Marry Him If You Dare/Mirae's Choice Korean Drama Review



If I had a time machine, I would go back in time and hang out with Leonardo da Vinci for a while.  Once I was done, I would go warn the writers of Marry Him If You Dare (aka Mirae's Choice) not to ruin their show.  This thing was so promising at first.  I gave it a lot of leeway because hey, at least it wasn't the train wreck that Heirs was, right?  Well, while Heirs has gradually been improving, Marry Him If You Dare gradually got worse.  And worse.  And worse.  And then the finale felt like someone vomited into a paper sack, lit it on fire, and put it on my pillow.  But more on that later.



Positives

The first few episodes of Marry Him If You Dare were really great.  Yoon Eun Hye's ridiculous styling was kind of distracting, but otherwise, it had all of the pieces of an engaging romcom.
Where does one even find a train conductor's hat for casual use?
Most time travel dramas involve someone from the distant past coming to the future, so I liked the switch-up with the traveler coming from the future.  It was kind of like A Christmas Carol--if, instead of telling Scrooge what would happen to him over the course of one night, the ghosts kept dropping vague hints for weeks on end for maximum dramatic impact.

The cast was really strong as well.  Yoon Eun Hye and Lee Dong Gun created some solid chemistry in the initial stages of the relationship that made me anticipate the progression into passionate love.

I also liked the initial characterization of the second leads.  Park Se Joo was kind and thoughtful like a typical male lead, but he wasn't afraid to voice his feelings.  He wasn't a complete emotional doormat like other second male leads, which was really refreshing.

The breakout star of the whole thing, though, was Han Chae Ah as Seo Yoo Kyung.  In the first few episodes, I thought I would despise her, but then she became delightfully funny and complex.  Even when the rest of the show became a gigantic mess, she continued to shine in her scenes.
Let's just make a show about her and skip everyone else. 
The other character who went from hatred to love was the brother.  He seemed overly overbearing at first, but by the end I was begging for more of his love/hate relationships with both Kim Shin and future Mirae.  

Awwww, oppa surrounded by his two sisters (or, to be more accurate, his one sister twice)!  So heartwarming!

Where It All Went Wrong

As I said, those first few episodes bought Marry Him If You Dare  a lot of time before I suddenly came to the realization that I wasn't enjoying it anymore and that I hadn't been enjoying it for a while.  The sad reality is that Marry Him If You Dare is boring.  Not typical kdrama draggy middle episodes boring, either.  It's stab-yourself-in-the-arm-just-to-make-sure-you-can-still-feel boring.  Thinking back, I can remember maybe three scenes from roughly episode 7 to episode 15.  It all blends together into a hazy mush that you could feed to people as a tranquilizer.

As if being boring wasn't bad enough, the writers completely tanked 3/4 of the main love square.  Seo Yoo Kyung was consistent, but the other three leads were infuriating.  What began as a backbone in Se Joo turned into relentless nagging as he wouldn't let Mirae go even after it became clear that she would never love him.  Kim Shin did all kinds of logical contortions to make his consistent noble idiocy seem like it made sense.  Instead of building his relationship with Mirae, we watched them run away from each other episode after episode (after episode after episode after episode...).

And then, stuck between these two men who inexplicably loved her, we have Mirae.  The alternative title of Mirae's Choice suggests that the entire premise focuses on the balance between fate and choice.  At several times throughout the show, I applauded when Mirae announced that she wanted to take control of her own life and make decisions independent of other people.  That kind of talk struck me as good ground for a strong kdrama heroine.  But even as Mirae's words said one thing, her actions consistently said something else.  Every time someone offered a reason why she shouldn't date the man she wanted, it put her totally out of emotional commission for the rest of the episode.

Your mouth says "strong female," but your face says, "I have a bad case of motion sickness."

By the end of the series, we are supposed to believe that Mirae has made the right choice to lead her into a future of happiness that her original path wouldn't have held.  The big problem, however, is that I'm not convinced that Mirae actually changed in significant ways from the beginning of the series to the end.  Yes, she became more confident and found fulfillment in her job, but that wasn't the part of her life that led to the tragic future in the first place.  The debt was the outside stressor, but it was Mirae's building resentment over their hardships that caused her to lash out at Kim Shin in the end.  In the final few episodes of the altered reality, that stressor is gone, but Mirae still doesn't know how to cope with her trials.  She cries over things like office gossip, she strings Park Se Joo along because she doesn't have the communication skills to make her feelings clear, and she becomes tearful and irate when things don't go her way.  That doesn't sound like resilient character development, does it?

Ultimately, I didn't like or empathize with Mirae, and that was one of the biggest weaknesses in this show.  She was upbeat, positive, and strong in her professional life, but in her personal life, she came off as self-centered and petulant.

The Ending (MAJOR SPOILERS)

If I still cared about Mirae by the end of the series, this is how I would have felt about the finale:



 It's like the writers realized that they had squandered the last ten episodes, so they had a contest to see who could make the most disastrous choices for the finale.  Let's have a heart-to-heart about that pile of pig excrement they called a last episode, shall we?
  • If we're talking about "selfless" moves gone wrong, Mirae's breakup with Se Joo takes the cake.  Your "gift" to him is doing what you want and telling him to try again later?  You're not fooling anyone, Mirae.  
  • The ONLY good thing here is that Yoo Kyung didn't end up with Se Joo.  This whole time, I've been wondering why switching one event changed his entire love fate, but apparently nothing can change Mirae's fate to love Kim Shin.  Weird, right?  Well, Yoo Kyung deserves someone better than this guy anyway.  Why did he have to turn into such an obsessive crazypants?
  • So Mirae only wants to date Kim Shin if he's not in debt anymore?  What kind of life lesson is that?
  • Remember how it was an ENORMOUS deal that future Mirae's timeline couldn't change, regardless of what past Mirae did? And then, in the very next episode, past Mirae is like, "I'm gonna put stuff in a box for you to dig up in the future!"  AND IT WORKS?  I know that narrative logic isn't your strength, dear drama writers, but this just feels lazy.  
  • Speaking of lazy writing, future Kim Shin is suddenly alive?  How did his wife not know this? No takesies backsies on suicide, guys!
  • Aaaaaaaaaaaand then that freeze frame at the end.  I'm not always opposed to ambiguity, but again, this feels like random laziness more than purposeful writing.  In a show called Mirae's Choice, MIRAE NEVER ACTUALLY MAKES A CHOICE.  Then again, the way the show developed over the last few episodes undermined either choice anyway. The obvious pick would be Kim Shin, but even that option felt sour by the end of episode 16.  Poor Kim Shin.  He deserves better, too.  
  • Yoon Eun Hye didn't kiss a single person in this entire series.  What a waste.

Overall

This series is just a pity.  It could (and should) have been so much better, but it just wasn't.

If you want to watch Marry Him If You Dare (but seriously, why would you?), you can see it here:

Viki

Other opinions on this series:
1 2 3


Note: After a recent layout switch, we're seeing comments posted before April 7, 2017 missing on a few posts. We're working on a solution, and in the meantime, any new comments you leave will work!

Comments

  1. The one GIANT mystery to me about this trainwreck of a turdfest is how Dramabeans can like and defend it up to and specifically including the final two mindmelting episodes! Clearly they are in a parallel universe where this thing had some redeeming features. Other than the character of Yoo Kyung and the performance of Han Chae Ah. Can someone PLEASE give her a lead with Kim Jae Wook? Pretty please?! PLEASE!

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    1. I generally avoid other reviews until I'm done writing my own, so I was absolutely shocked when I saw how positive Dramabeans managed to be about the whole thing. I guess someone had to like it, right?

      Agreed about Han Chae Ah. I actually discovered that she was the lead in a series called Hero, but I don't know much about it.

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  2. OMG you just put to words everything I was feeling, I just...ugh....I want to scream at this writer. This drama had so much potential it could have been such a fun and beautiful story but it was so poorly written -_-...what a waste of actors...I hope someone remakes this drama (if that's allowed)

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    1. Well, given how a lot of dramas have VERY similar stories, I wouldn't be surprised if a better version of this came up sooner or later!

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  3. I still liked Se Joo through the whole series. He was the only one who seemed to stand up and go after what he really wanted. I also think there were signs that Mi Rae would end up with him rather than Kim Shin. I think she finally came around to loving him because she wanted to make herself a better person for him and asked him to come back to her later. When she put her hand on Se Joo's during their back hug, I thought "a-ha! She does care about him!"
    But yeah- horrible ending! Usually it's the second lead actor that's left hanging, not the viewer!!

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    1. That's an interesting take on Se Joo/Mirae, and it's definitely more positive than how I saw it! For me, the fact that she looked like she wanted to cry every time Park Se Joo came near her made it hard to believe that her feelings could develop beyond resignation into love. That's why I was so frustrated by the "I'll be a better person for you" thing. Instead of giving him the clean break he deserved (because he was so great until she broke him!), it was just stringing him along even longer. But if she really did grow to love him, then her response wouldn't be so terrible, I guess.

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    2. I agree with Sejoo/ Mirae as she told Miranda that money and power can't change someone's heart. I believe she was touched by his love and care for her and therefore wanted to be someone who could do the same for him. Mirae said she wanted to be someone who was able to give him back the love he gave her. Also, she refused to break up with Sejoo even when Miranda said that she would banned KIm SHin from returning to the broadcasting world if she doesn't break up with Seejoo. If Mirae cares about KIm Shin more than Sejoo, she would do anything to save and help him especially knowing that it is Kim Shin's dream to return as an anchor.

      Also, I believe she was happy and surpised to see Sejoo at the end in the book store as he changed his flight to return a day ealier without letting Mirae know in order to surpise her and spend Christmas eve with her. I would be so thrilled if I got such a wonderful surprise too.

      The issue for Kim Shin to leave Mirae and to treat her the way he did was so that he will not end up committing suicide later as he asked Future Mirae why did she return to the time when the son died. He asked if it was something else. He obviously was more concern about his well being than to selflessly love Mirae against all odds. Maybe that was the reason he never took the chance to date her for the past 3 years...

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    3. hi, just out of curiosity , how do you concluded Seejo prepond his flight to be with mirae on christmas eve.. i soo badly wanted sejoo & mirae to end up together i didnt get the hint in the drama.. though i have myself some other logic to be happy & get over higly disappointed open ending ..

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    4. In reply to your question, when Seejoo arrived at the airport, his secretary apologized for being late to pick him up as he only received the news that Seejoo was arriving a day earlier than planned. Even while driving Seejoo in the car, he asked Seejoo if there was a reason for him to come back a day earlier than planned? Seejoo said there was no particular reason but wanted to confirm the day was the 24th Dec. So it was clear he changed his flight to come back to surprise mirae on the day that her book got released :) Such a romantic gesture!

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    5. thanks a lot!! i missed out that part somehow..that makes me a lot happy now...anyways Kim Shin was in korea so they had ample time to meet with each other and stay in touch with each other..that surprised reaction should have been for see jooo :) :)

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  4. I thought the ending and most of the drama was a refreshing change from the usual.
    The main characters actually worked on themselves and grew. Mirae became a whole person not, just someone who defined herself by obtaining the boyfriend/husband.
    And allowing the viewer to choose her/his own ending was a great ending!

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  5. I haven't seen the finale yet, but I'll try to keep an open mind to it. “Lie to Me” writer Kim Ye Ri and “Coffee Prince” writer Jang Hyun-joo need to collaborate on something for YEH. I would love to see YEH star in a rom-com with either Gong Yoo or Kang Ji-hwan. I think she has great chemistry with them. I've only seen "Lie to Me", "Coffee Prince", "I Miss You" and "Marry Him if You Dare" and just started watching "Princess Hours". I wish she would do more movies though.

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  6. I fell in love with Yoon Eun Hye in Coffee Prince, and Lie to Me did not disappoint me. I Miss You was a little painful to watch.. the story line, the long drawn out episodes before the finale sucked. I watched 5 minutes of MHIFD, I decided I am better off watching Heirs. Thank you for confirming my decision not to waste any more of my time watching this series. I feel so much better now. -Mye

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  7. mmmmm I actually liked this drama. My only real beef was the ending. I cannot STAND open endings. Ever. I always feel cheated. It makes me feel like they just didn't feel like doing their job so they left me, the unpaid viewer, to write it for them. I'm imaginative but still, I've been with you this far, just keep writing! I don't need a "deep thoughts" experience after watching a show like this. Just end it! lol

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  8. I think you're supposed to realize that Mi Rae ends up with Kim Shin, which is why she leaves the baby pics in the box. She's telling future Mi Rae that the baby lived and grew up.

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    1. So insightful. I agree this makes the ending perfect.

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    2. One of the reviews on Dramafever pointed out that Mi Rae's nephew has the same name as her son. I went back to check, and the little boy who plays her nephew looks very similar to the boy in the photos. Just another mystery to add to the mix!

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    3. i guess writers got confused so couldnt wrap it up logically.was it cancelled or something like that why were they in hurry to end the drama leaving audience hanging.. coz there are soo many dots left hanging which are difficult to connect ...open ending is ok..but atleast give content to audience to have their reasonable ending.. what abt parallel universe theory ...& the second lead lady whom they introduced as beyatch..what wrong did she do ?? why was she considered bad?? it was nice concept with great actors they could have done soo much better ..

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  9. yuuup... this drama really making me confused... at least in ending,,, i'm curious, mirae choose Se Joo or kim Shin????? it didn't reveal obviously... cz mirae said to se joo to give her the ring if se joo still love her after he come back from his study, it means, mirae gave him a hope. it's just like no ending between their love... and about the box.. its really weird.. it says that what future Mirae did in her past didn't make any change in her future, but why the box can be in her house... but in this drama, i feel sorry for kim shin...after all his pressure and miserable, mi rae who loves him not in his side...

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  10. if that is soo..didnt future mi rae will have grown up baby ?? whats the point of leaving the photos to tell that ..

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  11. I got so conflicted with this kdrama. most of the time I got bored and irritated by the characters except se joo then the next I am so twitterpated. The most painful part of this is that it's has an open ending. You don't know who she chose between the two. no closure for the main characters. overall I didn't like it.. I just thought I would because of eun yun hye and the actors. so sad.

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  12. exactly how i felt...i was cursing by the end. last scene doesn't even makes sense since they both live in different dimension...it could have been good, but sadly it wasn't :(

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  13. i left the series half way...

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  14. I love it!
    i love what you did here and what you're doing my only regret is that i didn't read this before i started watching!!
    seriously how was see jo supposed to get the girl when the entier thing was only foccusing on how much she loved kim shin!! i had a bad feeling from the moment i noticed that she was still thinking of him till the verry last moment i mean come on see jo had no chance. NOT FAIR BRO
    basically she couldve had a nice life whit kim shin if the nami from the futur stayed in it. but i guess not.. #reallydisappointed
    In a show called Mirae's Choice, MIRAE NEVER ACTUALLY MAKES A CHOICE.

    hahaha this made my night! or day.. yes i stayed up all night watching omg omg

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  15. I liked how each person made their own healthy choices based on their dreams. Rae didn't chase after the rich guy or save the poor one she loved. She wanted to improve herself to bring something to the table. Shin took responsibility for his actions. Se joo pursued his original dreams and broke away from his grandma. Everyone took responsibility for their own happiness.
    I think she ended up with se joo and agree with raven chan.

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  16. At one point Rae said they were not compatible with shin. Don't think they could relive the past.

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  17. 牛鹿相爱时带上我September 29, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    Woah woah woah wait a sec. I'm on ep 5 right now. The only reason I watched this drama was for my dear Yonggie, who seems to have a pretty good chance of ending up with the girl he likes in a love triangle for the first time in his entire acting career, so who actually ends up with her? Is it Yonghwa or the other person who I plan on hating if he causes Yonghwa to act as a heartbroken adorable puppy again? It's only ep 5, not too late to stop watching

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  18. 牛鹿相爱时带上我September 29, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    So... Who did she end up with? Yonghwa or the other guy? If Yonghwa doesn't get her in the end then I can just stop watching like I did with bof when I realised the nice guy wasn't ever gonna get her

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  19. Stop while you still can! She doesn't choose either guy--or at least we don't know who she chose. The show ends on a freeze frame before we see who she ends up with. It's the worst. THE WORST.

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  20. Just finished watching the last episode and i am overwhelmed with fury!!!

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  21. well, i just watched until ep 7 and jump to the final episode, cause i'm really curious of who mi rae end up with. it's really annoying. i really like yonghwa's acting in this drama, and this is what i'm getting.

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  22. This drama... Where do I start?
    I could put of with the hairstyle. I found it "MiRae"ish... But that doesn't make things better.


    The initial episodes had me thinking about the drama like crazy. I was trying to predict awesome ways the story can go and blow my mind. In the end, I found the story going in a downward spiral of the repetition of the same things again and again.


    Some people said that PSJ was the one favoured by everyone and that's why the writer took another path later on. But I disagree, if there were enough scenes to prove Mi Rae's love for Kim Shin instead of the same noble idiocy repeating, I think the hearts of the public could have changed.


    When compared to heartstrings, I could see a massive improvement in Jung Hwa's acting skills. And the second lead female shined through the series.


    I was so excited about YEH's drama and in the end I stopped watching it halfway. Just read the recaps and came back to watch the last episode with a hope that "we'll see the final choice" and bam an open ending at our face. I was dead. -_-.


    Some people say she chose "herself'. But that wasn't convincing to me.


    The story could have done so sosososo well. The concept was amazing, the actors were amazing. The cinematography in the first few episodes ( MiRae going skinny dipping) scenes were just awesome. But the writer pulled it all down and it became one of the few dramas I abruptly stopped watching.

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