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Mystic Pop-up Bar: Episode 1

Mystic Pop-up Bar is the latest from JTBC, a bright and fun drama that mixes magical dream-walking with revenge, which makes a surprisingly fun combination. Our long-lived heroine is living her afterlife on Earth, atoning for something in her past, but her time is almost up. She needs someone to help her, which is where a very confused yet gifted human comes in. I already love their chemistry and can’t wait to see more!

  
EPISODE 1 RECAP

Five hundred years ago.

A young girl staggers through the woods, making her way to an ancient tree high above Hanyang. People hold ceremonies and offering to the gods at the Sacred Tree, and the girl destroys the altar in a fit of anger.

A short flashback shows us the same girl, WOL-JOO (Park Shi-eun), sitting beside a sleeping woman. As the woman suffers from a nightmare, Wol-joo holds her hand and concentrates. Afterward, she tells the woman’s worried family that her husband’s body is buried in the wrong place, so he’s been yelling at her in her dreams. She suggests moving his body to a sunnier spot, thus restoring the woman’s health.

Wol-joo is greatly respected in Hanyang for her dreamcatching powers, which she’s used to solve a lot of the villagers’ problems. Her mother, a shaman, wants Wol-joo to stop dreamcatching and get married, but Wol-joo enjoys helping people. She reassures her mother that she’ll marry when she finds her true love.

Eventually the queen, who’s come to pray to the Sacred Tree regarding the crown prince’s lingering illness, hears about Wol-joo’s unique ability. Wol-joo is summoned to the palace to read the crown prince’s dreams (Song Geon-hee, I love him!), and learns that the crown prince is being haunted by the vengeful spirits of those who died at the hands of the royal family.

She tells the queen that the spirits must be comforted by moving their bodies to sunny places and holding memorials. But the queen doesn’t know where the bodies are buried, so Wol-joo returns to the palace for many nights in a row to ask the spirits in the crown prince’s dreams.

When she’s finished, the queen insists on rewarding Wol-joo despite Wol-joo’s insistence that she needs no payment. She showers Wol-joo with riches, but the expensive items only seem to make Wol-joo uncomfortable.

The crown prince recovers, but he also begins acting strangely, smiling at odd times and not hearing when people call out to him. The queen grows worried that he’s been bewitched, so she sends her maid to fetch Wol-joo.

When the maid enters the village, she hears vicious gossip about Wol-joo — that she must have done more than just read the crown prince’s dreams to have earned so much treasure. It’s nastily suggested that she’s been “servicing” the prince at night and mesmerizing him through his dreams.

Wol-joo’s mother has a vision, and what she sees has her sending Wol-joo away from the village. She even has Wol-joo put her hair up like a married woman, saying that there’s more to a marriage than a wedding, like love, and causing Wol-joo to gasp, “You knew?” Oh nooo, are Wol-joo and the prince in love?

Wol-joo sobs about being sent away alone, so her mother gives her the silver binyeo (hairstick) that she wears in her hair. She tells Wol-joo that if she holds the binyeo tightly, it will bring her the person she desperately seeks.

Not long after leaving the city, Wol-joo hears voices screaming. She runs home to find her house on fire with her mother still inside. Wol-joo cries and begs her mother not to die, but it’s too late. In a daze, Wol-joo makes her way to the Sacred Tree and smashes the altar, then she stand on the hill glaring down at the city. “Even in death,” she vows, “Even in death, I will curse you all.”

Wol-joo hangs herself from the Sacred Tree, and as her body swings in the night breeze, the binyeo falls from her hair onto the ground. The earth cracks violently, and the glowing gold cracks spread to the tree and burn the leaves from its branches. Tiny golden motes fill the air around Wol-joo’s body, and one of them flies high into the sky, landing five hundred years later in modern-day Seoul.

An elegantly-dressed woman serves a single customer in a pojangmacha, and the silver binyeo in her hair tells us that this is WOL-JOO all grown up (Hwang Jung-eum). She gives the customer a plate of food she didn’t order, saying that it’s on the house, then takes out a bottle of alcohol she calls “Like A Boss” (“You spend all day being tossed around, so you should at least drink like a boss.”)

Wol-joo takes in the customer’s sallow complexion and trembling hands, and she blurts out an excited, “I choose you!” She’s very invested in the customer venting her problems, and keeps urging her to tell her about her awful day, but the woman says that’s just life and not worth complaining about. HA, Wol-joo is so annoyed that she snaps at the woman to pay for her food.

Later, Wol-joo sighs at an electronic sign on the wall that says Mystic Pop-up Bar 99,990 and whines that getting to 100,000 isn’t easy. Behind the bar (and peeling way more onions than an empty pojangmacha needs) is MANAGER GWI(Choi Won-young). He tells Wol-joo dryly that it serves her right for hanging herself on the Sacred Tree, ha, and he complains that it’s her fault he’s stuck here as her manager.

Unperturbed, Wol-joo grumbles that there’s not much rational thought involved in suicide. She says that she needs to get into another line of business, like online chat, so that people won’t have to physically come to her. She even demonstrates how she’d host an online channel, with an unnecessary amount of aegyo, until Manager Gwi threatens to squish her.

He tells Wol-joo that he needs something to report to “the higher-ups,” but Wol-joo hasn’t opened the door to the Dream World in six months. Wol-joo snaps that it’s not easy to infiltrate a human’s dreams even to help them, bringing up several of her most famous clients.

HAHA, she’s definitely been doing this for a long time. She had terrified Nolbu into being a better brother, and even got Chunhyang (hilarious cameo by Hwang Bora) drunk on her special alcohol when the girl was about to give up on her love, Mongryong, and just give herself to the governor, thus buying time until Mongryong returns. Wol-joo even helped General MacArthur with her alcohol, ha.

But despite all the people she’s helped, Manager Gwi reminds her that she’s still ten short of her goal. He tells her to be nicer or people won’t open up to her, but she’s tired of being nice and of people in general. She argues that she’s not slacking, it’s just that nobody goes to pojangmachas much anymore.

Nearby, Wol-joo’s customer from the previous night works at her job handing out samples at a grocery store called Kapeul Mart. At the customer service desk is a meek young man named HAN KANG-BAE (Yook Sung-jae). Kang-bae avoids being touched by customers, because anyone who touches him seems compelled to tell him all their deepest, most personal secrets.

In a meeting after work, the sample lady, MI-RAN (Park Ha-na), wins Employee of the Month for the fifth month in a row. After the meeting, Kang-bae sighs that Mi-ran will be made a permanent employee soon, and a coworker chides him for chatting too much with customers and being too slow.

Kang-bae heads to a cafe to meet with an old school friend, Jin-tae, though he carefully avoids shaking hands. He tells Jin-tae that he’s the first person who’s called him since… but then he changes the subject. Hmmm, interesting.

When another customer bumps into Jin-tae and spills his drink, Kang-bae offers him a hanky and Jin-tae’s hand touches him. He starts confessing that he called Kang-bae because he works for a pyramid scheme, and Kang-bae was the only person stupid enough to think he’d be calling him just to get in touch. Kang-bae says that it’s still nice to see a friend, but Jin-tae spits that he’s only taking advantage of someone he’s always hated anyway. Ouch.

On his way home, Kang-bae sees a poster at the bus stop that says Share your true feelings and forge a beautiful relationship. He thinks to himself that in his twenty-seven years, he’s realized that to be on good terms with people, it’s best to stay unaware of their true feelings.

His musings are interrupted by his coworker, Mi-ran, standing in the street and cursing drunkenly at taxis. She lets out a primal scream, and Kang-bae wisely keeps to himself.

She’s back at work the next day, cooking up samples of Jeju pork. A customer begins eating up all her samples and rudely ordering her to make more, and when she’s not fast enough for him, he grabs the tongs from her hands and starts helping himself. He hurls insults at Mi-ran in between bites, broadly implying that she’s too stupid even for a menial job like this.

Watching the customer gobbling up all her samples, Mi-ran finally snaps. She screams and tries to take her tongs back, but the man shoves her to the floor. Mi-ran grabs a handful of raw pork and slings it at him but he ducks, and the pork hits Kang-bae, who was standing behind him, right in the face.

But suddenly a hand grabs the customer by the throat and silences him… it’s Wol-joo, who happens to be in the store. She lifts him completely off the ground and snarls that he’s a beggar, filling his gut with free food and insulting the one who provides it. She flings him halfway across the store, then sails out like a queen.

Of course, the entitled customer demands to see a manager, who orders Mi-ran to kneel and apologize. Kang-bae speaks up and says that the customer provoked Mi-ran, and that they should both apologize. But the manager reminds Kang-bae gruffly that he’s only a contract worker. He shouts at Mi-ran to kneel, but instead, she wordlessly walks out. Good girl!

Back at the Mystic Pop-up Bar, Manager Gwi fusses at Wol-joo for losing her temper and getting involved after she just said she hates the whole human race. Manager Gwi says that he doesn’t think she truly hates humans, she just has a nasty temper. HA, he’s not wrong.

Kang-bae runs into Mi-ran again on his way home, but this time she’s standing on the curb as if waiting for something. A truck approaches, and Kang-bae watches in horror as Mi-ran calmly and deliberately steps in front of it. He throws himself between her and the truck, which stops at the very last second, whew.

Once they’ve both calmed down, Kang-bae spots the Mystic Pop-up Bar nearby and invites Mi-ran to eat with him. Wol-joo makes them her special ssamjang and tries to entice Mi-ran to talk about her crappy day again, but Mi-ran claims that she was just preoccupied when she stepped in front of that truck.

Wol-joo calls her out on the lie, having witnessed what Mi-ran goes through at the hands of her customers. Mi-ran says that’s not what’s upsetting her, but she clams up again when Wol-joo presses her for the real reason.

Kang-bae returns, having run to the pharmacy for some ointment for Mi-ran’s scratched chin. She’s more worried about where she hit him with the pork, so she reaches out to touch him… and his ability kicks in. Mi-ran suddenly starts talking, and they learn the true reason behind her suicide attempt.

She says that it’s because of Assistant Manager Park, the same guy who ordered her to apologize, and who’s been sexually harassing her for months. He’s been verbally aggressive, letting her know that her job depends on her complacency to his advances, as well as physically grabbing her every chance he gets.

Wol-joo explodes with indignation and asks Mi-ran what she wants to do to Assistant Manager Park (Kang-bae is no help, having gotten adorably drunk while Mi-ran was telling her story). Mi-ran says she just wants him to know how it feels to be cornered with no way out.

Wol-joo sends Kang-bae to the restroom so she can talk to Mi-ran in private. She tells Mi-ran that she can make her wish come true, then offers her the special alcohol. This time Mi-ran drinks, and she immediately falls into a deep sleep.

Mi-ran finds herself in the store’s CCTV room, and on every screen is a different instance of Assistant Manager Park sexually harassing her. In one of them he approaches her from behind after the store closes, and she says invitingly that she’s been waiting for him. Excited, Assistant Manager Park reaches for her butt, but she grabs his hand and turns… and it’s Wol-joo.

She takes his hand and slams it down on the hot grill, then introduces herself angrily and does it again. Assistant Manager Park screams and tries to run, but wherever he goes, Wol-joo pops up in front of him like a ghost. He takes a knife from a shelf and brandishes it at her, but Wol-joo doesn’t seem at all intimidated.

Meanwhile, Kang-bae tries to return to the pojangmacha, but it fades and shifts in front of his eyes like a mirage. Eventually he makes it inside, but all he finds is Mi-ran asleep on the table. He puts a concerned hand on her back, and he’s instantly transported into her dream.

He follows Assistant Manager Park’s shrieks and sees him stabbing ineffectually at Wol-joo, so he grabs a shopping cart and runs at Assistant Manager Park, who falls into the basket and passes out. Startled, Wol-joo asks how Kang-bae got in here, because he wasn’t supposed to be able to see the bar and humans can’t enter other people’s dreams.

They’re interrupted by Manager Gwi casually wandering in, and Kang-bae asks how they got into Mi-ran’s dream. Manager Gwi tells him part of the truth — that they’re like spirits who help people by making their wishes come true. Wol-joo asks Manager Gwi how a human got into the Dream World, so Manager Gwi gestures at Kang-bae and causes a beam of light to shine from the top of his head.

He says that Kang-bae’s spiritual vision has been unlocked since birth, which makes him quite unique. He reassures Wol-joo that Kang-bae won’t remember anything, but Kang-bae is off on a personal tangent. He asks Wol-joo if she can change people, and she grumps that nothing is impossible for her.

Before Kang-bae can formally ask for help, Assistant Manager Park escapes the shopping cart and takes off, so they all give chase. He makes it outside, so Wol-joo stops running, removes the binyeo from her hair, and hurls it at him. It stops him long enough for her to kick him to the ground and stand on him.

Seeing him shaking and begging, Wol-joo asks how it feels to be cornered with nowhere to turn. Assistant Manager Park gets free and flees, but he runs right into Manager Gwi, who grabs him by the throat. Assistant Manager Park wets himself from fear, and with Wol-joo’s permission, Manager Gwi easily flings him halfway across the city.

Mi-ran is still locked in the Dream World security room, so Wol-joo, Manager Gwi, and Kang-bae let her know it’s okay to come out. She’s ashamed to let anyone see her being harassed, but Kang-bae tells her that she’s the victim and did nothing wrong. He makes her laugh over the image of Assistant Manager Park peeing himself, and he tells Mi-ran that when she wakes, she needs to make sure he’s punished for real.

Wol-joo gets impatient and tells Mi-ran that she can just live her life being bullied. Manager Gwi drags her away before she kicks down the door, but Mi-ran suddenly emerges. Wol-joo tells her that when she drinks at Mystic Pop-up Bar, she becomes a boss, so it’s time to stop giving Assistant Manager Park all the power and stand up to him. Her words finally get through, and Mi-ran says with growing confidence that she’ll live that way from now on.

The next day, Mi-ran tells the store manager what Assistant Manager Park has been doing to her. Not only does he promise to see Assistant Manager Park punished, but he thanks Mi-ran for being brave enough to speak up. Later, the rude customer from yesterday apologizes to her for the way he acted, and HAHA, we see that he also got a little dream visit from Manager Gwi last night — so that’s why Manager Gwi was in the Dream World!

Mi-ran gets a little teary-eyed, because it’s the first time anyone has ever apologized to her. She thanks Kang-bae for taking her home last night, but oddly, he doesn’t remember anything. Mi-ran says that she only remembers eating at the pojangmacha, but that she woke up today feeling great.

That evening, Kang-bae suddenly remembers Manager Gwi tossing Assistant Manager Park across the city like a ragdoll. It feels like a memory of something that really happened, and he steps on Wol-joo’s silver binyeo, it triggers the memory of Wol-joo flinging it at Assistant Manager Park’s head. Kang-bae realizes that it all really happened, and that he must have truly entered Mi-ran’s dream.

Wol-joo’s electronic sign reflects her success with Mi-ran, flipping to 99,991. As she and Manager Gwi share a celebratory drink, they’re joined by CHIEF YEOM (Lee Joon-hyuk), one of the spiritual “higher-ups” that Manager Gwi has been so worried about. Wol-joo proudly tells him of her accomplishment, but he says he’s here with a serious message from the god of the underworld.

A vision of QUEEN YEOMRA (Yeom Hye-ran) hovers over the table and tells Wol-joo that she’s cutting her atonement period short — she has one month to settle nine more grudges. If she can’t complete her task by then, Wol-joo will perish in the depths of hell.

Her message ends, so Chief Yeom explains that Queen Yeomra has been getting a lot of complaints about Wol-joo, saying that all she does is eat and drink and that it’s not much of a punishment. Wol-joo argues that she’s been working hard for five hundred years, but Chief Yeom reminds her that the dead who have to complete such tasks are normally only given three hundred years, and that Queen Yeomra granted her a generous extension.

Wol-joo shoots him a death-glare so Chief Yeom quickly takes his leave. She gets ready to go pass out coupons, wishing she had some sort of magnet that would bring people to her, then she remembers Kang-bae’s ability and gets an idea. Nearby, the magnet… oops, I mean Kang-bae… recalls that Wol-joo said in Mi-ran’s dream that she can change people, and he also gets an idea.

They each set out to find the other, and they connect on a footbridge. Kang-bae asks if Wol-joo can help him, and she says she’ll do everything she can, but she wants something in return, “I need your body.” She takes back her mother’s silver binyeo and pokes it into Kang-bae’s chest.

In voiceover we hear Wol-joo’s mother’s voice echoing across five hundred years:

You won’t be alone. Whenever you need extra strength, hold this binyeo tightly. It will bring you the person you desperately seek.

 
COMMENTS

Right now, and I mean this in all the best possible ways, Mystic Pop-up Bar reminds me a lot of Hotel del Luna. The tragic backstory of a young woman horribly wronged and cursed with eternal life in the service of others… both even have a Sacred Tree that seems to be the root (pun intended) of it all. But Hotel del Luna was such a good story that I’m not at all mad that Mystic Pop-up Bar is here to deliver more reluctant benevolence from a grumpy-but-fabulous proprietress. The only difference so far is that Man-wol served the dead, and Wol-joo serves the living. And speaking of glamorous leading ladies, can we talk about Hwang Jung-eum?! She’s absolutely stunning, both in her appearance (her makeup and clothing are just breathtaking) and in her performance so far, and I’m so excited to see her on my screen again.

That said, Mystic Pop-up Bar still manages to distinguish itself as its own show, and with only one episode under my belt, the best way I can describe that difference is that it has a completely different tone. Hotel del Luna carried the gravitas and sorrow of Man-wol’s situation from her past all the way into the present. But Wol-joo was a cheerful, happy girl who only experienced a short tragic period, and she seems to live her modern life in a much more easy-going, flippant manner. She’s colorful and expressive, almost bigger than life.

The casting here is great — Hwang Jung-eum is infamous (and often criticized) for her sometimes manic, over-the top energy, but it really works for Wol-joo. The character is understandably fed up with people after being forced to coax nearly a hundred thousand losers into becoming better human beings, so Hwang Jung-eum’s shrieks and harsh tones are an appropriate expression of her frustration. Yook Sung-jae’s Kang-bae is an adorably wide-eyed and good-hearted cinnamon roll, and seeing Choi Won-young in a lighter role for a change is really fun. If the show follows the story-of-the-week formula I’m expecting, we can look forward to a lot of great cameos, and I’m excited to see who comes on board to subject themselves to Wol-joo’s uniquely aggressive form of therapy.

There is definitely a lot more to unpack in Wol-joo’s past than what we’ve seen, and I have an ominous feeling that the Crown Prince is involved. The way he was acting after meeting Wol-joo, and her asking her mother if she “knows,” lead me to believe that the two fell in love while Wol-joo was reading the handsome prince’s dreams. This being the tragic story that it is, I have no doubt that their love wasn’t tawdry like the villagers assumed, but innocent and real, and that we haven’t seen the last of Wol-joo’s prince (I hope he’s not a firefly though — fireflies are so 2019, lol).

Kang-bae also seems to have a secret beyond his passive ability that compels people to tell him their secrets when he touches them. He mentioned to his old schoolmate that he hasn’t heard from anyone since something happened, and knowing that he’s always been a loner anyway because of his ability, it must have been pretty bad to make his few friends drop him. I already love Kang-bae because he’s so earnest yet pitiful, and I just wanna cuddle him and watch him come into his confidence and show up everyone who wrote him off. Considering that Wol-joo has enough confidence for three people, I know she’ll be a good influence on our poor sensitive Kang-bae. But all he wants is his unwanted otherworldly ability taken away, so I’m sure they’re about to enter into a strange but mutually-beneficial partnership, and I can’t wait to see the shenanigans they’re going to kick up together.

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I'm loving it so far, hope it keeps up the pace. All of the characters are likable despite us not knowing them too well and they have good chemistry.

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I am in the mood for a quirky show right now. Thank you @lollypip! Without your recap this would not have been on my radar.

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I’m completely here for the awesome hanbok fashion. I can’t wait to see more outfits, they are absolutely gorgeous.

I like all the characters and so far this seems to be a fun and quirky Drama.

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This is just the kind of light and breezy watch that I was looking for. The 3 leads portray interesting characters and the actors are able to hold their own. Having all 3 of them together is when their scenes become even more engaging. More backstory should be forthcoming. My question for now: how does a 500 year old heroine manage to look so good? Thanks for the recap! @lollypip

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The FL is actually more than 500 years 'old'- but she is also a ghost or spirit. When she was alive Seoul was not yet named that- she actually comes from the end of Goryeo- and must have spent a couple of centuries in The Hell of Cauldrons. She has been back in the land of the living for five hundred years.

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She also spent a long painful period reading the scroll of her sins, which caused her looks to age and Change from the Goryeo maiden to her current appearance.

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I knew there were details that I missed but didn’t bother to check them. I appreciate the clarification. Thanks!

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I can understand how people can be irritated in HJE but she's absolutely gorgeous in this one. Yes I can see similarities with Hotel, but HJE holds her place in this one. I'm in for more fun and quirky ways to comfort the wronged people in their dreams. I'll trust jtbc that this will be good

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Oh. And Choi Won Young..yeah I like this lighter role. I still can't shake off this image of him as the cold blooded killer in Hello Monster (aka I Remember You)

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I agree, I'm loving Hwang Jung-eum in this! I really like the cast and the trio so I can't wait for Sung-jae to join them as well

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I think it’s a good role for her too, she can be a bit too much for me sometimes but it really works here.

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This role fits perfectly with her energetic acting and the added makeup and beautiful clothes are a complete package.. I am already loving her. Besides, Choi Won Young is such a versatile actor, I remember him from his cameo as a loving father in Fox bride star and a supportive secretary in Kill me heal me to the negative role in Doctor Prisoner. Let's see how his story unfolds here!!

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And, don't forget, @bunnybean, his supportive father roll in SKY Castle. That's where I get the first impression from him.

Don't feel bad if I say this. Initially I feel offended by having this show's opening way too similar to Hotel del Luna, and I wanted to quit after watching Ep.1. But I am glad it is starting to distinguish itself later in Ep.2, and I am enjoying it now. In terms of opening a new drama line for a new time slot, JTBC has made a very good move by producing this drama. It will be, however, icing on the cake if it acknowledge the similarity with Hotel.

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It's always such a nice feeling when we really wants to quit a drama after initial episodes but after we stay a little longer we always feel it was so good that we didn't quit. @imperialtitus I totally understand your feeling here. And now after watching the latest episodes, I am enjoying it more and more!!!

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Met my expectation! I was really looking forward to this because I love Hwang Jung Eum (she picks hit or miss dramas but this is a hit for her) and I have been looking forward to Sungjae's acting since Goblin. Glad he picked up a good drama! This does give me a Hotel Del Luna vibe but hey, I'm digging this genre!

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Just throwing it out there....this is based on a webtoon that came out 3/4 years ago....I am guessing JTBC picked it up post Hotel Del Luna's success....and absolutely loving all 3 leads. I have missed Hawng Jung Eum...she is incredibly earnest when script requires it and looks drop dead gorgeous here. Hopefully this does well for all of them.

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This show looks so much fun. I'm hooked from the 1st episode.
I totally agree with
"Seeing Choi Won-young in a lighter role for a change is really fun"
Totally different from his role in Doctor Prisoner.
To me, his laid-back/relaxed acting is worth watching already (And
Hwang Jung-eum's hanbok!)
I'm looking forward to a lot of great cameos every espisode!

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I had some reservations going into this one, but I think things will be ok. Definitely looking forward to Manager Gwi's backstory ..... I'm assuming he has an interesting one based on the fact that actor Choi Won-young has this knack for picking roles involving quirky, offbeat, mysterious and/or just simply interesting characters. I'm hoping it's the case again here.

I'm glad we quickly got to see some of the events that have surely contributed to who Wool-joo is, temperament and personality-wise. Hwang Jung-eum's acting style works with this character and I think she'll do just fine.

Finally, yes, the hanbok fashion! Simply gorgeous. Thanks for the recap LollyPip!

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Ah so I wasn't the only one reminded of Del luna from this.
Tbh, the first 500 years ago scenes were interesting but then I suddenly found the flow inconsistent & didn't know what to make of it.
But then slowly realized the way they want to reveal things.
Also I'm glad that a lot of base rules have been explained over the first couple eps

Supernatural shows are def my catnip & this seems light & fun, for now. Don't let me down show!!!

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Kang-bae jumping in front of the truck was hilarious. Thank DramaGods the brakes worked 🤣

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The brakes seem to be working nowadays in dramaland, this and The World of the Married

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2020 might be the year where the truck of doom is no longer a truck of doom. I suddenly miss @sincerelytod HAHAHA

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I don't think so, ToD was perfectly successful in The King xD

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Truck of Doom moved to the North for location filming of Crash Landing on You and has had issues with re-entry. >_>

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Made me laugh so much 😄 I fully expected a “whirl her out of the way of the truck” moment

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PPL for a brake manufacturer?

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That reminds me this show is not doing any PPL so far I think right? Or I'm missing something?

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If I'm correct, the beer they drink and the hangover pill that Sungjae takes were PPL. There might have been more. So far, they've been decently subtle though, which I applaud.

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Should have said - PPL for a pedestrian-avoidance / automatic-braking system, as opposed to the pedestrian-seeking automatic-acceleration systems we normally see in kdramas.

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The way he tried to protect the girl without touching her was even more funny! I almost expected they would jump togather to nearby footpath, but Whoa!!! That was unexpected!!!

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I enjoyed the first week. Loving all the characters/actors and the cameos. I hope prince makes an appearance somehow. There will have to some underlying plot to keep it interesting and I have a feeling it will make an appearance next week.

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Thank you for recapping this! I enjoy Kdramas so much more if there’s a Dramabeans recap (no other sites recap even half as well as Dramabeans). Right now I’m starting to regret getting into this right from the start. I’ve been binge watching older shows so having to wait a week is HARD! I’ve already seen both episodes this week and it’s gotta strong start. Loving seeing HJE again (Kill Me Heal Me is my all time fav KDrama) and the hanbok fashion is awesome.

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It took a while for me to puzzle out why Yoo-joo is being punished or rather has to atone for a great sin. She was an innocent victim until her death- it was her death itself that was the crime- or rather the specific way that she went about it. This is the significance of Manger Gwi's remark about her having hung herself from the Sacred Tree. This idea may have been borrowed by the writer from Pagan Scandinavia and specifically the worship of Odin. At the main shrine to Odin in Uppsala (Sweden) was a Sacred Tree- where human sacrifice was done- by hanging the victims from that tree. So when Yoo-joo hung herself from the Sacred Tree it served as a sacrifice in support of her curse- upon the entire city below. That curse thus had huge power. It undoubtedly hurt a great many people. Thus the need to help one hundred thousand people to atone for her crime. Her response to Gwi that suicide does not involve rational thought is not an excuse in the eyes of Heaven- other than being the reason why she has been given a chance to atone for what she did rather than being sent straight to hell.

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Meanwhile, Sacred Tree gets around. We saw it in Faith and Hotel del Luna. Must have a good agent.

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One who was even smart enough to keep Sacred Tree out of FOREST.

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I also love how all the deities are keeping up with fashion and seem to be using celestial ipads with holograms.

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Wasn't there some supernatural tree in another drama about a coffee shop with magic potions they added to customer coffee? I didn't finish it, and can't recall the name.

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I know what you mean - I dropped it too and don't recall the name.

But that show had a different tree. I was referring to the same physical real-world tree with the ring of stones around it.

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It's in Kingmaker (Wind/Cloud/Rain) day 1 too.

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Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter... I recapped that one, too :)

She had a coffee shop and sold special coffees with different effects, and she had her own coffee bush outside the shop.

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It was Evergreen, which had another more literal name I can't quite remember. It was a legendarily pointless drama so I'm not surprised nobody remembers it. It was the only drama where the antagonist was a tree. As far as I'm aware.

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Evergreen! That's the one I was thinking of.

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Yeah, I also thought it was all about suicide. As in many religions(stated in Goblin also) suicide is considered as the biggest crime. But as we are give more clarification in the 2nd episode, there is still more to it.

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Thank you for the explanation! I thought she was being punished because she had chosen the sacred tree to hung herself.

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Actually it appears that you were closer to the truth than I- at the end of Episode 2 [spoiler redacted]

So we both got it partially right- I understood that it was the effect of what she did on the people of her country which was the problem but you were right in thinking that the problem was with the tree itself.

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No spoilers please! The recap for episode 2 will be published soon and then you can talk about the ending. Please keep all discussion under this recap to events in Episode 1.

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True.

It’s not the suicide she’s entirely atoning for, it’s the curse. Words are powerful, esp coming from a person who’s holding grudges, with special powers and dying in a sacred tree.

Can’t wait how the backstory will unfold. Writer-nim, please don’t disappoint.

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A good start! I’m interested in all the characters and looking forward to more. I haven’t seen Hotel del Luna but am more am curious about it now.

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as people have mentioned, this reminds me also of Pegasus Market!
SATU!!

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Thanks for the recap! This is very interesting!! I honestly intended to watch this regardless of the story because it just looks crazy and funny, but this pilot episode turned out to be good. I like it =D

I feel bad for young Wol Jool. Humans have failed her. At first I couldn't see how that kind, soft-spoken young lady became a loud-mouthed, ill-tempered woman. It didn't feel like the same person. But after everything she's experienced and witnessed, yeah I get. Her story with the prince would've been cute though hihi. I also think there's more to it and I'm excited to see it =))

I love Han Kang Bae. He's burdened by his ability and that's really sad, but it's also because of his gift that he's grown to be very sensitive of others. But why did he put himself infront of the truck?? Hahaha

Yes I agree, it's refreshing to see Choi Won Young in a light drama. And I'm glad that Manager Gwi also taught that rude customer a lesson, though I don't know if that's within their rules hihi

That supervisor was annoyiiiiing. At first I was disappointed because the revenge was only happening on Mi-ran's dream and not his. But good thing he was made to pay in real life too. And I'm glad that the show has emphasized that victims don't need to be ashamed because they didn't do anything wrong. Way to go!

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I love the trio and enjoying the drama so far! The Chief (supposed to be God of Death?) and Queen Yeomra cracks me up. I am looking forward how Wool-ju’s story with the Crown Prince unfolds.

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The premiere week was interesting. They've laid out the world rules well and can't wait to find out more about how things work.

Considering we only have 10 lives to 'fix' or help, there'll be hiccups along the way. And can't wait for the cameos!

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Fireflies are so 2019.. ROFL! Thank you @lollypip for the laugh. I still love that firefly though. I am glad I started this kdrama, the sort of light story as a break from the cheating husbands, teenage crimes, and over the top fan service dramas. =)

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When I read that firefly line I was like, "Oh please no..no..no..no!"

And let's see if I can get this right...
cheating husbands = The World of the Married?
teenage crimes = Extracurricular?
over the top fan service = Lee Min-ho in The King?
😂😂😂😂
I'm not watching either of my first two guesses, but The King does feel like a fan service and the PPL is over the top🤔🙊😁

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3 out of 3 @strawberriesncreams. LOL!.

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I am loving it! Something light (yet ep 2 made me cry so much) and fun after a stressful TWOTM and the very confusing The King.

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I really enjoyed the first two episodes! I haven’t finished any dramas with Hwang Jung-eum in them but I’m really liking her in this one. As many have said, it’s definitely reminiscent of Hotel Del Luna but considering how often plots are recycled in kdramas I’m not too worried about it if it’s done well.

Hwang Jung-eum definitely carries it for me though, with her spunky attitude. I’m looking forward to the next set of episodes.

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Could you tell what Wol Joo is being actually punished for? The scroll at the end of ep2 said something else, right?

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I liked the whole premises around the helping hand to the people by solving their grudges. This definitely reminded me of HDL + Goblin(10%) + Harry Potter (music & cinematography) + Inception ( dream world+ inception of ideas). But I'm liking the squad and their complimentary behavior towards each other, as HJE being the angry lady and main character, CWY the peacemaker and Sungjae as the innocent and pure human being. What a team guys! I'm still expecting more funny and hilarious moments from the show and I'm sticking with it!!

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I haven't watched Hotel del Luna, so I can't get any reference to that drama. And I really don't mind, as the story is so far funny and I love how it will be developed: 11 episodes left and 10 lives to save. I guess it will be one per episode and I love that idea.
So far, I'm liking the characters and I'm totally in love with the hanbok fashion. I need it in my life!

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I liked first episode and it was mostly due to powerful opening sequence. It was beautiful, tragic and absolutely wonderful.
I did feel that WOL-JOO is copy of Man-wol. She has huge temper and great fashion sense. HJE looks great. I am generally not fond of her acting but currently my feeling for her acting are not hampering my enjoyment of the show.

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As I said before, the show is heavy on Hotel de Luna vibe with a side dish of Pegasus Market. It was good that the backstory started episode one with the same theme of HDL. And the basic shamanistic rules are also clear. It seems dream therapy is a more apt way to to heal a person's mental anguish and regrets than the unorthodox/ethically suspect means in Soul Repairer.
I think this show can hold its consistent approach because it was a pre-produced drama.

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I agree with everyone- this role totally suits Hwang Jung-eum and all three actors have had good chemistry from the very first minute.
Thanks for sharing references to those stories on Nolbu and Chunhyang LollyPip.
Btw Hwang Bo-ra's cameo and Wol-joo's mother with her binyeo (isn't she the actress who played the villain there?) gave me Arang and the Magistrate flashbacks.
I'm excited for the weekly dose of laughter from this drama.

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"Kang-bae is an adorably wide-eyed and good-hearted cinnamon roll" - thank you for that. He really is. So funny when he stopped the Truck of Doom without touching his co-worker, gladly it worked.
As many commented above, I really like our trio, especially Choi Won-young is a delight, so different from anything I have seen him in, his laid-back fashion is also a delight to watch (continuing in the next episode).
I am excited for all the cameos to come, I love the dream world, and the "small stage" setting inside the tent, just our trio plus the weekly guest and a lot of onions in need of cutting.

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Agree to you I like the TRIO.

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I liked it well enough, it wasn't my favorite, but ill continue to watch.

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1. WOW this is so similar to Hotel Del Luna
2. Ok but it might be really good anyway so I don't care.

(comments: webtoon about 3 years old) OoohoOooho so this might have come first.

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Felt the Hotel-del-Luna vibes too (totally not a bad thing). So far though, Mystic is shaping up to be its own awesome of a show and I will keep watching!💕

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I agree that there's a similarity with hotel del luna that's the very first thing I noticed when I saw the sacred tree but this drama is more light that HDL. More laughter and no scary ghost. I'm liking Hwang Jung Eum's make up in this drama it really suits her. Watched the two epsodes and I'm liking the trio. Can't wait to see the next episode :D

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Oh, this is fun! I do love a lighter supernatural drama. Not too concerned about similarities with past dramas- most of us like these tropes and settings for one reason or another so count me in for the ride :D

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Loved the pilot episodes! I'm really happy that this was pre-produced. This kind usually does well with pacing and ending so yay!

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As you guys know the rating is so low in this despite great story and actors and there is a reason. In korra people are boycotting this show and telling others not to watch it even out of curiosity..because the pd is involved in a scandle about a girl who killed herself in 2009... i really feel sad for actors . Is it really a proper punishment??anyway sorry but i am gonna enjoy it because he is gonna be paid anyway and he is only a little part of it and it is soooo unfair to actors which i love

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several news article came out today. the pd is cleared of this charge.

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Just finished the first episode. It reminds me so much of Hotel del Luna, that I am not sure if I want to keep going or not. Also, only took 17 minutes for Hwang Jung-Eum to scream (i am a traumatized person from her screams in she was pretty and kill me heal me)

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The setup and background is similar to hotel de Luna but the story and where it takes seems to be very different. Personally I enjoy this more because of how predictable hotel del luna was lol I could guessed at least 3 times what the next script or action the characters will be doing EVERY SINGLE episode lol it was way too “textbook”, the script, the characters, the plot, even the music lollll this on the other hand has a lot more hearts into the characters where they feel more real?

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Thanks for the recap.

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Very impressed with the first episode! They laid out the premise smoothly and the trio is a riot. I missed Hwang Jung Eum and so glad that I got to see her antics again. Her banter with Choi Won Young and Sungjae was one of the highlights and I can say that the drama was well casted based on the first episode. Can’t help but miss Sungjae though everytime i see him on screen. Thanks lollypip for recapping!

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It was a good first episode. I never watched HDL so obviously the similarities aren't going to resonate for me. I liked the style and the tone and the heightened sensibility. But the whole thing felt like the beginning of something episodic and I'm not sure how I feel about that. It actually reminded me of the first episode of a number of American shows, although they obviously wouldn't have the amazing hanbok action going on.

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What a creativity story I love that girl vow so cute and the dialogue are natural ...I love this drama and the boy power vow ..I cant imangie like this this story...so nice and the story is new

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