Mi Rae’s Choice: Episode 8

The absence of momentous occasions in Episode 8, like the subway fire or the roses-and-balloons confession event of previous episodes, can easily be misconstrued for lack of major plot development. However, I find that several important steps are finally taken in this episode as key members of the main cast that had previously been left out of the loop are now given enough information to begin piecing together the puzzle of Ajumma’s motivations for time travel.

It is about time too, of course, and hopefully this signals a picking up of the pace on the storyline front. As much as I appreciated the heavy focus on developing multi-faceted characters (which has been fairly successful, actually), the real mystery of Ajumma’s time travel cannot be placed on the backburner any longer as we reach the halfway mark of this drama. Ajumma’s time is running out, so it’s time to get a move on! Chop chop.

EPISODE 8 RECAP

Shin has unknowingly awoken a sleeping giant with his condescending attitude and Se Joo’s questions are loaded with meaning: “If our positions change, what are you going to do?” What if he was, say, the head of YBS?

We know this to be true, of course, so I winced in anticipation of Shin’s fate as he digs himself further into a hole by replying mockingly that he’d have to bow down to Se Joo instead if he turns out to be the head of YBS. Scorn colours Se Joo’s voice as he remarks that this is the kind of person Shin is – someone who bows to the strong and bullies the weak.

Shin provokes him further by suggesting that he has his delusions treated, but Se Joo agrees that there has been plenty of staff who’d deluded themselves into believing that they’re celebrities when they’re not, while others expect pay despite slacking off. He thanks Shin for the lesson: “Just because they’re employees doesn’t mean that I’m automatically required to take care of all of them.” Like weeds amongst the flowers, the bad fruits in a company should be removed.

Moving away, Se Joo makes a call to Secretary Choi and informs him that he’ll be returning to his position as heir sooner than planned – perhaps in a month? I sense an imminent smackdown.

At the café, Yoo Kyung’s voice is hard and unsympathetic as she tells Mi Rae that it’s up to her whether to accept Se Joo’s confession or not, but to shirk her responsibility by asking Yoo Kyung to reject for her was inconsiderate. Mi Rae tries to protest that she’s having a hard time, too, but Yoo Kyung tells her in no uncertain terms that it would be cruel to give Se Joo false hope: “I hope you draw the line for Se Joo.”

Se Joo’s unsettling words remain in Shin’s memory on his way home and he makes a call to have Se Joo’s resume emailed to him.

Outside his apartment, he runs into Ajumma and asks bluntly whether she was the one who’d called him to the confession party. Ugh, this Ajumma. She’s determined to ruin the connection between Mi Rae and Shin and claims that Mi Rae is a lying fox, but Shin surprises her by speaking up in Mi Rae’s defense: “She’s not someone who would tell such lies; she hasn’t been thus tainted yet.”

Yet? Ajumma notes that word and comments that she must already have reached that point, then. She leaves with a final parting warning, “People will change. Mi Rae will, too.” As she strolls away, Ajumma is sad and contemplative as she recalls Shin’s words that Mi Rae has not been tainted “yet.”

Mi Rae bumps into Se Joo at the subway entrance the next morning, but the greeting dies on her lips when he breezes past after giving her a small smile and a nod. She hesitates, but lets him go without pursuit.

Things are no less awkward at the elevator, where the door opens to reveal Shin. Mi Rae hesitates again, but when he presses the button to close the door, she steps in. Interestingly, she chose to move forward and face Shin rather than avoid him, whereas she allowed Se Joo to walk past earlier.

Right then, Yoo Kyung makes a dash for the elevator and stops dead at the sight of Shin and Mi Rae. Okay, this just turned into the world’s most awkward elevator ride. She tries to leave, but Shin drags her in as a go-between and uses her to make childish jabs at Mi Rae, saying that he was called over to the party by “the team’s maknae writer.” Yoo Kyung rather astutely realizes that it would be better for her if Mi Rae and Shin doesn’t fight, so she tries to ease the misunderstanding… only for Shin to reveal that he’s known all along that she didn’t make the call; he’s just doing this for revenge. Oh God, how childish. What revenge?! I love that Yoo Kyung calls him out on this, too.

While Mi Rae encounters more awkward silence from Shin and Se Joo as everyone files into the meeting room, Ajumma is busy moving into Miranda’s mansion, where she’s given a room with two beds all to herself.

Brainstorming begins in earnest for the pilot team and the foremost interest in everyone’s minds are revealed by their suggestions – Yoo Kyung wants something on luxury brands, PD Lee is more interested in racing girls and Miss Koreas, Shin is of course stuck on a philosophical discussion on the war against terrorism in Afghanistan and even Mi Rae suggests that they should consider a dating show (pfft).

Writer Bae finally explodes, cutting through the shouting match, and proceeds to shoot down their illogical ideas. She suggests an old project idea instead: Pandora’s Box, from which hope was the last item to emerge. Their hope, of course, is 10% ratings for a successful program launch! They settle on the theme of “houses” and the team proceeds on their individual concept research. Writer Bae hones in on one particular mansion which turns out to be Miranda’s house, the winner of the Architectural Building Award of 2010.

Mi Rae calls Ajumma for data – did Ajumma have floating houses in the sky in her time? HA. Ajumma is more interested in Operation: Seduce Se Joo, but Mi Rae’s had enough of it.

While Ajumma’s on the phone in her room, the camera focuses on the glowing red eye of the girl in the painting on the wall. GAH. For a minute I thought I was watching the wrong drama, but it turns out to be a hidden camera which Miranda is watching with great interest. Miranda gets further details on the mystery girl Mi Rae from her bodyguard, who informs her that Se Joo and Mi Rae are close. Miranda connects the dots and realizes that Mi Rae must be the girl Ajumma had hinted Se Joo likes.

Miranda demands answers from Ajumma at golf later but decides to cut to the chase – she grabs the phone and calls Se Joo with the ultimatum: “Do you like Na Mi Rae? If you don’t reply by the count of 3, I’m kicking her out of the team.” LOL. That’s abrupt enough. Se Joo is forced to say yes, naturally, and Miranda hangs up, takes one glance at Mi Rae’s unimpressive resume and starts taking out her anger on the golf ball. Ha.

She can’t understand why Se Joo would like the poodle-haired Mi Rae who neither has age nor education to recommend her, but perks up with interest when Ajumma points out that the notoriously picky Se Joo must have seen something in Mi Rae. How about she find out for herself?

There’s no time better than NOW in Miranda’s book, so she leaves Ajumma mid-swing and zooms off to meet Mi Rae right away. Hahaha.

Ajumma is in a tizzy and calls Mi Rae continuously, hoping to warn her to be on her best behaviour, but Mi Rae is too busy working and doesn’t hear her phone. She’s still distracted at the bus stop when a weird lady dressed in all black and sporting sunnies walks up to her and asks for bus directions – she’s in a hurry to reach her nephew’s wedding. Pffft, the sunnies make an appearance again; the characters in this drama and their idea of disguises, seriously.

Mi Rae is sweet and helpful, but unfortunately overly so. Miranda’s real interest in cross examining her is foiled when Mi Rae spots the arriving bus and hurriedly bundles Miranda onto the packed vehicle amidst the latter’s protests, even paying for her bus fare before waving a cheery goodbye. HAHA. Miranda’s basically carted off before she even knew what happened.

Miranda’s security is left staring after the leaving bus in hilarious dismay before they quickly follow in the car.

Poor Miranda gets the shock of her life on the bus, chucking a fit about being tossed around in the vehicle (at one point falling into the lap of a man with grabby hands, pfft) before she finally wrestles her way off the bus. Curiously, Miranda seems to have seen enough to form a positive opinion of Mi Rae and calls Ajumma to inform her that she’ll consider Mi Rae favourably as a dating partner for Se Joo.

Ajumma’s self-congratulations are interrupted when she runs into an angry Yoo Kyung who demands to know whether Ajumma was the one who set up Shin’s embarrassing interruption during Se Joo’s confession party, to which Ajumma turns up her nose – what concern is it of Yoo Kyung’s? Yoo Kyung bursts out without thinking, “Why shouldn’t I care? Se Joo was so hurt!”

Ajumma clocks her concern with surprise: “Do you like Park Se Joo?” (Which makes me wonder – would she have so casually wrecked Se Joo and Yoo Kyung’s futures for her own gain if she had known that it might have been a love match? Eh, probably.) She is irritatingly smug and pronounces that it won’t work out for Yoo Kyung and Se Joo. In fact, it probably won’t work out with Shin either, since he doesn’t like scheming women, so “don’t worry and date anyone.” As long it’s not Se Joo, that is.

Yoo Kyung is furious, and I must admit I secretly hoped that she’d chase after Ajumma and grab her by the hair. Pleeeease.

Oblivious Mi Rae is eating at a restaurant as she brainstorms over her idea. She receives some unexpected advice on her work by the restaurant owner, who turns out to be a former writer with plenty of experience but not enough success to keep up with the increasingly young new recruits. The harshly realistic view of a writer’s work prospects, particularly one who isn’t young and has yet to debut, gives Mi Rae pause as she begins to understand that her job isn’t secure simply because she had successfully entered the broadcasting company as a writer.

So when Mi Rae submits her idea for the last segment of the documentary (a haunted house where a girl ghost in a wedding dress is seen every full moon) to Writer Bae, who’s on the verge of a mental breakdown from the amount of work they’ll have to do, Mi Rae makes a split decision and begs for the opportunity to write the narration.

Oppa nearly spits out his coffee when Writer Bae puts the suggestion to him later and he splutters his disapproval. But Writer Bae acknowledges Mi Rae’s talent and points out what we’ve been thinking all along – is he so uncomfortable working with his sister that he’d go as far as blocking her way?

That quiets Oppa’s oppositions and he complains of his difficult position; as her brother, he wants to protect her but conflict of interest prevents him from doing so. Frustrated, Writer Bae suggests that they can move Mi Rae to another team so that she can have her debut – how about the exclusive team? Oppa is all, “NO!” They don’t even pay their writers! That softie.

Mi Rae continues pestering Oppa later with pleading requests, all of which he blandly ignores as he leads her into a store full of hiking gear. It isn’t until he starts handing her thick coats with the instruction to hold them that Mi Rae realizes he’s planning to buy her gear to wear on the shoot. He says in his usual gruff way: “If you’re not careful, you’ll freeze to death, you brat!” Aww. He can’t hide his smile at the sight of her looking adorably excited in her pink coat and even offers to buy her pants as a set, but his generosity stops at the shoes. She throws him a puppy dog expression and he threatens to leave. HA.

Shin is busy examining Se Joo’s resume and is surprised to find that he’d spent so much time overseas. Even more intriguing is the name of Se Joo’s father as noted on the document – Park Heon, the same name listed as the 3rd son of the founder of Young Geon Group (actually, the resume lists “Park Hyeon” and the family tree “Park Heon,” but I assume it’s either an accidental or deliberate typo). Dun dun dun.

Oppa interrupts by pulling Shin aside to ask whether he could help with Mi Rae’s segment on the haunted house. He’s prepared for Shin’s refusal, but the latter surprises him by agreeing reluctantly.

Shin might be regretting his decision already at the briefing, though – the creepy shots of the house’s abandoned interior are enough to make him flinch. Ha. He’s even more alarmed when PD Lee informs him that he and Mi Rae will have to stay overnight in the house to confirm whether the ghost exists. Alone.

Shin attempts to put his (very) rusty skills of persuasion to use as he paints a picture of consideration, protesting on behalf of Mi Rae that they need a cameraman who can use the 6mm camera… only to have her speak up and thwart him by insisting that she can learn to use the 6mm. Pfft.

And who should walk past the door at that moment, but Se Joo? There are awkward glances all around when PD Lee asks Se Joo to give Mi Rae a crash course on camera use. Shin tries to suggest that he’ll teach her instead, but PD Lee says thanks, but no thanks, pointing out with a smirk that Shin’s useless with technology – it took him a whole month to learn how to use a smartphone. HAHAHA. Se Joo’s sent off with Mi Rae and there’s a brief moment of absolute silence before Shin erupts in a fit of rage and hurls a nearby plush toy at PD Lee in frustration. Heh.

Outside, Se Joo gives Mi Rae the Camera 101 in a good imitation of his usual easy manner, but Mi Rae’s eyes dart back and forth nervously, obviously preparing herself before she finally bursts out with an apology for the other night at the party. Se Joo offers his own apology; he should have realized that it would put her in an awkward situation.

Mi Rae flashes back to Yoo Kyung’s words about making her feelings clear to Se Joo and attempts to confess that she likes Shin, but Se Joo interrupts to ask quietly what it is that she likes about Shin… and that question leaves her stumped. Is it his bad boy image, or did she fall for Shin at first sight? Mi Rae’s next words must sound weak even to her own ears, because she stumbles over the explanation that Shin had helped her a lot as a newbie. Oh, and “Ajumma told me that he will be my husband…”

Unsurprisingly, Se Joo’s laughter has a disbelieving edge to it – that’s the reason? He asks her quite seriously whether her emotions may have been influenced by the knowledge that she was supposed to like Kim Shin. When she tries to protest, he cuts her off to add that although love comes in different forms: “Do you think emotions that began because of someone’s words… is love?” He walks off, leaving her frowning in thought.

After a spirited group cheer, Team 3 separates for their individual filming duties and Mi Rae ends up stuck in the doorway with Shin when the two of them try to walk through at the same time. Mi Rae offers to let him walk first and Shin replies that is as it should be (you gentleman, you). Se Joo is unamused at this exchange and remains coldly distant with Yoo Kyung when she tries to engage him in chatter.

Mi Rae, Shin and Co. are interviewing the town locals about the ghost and they’re just about done when PD Lee asks Mi Rae to move the yellow wheelbarrow away so that they can get a full shot. She wheels it back to the grandmother from whom they borrowed it, but as she turns around, her foot slips and she takes a nasty tumble down a small hill, left foot landing in a small fire. Eeek. It’s burnt right through her sock to her ankle, but she grits her teeth, bandages it with a handkerchief and limps back. (Really?! Surely you can take 10 minutes to get it dressed properly?!)

Shin notes her limp with concern but she waves it off as a light sprain, so the camera crew departs, leaving Shin and Mi Rae to head to the haunted house together.

Shin doesn’t notice her pained reticence on the hike up the mountain – he’s too busy making the mental preparations for an overnight stay at the house. Mi Rae clocks his nervous apprehension: “Are you perhaps… scared?” Hee. Shin makes a show of bragging that he has no fear of ghosts (yeah, right) and walks on. Mi Rae’s pain threatens to overwhelm her, but the thought of her debut makes her push forward to join Shin.

Yoo Kyung is running around the newly renovated house like the Energizer bunny, exclaiming with excitement at the new look before she quiets at the grim non-reactions from Se Joo, Writer Bae and Oppa. A questioning look to Se Joo gets her a cold and dismissive shrug; he’s clearly still holding a grudge over the party incident and Yoo Kyung looks rightly peeved. It turns out they’ve run into an unexpected snag – the show provides people in need with house makeovers and the resulting warm gratitude is a ratings hook, but the family is dressed in their best outfits and doesn’t suit the theme.

Oppa reluctantly sends Se Joo to inform the family that they should change into more suitable clothing, but Yoo Kyung intercepts him. She wants to know exactly what Se Joo plans to tell the family – that they should change into tattered clothes and play the part so that the show can get good ratings? Yoo Kyung’s tone is harsh as she voices her insistent demand for Se Joo’s answer, effectively drowning out Writer Bae and Oppa’s weak protests.

Se Joo’s reply is cold and cutting: “This isn’t charity work. It’s a broadcast. Didn’t these people agree to choose between a good house and their pride when they agreed to appear on the show?” Whoa. Every ounce of Yoo Kyung’s disappointment is manifest in her reply: “You really… are a businessman.” It definitely gets his attention; his eyes narrow intently before Yoo Kyung breaks the eye contact by declaring that she’ll take care of the broadcast without offending the family.

And that she does – putting the family at ease with her bubbly compliments on their clothing, she skilfully directs the topic of conversation so that the family’s attire is explained by their excitement over the broadcast. The warm scene makes everyone smile, particularly Se Joo, who looks on, thoroughly impressed.

Mi Rae and Shin’s adventures are rather less warm as they enter the abandoned house; gates creak and wind whistles through the broken panes of the floor-length windows as the starched white curtains flap ominously. The audible creak of the floorboards as Mi Rae steps into the lounge room makes both of them jump.

Shin suddenly freaks out at a flashing red light near a ceiling corner, but it turns out to be a false alarm – Mi Rae and the camera crew had installed cameras there on a previous location survey. HAHA. Shin tries to bluff his way out of it; he’d totally just been pranking her.

…And then he turns around and stops dead in his tracks – a spider is dangling from its cobweb, right at eye level. “This… get rid of this!” Pfffft. Mi Rae just pulls the darn thing away, exasperated, and Shin jumps back a meter, looking like he’s aged 20 years. LOLLL. He confirms again with Mi Rae that they’d have to stay there until 6am the next morning; the prospects look grim for him.

Shin walks off and Mi Rae is about to follow, but a message from Se Joo asking whether she has figured out her feelings yet make her pause. “Not yet. But I think what you said may be right.” Argh, this is going to encourage him to hope, isn’t it?

At the renovated house, the shoot had ended smoothly and Se Joo ducks outside after receiving Mi Rae’s reply. The move doesn’t go unnoticed by Yoo Kyung, who follows him out and asks pointedly, “You admit that you were wrong, right?” Se Joo’s smile is sheepish as he adds by way of explanation that the event idea really wasn’t such a hot one. She teases that he was worse – he ignored her and treated her so coldly! – and both chuckle, the misunderstanding now past.

They celebrate the completion of the shoot over a drink (because nothing says “making up” quite as emphatically as a bit of alcohol, ha). Se Joo’s full of praise for her professionalism during filming, commenting that she was awesome and that her skills were on full display. Yoo Kyung laughs: “Did you only just realize? *hair flip*” HA. I love her.

Se Joo’s appreciation is genuine, however. “Thanks to you, I learned something. There are many ways to create a “win-win” outcome without having to hurt the other.” He encourages her to drink up, but she sticks to water because she’s not feeling her best.

The topic changes to Mi Rae and Yoo Kyung asks hesitantly whether she’d said anything to Se Joo. He replies honestly that she’d admitted her feelings for Shin and Yoo Kyung launches into an encouraging pep talk (while internally cheering, haha), but Se Joo interrupts her with a childhood story. When he was in fourth grade, a classmate had won a toy car with a silver sticker on it that had caught his attention, despite the fact that he had the expensive remote-controlled cars that were the envy of other kids. He could have bought it, but he wanted to win it through his own hard work and effort, so he threw his all into that game.

Yoo Kyung’s face falls as she listens, fully cognisant of the meaning behind the story, and she quietly starts drinking beer instead. (I know this is a serious moment, but LOL.) It is with obvious reluctance that she asks whether he ended up winning that car, and Se Joo takes out his keychain, the toy car dangling proudly from his fingers. Se Joo: “That’s why I will never give up.” (Argh, NOOO.) Something that is of real value for him requires hard work and effort and he will shy away from neither. “You are going to help me, right?”

Yoo Kyung plasters a smile on her face with palpable effort and agrees.

Ajumma Mi Rae is at YBS (again – why do people just let her in?), this time to find Oppa. He’s away from the editing room and Ajumma ends up picking up a call from the clearly drunk Yoo Kyung, who requests, “Team Leader. Please give me Park Se Joo!”

Cut to: Ajumma shoving Yoo Kyung into a taxi. LOL. Yoo Kyung is hilarious with her drunken aegyo, demanding to see Park Se Joo before she’ll leave and insisting that she’s the toy car, the best prize in the claw machine! Ajumma barely manages to slam the door shut and the taxi drives off.

Only then does Yoo Kyung’s ramblings turn sad, a tear falling from her eyes as she mumbles, “Help you? How can I? Chaebol… I like that. But my feelings started before…” Poor Yoo Kyung. I feel for her; friendzoned to the nth degree.

Stares and whispers greet Ajumma when she takes off her hat on her walk home and… oh my. Her head is full of grey hair, prompting a gasp from her; she’d only just had it dyed! (She wasn’t joking about the severe side effects of her time travel, clearly). She doesn’t have any time to dwell on it any further, though, because Oppa runs up to ask after Yoo Kyung. He notes that everyone’s been odd today; first Yoo Kyung, and then he’d heard from Kim Shin that Mi Rae had been acting strange, too.

Ajumma’s head jerks up in alarm when she hears that the two of them were sent off alone to film at the haunted house overnight – she flashes back to a similar scene from her past when she and Shin were caught in the rain while hiking. They had taken shelter from the weather and were the picture of a happy couple, with Shin’s arm around her shoulders while she gave him a kiss on the cheek.

In the present, Mi Rae is busy filming Shin as he narrates on their way to the upper storey. The sight of white curtains flapping wildly startles an exclamation of fright out of Shin (haha), but his call for a retake is vetoed by Mi Rae, who rightly argues that it’ll be more realistic if they kept his fright in. Personally, I’d insist on keeping that scene in regardless of realism – it’s not every day you get the pompous Kim Shin off kilter. Hee.

Mi Rae staggers slightly and Shin’s concern for her ankle is renewed when he spots the handkerchief bandaged around her ankle. This time he thankfully insists on taking a look and is alarmed to find a blood-soaked burn on her ankle. Mi Rae refuses to leave for treatment, though, because she’ll lose her one opportunity to debut. Shin can’t deny that.

Instead, he cleans the burn and scolds gently that her lies are the reason he can’t trust her. When she attempts to explain again that she was not the one to call him to the confession party, he finally admits that he knew: “I just got mad… about the fact that you were with Park Se Joo.” Wait, so this is what passes for an apology? I swear he’s a jealous school boy in a man’s body.

Se Joo just strolls casually back into Grandma’s house, brushing aside her indignant, “Hey, who told you to come home again?” to ask how she knew about Mi Rae. Ha. It’s the fortune teller, of course. He’s slightly disbelieving when she replies positively to his hopeful query on her opinion of Mi Rae, but he turns to more important matters; he plans to return to his position as YBS heir sooner than expected. “I have a lot of work to do. It’s time to rev up the engine.” Action time!

Oppa cannot understand Ajumma’s violent opposition to Mi Rae and Shin spending time together and she finally decides that she’ll have to tell him the truth. “I’m… Mi Rae. From the year 2038… your dongsaeng from the future.”

As Ajumma drops this bombshell, Shin slowly leans in towards Mi Rae and her eyes close in anticipation…

THOUGHTS
Hurrah for Ajumma finally making some important reveals to Oppa; if (as some fans believe) he is the one to die because of Shin, lord knows he deserves to be told. If nothing else, Oppa’s opposition is almost sure to spur on Shin and Mi Rae so that they will overcome this obstacle and genuinely FIGHT to be together. Se Joo made a great point in this episode about the influence of other people’s words on emotion. At the moment, they’re waffling, with neither willing to make the final, conclusive commitment. For all that Se Joo’s confession event backfired, at least he had the guts to confess his feelings, which is more than I can say for Shin at the moment.

On that note, who found it irritating that Shin seems to have taken two steps back after his one step forward in character growth in Episode 6 with the subway fire escapade? It’s not hard to see why Ajumma might have found it so suffocating to live with someone like Shin in the long run, if he had resisted change to this degree. He can be extremely sweet when he wants to be, but he can also be absurdly childish, petty and arrogant. We saw all those qualities on display again in this episode – that childish “revenge” of his against Mi Rae, the refusal to apologize despite CLEARLY being in the wrong (he has never apologized for throwing water in her face, either) and was arrogant and obnoxious when he demanded answers from Se Joo after the confession party. Se Joo was too polite to say so, but frankly what business was it of his that Se Joo chose to confess? If he didn’t like it, he should have confessed to Mi Rae first! A small part of me hopes that Mi Rae will force him to apologize before she gives in to his kiss in the upcoming episode; he should not be allowed to swing hot and cold towards her in this manner.

I do wonder whether this timidity of Mi Rae’s was a major factor in the problems between her and Shin that Ajumma experienced. If she had never spoken up to demand change in him or vented her dissatisfaction, it’s not hard to see why she might have allowed each of his offenses to pile up unchallenged until she could stomach it no longer. We’ve had many hints so far that things went wrong for Ajumma, and we have another one – Shin probably thought nothing of his words when he said that Mi Rae had not been tainted “yet,” but it obviously rang true for Ajumma. Could this have been part of the reason why she was “tainted” in the future – because her innocence was slowly eroded away until she became someone who cared only for herself? Some fans have speculated that Ajumma cannot be Mi Rae’s future self given their immense differences in personality, but I personally think that that is the point – Ajumma Mi Rae had changed so far beyond recognition that it forces the audience to question why. In a very real sense, the past Mi Rae that she had been (innocent, carefree, untainted) had died. Granted, I’d be disappointed if this was *it* for the hints of something dire, but Ajumma had never stated explicitly who or how many had died. It does not rule out both a physical death as well as a metaphorical one.

As for Mi Rae herself, she is a character that has caused me considerable frustration over the last four episodes or so. After that rolicking great start in which she’d proudly declared that she’d stop practising avoidance and make a success out of her life to prove her detractors wrong, she… hasn’t done very much. Content with her minor success at having scored a job as maknae writer, she has shown little other than a desire to learn. There are moments when I want to shake her and tell her to stop being so complacent and disinterested in everything. Love? Her earlier hesitation over Se Joo vs. Shin was completely understandable, but since then she has sat back, content to pretend nothing is happening on either front until both men stepped up in confrontation. Her own future? I admire her live-each-day-as-it-comes approach, but the fact that she can’t seem to decide whether she wants to listen to Ajumma in one instance and ignore her in the other is exasperating. If she can believe Ajumma enough to ask for information on future house prices, I find it hard to accept that she simply isn’t concerned over the fact that someone will die if she marries Shin. So it is with great relief that I watched her fight for job opportunities in Episode 8 and at least attempt to resolve her feelings after prompting from Yoo Kyung.

If there is really a bone to pick about Episode 8 (and this week’s episodes in general), it is how quickly the promising love square of the opening four or five episodes have quite literally SUNK. And I mean sunk, utterly sunk. Although Mi Rae had never really harboured romantic interest in Se Joo, Mi Rae and Shin’s bickering combined with her friendship with Se Joo at least kept the speculations going strong. Even with the strong focus on Mi Rae/Shin in Episodes 5-6, there was still no guarantee that Se Joo couldn’t make a last minute bid to cross the finish line and win Mi Rae’s affections, but this week has almost certainly put the lid on Se Joo/Mi Rae as a viable couple. It is frustrating to see this love triangle/square dragged on when one leg of it is at a disadvantage of David vs. Goliath proportions – it simply isn’t believable to drag this on any further and I don’t want them to waste Se Joo’s character on a useless pursuit of this kind. I’d much rather they simply settle for two couples at this point – Shin/Mi Rae and Se Joo/Yoo Kyung and focus on developing them separately to see how they can adjust their relationships despite Ajumma’s meddling. Frankly, it’s the secondary couple that I’m more invested in anyway, and it’s their journey that I’m interested in seeing. On that front, I loved the Se Joo/Yoo Kyung developments in this episode. They were not really romantic in nature, but it is an intellectual understanding and emotional rapport that they’re building, which I think is even more important if a strong foundation must be built for a potential romantic relationship.

Relationship developments aside, I think that it’s high time our characters and relationships are once again placed in the context of the time travel mystery, which has been largely absent in recent episodes. Ajumma’s motivations for the actual act of time travel needs to be revealed so that the audience can at least be aware of the stakes involved and thus care more about the choices that the characters are making. That said, we’re only at the halfway mark and it’s far too soon to despair. Like the characters, the drama appears to have its strength and flaws. Let’s hope the writer can tweak the formula in the upcoming episodes so that its strengths outweigh the flaws.

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