”
She’s waiting for him at his car as he steps out later, having changed back into his casual VJ disguise, and it is in jondaemal that she now addresses him. When he tells her that he’s heading to join “their” team dinner, her tone is cold: “Are you part of us?” She notes pointedly that even his car is part of his fake identity.
Se Joo clears his throat and apologizes for the deception, confessing that he wanted to avoid being like his grandmother when he takes over the company in the future and has to learn from the bottom in order to do so. “You’re going to keep this a secret, right?”
Yoo Kyung half-jests that she’ll have to, if she wants to avoid being fired. Se Joo’s own voice is light in return as he smilingly quips that he’s not that bad a person, but he adds earnestly that Mi Rae must not know his identity. “She’s the type that’ll run away, because she’s so pure.” He’s in for a rude shock when he finds out the truth, isn’t he?
Yoo Kyung scoffs, but her next question is loaded with meaning: “Then, is liking a chaebol… a dirty thing?” He replies candidly that he’s met far too many gold-diggers and waves at her to get into the car, not seeing the hurt that flashes across her face. She looks sadly at him during the ride, but says nothing.
When she tries to walk quickly past him before they head inside to join the others, Se Joo apologizes again for upsetting her. Yoo Kyung gathers herself visibly before turning around with a wide smile, switching back to banmal and addressing him as “Se Joo-ya!” She adds cheerfully that she’s always wanted to use banmal with a chaebol, and since he’s supposedly a VJ and they’re of the same age… He agrees awkwardly after she prods again and she sends him on ahead after they share a laugh. It’s only after he’s left that she staggers from the shock of her discovery.
She’s still distracted afterwards at the convenience store and crashes into Ajumma on her way out, who drops her diary. Yoo Kyung is surprised to see the name of “Na Mi Rae” on the open first page and Ajumma replies brusquely that she shares the same name before snatching back the diary and rushing off. Yoo Kyung to shoot her a suspicious look; that defensiveness is very odd.
Se Joo stiffens when he sees Mi Rae sitting alone outside and tries to walk past without a word, only giving in eventually at her insistent gestures for him to join her. She thanks him for turning on the sprinklers and adds teasingly that she’s heard all the rumours about how amazing he was, which finally prompts a reluctant smile from him. In a lighter tone, he cajoles a massage out of her – his aching body, you know, and all for someone’s sake – and she laughingly agrees.
Shin chooses that exact moment to turn the corner and disappointment marks his face at the sight of Mi Rae and Se Joo laughing together.
This is a great episode that brought the relationship development to a head and Shin makes major strides as his character continues to grow. As I had suspected from the beginning, “Mi Rae’s Choice” isn’t really about her choice between the two men. Rather, it is about the choice that she has to make between the tough path in both life and love or the easier one, as well as the choices that then result from the first. A domino effect, if you will. Shin and Se Joo represent the two sides of a scale for Mi Rae – the head or the heart – and each carries its own strengths and drawbacks.
The two men also represent two polarizing outlooks; Shin is ever idealistic, while Se Joo is one who has survived and succeeded thus far with the mindset of the realist. Shin has learnt the lesson in this week’s episodes that prioritizing principles above all might sound very pretty on paper, but the real world does not abide by his rules – he will simply find himself backed into a corner until the negative consequences are beyond his ability to bear. Se Joo’s bluntly realistic assessment of their situation during the broadcast might seem almost cold-blooded, but such is reality. The key lies in balance, as in so many matters of life, and Shin is learning the hard way that being inflexible is not a luxury that he can afford if he wants to survive.
The episode also brought the most important question of the influence of Fate to the forefront. Shin’s closing statement puts this into focus: Is the future pre-determined, or is it subject to change as a result of our choices? How much of a hand does Fate play in this?
Mi Rae’s observation that she has changed and so has Shin would certainly suggest that he is right, at least to a certain extent. In fact, the ripple effect from Ajumma’s meddling has touched all of the characters and has already begun to change the future – the YBS restructuring was overturned, Shin has saved his job and even the original 100+ casualties from the subway fire were reduced to zero. Perhaps we’ll see more outcomes depart further and further from Ajumma’s version of events as these choices continue to affect wider changes.
That then begs the question: Just how much can human decision tip the balance? Are certain things nevertheless destined? The changes to Ajumma’s predicted outcomes might have been marked in this episode, but while Mi Rae’s decision to follow Ajumma’s advice resulted in Se Joo’s redirected interest, very little else has changed about their relationships. Shin and Mi Rae were still drawn to each other and Yoo Kyung has bonded with Se Joo. Perhaps the answer is that Fate may have scripted everything – whom you are destined to meet, what you are destined to do, and so forth – but like all scripts, changes may be made and will be made. Shin and Mi Rae may have been fated to meet and fall in love, but what they choose to do with that attraction at every step of the way may yet change the outcome. And romantics may like to believe that certain people might simply be so “right” for one another that what is meant to be, will be, even if you fight the attraction.