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Mystic Pop-up Bar: Episode 4

Our philanthropic otherwordly trio think they’ve found a quick and easy way to nab another point, but the situation becomes more personal than they expected. A life is at stake, and it’s up to them to convince the powers that be to have mercy. We also learn a bit more about one of the three, leading to some very interesting potential connections.

  
EPISODE 4 RECAP

A customer gets physical with Kang-bae for not processing a return without a receipt, but when he raises an arm to hit Kang-bae, a strong hand stops him. Kang-bae is shocked to see Yeo-rin, the former bodyguard, and she’s equally shocked to see him.

Yeo-rin lowers the customer’s hand (ha, love the machine sounds — she’s so strong!). Kang-bae’s friend Jin-dong runs up to say that the item the man wants to return is only sold online… he apparently bought it at a discount and is trying to return it for full price. Yeo-rin offers to physically remove the customer from the premises, but he goes meekly on his own.

Yeo-rin assumes that Kang-bae is targeting the store like he targeted the hotel chairman she used to work for, so she tries to take him to security. But this time Wol-joo intervenes, so Yeo-rin demands to know why a supermarket employee would be taking down corporate corruption. Wol-joo grumbles that they’re trying to meet a quota, and Yeo-rin asks if they’re with the NIS or something.

Wol-joo says vaguely that they work on a larger scale, and she calls out to a “Mr. Smith”… HAHAHA, it’s that one guy who’s in every drama when they need a white English-speaking actor (what is that guy’s name, anyway?).

He yells at Wol-joo in English that she’s exposed herself and him, but she argues that it’s better for Yeo-rin to learn the truth than to speculate. Mr. Smith apologizes to Yeo-rin for letting her get involved, and when Yeo-rin says he looks familiar, Wol-joo shows her an article naming him the new director of the CIA.

They let Yeo-rin assume that they’re all CIA secret agents. As soon as she’s gone, Mr. Smith speaks to Kang-bae in perfect Korean, then shakes his head to reveal that it’s just Manager Gwi in disguise again, hee.

While shopping for groceries, Wol-joo takes all the noodles in the store. An older lady asks for one bag, but Wol-joo says haughtily that she needs them all. The lady tries to sneak a bag out of her cart while she’s not looking, but Wol-joo catches her and accuses her of stealing.

Wol-joo is ready to throw down over the noodles, but the lady is aghast that such a young woman would try to fight her. She flatters the 500-plus-year-old Wol-joo into complacency by complimenting her beauty, and soon the two are fast friends.

The lady, whose name is Jeom-rae, tells Wol-joo that she uses these noodles in her grandson’s favorite soup. She offers to fix Wol-joo up with her grandson, but he turns out to be Jin-dong, Kang-bae’s work friend, and Wol-joo decides she urgently needs to be anywhere else, hee.

Mystic Pop-up Bar is closed while Wol-joo and Manager Gwi get ready for the field day. Admiring the signs Manager Gwi is making, Wol-joo asks what he was in a previous life, assuming he was highly educated, but he can’t seem to remember.

Kang-bae can’t stop thinking about Yeo-rin’s resistance to his ability. He follows her at a respectful distance after work, wondering why she’s not susceptible to his touch. She suddenly turns and asks why he’s following her, but Kang-bae insists he’s just going in the same direction.

He asks if she really has no feelings towards him, which she understandably misinterprets. She says she feels awkwardness, annoyance, discomfort, and frustration for him, and that she wishes he’d stay away from her.

Kang-bae hurries to Mystic Pop-up Bar, but when he bursts through the door, he finds himself in a sunny field, at some kind of parade of the dead. Wol-joo and Manager Gwi are working a food cart, and Manager Gwi explains that this is the Annual Dream World Lottery Battle.

To put it simply, souls compete in field day races, and the winner gets to visit a descendant in their dreams and give them the winning lottery numbers. Wol-joo tells Kang-bae that all of the souls here are worried about their descendants, so escorting the winner to their descendant’s dream automatically counts as a point for her.

A few souls sit at a table and talk about how much their descendants need to win the lottery. One soul in particular, SEOK-PAN (cameo by Jung Eun-pyo) is determined to win this year and save his family from generations of poverty. Just as Kang-bae delivers some snacks to their table, Seok-pan bellows his grandson’s name – Jin-dong.

Manager Gwi calls Kang-bae back to the cart to introduce him to Chief Yeom. It makes Kang-bae nervous to be so close to the personification of Death, but Chief Yeom is friendly and tells him that he helped with Landlady Andong’s case.

Back in the living realm, Jin-dong and his grandmother Jeom-rae watch dramas while eating dinner. Jin-dong offers Jeom-rae the savings account he’s been building up to pay for back surgery she needs, but she refuses to take his money and tells him to get use it to married. She says her back pain isn’t that bad, and the surgery wouldn’t help much at her age.

The lottery battle starts with a quiz competition, then continues with an obstacle footrace. Seok-pan does well in the race, but a nobleman named DO-YOUNG (cameo by Woo Hyun) openly cheats. Seok-pan also aces the limbo competition, but again Do-young cheats when nobody is looking.

Eventually it’s down to just the two of them, and they face each other in a one-legged chicken fight (this couldn’t possibly be more hilarious!). Do-young cheats again, poking Seok-pan in the butt with his hand then switching legs and kicking Seok-pan in the face. But Seok-pan pulls out his secret weapon, the hurricane windmill technique, which sends him spinning high into the air then down to knock Do-young to the ground. He won!

Seok-pan visits Jin-dong in a dream, excitedly showing him the winning lottery numbers one at a time. Meanwhile, it’s back to work as usual for Chief Yeom, who peruses the list of souls he’s supposed to reap tomorrow. Wol-joo and the others return from helping Seok-pan with his dream, and Wol-joo gets nosy and snatches the list… and oh no, Jin-dong’s name is on it.

Wol-joo is upset because if Jin-dong dies instead of winning the lottery, she doesn’t get her point for helping Seok-pan. Kang-bae and Seok-pan are more worried about Jin-dong himself, but Chief Yeom says kindly that he can’t change the list.

Seok-pan begs so pitifully that Chief Yeom relents and gives them some advice. He says that in order to change a persons’ destiny, you have to change the deity’s mind. But the only way to do that is with a great deed that touches even the deity’s heart.

Unfortunately, Seok-pan hasn’t done anything that meets the criteria, but Chief Yeom says that he can purchase good deeds from another soul with something of great value. Seok-pan despairs that he has nothing of great value, but Kang-bae points out that he has the winning lottery numbers.

Chief Yeom tells them that they have to buy the good deeds from someone connected to Jin-dong’s family. Wol-joo is ready to give up, since she’s on a deadline and can’t afford to spend a lot of time on this. But Seok-pan wails that he needs her help since he’s weakening and has to go back to the Realm of the Dead. He sobs that he’ll do anything for Jin-dong, even go to hell.

It reminds Wol-joo of how her own mother gave up her life to save her, so she grouchily agrees to help Jin-dong. Chief Yeom tells her that Jin-dong will die in an accident at Kapeul Mart at 11:03 a.m., so she has to bring the good deeds before then.

The Mystic Pop-up Bar trio head to Afterlife City Hall to look at Jin-dong’s family register and the good deeds records. Luckily the records have all been recently computerized (by a new employee who bears a striking resemblance to Steve Jobs, and he’s even eating an apple in case we missed the joke).

They quickly locate a friend of Jeom-rae’s named KKEUT-SOON (cameo by Lee Joo-shil), who’s done so many good deeds that she’ll probably be a billionaire in her next life. Kkeut-soon volunteers at the Afterlife Orphanage, taking care of children who die before their parents. She’s busy, so while they wait, Wol-joo and the others make lunch for the children.

Eventually Kkeut-soon is free to talk to Wol-joo, and naturally, she’s more than willing to give Wol-joo her good deeds if it will help her old friend Jeom-rae. Wol-joo gives her the lottery numbers, and Kkeut-soon hands over a small green pouch containing her good deeds.

In the morning, Jin-dong excitedly writes down the lottery numbers that Seok-pan gave him. The Mystic Pop-up Bar trio prepare to head back to the Living Realm, but cinnamon roll Kang-bae says he’s worried about the orphan children. Manager Gwi and Wol-joo assure him that they’ll be reunited with their families once their parents die.

Kang-bae sighs with relief. He says it’s the opposite in the living world, where kids in orphanages will never see their parents again. He tells Manager Gwi and Wol-joo that he knows, because he was one of them.

They don’t notice that the nobleman who lost the Lottery Battle, Do-young, is lurking nearby. He sneaks up to Wol-joo and steals the pouch of good deeds from her pocket, and Manager Gwi chases after him. Kang-bae tries to help, but Wol-joo stops him, saying that they need to go back and protect Jin-dong.

Their plan is for Kang-bae to watch over Jin-dong inside the store, while Wol-joo blocks Chief Yeom from entering the building until Manager Gwi brings back the good deeds. Kang-bae follows Jin-dong around, shielding him from any possible injury, but soon there are only ten minutes left and Manager Gwi still hasn’t returned with the good deeds.

Chief Yeom arrives at Kapeul Mart to collect Jin-dong’s soul, though he doesn’t look happy about it. He easily tricks Wol-joo and slips into the warehouse behind the store, where Kang-bae is hovering nervously around Jin-dong as he handles some backstock. Suddenly a full cart moves on its own and begins barreling down on Jin-dong.

Wol-joo sees Chief Yeom using otherwordly energy to push the cart towards Jin-dong. She screams, alerting Kang-bae, who tackles Jin-dong out of the way at the same time as Wol-joo jumps on Chief Yeom. Kang-bae saves Jin-dong’s life but knocks him unconscious, and when he pats his cheeks to wake him up, Jin-dong starts telling him all about all his women problems, HA.

Meanwhile, Wol-joo sits on Chief Yeom to stop him from taking Jin-dong’s soul. Thankfully Manager Gwi has caught up to Do-young and retrieved the pouch of good deeds, but the next ferry to the Living Realm isn’t for two hours. He can’t afford to wait, so he just dives into the water and starts swimming

At 11:04, one minute past Jin-dong’s predicted time of death, Wol-joo releases Chief Yeom. But he just crosses out accidental death next to Jin-dong’s name and writes in heart attack, then winds up for the death blow. Wol-joo blocks him so he tries again, but this time his powerful energy blast only produces a pitiful spark.

It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that Yeo-rin walks into the warehouse just then. Wol-joo and Kang-bae both hide from her, but she can’t see Chief Yeom and walks right through him. The contact seriously affects Chief Yeom, who feels suddenly sick to his stomach.

Wol-joo continues blocking Chief Yeom from killing Jin-dong, and WHEW, Manager Gwi finally arrives, soaking wet. He gets the full backlit slow-walk hero treatment, and Wol-joo stares as if she’s seeing him for the first time. He hands over Kkeut-soon’s good deeds to Chief Yeom, who places the pouch on his tablet, and the pouch and Jin-dong’s death file both dissipate into thin air.

Jin-dong’s grandmother Jeom-rae takes a small break from housework and falls asleep on the couch. She’s visited by Kkeut-soon, who notes how stiff and sore Jeom-rae’s bad back makes her. The friends talk about the old times for a bit, then Jeom-rae grows tired and falls asleep in Kkeut-soon’s lap.

Kkeut-soon tells Jeom-rae to live healthy and well until it’s time for them to be reunited. She takes a small glowing bead from a pouch and rubs it into Jeom-rae’s back, and a curious Wol-joo shows herself to ask about it. Kkeut-soon says that she bought a cure for Jeom-rae’s back with the lottery numbers Wol-joo gave her for her good deeds.

Wol-joo breaks the fourth wall, looking directly into the camera to tell us that people need to be nice to each other and help each other. If we do, she says, those good deeds will come back around and benefit us.

When Jin-dong arrives home from work, Jeom-rae wakes from her peaceful dream. She jumps up to cook for him as he checks the lottery numbers (which are now no good, since they were used as currency) and grumbles that his ancestors were no help.

He runs to the kitchen to lift a heavy container of kimchi for his grandmother, but she realizes that her back doesn’t hurt anymore. They have a little dance party to celebrate, just as happy with a cured back as they would have been with winning lottery numbers.

Back at Mystic Pop-up Bar, Wol-joo fusses at Manager Gwi to get to work instead of playing games on his phone. She gives him a huge bowl full of dried anchovies to clean, and he complains that if he hadn’t been reassigned to her he’d be the chief of the Afterlife Police Force by now. But he gets to work, even singing a silly made-up song about the “poop of love,” hee.

Kang-bae comes in from sweeping and collapses, so Wol-joo takes him home. Chief Yeom shows up and tells Manager Gwi that it’s probably because Kang-bae is the only person who’s been to the Afterlife realm and come back. He relays Seok-pan’s thanks and the news that Do-young has been punished.

He sighs at the sight of a former detective squad chief who used to hunt evil spirits reduced to cleaning anchovy poop. He says the police chief has been considering reinstating Manager Gwi, but Manager Gwi says it’s too soon. Chief Yeom gets a call from the chief about an evil spirit in the area right now, and he makes Manager Gwi go with him to fight it.

Okay, Manager Gwi is nothing short of a total badass. He chases the evil spirit on foot until it turns to fight him, but he’s so quick and nimble that it can’t land a blow. Manager Gwi kicks the spirit around a little, then summons a fiery halberd out of thin air. He uses the halberd to slice the evil spirit in half, and as the spirit disperses, it leaves behind a fist-sized glowing bead.

Wol-joo gets Kang-bae home and tucked into bed. When she stands to leave, he grabs her hand and pleads in his sleep, “Don’t go.” It reminds Wol-joo of how she would sit by the crown prince’s bedside while he slept, and once when she was ready to go, he had done the same thing.

Another flashback to the past shows the crown prince, covered in blood and wearily dragging the point of his sword in the dirt. He trudges to the hilltop where the Sacred Tree stands, and with tears in his eyes, he sobs, “I could not save you after all.” He sinks to his knees, wailing, and he vows, “If there is a next life, I will be sure to find you. Then, even if I have to sacrifice my soul, I will protect you.”

  
COMMENTS

Hmmm, lots of very interesting stuff to sift through in this episode. First of all, Manager Gwi is turning out to be a lot more complicated and to have a much more interesting past than I anticipated. He’s clearly an accomplished warrior and even used to be on the Afterlife Police Force. It was amazing watching him fight, but what happened that he ended up as Wol-joo’s Onion Boy, and why can’t he remember his past life?

It was also very timely that we saw that flashback to Wol-joo’s crown prince, and now I’m even more convinced that the two were in love. The prince fought his way to the tree where Wol-joo died, and he looked pretty devastated as he made his vow to find and protect someone in the next life. Could Manager Gwi be the crown prince? It would explain his fighting ability and his ever-more-apparent feelings for Wol-joo, though not his memory loss. But it would also be sad if Wol-joo and her prince have been together all this time and just not known it.

And what the heck is up with Yeo-rin? Apparently, she’s not only completely impervious to Jin-dong’s ability. Just her presence pretty much nullified Chief Yeom’s death blast, and he was sickened when she walked through him. There’s absolutely something Not Normal about Yeo-rin, and I can’t help but wonder if it also contributes to her disproportionate strength. I have a few vague theories along the lines of Kang-bae and Yeo-rin somehow being polar power opposites, but at this point I have no clue how they might be connected… maybe Yeo-rin is also an orphan, and the answer lies with her and Kang-bae’s unknown parents?

Speaking of which, I’m fascinated by the interesting concept of afterlife orphans who need to be cared for until their parents pass away and join them. As Kang-bae said, it’s the exact opposite of the situation in the living realm. It was so bittersweet to see Kang-bae understand that orphans in the afterlife have the happiness of reunion to look forward to, whereas living world orphans like him face a life that’s missing something important. I wonder if Kang-bae being an orphan has anything to do with his ability, or if it’s just one of the many reason he longs for a real human connection.

As for this episode in particular, I think it was my favorite so far. The Dream World Lottery Battle was hysterically funny — I honestly think I could have watched all the dead ajusshis competing in silly games all day long. I was amused by the concept of ancestors fighting it out for the chance to help their descendants, which is just another example of how simple but clever the storytelling is in Mystic Pop-up Bar. None of the people that the trio have helped have a complicated problem, and this was the first time there were life-and-death stakes involved, but the vignettes are so heartwarming that I’ve shed at least a few tears during each episode. It helps that the awesome cameos endear the characters to us quickly, so we get very invested in their struggles.

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what is that guy’s name, anyway?

Smith?
Or Voldemort, because it seems he must not be named. Even at the end when they list guest appearances, they only show Korean names.

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lol maybe he really is CIA

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Your recaps are a treat, @lollypip.
Was it just me or did I sense something sinister about Manager Gwi at the end there? I surely hope not!
The writer has done a wonderful job of giving us just enough details to fall for these characters but also holding enough back to keep the tension of the mystery going. I am really curious about our trio and Yeo Rin!
Also, I just adore the two possible love lines right now.

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I also felt something dark, but maybe it was just a way to show us how different Manager Gwi-onion boy is from Manager Gwi-ghost hunter.

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The look on his face when he picked up the marble after he sends off the evil spirit - that felt foreboding.

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Well, at least it is not my imagination. But that doesn't bode well.

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I felt Gwi's expression was more a sense of glee at a job well done. It was a nasty spirit, after all.

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Same. I think he gets a kick out of it.

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There were these speculating theories roaming around online that maybe Wol-joo is pregnant when she committed suicide, and her son is Kangbae, given what's written on the scroll on episode 2.

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Episode 6 is about Shamsin Halmoni so we're about to find out

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Mind = blown

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This is my theory as well but not that her son is Kangbae. Manager Gwi is definitely the Crown Prince.

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My mind is open to the possibility that these three are a reunited family.

The scroll was written in hanja, right? I love how multilingual fans deepen our viewing experience. The only time my (barely adequate) French was useful in a kdrama was during I'm Not A Robot, when the AI made the monami back up folder.

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Yes. Hanja. My shallow knowledge in chinese can’t translate it. I can only recognize one character. So I ask my friend to decipher the words as I am so curious about what’s written on the scroll. These type of dramas is so keen to details, so I’ve been looking at everything they were showing.

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Thanks for the recap @lollypip. This is also my favorite episode so far. The World Lottery Battle is indeed so hilariously funny.. I had been a cynic for far too long that I thought this type of comedy is no longer going to entertain me, but boy! was I surprised. Even my hubby got curious when he heard me laughing, and he watched for a while and was also laughing so hard at the one-leg chicken fighting scene. I do like how the story turned out too.. as they got an even better gift than the winning lottery numbers. Super interested now with the back story as well. The editing had been superb , I must say, that both the present and the back story had been weaved seamlessly, certainly no confusion there..

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Luckily the records have all been recently computerized (by a new employee who bears a striking resemblance to Steve Jobs, and he’s even eating an apple in case we missed the joke).

Silly me for following too much of the wrong computer news. I would have had his keyboard fail and the repairs be insanely expensive.

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Thank you for the recap! I loved absolutely everything about this episode, especially how Jin-dong and his grandma were just as happy with her back cured as a lottery ticket. Such a sweet moment. Totally got scared for a half second before I realized Wol-joo was breaking the fourth wall though lol give a girl a warning please

I'm fully invested in all our characters and finding out more about everyone at this point which is a pretty great place to be (yay Yeo-rim's sticking around!)

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When she broke the wall I had the same reaction. It felt so awkward. Great sentiment, but the execution was shocking.

I loved that the "lottery" was actually the grandmother's good health.

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I believe Chief Gwi knows exactly who he is and is hiding it on purpose from Wool Ju.....This show just keeps getting better....and Hwang Jung Eum's physical comedy has never been better utilized...she also constantly adlibs, you can tell from their smiles at times.....the settled grudges aren't really over the top so but they leave a good message, I mean most of our problems are regular problems but they aren't unimportant just because its not affecting the whole universe, it means a lot to us to be able to solve them, to live through them, to move on from them......so its a good thing that they focus on the tiny things.....Episode 5 was a truly heartbreaking one...can you guys please post that fast, I need to talk about it.

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I also think Manager Gwi knows about his past.

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Yes to HJE's physical comedy being utilized appropriately. The things I used to not like about her acting works so perfectly here.

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I have the same feeling about Manager Gwi.

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Lol. I didnt get the Steve Job and Apple joke.

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Such a great episode. Thank you for another great re-cap, Lollypip.

The storytelling in this show is truly superior. There may be some people who see this as a poor imitation of HOTEL DEL LUNA but I strongly disagree: This show has vastly superior storytelling. including its use of classic motifs that show up in many cultures.

For instance, in this episode we have the ancient tale of a man who ventures into the realm of the dead for the sake of another person, and then returns to the land of the living. Think of the story of Orpheus or the Gilgamesh epic. Kang-bae has just done exactly that. Note that one thing that these stories agree on is that this journey fundamentally changes the hero who does this. I wonder if we will see a difference in Kang-bae?

Now we also have another person who has a power- Yeo-rin. She is not just immune to Kang-bae- she was able to shut down Death Himself- just by being present. I really hope that we get to hear her backstory- I mean the one from her former life because clearly the Heaven's have bestowed this gift on her for a reason, just as they gave Kang-bae his gift for a reason.

Of course, as their reasons unfold I also hope that Kang-bae and Yeo-rin end up together when Wol-joo and Gwi depart. And it would be nice if they retained at least some of their abilities. Perhaps Kang-bae could earn money for their family as a professional shaman? Or some other occupation where has ability would be an asset.

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For me it is far better than Hotel Del Luna... HDL started great but became draggy later on. At some point I was only curious about what happened to Man Wol in the past life .Other than that the stories of the dead people bored me . Also I m hopefull that there is a mortal-mortal relationship here unlike HDL. I still think HDL didn't require any romantic arc at all. Kang Bae may not be intelligent or qualified like Ku Chan Sung but he has a unique charm. I just love the comedy here between the trio and the episodic stories are mind blowing.. Kang Yeo rin is really cute. i like her stoic expressions.
But I must say IU did a wonderful job.. It took me more than a month to finish the last two episodes of HDL. If not for IU, I wouldn't have finished it.

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IU was nothing short of fabulous in HOTEL DEL LUNA. For a moment I actually thought she should give up singing and concentrate on acting- except that this would deprive the world of one of its most beautiful voices so I can only hope she can keep up with doing both.

The truth is that HDL was not that well written- but had a great director and great actors that managed to make something good out of poor material. As a result HDL was one of my favorite shows of 2019.

MYSTIC POP UP BAR owes some of its charm to good acting as well, but here the actors and director are doing justice to great writing, the same very fortunate combination that we had in BECAUSE THIS IS OUR FIRST LIFE. MYSTIC POP UP BAR is not just good drama, it is great storytelling.

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I also enjoyed BTIOFL.. so that is probably why I am enjoying this now.. its always fortunate to get the right combo of acting-directing-writing.

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Lmao for me so far this is like the Penguin/Timtam biscuit thing*; someone saw HDLL and went "nah wait I can make this better".
And since I *ahem* disliked HDLL and am enjoying this, it's clearly doing something different. Or perhaps many somethings. 👀

*Wow thanks Sic, for a reference nobody is going to get. Except for any fellow DownUnderians. Maybe.

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Comparing Hotel del Luna and Mystic Pop-up Bar is offensively unfair, @oldawyer and @atlas, because Hotel is not Penguin, and Bar is not Timtam (see, I get it, @sicarius, and I am a Canadian). They may start up in a similar setting (an old grudge of a long living being, a tree, even the fireflies/spark imaginary), but what follows are totally different. Hotel is more about Man-wol, and those "Cases of the week" are helping out describing the world she lives in, and in Bar, it's the other way round. You think Hotel latter half is dragging, because you don't understand those cases are simply an introduction to Man-wol's own story (and how Chan-sung's care help her out). I see a similar dynamic between Manger Gwi and Wol-joo in Bar, but if it does happen, do you think the drama is bad then?

In fact, I think the second half of Hotel is way more engaging then the first half because the story is way more focus to Man-wol herself. In Bar, however, I can pick up some funny bits and piece from here and there. Hotel is a single novel, and Bar is a short story collection. If you dare to compare these two, you are totally missing the point (Just like when Hotel is aired, ignorant audience are comparing it with Goblin, which is not even as good as both Hotel and Bar, let alone telling another totally different story).

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And by the way, @oldawyer, no offense, but I have to say, taking away either her acting or her singing (and composing) ability of IU, then she will be just another South Korean actor or singer. She is an unique being, and she is nothing if one of those element is taken away from her (and surprisingly, she love Dostoevsky. Take a look at what she was reading when she was staying in Hyori's Home Stay, that's why she is so great in My Mister/My Ajusshi).

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No one has more admiration for IU than I do. She has had a huge impact on her country's music- for instance the singing of ballads had almost disappeared until she restored that form to a new popularity.

She is proof that one does not have to go to college to be educated- she speaks fluent English and is very obviously well-read, as you have pointed out.

I just hope that she does not burn out from all that she is doing.

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And, yes, @oldawyer, IU is a national treasure, and I guess we both care about her wellbeing. ;)

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HOTEL DEL LUNA was one of my favorite shows last year - and I agree that MYSTIC POP UP BAR is a completely different story. But I do stand by my statement that it was the actors and director which made it so good. But that is not to say that the writing was bad.

For an example of where the actors an director triumphed over a truly bad script I would instead present another one of my favorite shows from last year: ANGEL'S LAST MISSION: LOVE. That story suffered from huge internal contradictions yet, thanks to a superb performance by Shun Hye-sun it was still a drama that I looked forward to watching each week (she even pulled a good performance out of L). That drama really showed what an extraordinary actress she is.

BTW- you do know that there really was an Emperor Titus? He was on of the Antonine Emperors.

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Hope I didn't offend you, @oldawyer. I just argued with you that I have a different take on Hotel del Luna, which obviously I disagree with you, and nothing more than that.

About the emperor part, yes, I know that. The historical Emperor Titus didn't live so long, but he accomplished great things, including finish his father job on crushing the rebellion in Judea (I've just point this out in terms of historical fact, and that's it).

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Tim Tams are still better though ;) 🥛🍪

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@imperialtitus Actually I was not comparing them .But the OP said that many people are comparing this with HDL. I just thought which one I enjoyed more. And in this case it is MPUB. Just my preference. Maybe I don't remember much but I don't think ALL of the dead people's cases had some connection to Man -wol's past or made any reference to how she came to be like this. Whereas we clearly see how this is being shown in this show.. Thus I felt bored in HDL in some parts.Maybe our objectives while assessing it were a bit different. However the past story line was very intriguing in HDL. Not to forget,IU was phenomenal.
You said Gwi and Wol Joo dynamics remind you of Ku chan sung and MW. Actually i would be glad if they attain salvation together.
GWI unlike KCS has more connection with wol joo as he have been protecting her for a long time. Their relation is deeper spanning centuries.. However if KB takes Gwi's place I would be bummed. I m not in favour of immortal-mortal teams. MW could have managed to do great with CS's support as a friend .
I felt that romantic arc unconvincing. I know it was implied towards her falling in love once again after letting go of the grudge. But I just felt it was not necessary.. She could have left the bitterness with his support somehow.
I agree both dramas are quite different deep down. One is like a serialised novel. And the other is a novel with a single story. It is not that I disliked HDL .I recommend it to people as well. But few things didn't work for me. And as for Goblin..It was a very bad experience. Atleast I was content with HDL's ending and it was logical.
Feel free to disagree cause after all we are not robots to agree unanimously. Just my take .

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I know, maybe I am a bit emotional when I was defending my point of view, @atlas, and I feel sorry about that.

I don't think the dead people cases in Hotel del Luna are all related to Man-wol's case, I believe they are used to set up the board for the main story. This may be an interesting way to have an extensive set up if the world is too big (so big, like The King). Certainly some of those stories may relate to the main point of the whole drama (The tiger and the afterworld wedding, to say 2 of those examples), but afterall the biggest concern is about Man-wol, not those weekly cases.

I don't think Chan-sung falls in love with Man-wol is a bad plot (That kiss in Ep.12 is one of those scenes I moved the most, in fact, with IU enhancing it with a song written by herself). I know it work for someone, not for others. I found Chan-sung love toward Man-wol is in fact helping me to engage into the story (and I guess I fell in love with IU herself as a singer-songwriter since then), and feel sympathy to herself, because Chan-sung is also set as our eyes to Man-wol's world. This is a risky move by the screenwriters, because some may find it awkward (Yoo Jingu is not good looking, I guess?), but it can be a powerful move in terms of screenwriting. I t may not work for everyone, because that may up to individual audience member's personal experience on life. Story, after all, is one of those ways to get into one's heart's deepest, darkest corner, moving and healing them. It's like that key code before that door (in Mystic Pop-up Bar's Ep.2) once the code is wrong, you cannot get in at all.

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"You said Gwi and Wol Joo dynamics remind you of Ku chan sung and MW. Actually i would be glad if they attain salvation together."

I guess we can talk about it on Ep.6 recap. My short answer: Yes, I guess it will be the case.

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I believe Kang-bae and Yeo-rin will take over the Mystic Pop Up bar after Wol-joo and Gwi complete her mission.

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Choi won young is so hot. I am developing a crush on him 😍

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Oh my God, yes. I'm concurrently watching Dinner Mate so my week is flush with very attractive ahjussi. I was hoping @lollypip's excellent recap would also include a screen shot of Gwi wearing that shexy denim chef's shirt.

Check out >tumblr for some lovely fan GIFs of Gwi being heroic, silly, lovable and just all around great.

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maybe Yeo-rin is also an orphan, and the answer lies with her and Kang-bae’s unknown parents?

*gets triggered in makjang*

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Thanks for the recaps and comments.
I've always thought there was a special connection between Manager Gwi and WolJoo (other than onions, I mean), and I really think he is the Crowned Prince, and he knows but he has to make WoJoo see it.
YeoRin is another mystery. I like your theory of her and Kang Bae.
I love how every episode is about one particular soul. This episode was funny (the one leg battle was hilarious), thrilling and moving. That last scene with the dancing ajumma and her grandson being the happiest because they have really won the lottery by recovering her health... awwwwww, so sweet!!

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I love Manager Gwi.

My theory is that something *bad* is going to happen when Wol-joo gets to her 100,000 cases and he's sticking around to help with that.

And yes, my theory is shaped by the fact that she needs to help 10 more people and there are 12 episodes in this drama.

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I also had the same feeling that there will be no reward when Wol-Joo finishes her punishment. That is why Gwi was assigned to be present in case she turned into an evil spirit to curse or rampage against the living world.

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Gwi is my vitamin. He's also the Onion Boy, the Meat Fairy, and the Man that You Need.

To think that I almost skipped this show! It has so much heart–exactly what I need in These Times.

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Love love love the world building in this drama. I never knew I'd be this invested when promos for this show came out but now, it's my fave airing drama. Thank you for the recap!

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So much creativity in this drama! A lottery competition to help descendants, computerized Afterlife system... lol I love it

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That's my new favorite 😁it could have been a better story but fun to watch. They don't take themselves so seriously 😁

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Oh, I love all your theories about Manager Gwi! I also think he knows about his past life but is secretive about it... for some reason. So he worked in the police department for some time, then something happened and he got demoted to peel onions for a period of time. Did something happen on duty? Perhaps he helped out a spirit instead of taking it out? Hmmm.
The spirit hunter scene was great. Although when he destroyed the spirit and was left with that red marble I had a bad flashback to "Abyss" (even though I stopped watching this after 2 1/2 episodes).
And I loved the breaking of the fourth wall. Last time I remember this in a drama was "Diary of a Prosecutor", I like it to be involved in the story as a happy viewer.

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Haha Wol-joo was actually in her 20s right when she died so her flattery at that grandmother's compliment was even funnier. Did she make the same grandmother's noodle dish for the children in the orphanage?
Hwang Jung-eum's aegyo is too cute, and it was so fun to see her spontaneously dance while cheering on the ajusshis in the games. They're enjoying themselves in their roles so much!
I really didn't want any romance this show, but I don't mind it at all now.

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About romance, why not? I guess Manager Gwi have something with Wol -joo, and Kang-bae having a relationship would be heartwarming since he never enjoy such luxury for so long, like falling in love with Yeo-rin (His biggest wish is simply having to go to work in a morning-rush-hour subway, so humble!)

And by the way, @edgarpordwed, Wol-joo keep on showing us she is not hating the humankind like when she was committing suicide. She is such a kind soul concealed under her suffering, and her making the Grandmother's noodle dish is a show of this.

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The Lottery Game was Hilarious and I too loved the orphanage especially because before they said what it was for I was skeptical. This show is actually getting better.

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I just binged this and the plot and coupling is not what I expected them to be at all. I'm really loving it, and I'm glad I gave it a chance.

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Talking about Steve Jobs, why he only reads Wikipedia frontpage at work? It's a let down!! =D

Honestly, I am not complaining. Such irony is actually making the show more fun. From slo-mo to breaking fourth wall teaching audience, it can be a sign of a bad show, especially when it is repeated almost every episode (I am looking at you, Lee Min-ho). Not this one. Mystic Pop-up Bar do this properly, and I even recommend people watching this show with their kids, because it will be a fun lesson about life for them, yet an enjoyment for ourselves.

I am pretty sure Manager Gwi is intentionally "forgetting" his past toward Wol-joo. He is exactly doing what the Crown Prince has done (Have I spoiled something?). By the way, this guy has no name as well (Gwi simply mean "Ghost" in both Korean and Chinese, so it's kind of like "Smith" in the underworld).

And one more thing, I really hope Kang-bae and Yeo-rin to be together.

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Yeo-rin is so interesting. I have no idea why powers don’t work around here but I’m intrigued. (Also, I cant believe she bought that story about the CIA)

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Because Yeo-rin will be a continuing character the writers had to provide her with something that would allay her suspicions. It was awkward but needed. And she would believe it because it was so unusual yet appeared to explain the facts.

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Oh I know they had to do something, and I don’t know what would have been better, but it was so silly 😄

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Thanks for the recap @lollypip!
This is my favorite episode so far.
So much stuff going on!

I have an impression that Song Geon-hee (the crown prince) always plays a sad person. (Well, except Tale of Nokdu and Love Alarm?)
He was in Sky Castle and A moment at eighteen, both roles he played were facing hardship in life...
And this crown prince! So sad...
I think he is a great actor.
Hope he will get a bigger role in the near future.

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Thanks for the recap. Among the things I love about the show is how the cameos are brilliant actors that I can't help but be invested in their case. And I'm excited about Kang Bae and Yeorim arc.

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i really want sung jae to be the Prince :) still 6 more episode to go :)

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Epi4 vow super and the dreamworld games al r awesome...and moral of that episode lines are superb we have help people and love the people nice line and dialogue

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