Rating:
Average user rating 4.9
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Mystic Pop-up Bar: Episode 12 (Final)

Don’t you just love it when a drama ends as strongly as it begins? It’s time to say goodbye to our Mystic Pop-up Bar family — they’ve come a long way, but their struggles aren’t over yet, and they still have to earn their happily ever after if they can.

 
EPISODE 12 RECAP

Kang-bae wakes up in a chair in an abandoned warehouse, alone. On the floor in front of him are the shards of a shattered ssanggapju bottle. He kneels and reaches for the broken bottle, sobbing as if his heart is breaking.

We back up a few days, and Manager Gwi is in Queen Yeomra’s office. She’s upset because Chief Yeom promised to catch the evil spirit, but he hasn’t reported back and she can’t reach him. Manager Gwi is confused because Chief Yeom said he caught the spirit, and it becomes clear that Won-hyung is still at large.

Meanwhile, Won-hyung is at Mystic Pop-up Bar, still disguised as Chief Yeom. He attacks Wol-joo and starts to strangle her, and he tosses Kang-bae across the room when Kang-bae tries to help. But Kang-bae suddenly stands, ribbons of power surging around him, and Won-hyung gasps, “Are… are you the Sacred Tree?”

In a calm voice, the Sacred Tree orders Won-hyung to come out of Chief Yeom’s body. Won-hyung tries to throw his own power, but the Sacred Tree easily swats it aside. He places a hand on Chief Yeom’s chest, and Won-hyung is flung out of his father’s body. Manager Gwi finally arrives, and Won-hyung disappears.

The power leaves Kang-bae and he collapses, so Manager Gwi and Wol-joo take him home. Wol-joo sits by his bedside, recalling how her mother’s silver binyeo brought Kang-bae (“the person you desperately seek”) to her just as her mother promised.

Manager Gwi returns, and they go to the roof so that Wol-joo can come clean. She informs Manager Gwi that they had conceived a child, though she didn’t know until after her death. She says that the Sacred Tree’s bad luck cursed their child to live miserable lives until she settled a hundred thousand grudges, and that Kang-bae is that child.

Wol-joo feels guilty that, not only are Kang-bae’s problems all her fault, but she’s been using him. Manager Gwi realizes that Kang-bae’s ability is the result of the Sacred Tree’s bad luck, which means that a kiss from the Cinnabar/Yeo-rin won’t cure him. The only way is to settle the final grudge and lift the curse, but Manager Gwi doesn’t tell Wol-joo about the bargain he made to go to Hell in her place.

In the morning, Wol-joo fusses over Kang-bae like a mother hen, trying to convince him to stay home and rest. He insists that he needs to help her since today is the last day to finish her task. Wol-joo tells him that Won-hyung left Chief Yeom’s body, and she asks Kang-bae not to get involved in anything dangerous today, so he promises to stick to looking for customers who might have a grudge to settle.

On his way to work, Kang-bae suddenly has a vision of ribbons hanging from tree branches, then a silver binyeo falling to the ground, and he winces in pain. He stops in a pharmacy for headache medicine, and when he makes eye contact with the pharmacist, the man starts telling him all about his wife’s pyramid scheme.

He continues to the store, and runs into Yeo-rin and her roommate, Da-bin (she does have a name!). As soon as Da-bin looks Kang-bae in the face, she begins to complain that he’s taking things with Yeo-rin way too slow and reminds him that Yeo-rin is a grown-ass woman who won’t be in trouble if she stays out all night, hee. Kang-bae realizes with horror that this is what Manager Gwi warned him about — using his ability has caused it to increase in strength.

Manager Gwi and Wol-joo spend the day looking for someone with a grudge, but they keep striking out. They head back to Mystic Pop-up Bar and find tons of people inside, crowded around Kang-bae and yelling their stories. Manager Gwi makes them all leave, and Kang-bae tells them that his ability is intensifying. He grabs his head in pain again, and awww, Wol-joo and Manager Gwi respond exactly like the worried parents they are and send him home.

They go to visit Chief Yeom in the Afterlife Hospital, and when they tell him that they haven’t been able to find anyone with a grudge to settle, Chief Yeom asks to be their final case. He says sadly that in life, he was too busy as the crown prince’s mentor to pay attention to his own son.

He blames himself for being the reason that Won-hyung wants revenge on Wol-joo and Manager Gwi. He asks them to bring Won-hyung to him so that he can ask forgiveness and take responsibility for Won-hyung’s sins.

That night, Kang-bae dreams of the Sacred Tree, dead and abandoned. He’s woken by Wol-joo and Manager Gwi, who tell him that Chief Yeom will be their last customer, so his job is over. Kang-bae protests that he can still help, but Manager Gwi says that the best way he can help is by staying out of the way.

Kang-bae understands that this is them saying farewell. He tells Wol-joo that the person she’s been doing this to protect will appreciate everything she’s gone through. He says he’s going to miss them, and they all get very quiet.

Later, Kang-bae wakes up at a desk in a normal, average bedroom. Mama Wol-joo gives Daddy Gwi some fruit to take to Kang-bae as he studies for his college classes. Mama Wol-joo catches Kang-bae and Daddy Gwi playing video games and they each tattle on the other (Gwi: “I only played so he would stop…” Kang-bae: “I wanted to study but he made me play…”), so to calm her down, Kang-bae gives Mama Wol-joo his recent test results. She coos at him proudly, and she and Daddy Gwi argue over who Kang-bae most resembles.

As he dreams about his family, Kang-bae sleeps with his head in Wol-joo’s lap. Manager Gwi watches them with soft eyes, and he and Wol-joo quietly share this one, final moment with their son.

All this time, Won-hyung has been sulking in an empty warehouse, planning his next move. He summons an evil spirit, which he sends to Mystic Pop-up Bar to tell Manager Gwi and Wol-joo where Won-hyung is holed up. Manager Gwi convinces Wol-joo to let him go alone, and he gives her a dagger to defend herself with just in case.

Having lured Manager Gwi away, Won-hyung shows up at Mystic Pop-up Bar while Wol-joo is alone. He says he doesn’t want her dead because that would be too easy, and he mentions how her mother died in her place. Wol-joo defiantly agrees that parents are willing to die for their children, even when that child is garbage like Won-hyung.

she tells him that Chief Yeom wants to apologize for him turning out the way he did. For a moment, Won-hyung looks troubled, but then he sneers that Chief Yeom sold him out to Wol-joo. He tells Wol-joo that he won’t kill her because he wants her to know how it feels to lose everything she ever wanted. Wol-joo thinks he means to stop her from settling her last grudge, but when Won-hyung cackles in delight, she suddenly understand what he really means to take — Manager Gwi.

She fetches Kang-bae and gets him up to speed, and they head to the warehouse together. When they get there, Kang-bae runs ahead to find Manager Gwi, and Wol-joo morphs back into his true form as Won-hyung. Oh no!

Yeo-rin goes to Kang-bae’s rooftop room but he doesn’t answer the door, so she goes looking for him at Mystic Pop-up Bar. She finds Wol-joo unconscious and helps her up just as Manager Gwi joins them, having gotten away from Won-hyung’s minion. Wol-joo gasps that Won-hyung has Kang-bae, and she and Manager Gwi rush back to the warehouse.

There’s a small army of evil spirits waiting to block them, and Manager Gwi summons his halberd and wades right in. Yeo-rin trails behind the supernaturally fast duo, but soon she catches up and yells that she’s here to save her man. Go girl! Yeo-rin flies in kicking, and her Cinnabar soul is so tough that she completely takes over, allowing both Wol-joo and Manager Gwi to look for Kang-bae.

Won-hyung has Kang-bae tied to a chair, and he relishes the moment as he starts to tell Kang-bae that he’s the reason Manager Gwi and Wol-joo suffered for five hundred years. But Kang-bae interrupts that he already knows they’re his parents — when he woke up after the Sacred Tree took over his body, he’d gained all of his past life memories.

He doesn’t know that Wol-joo and Manager Gwi are listening. Won-hyung only says that it’s too bad they don’t know how Kang-bae feels about them, so that they could suffer that much more when they lose him. He tells Kang-bae gleefully that he plans to throw him down the spiral stairway.

Won-hyung holds Kang-bae’s mouth open and pours a bottle of stolen ssanggapju down his throat, and Kang-bae falls into a deep sleep. But before Won-hyung can touch Kang-bae and enter his subconscious, Manager Gwi levels his halberd at his throat. He makes Won-hyung step back and tells him that only cowards use others to make their point. Won-hyung says that Manager Gwi is using him so that Wol-joo can finish her task, and he taunts Manager Gwi to kill him now.

He pulls the halberd closer to his throat, then points it at the helpless Kang-bae. Manager Gwi manages to wrench it away, only for Won-hyung to use a blast of power to make him drop it. They fight hand-to-hand, seeming evenly matched until Manager Gwi whips off his belt, wraps it around Won-hyung’s throat, and slings him across the room.

But Won-hyung gets up and, using his power, sends several metal bars flying at Manager Gwi. Manager Gwi grabs one in midair, whirls, and sends it back at Won-hyung (okay that was bad-freaking-ass), piercing him through the shoulder. Manager Gwi yanks the metal bar back out of Won-hyung and handcuffs him, but Won-hyung magically lifts Manager Gwi’s halberd and aims it at Kang-bae.

As the halberd approaches Kang-bae, Wol-joo steps in front of him. But it doesn’t hit her– because Manager Gwi has thrown himself in its path. He stands before Wol-joo with the bloody halberd through his middle, and oh no, oh no… he smiles. And then he falls.

In a halting voice, Manager Gwi says to Wol-joo, “Again… I wasn’t able to protect you. I’m sorry.” She begs him not to leave her when she missed him so much and she just got him back, and she tells him over and over again that she loves him.

Manager Gwi grows weaker, and he gasps out a soft, “Thank you.” He reaches up to touch Wol-joo’s face and smiles again, then dissolves into a beautiful hurricane of light.

Won-hyung uses the distraction to enter Kang-bae’s subconscious and backs him down the spiral staircase. He grabs Kang-bae and starts to fling him into the pit, but Wol-joo shows up, snaps her fingers, and both Won-hyung and Kang-bae freeze in place.

Whoa, Wol-joo is a thousand percent done with Won-hyung’s bullshit. She asks Won-hyung why he didn’t see this coming, knowing who she is, and he snarls that she’s “the sinner who destroyed the Sacred Tree and killer her own son.” Wol-joo tells him that he’s right, but that she’s also spent five hundred years struggling to make up for her sins.

She tells Won-hyung that instead of being ashamed of his own wrongdoings, he was blinded by revenge and harmed innocent people. He says it was the only way to get even, but Wol-joo retorts that actually, that’s how he’ll end up in Hell.

He’s still frozen, so she gently dangles him over the abyss and asks if letting go will alleviate her anger. “During my five hundred years in the Living Realm, there’s something I saw, heard, and learned. The words we speak and the actions we display will one day come back to haunt us.

“I won’t make the same mistake twice. It isn’t me bringing you to your demise. The heavens will punish you instead. That is the only way to end this cursed fate and save those I love. Death will come for you soon. Until then, use the time to look back on what you did.”

She turns away, intending to leave Won-hyung frozen on the ledge until Chief Yeom comes for him. But he screams that he’ll never let her use him to finish her task, and he breaks her hold and grabs her, flinging them both into the pit. But ohthankgoodness, Kang-bae manages to grab Wol-joo’s hand, and he hangs on tight to her while Won-hyung falls, screaming, into nothingness.

Wol-joo tells Kang-bae to let go of her or he’ll fall, too, but he sobs that he’s never letting go. Wol-joo makes him open his eyes and look at her, and she tells him to live his life being sweet and sincere like he’s always done, and not to let go of those he loves.

She tells Kang-bae, “I’m the one letting go of your hand. You didn’t lose your grip, so don’t ever blame yourself. I enjoyed our time together, Kang-bae-ah.” Kang-bae sobs, “Don’t go. Don’t go, Mom!” Wol-joo looks at him for one last moment, tears filling her eyes, then she lets go.

Since that day, Kang-bae narrates, he has the same dream every night of a hand falling into darkness, and every time, he fails to catch it: “I say goodbye to the beings that are neither deities nor humans every day.”

Chief Yeom and Samshin sit by their favorite Afterlife coffee truck, discussing how busy Samshin is with all the older couples getting pregnant lately. Chief Yeom has decided to be reincarnated, and before he goes, he asks Samshin if she’s heard anything about Wol-joo, and if Samshin misses her.

There’s a strange scene where Wol-joo lures a man (cameo by Ahn Chang-hwan) by pretending to be his daughter, except when he gets there he realizes he doesn’t have a daughter. A woman stumbles in (another hilarious cameo by Lee Soo-ji) thinking that her mother has been kidnapped, but the guy reminds her that her mother died years ago.

They complain that they’ve already paid the ransoms, and Wol-joo asks how it feels to lose money to someone who uses their family as bait, like they’ve been doing to others through voice phishing. She fusses at them that there are lots of other ways to make money, calling them trash. Is she back, or…?

Samshin snaps at Chief Yeom that she doesn’t miss Wol-joo at all, because all she does is ask for favors, ha. Awww, it turns out that when Wol-joo was lost in the abyss, it was Samshin who petitioned to search for her until she was found.

Kang-bae still works at Kapeul Mart, wearing sunglasses constantly and avoiding the gaze of any customers. Eventually, Yeo-rin takes off his glasses and says that he’s cured — HAHA, the glasses weren’t to block his ability because he doesn’t have it anymore, he only had a stye.

Wol-joo stands meekly before Queen Yeomra to accept her punishment, since she failed her task. But Queen Yeomra says that she succeeded and pronounces Kang-bae’s spirit released from his curse. Wol-joo asks how, when she didn’t settle Chief Yeom’s grudge, but Queen Yeomra says that sacrificing herself to save Kang-bae means that the hundred thousandth grudge was her own… to save her son’s spirit.

Overcome, Wol-joo can only cry and thank Queen Yeomra. Queen Yeomra tells her that Won-hyung was found and sent to Hell, so Wol-joo’s tasks are complete. She asks Wol-joo what life she wishes to be reincarnated into, suggesting some options like being a top singer named “EYEU” (lol), or maybe chaebol daughter Paris Hillton (not a typo).

Wol-joo humbly asks not to be reborn, but to go back to the Living Realm and live among humans as she’s been doing, since she’s finally ready to listen to them with an open heart. Queen Yeomra seems thrilled to grant her request to re-open Mystic Pop-up Bar and even offers to send her a trustworthy partner.

She snaps her fingers, and in walks Manager Gwi, alive and well. Wol-joo throws herself into his arms, and I’m not crying, you’re crying. Oh hell, we’re all crying.

Kang-bae walks home from work, thinking about how his ability disappeared when Wol-joo did. He’s noticed that it takes more effort to understand people now, but it’s also taught him to open up to others.

He stops dead in his tracks, afraid to believe his eyes when he sees that Mystic Pop-up Bar is back in its old place. He goes inside, and there are Wol-joo and Manager Gwi, bickering like always. Kang-bae breathes their names and they turn to him, and with tears shimmering in his eyes, he whispers, “I’m here.”

As we see a montage of everything she and her family have been through, Wol-joo narrates:

Everyone’s fate is decided by the heavens. But the heavens are more easily moved than you might think. Little things that you say and do may change your fate. If changing your fate is called a miracle, then miracles may be happening every day. The miracle of being alive, the miracle of having that person next to you, and the miracle of being able to have a drink with that person.

We step into Mystic Pop-up Bar one last time, and Wol-joo notices that we’ve had a hard day. She sits down with a smile, and pours us a glass of ssanggapju.

 
COMMENTS

Okay, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a mess. I can’t say I completely understand that ending (especially the bit about Wol-joo settling grudges before she actually asked Queen Yeomra permission — editing error maybe?), but I’m willing to overlook any small continuity problems because our Mystic Pop-up Bar family is together forever! It’s all I’ve wanted from the time I realized that Kang-bae was Wol-joo and Manager Gwi’s son, and I really don’t care how we got there as long as we got there, though thankfully the journey was filled with a lot of heart and love.

I just ADORE how everything came together so perfectly… all this time, we’ve been treating Wol-joo’s grudges (and the fact that settling the last one will result in Manager Gwi going to Hell) and the resolution of Kang-bae’s ability as two separate issues. But it was such a great twist, when Manager Gwi realized that the only way to save his son was to settle the final grudge and cease to exist. I just felt gut-punched at the way it was all set up to become this beautifully tragic Catch-22 — mere minutes after learning that he’s a father, and that Kang-bae is his son, Manager Gwi realized that the only way to save his son was to condemn himself to oblivion.

The theme of family was just so wonderfully woven into every scene and plot twist in Mystic Pop-up Bar, and I’m so impressed at how it was done. It was Wol-joo and Manager Gwi’s fault that Kang-bae spent hundreds of years suffering, and that they themselves spent those years apart from each other. And in the end, the only way to truly make things right was to selflessly sacrifice themselves for the innocent child who’s been paying for their mistakes. It wasn’t explicitly said, but I believe that their sacrifice was the reason that Queen Yeomra saved them both. After everything they suffered in life, and after five hundred years of separation, their little family deserved to finally be together. Manager Gwi and Wol-joo redeemed themselves, not through hundreds of years of service, but through their willingness to truly die for their child and make up for their selfish acts in life.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I truly believe that one of the major factors made Mystic Pop-up Bar work so well was its simplicity. The story of Wol-joo and her prince (and their son) wasn’t a complicated one, but it was told with so much heart, and acted so perfectly by the cast, that we couldn’t help but fall head over heels for them. I do think that it was clever to tell Wol-joo and Manager Gwi’s love story backwards, showing us a little more each week until we finally learned everything that led up to their current situation. That’s a storytelling tactic that can easily backfire, but it worked because their story wasn’t complicated.

But I have to give the credit for the show’s heart and soul where it’s due — the cast. When I first heard that Hwang Jung-eum, Choi Won-young, and Yook Sung-jae were headlining in a drama together, I thought that it was one of the oddest match-ups of actors I’d ever heard of. I just think of them as three completely different styles of actors, and I didn’t think it would work to have them all in a show playing off of each other so closely. But somehow, they took to their characters so naturally and played them brilliantly, and not only did it work, but it might be one of the few examples of perfect casting that I’ve seen in all my years of drama-watching. Hwang Jung-eum in particular is known for often having a harsh, “screamy” quality to her acting, but the character of Wol-joo used that energy without coming across as grating, and she knew when to pull it back and let her emotions express themselves instead of the other way around. I just can’t give enough praise to all three actors for creating characters that I’ll remember fondly for a very long time.

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Thanks for this last and lovely recap.

I also think there are some aspects that weren't clearly explained but... that hug in Queen Yeomra office was enough for me to forget about everything!!

I loved this show, with all its little flaws and goes directly to my top 15.

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The hug 😭😭😭😭😭

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Yes, yes, yes!! 😃

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That's why I think Wol-joo's final lines, specifically,
"But the heavens are more easily moved than you might think. Little things that you say and do may change your fate."
served as the perfect catch-all phrase for the show. Whatever wasn't clearly explained can just be attributed to the heavens being moved and working things out.

I think my only gripe with the show was that they gave us too little time for our family. I didn't even expect Kang-bae's dream sequence but now I want an entire episode of them just doing normal family stuff together 😭

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Yessss!! How awesome woukd that have been to see them as a family unit!!! 😭

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I wanted 16 episodes. I did not realize there were only 12 until they hit 11 and that made me so sad.

I needed more moments from everyone. I loved every character so much.

I mean, they could have held the last grudge for 4 more episodes...Come on. Why so stingy?

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Noooooooo then there would've been some like forced noble idiocy or another separation or something!!! 😂😂😂😂
It's better to be left wanting more in a good way no? haha

(I'm a big advocate of the 12 episode format though: there's less room for forced conflict, or drag, or nothing for 4 episodes, and it forces you to write your story as efficiently as possible. Ofc it depends on the story you're telling and I don't think ALL dramas should be 12, but certainly a lot of 16s should be.
IMO whilst we all wanted more, mainly for the cute, the story was sufficiently told in 12, and therefore no more was actually necessary. Even the few minor plot holes in the finale would've only taken a couple extra lines to fix.
I would much rather a short show that does everything it's supposed to that leaves me wanting more not because it needed it but because I was sad to let it go, rather than a show that drags, or is cut off at the knees, and I don't get any resolution of any kind.)

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I agree that a lot of romcoms would benefit from the 12 episode format. I'd rather be on my toes because a lot happens in each episode than have my attention wane because it's become predictable.

Though Go Back Couple is a prime example that not even 12 episodes could save us from the Noble Idiocy trope xD

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@lszj09 no and that's where it becomes obvious that it comes down to the writer and director anyway.

I might think that objectively and technically speaking 12 episodes is the best number, but if that duo isn't good enough, the episode length won't save the show.

Take Kill It for example- could've been a great 12 episoder, and indeed it certainly benefited from being 12 episodes anyway, but that didn't save the story overall lol.

Who's to say even if all those rom coms that could have 4 episodes cut off, did, that the writer would know how to end it anyway?
You still need writers that know what they're doing with their story, and how to tell it at any length, and directors or studios with enough vision and that want to tell good stories, not just get paid, lol. (the problem in all entertainment industries tbh)

Still I am happy there are more shows at this length.
We've had several this year alone that nailed the format and are perfect examples of how it can be and why it perhaps should be done.

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What a wonderfully refreshing show! The special effects were quite impressive, especially in the scenes that took place in the warehouse. (Speaking of which, I felt some major Goblin vibes when Manager Gwi was impaled by the weapon and promptly disappeared into a thousand pieces). At that point, I was rooting so hard for the trio to live happily ever after that I was itching for Wol Joo to push Won Hyung off the spiral staircase lol. In all seriousness, I thoroughly enjoyed the series as a whole, especially due to its humor and sincerity.

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Just gonna repost my essay here, so keep scrolling if you've already read it and don't wanna read it again lol.

...

It is sublimely satisfying to watch a show that knows what it is, where it is going, how it is going to get there, and doesn’t try to be anything it is not along the way. In my experience that is such an uncommon trait to find in a drama. A crew behind the helm that is not only competent but that understands their story is as precious as gold.
And I cannot express just how much I appreciate that. It’s so rare to have a drama that keeps its integrity to itself, to its characters and themes for the whole way through, and doesn’t assassinate them, or drive them off a cliff, or maybe never cared about them in the first place, and so I find that even though this show is not perfect, and I can completely understand people being more mad at it than I am for its discrepancies, its integrity to itself is highly commendable and must be recognised.

No, this drama wasn’t perfect, but then what drama 100% is.
There were a few emotional beats in episode 9 that felt a little rushed for example (a result of the episode count, however I would take 1/12 episodes with a little rush, over 6/16 episodes of drivel and drag any day of the week), as well as the obvious minor discrepancies with the finale, and some “oh ok, that worked?” moments at the beginning.

But even with the absurdities of the first couple of episodes (the CIA shenanigans for one), I didn’t find that it pulled me out of the story, even if it was farfetched and ridiculous. Rather, it established a comedic tone and style to the story. It was apparent that this show knew it what it was doing, and knew what it was. It knew these events were a bit crazy and farfetched, but then when you had an afterlife games competition to see who would get a chance to appear to their descendants in a dream, and an entire episode dedicated to stealing a conception dream… it wasn’t so hard to believe that the world in which this drama was set was just a little bit absurd, a little bit funky and fantastical, and that was ok, in this case, because that was the point. It is after all a fantasy.

(That being said, if you weren’t sold by this tone in the first half, and couldn’t accept some of the shenanigans at face value; I can completely understand that, and I don’t think everyone will find this show palatable, or as enjoyable as I did, in part for this reason. There is a very fine line between a show being the right amount of realistic vs fantastical for its story to work, and not all shows have the same line, and that line can be make or break for many people.)

Something that really stood out to me was that although I found most of the reveals in this to be predictable, this did not bother me.
Usually, this would bother me. I can think of several dramas I have sinned for being too predictable.
But in this, I did not. Rather I looked forward to the each reveal and what...

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... that would bring, and the emotional beats still managed, for the most part, to hit even though I knew they were coming.
I think part of this has to do with each reveal making the most sense narratively. The reveals were not reveals only made to trick you or shock you, nor was each reveal and how it was executed the sole thing driving the plot or conflict.
But each reveal was narratively important; each made so much sense to the greater story that it was only natural that these things WERE, that these things almost HAD to be the way they were revealed, because anything else would’ve been a betrayal of the story.
Guibangjang is the Crown Prince.
Yeo Rin is the Cinnabar.
Kang Bae is their child and the Sacred Tree.
There is no other explanation other than those. They are the best explanations, and the best possible answers for the story to be what it is.
Because each of those facts only contributes to the greater story, in a positive way, rather than making more plot holes, or requiring mental gymnastics for them to make sense.
Guibangjang’s service to Weol Ju now, mirrors what he couldn’t do then. Yeo Rin and Kang Bae’s spiritual balance was evident from the beginning, deliberately of course, and then needed, and finally just poetic; although nothing actually came of their necessary compatibility whilst they were both “cursed”, and that’s because both the Sacred Tree and the Cinnabar’s grudges were resolved, there’s still something beautiful about them being compatible souls in spite of everything.
Balance symbology just writes itself ok.
(Oh how I badly want to make an A:TLA and Zutara reference here but not enough of you have watched that!)

My only discrepancy with the reveals is that the show did at times get a little carried away with trying to convince me that the Crown Prince’s identity was unknown and it could be either Kang Bae or Guibangjang. This was annoying because the misdirects for me were blatant and obvious, and not effective because Kang Bae being the Prince would betray everything the show set up, and therefore they were not even very funny. I don’t know if anyone else had this issue though.

Anyway, moving on.

The narrative and emotional resolution of Weol Ju’s arc in particular was very satisfying for me, because it came in a fully complete circle, in multiple ways:

Weol Ju from Joseon doesn’t resent her gift of being able to enter dreams and appease grudges. Then she is seemingly betrayed, her mother murdered, and her lover, or so she thinks, abandons her. She loses hope and kills herself.
Therefore she becomes embittered and cynical. But she is willing to take the 500 years of community service to lift the curse on her unborn child.
Then she meets her unborn child in the present time. Unbeknownst to her, both her lover and her child help her finish her task.
The Grudges she is tasked with healing then specifically mirror her experiences and the things she has been through...

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... 500 years ago and thus she relates to the humans because of this.

And the way these grudges are resolved, the way she deals with them changes, to mirror her development. It starts with anger and resentment, it ends with just being there and being able to listen to people again, and not holding their grudges against them, because of her own. There is a progression of reaction and emotions from anger through to compassion, until ultimately the final grudge that is alleviated is her own.

And how is this alleviated? In a final confrontation that is also a denouement of everything she has been through- in that she decides to take Wonhyung in, not because it would total her score, and settle the grudge of the Tree alone, but because it is the right thing to do, and she has now learnt over the course of the show (and each prior grudge also helped to showcase this) that actions have consequences and that taking matters into your own hands doesn’t always solve problems, and can cause more hurt for others (see: her child). Even when she wanted to push him in, she didn’t,
and thus we have this thing called character development wow it actually exists sometimes who knew. (I mean obviously, he falls in anyway, but it’s her actions that are significant here, and have weight and meaning.)

Finally, her arc comes in a complete circle when she asks to go back to the living world, so she can continue to help humans, like she did as a young girl, her grudges all relieved, the growth and healing she has found, she can now fully offer to others.*
Thus, even though her and Guibangjang staying immortal as the bar owners for all eternity waiting for their 27 year old son to apparently just grow old and die IS a glaring plot hole, character wise I like that Weol Ju’s choice here is simply a completion of her character arc.

On top of this, I am a sucker for anything involving some good old fashioned sacrificial love, be it familial, philia (not done enough), agape (also not done enough, believe it or not), or you know the one that everyone does, eros. And I don’t mean manufactured conflict resulting in noble idiocy, I mean characters that would die for things, or people, and die like a million times over, characters that have audacity and fortitude. (*coughs in the general direction of Tree With Deep Roots*)
There is a familial synergy apparent in the sacrifice in this show too. The husband dying for the wife, the mother for the child.

And I really liked that these sacrifices were anticipated throughout the whole show, and were narrative choices that made complete sense. Weol Ju wasn’t just prepared to give up everything for only her child, but for Kang Bae even before she knew who he was. What happened to her didn’t really matter to her, as long as she was able to make good her word to Kang Bae, and ease her child’s soul, or for that matter any lost child’s soul.
Similarly, Guibangjang only ever wanted to ease Weol...

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... Weol Ju’s burden, to make good his promise to her to protect her, even if she never knew, even to the point of going to hell for her, because there was nothing he wanted more than for the woman he loved to be at peace.
And this was mirrored in the final episode. Nobody had to actually go to hell in the end (which I have already mentioned is a plot hole alas), but both Guibangjang and Weol Ju ended up sacrificing themselves for others anyway, solidifying their characters.
Neither expected a good outcome from that. Neither wanted one either. They fully accepted their fates, more than once, and only wanted the best possible outcome for the person/s they loved, and therefore they were rewarded with everything they never thought possible anyway.

Okay sure, Devil’s Advocate Sic/Sic’s Evil Twin, not the most realistic of endings, but this show never set out to write a tragedy. Could’ve it? Yes. You could use all the same material and have a bittersweet or even sad ending, and turn this into a tragedy. But this was not that show.
It was a feel good family fairy-tale, so of course it was going to cut some corners.
I still maintain however that most of said corner cutting makes sense for the overall narrative of the show, and remains true to what the show was trying to achieve, and I can’t really fault a show for remaining true to itself.
So whilst I acknowledge the corner cutting, I do not hold it against it too much.
(Why this show, and not others, we ask ourselves. An essay for another time, whereupon context and other more complex writing fundamentals are imperative for proper analysis.)

Final thoughts:

I also liked that this show was self-aware enough to have fun, but not so meta it was pretentious.
You know, I was actually going to just make a wee note of how the villain wasn’t amazing, and was a bit cartoony, and he was yes, but then they went and also gave him reasonable motivation in the end anyway, (id est, he resented the absence of his father growing up, and this turned into bitterness, anger and eventually hate towards the Crown Prince and Weol Ju; if he couldn’t be happy, nobody could) so yes, he was one of the weaker developed characters but he still made sense at least.

Overall it was a refreshing watch, and I would like to see more shows, especially fantasy shows, take notes about what this show did right and implement them. I will be watching this writer’s future works with interest.
It was also just like, a lot of fun. I laughed. I think I might have even almost teared up.

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(p.s also yes! to the point about this working cos it was simple! That's another part of what I meant but didn't say by "it knows what it is"- the story is simple and maybe not "new" but that's ok! Because it's told well, and it's told faithfully. And therefore if it's predictable, or whatever, it doesn't matter. Gonna go before I start repeating myself lol.)

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Now I want to read that Avatar and Zutara reference, please do tell!!!

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Lmao well it helps if you ship Zutara for one, and think they should've been canon, if you don't, stop reading now (and don't come at me).

The short version:
Balance is a significant theme all throughout ATLA, and one of the many arguments for why Zutara is the better narrative option, is that Katara and Zuko perfectly embody the traits of Yin and Yang:
Yin: Chaos, femininity, the night, the Moon, calm.
Yang: Order, masculinity, the day, the Sun, active.
"you rise with the moon, I rise with the sun"
(... I could literally go on for hours about the symbolic balance parallels here, like I'm not even listing everything, but this'll do)

Aside from the very obvious connections here, they also both have traits of the other side as well, meaning they balance each other out.
Thus, they literally, physically and thematically embody one of, if not the main theme of the entire series, and therefore are the best thematic and narrative resolution...

And the reason I wanted to make a reference to it here was that in Mystic, Samsin says that the only way for Kang Bae to not see ghosts, is for him to fall in love with someone with the exact opposite energy as him. And even though Yeo Rin doesn't break his curse, and their curses exist for external grudge reasons, we still see that they are perfectly balanced, even from the very beginning.
I just couldn't help but also think of Zutara here, and the implications of the ideas in Mystic when applied to them as a ship.

(also there is a whole other thing about ATLA and narrative payoff in terms of sacrifice, and how sacrifice is important for storytelling and development and how Aang doesn't have to sacrifice anything for his victory and how that goes against much of the rest of the show, and ofc also featuring Zutara because The Agni Kai, which ALSO makes me think of this show and its use of sacrifice, but I won't get into all that rn so here's a link, and also just stalk this blog's tags if you want excellent atla writing meta: https://catie-does-things.tumblr.com/post/186380133346/okay-tin-foil-hat-conspiracy-theory-time-ive)
((Gosh I hope no angry k*taang shippers find this))

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Hehe, I am a Zutara shipper (yes after all these years) and lamented to anyone who will here of it!

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@misshoggy yesss! A fellow Zutarian! *high five*
I will also lament to anyone willing to listen! In my head they're canon and the ending of S3 and LOK aren't canon 😂😂😂😂😂

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*angry kataang shipper incoming*

How DARE you

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@bammsie
shut up Bam you can't fool ANYONE

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@sicarius did you just tell me to shut up when I could defend the beautiful ship that gave us the ultimate payoff and satisfying resolution for both characters in the final episode

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@bammsie you're right it was just SOOOOO satisfying I have been cured of my heathen zutarian ways already

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I am not a katara-aang fan (I believe katara was too good for him and him too much of a child) but zuko is even worse. I can not help but think those who support Zutara are the same type of people who ship the arsehole ml/2ml characters in kdramas with the female lead. There was nothing ever to support zutara ever being a thing apart from some "bad boy arsehole can be redeemed by love bullshit" projection from the shippers.

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@Glen B

Ah, this is an interesting take to me! I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on the guy, as I’ve never really perceived Zuko as a bad boy - obviously he did not start off as a very likable character, but I always saw him as three-dimensional and sympathetic, and his redemption arc is one of my favorite aspects of the show.
What parts of his character weren’t you a fan of?

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Thanks for sharing here, I've been WiFi-less for a week and I wanted to read your essay.
Just one thing: I've thought that WeolJu and Manager Gwi would return to the Kingdom of Living as mortals. Nothing that really said so, but that's what I thought.

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Awww noo! You're welcome tho. ^-^

I mean... That would work best in terms of ... You know, being a family, but it doesn't really make sense 😂😂😂
Then again, the alternative doesn't either and I guess if the Heavens wanted to just make them middle aged humans again they could... Lol.
I'll put it in the small list of *things that only would've taken 1 line to explain but weren't* kekekekeke

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tl:dr
I loved this show and want more like it.

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So find a sparrow with a broken leg ... and make a wish :)

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Right, I'll just set up a 24/7 watch of the Sparrow Hotel in the Cabbage Tree at the bottom of our property- that should be a good start no?

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Thank you for recapping this show @lollypip!

It was indeed a drama with a simple premise that was told with so much heart and warmth. Though there were some editing problems or I probably didn't get the transition well through my tears but it was still a great drama. Knowing that the family got together in this lifetime with no reincarnations involved was enough for me to be satisfied. It would feel a little not right if Wol-joo and Manager Gwi were reincarnated.

Thanks to all the beanies that participated in the recaps! I had a great time and see you in another drama!

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Thank you for the last recap of this drama. Truly a keeper for me. Hope to see more Choi Won Young next project and all the best to Sung Jae. He is living proof that idol doesn't necessarily to become male lead in kdrama. Even secondary lead will gave huge impact too, as long as he willingly to learn.

To the next awesome drama...

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Fun show. The Chun-Hyang bit in day was was the best thing I've seen this year.

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I totally enjoyed this drama so popping in for the final recap :)
Yes there were minor editing errors that confused me but who cares the show has been so warm & nice.

As for this final ep, well, the amt of fake deaths omg 😭😭😭
Glad to see the family back together. Although yes there's a hint of doubt in my head like, Kang bae will grow old & die, won't his parents be sad or he'll just reincarnate & find his way back to them every time 🤔
Anyway, I'm glad Wol joo chose not to reincarnate.

The whole show has been simple & nice but with layers of warm feelings, & I loved every ep. The characters were lovable & the cast did a great job.
Sigh I'll miss them 😭🤧

PS.: Oh man the sacred tree awakened was SO cool 🤩🤩🤩
Tbh i was expecting the tree to wake up again when Kang bae was forced to drink that wine (like the cinnabar) but i guess I'll have to do with the 2-min cameo of tree.
Sacred Tree X Spiritual Rock is probably the most unique otp I've ever seen but they're such s cute couple 😆

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I think when Kang-bae dies, he can also help in the pop-up bar hehe, or they can all go to heaven (since the show said that it was also an option for Wol-joo then). I guess Yeorin and Kang-bae may choose not to be reincarnated because they're sacred objects..idk haha. I hope Yeo-rin would also know about them so they can all party together~ hahaha

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I love this idea so much! Also haha, just realized Yeo-rin probably still thinks they're all CIA. That's gonna be a fun discussion

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@edgarpordwed said that the CIA part made total sense when Yeo-rin had to join in. So I guess she believes it more now hahahaha

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“Everybody happy!” as Wol-joo would say. I honestly wasn’t expecting the ending to be that happy but I absolutely have no problem with that. After all our trio have been through, they definitely deserve to be together longer, and I couldn’t be happier for them. 💞 I’m already imagining how their life would be hihi

This episode made me cry and worried for our Ssanggappocha family. Wol-joo and Manager Gwi’s struggles when they found out about Kang-bae were really felt. That imaginary family scenario, though wacky, was honestly full of emotions, especially since we know that they have to say goodbye soon. And Kang-bae, always remembering his mom’s slipping hand, oh no.. 😢 But everything’s over now and I’m sooo glad they’re all happy. And yes, I also like the idea that in the end, it’s Wol-joo and Manager Gwi’s willingness to sacrifice themselves and make up for their acts that redeemed them. And the gods were moved. That’s really heartwarming.

Of course, I also have a few questions (yes, like that scene with the voice phishing guys and what actually happened to Gwibanjang) but like all of you, I’m willing to overlook them. This drama has brought us so much happiness and positivity and I'm thankful for that. It wouldn't be easy to forget this drama and our quirky little family ❤️

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Thank you so much LollyPip for your recaps and comments! Thank you also fellow beanies! I'm glad to have shared this fun experience with all of you! 😊

I also wrote about my thought on this drama a couple of days ago. It’s here if you're interested =D

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By the way, I just noticed that the average rating of this drama is now 5 stars. Wow!

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Definite credit to the cast for bringing us these heartfelt characters. It was a joy to watch each week.

And thanks for the recaps @lollypip!

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This drama was unexpectedly good. It was a short and simple story and had great characters. I loved the romance in this drama as well. Although the focus of the drama wasn't on the romance the pairings were really nice.

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Thanks for the last episode recap lollypip :)
I'm not really familiar with any of the leads past work but once I have seen the trio's dynamics in the first episode, I'm sold. They are just so funny with their antics when trying to complete their missions. All in all Mystic Pop-Up Bar works for me because it's short and simple. Though it's predictable at times but it's still satisfying when the story unfolds. You don't find this kind of show that often and I will surely miss it now that it has ended.
On a side note I've watched 4 short kdramas (12 episodes) this year and I have enjoyed 3 of them thus far (The Cursed, 365 Repeat The Year & Mystic Pop-Up Bar). I just felt that these shorter series are good because they don't waste time with unnecessary fillers :)

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12 episodes is the perfect drama length in my opinion.

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Yey for more 12 episodes drama!!! The pacing is definitely much better. I think most drama just don't have enough material to fill in 16 hrs span effectively.

Love 365 and Mystic. Will have to put The Cursed on my watchlist now.

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Not trying to hardsell, but The Cursed have the best OST in my opinion. The song called 'Nobody Knows' by Kim Yoon-ah is so hauntingly beautiful and it helps that almost half of it's lyrics are in english so at least I understand half of it :P

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It’s always good when a show leaves you wanting more instead of thinking it should’ve been a couple of episodes shorter. I really enjoyed this show.

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As noted by my fellow commenters, there were some editing errors (or weird editing choices) in the last episode, but what a nice ending it was!

Saying goodbye to Samshin and Death enjoying their beverages in front of the Coffee Truck in that gorgeous sandy location....

Having the daydream of our family living just an ordinary life together, seeing how Kang Bae imagines his family's dynamics (Daddy Cinnamon Roll on the couch with a pillow between his kness and playing video games with his son, Mom trying to keep up the discipline and then gushing over their son)...

And that beautiful picture of Mom and Dad lovingly and longingly watching over their son sleeping...

Meeting again in King Yeomra's office and that lovely hug in basically a white dress and a black suit (I clearly heard wedding bells in my head)...

I teared up again when I read your recap today. Many thanks to you and my fellow commenters. Usually the term "healing drama" seems a bit weird to me, but for this drama, the term finally makes sense.

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Yes, exactly! This IS a healing drama. I'm also a bit uncomfortable with the term, but MPUB made it feel so right.

Oooh, and I like that wedding interpretation. Why didn't I notice that? Hahaha

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The voice phishing was a callback to Ahn Chang-wan and Lee Suji‘s famous Gag Concert skit, Yellow River, where they acted as voice phisher in a fishing village. They were quite the hoot- you can look it up at KBS World YouTube channel.
😅 I got the reference but not quite sure why it was included. My take on that scene was she was in a weird subconscious limbo, fleeting in and out of people’s dream and ended up in theirs...?

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I read somewhere that the scammers scene might be a scene in the future? Showing that future Woljoo is still helping human problems but I’m not quite convinced. Honestly, I thought that that scene was in hell wherein she’s with the bad guys. I hope someone clarifies this.

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I've read in the Soompi forum that it might be Samsins imagination, because she(Samsin) and Death haven't heard anything about Wool Joo, she thinks that WJ might be settling another grudge somewhere (enters the scammer scene) then she said that WJ might visit her in the holidays.

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I thought it was a flashback to Samsin remembering WJ's cantankerous bent and one of her past missions, sort of fondly, like she missed WJ even though she was a trouble maker.

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You always know the right words to say, thank you! That makes so much sense. Just wanna add that I’m a big fan of yours. I especially loved your infamous cake analogy from BTIMFL.

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@cassiel17
Awwww lol! *blushes* Thank you!

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well... that was a good take also, in any case it was definitely a good drama.

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I also thought she was dealing with dead people haha. But for me it wasn't hell but a place where people go after dying, before facing the reincarnation committee XD

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I love love love everything about this show- the grudge of the week, the food of the week, Woljoo’s strong hanbok game, the chemistry of the cast, the comedy. This show has made me laugh and cry so naturally- the show knows what it is and nothing feels too forced. (They were some bits but not complaining).

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Her hanboks are beautiful!

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I need them all in my wardrobe!!!

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Yes really beautiful hanboks!

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Thank you for the recap. Loved this show. It was full of heart and so much more ^^
I love your thoughts on Hwang Jung Eum. Yes, sometimes she can come off as shouty and annoying but I've actually seen her in multiple projects and I can say that I love her. She can be manic one second and weeping the next minute. Her range is amazing. And I'd say seeing her cry is so painful.. In Secret (w/ Ji Sung) she cried so much and it hurt so much everytime. Lol.
And Choi Won Young, oh this man. Idk but I think he's underrated. He has great range indeed. I hated him in I Remember You (Hello, Monster) as the psycho killer. Gosh. Gotta respect him for being so good whatever role he's given.
And of course Yook Sungjae and Jung Da Eun also held her place in this great drama. They suited the roles well and I was satisfied with their puppy love chemistry.
All in all, Mystic Pop-Up Bar had strong messages esp about family, forgiveness, love, and healing. The world felt well-made and the cg effects weren't sloppy. Perfect watch with your family over the weekends.

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I love the simplicity of this drama. There’s no love triangles (thank you drama gods). I still feel that maybe it should be longer (2 more episodes to smoothly resolve the plot). But I’m still happy with this kind of ending. This is the first kdrama that I’m not angry or confused with the ending. Thank you Mystic Pop Up Bar!

The heartbreaking scenes for me are: (1) they formulated a dream for kangbae to let him experience a family life as a parting gift to him, then the scene after. Kangbae sleeping in Weolju’s lap and no one is talking. The emotions held at that scene conveyed the longingness, love, regrets, sadness, happiness and it’s heartbreaking to see that they have one last night to be together. And of course (2) the staircase scene until Kangbae woke up alone in the warehouse. Kudos to Yook Sungjae for conveying the pain of a son losing his parents. That “don’t go mom” and “letting go of hand” will haunt me this year.

I watched past dramas of the 3 leads. So I have an idea on how good they are as actors. Though I have complaints with Hwang Jung-eum in her past dramas, I’m satisfied in her acting here. Choi Won-young should try lead roles more other than villainous characters. He’s so charming as a lead. And hoping Yook Sungjae will return to kdrama world soon after his military enlistment. I’m impressed with his acting 5 years ago at school 2015, and satisfied with his acting gig in goblin. 4 years of drama hiatus didn’t rust him. Instead he improved a lot.

I’ll definitely rewatch this drama. Mystic Pop Up Bar jjang!

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I must admit I was totally wrong about this drama and about Hwang Jung Eum. For days I have held out watching it because I have been "traumatized" by screaming HJE in several of her projects. But here, she was just wonderful! The story was nicely developed and with so interestingly woven characters. It's a warm and heart-felt depiction of love and family. Congrats to the cast who had marvelous chemistry and to the production team for a well-crafted, entertaining drama.

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Although very happy that they all got together at the end, I was a little disappointed by the ending. I was hoping Yeorin (Cinnabar) would have a bigger role in fighting Wonhyung and protecting Kang bae. Also that scene with Weoljoo and voice phishers seemed very random.

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@lollypip Thank you for the recap! This was truly a fantastic and well written drama. As others have mentioned, the premise was simple and the rules of the supernatural world well developed. The heart of this drama were the principle leads; they worked so well together and made you believe they were truly a family. I do wish that we could have spent more time seeing them together as family ( that was the only disappointing part). Still, all in all this was a drama that made me truly excited for each episode.

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I just lurved this show, what a gem. Lovely, quiet, and simply. Family forever!!!!

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The best kdrama of 2020 yet! I miss them🥺

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All good things come to an end :( I didn't expect to love this show as much as I did. Mystic Pop up Bar has been a treat to watch, it had everything, tear-jerker moments, romance, action, comedy, action, you name it. It's a very simple, down to earth show. I really appreciate how the show drops hints for the viewers to figure out and sticks to it, doesn't throw in a curveball just for the sake of it. Although the ending felt rushed and some plotlines were left unanswered (I think an additional episode would've done wonders, but I understand it wouldn't be easy schedule-wise...), it was still a good ending to this wholesome series. Glad we got the happy ending our trio deserved <3
That being said, it's been a while since I've enjoyed watching a kdrama this much, MPUP has no doubt become one of my all-time favourites, I would rate it a 9.5 (the ending and the villain could have been more fleshed out).

Lastly, I must say, I've seen Choi Won-Young in a lot of roles before, but OMG he awesome as Manager Gwi from start to finish (and Gwi has entered my all-time favourite kdrama male leads). He totally knocked this role of the park, a complete 180 from his usual villain roles (his roles in I Remember You and Doctor Prisoner were especially memorable), yet not once did it feel out of place, he was just Gwi/CP to me. It made me really appreciate his acting and his versatility and he's definitely gained a new fan in me. I really really hope he gets more love and opportunities in the future (lead role please?), and I look forward to seeing him in his next project :)

P.S. In his MDL page, he's listed as the male lead in an upcoming remake of Jdrama My Dangerous Wife from MBN, any news or confirmation on that front? It's super lowkey, can't seem to find much news about it anywhere :(

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Agree for 200% regarding Choi Won-Young! Loved him in this role!

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LOVED This show!!! One of the aspects I liked was how they took their time explaining and building up to the all the different revelations towards the end. Manager Gwi= crown prince, Kang-Bae= sacred tree/spirit of their unborn baby, etc...
I think one of the biggest reasons a show is successful is because of the actors. Because let’s face it, you might have an amazing storyline, but if the actors don’t fit- the show will suck. It might not have showed at the beginning, but I think they chose the right actors to play the characters. I honestly can’t see anyone else playing the characters now.
I’m so happy that it’s available on Netflix because now I can go back and watch some my favourite scenes!

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Yes thank you netflix! Woljoo and Chief Gwi being lovey dovey in front of Kang Bae = rip replay button😂

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Mystic proved once more that kdrama industry can become more dynamic and can save a lot of production costs, not to mention save the audiences from sheer boredom only if they cut their episode numbers to 12 or 13. The story was focused on the 3 characters but it wasn't only built around them. Meanwhile, many dramas can be sinned to write up 2 characters and not even give a damn for their developments a in span of 16 episodes.

Anyone else kinda wished like me that Ji Sung made a cameo as a chaebol who gets possessed by a young girl due to some unresolved grudges? No? That's only me? Okay *leaves silently and starts up writing a Mystic X KMHM crossover*

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oh my, a Ji Sung cameo as Yo-na would've been hilarious! Hahaha

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Haha I was also wishing the same!

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They really missed a chance at casting him as a guest. I believe with appropriate conditions and some friendly coaxing from Hwang Jung Eum, he would have been in to have some fun on the set. Also I need him back on screen asap 😬

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This was easily one of my top 5 dramas of all time. The story was simple but still held twists and kept me surprised. I loved how the family unit interacted.

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Yes easily!
My top 5 too for sure!
12 episodes were too short...

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It was an enjoyable show. But it took too many back flips to get to "everyone" a happy ending. The late edition of the villian spirit was not necessary since Woo-joo was in peril from the gods. I think the ending was to make it different from HDL. I agree the cast chemistry was so good --- award winning caliber.

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I'm so sad this drama is over...
I didn't quite understand about the scene where Wol-joo, Ahn Chang-hwan and Lee Soo-ji were.
Wasn't the abyss Wol-joo fell into and she was still helping somebody's grudge as she did in the bar even she in the abyss?
Maybe just an editing error...?

And it was hilarious that Yeo-rin still believed the CIA thing.
(It was funnier than Ep.11)
She showed her fighting/kick-ass skill in Ep.3 but not so much after that. I know she was Cinnabar but now it fully makes sense why that element needed to be in Yeo-rin's character from the beginning.
It was because of the fighting with the evil sprit army in Ep.12.
Without her help, Wol-joo and Manager Gwi couldn't have saved Kang-bae in time.

All the shows are trying to have super complicated plots nowadays.
But Mystic Pop-up bar was different.
I really liked the simplicity of the story. What a gem!
So far this show ranks in my top 5 of 2020 dramas.
Season 2 please!

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I was sure this show would be good but it turned out even better than I expected. Never a dull moment. The best parts were the family and this very creative fantasy world, especially the 21st Century updates to what we've seen in multiple other dramas. It would have been perfect if not for this last episode silliness and the minor editing issue. Also more than the grudge of the day, I enjoyed more the different methods they used to solve them. The after death games, Manager Gwi's shape shifting power, the chicken talk- these parts were funny and unforgettable. Many of the jokes that seemed silly earlier also made sense later- like the CIA part- made total sense when Yeo-rin had to join in. Haha these small details really made the show amazing for me. The cast is incredible, and each played their part so well on their own and together. I love Kang-bae and Yeo-rin as a couple, they were both forthcoming and no time was wasted in moving their relationship along unlike most dramas. I loved the ending they gave and honestly wouldn't mind seeing a Season 2 of this.
I'll surely be rewatching this show a lot, also rooting for the next projects of the main cast. Hwang Jung-eum's next drama releases tomorrow, how often does that happen? Hope it also does well.
Btw do you'll think Samshin is Wol-ju's mother?

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The fight scenes were really good too.
Thanks Lollypip for your recaps and great comments as always!

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Ah, you're right! Yeo-rin believes the CIA thing more now because they were fighting bad guys hahaha! That's crazy XD And it's funny that while Manager Gwi warned Wol-joo about the possessed guys, he had no problem leaving Yeo-rin alone. She's the Cinnabar after all haha

I also love how creative this show is at presenting afterlife stuff. I particularly like the lottery games hehe. Who knows how things really are, right? :P

I don't think Samshin is Wol-joo's mom. I think she mentioned she's thousands of years old. But it's funny that while we kept on thinking who between Kang-bae and Manager Gwi is the mom, the show chose not to get her involved anymore. I guess she was really at peace when she died for Wol-joo

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I was a mess watching the final ep.. tears everywhere. But I was so happy with the drama it was perfection

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Thank you for the recap!

I was doing so well, shutting off my emotions while watching this episode, but Cinnamon Jr. was not having any of it and tearfully called for his eomma!😭 Yook Sung-Jae crying is the absolute worst.

Fortunately we can count on Yeo-Rin to protect him from any harm. I want more dramas where ladies save dudes in distress!😉

The best part is always saved for the last: the comeback of manager Gwi!😍 By the time he struck that adorable tadaaa pose I was already smiling like an idiot and hurting my cheeks in the process!😊

My comment is late, but to all Onion Beanies reading this: thank you for enjoying this gem with me!😘

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I avoided this drama intially because on paper and from the initial teasers, it just feel too close to HDL. I caved in after seeing the loves for this show in DB and I am so glad my initial perception was proven wrong. This drama is definitely NOT a poor imitation of HDL. It can stands on its own feet proudly for the concise and focus writing/directing (12 episodes rock!) and stellar cast.

The drama comedy is sometime a little too whacky for my taste. Although i don't begrudge the happy ending, the sudden turn on events just throw me off balance. But apart from that it's a gem of a show!

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Thank you for these recaps Lollypip! I've had such fun with this drama and everyone watching it.

Same as everyone else, there were plenty of things to be critical about, especially the deus ex machinas but I totally didn't care because the acting and emotional beats were so on point. Between the not-quite-deaths and the reunions (especially that "I'm here" and the smiles) I was a mess y'all.

(And Chief Yeom survived! Yes!)

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Yey for Chief Yeom! I initially didn't expect that being Death is his afterlife service to save his son, but it fits the drama well. Now I'm happy that he's happy =))

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This show needed a happy ending- and got it.

This is one of my all-time favorite shows, with great acting and great writing. Above all, this show was great storytelling- and that is why the happy ending was so fitting. I am thankful that we had such a great story told during these times when that was part of what we needed.

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Thanks for the recapper and fellow drama viewers for following this drama till the end. the 12episodes is just nice for this drama. And the story flowed perfectly and one of recent favourite for this year drama.

MYstic pop up bar will always be there to lighten up your daily load. What a nice concept, but in nowadays of social distancing hope if everyone is dining in,keep light of situation and manage yourselves well.

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I don't even know what to say except that I thoroughly enjoyed this show. 😅

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Very good recap and final assessment and summary of the Mystic Pop-up Bar. Agree fully to the final comments of @lollypip !
I love all 3 actors and, especially, Choi Won-Young in the role of Manager Gwi - such a colourful, lovable and full of nuances character! Just showcases that Choi Won-Young can handle very divers roles. Such a pity that he had not had chance to shine more in TV dramas.

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Ah, yes: Manager Gwi-onion boy and Manager Gwi-even ghost hunter and Manager Gwi-loving parent and Manager Gwi-devoted lover....

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Mystic Pop-Up Bar was such a sweet, sweet pleasure. But how slow am I? I usually check out the actors early on in a series to see what else they've been in, and I just didn't this time. Perhaps because they seemed so thoroughly right? I don't know. Anyway, I didn't peek behind the curtain.

It was only when Lollypip said something about the actor being shouty that I realised - Hwang Jung-eum as Wol-joo 😲😲😲😲 My goodness, I nearly killed her in Kill Me, Heal Me. Beside Ji Sung, she was embarrassing. And while I loved Secret Love and She Was Pretty, I really had to give her an extra dose of tolerance in each to deal with her character. 🧘🧘🧘

She is unrecognisable in Mystic Pop-Up Bar. I'm so glad I can revise my opinion of her. I'm still getting over it. 😲😲😲

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this show was so special. it was the perfect length & a perfect little story, and i'm so glad i decided to dive in. truly, it was so much fun. i looked forward to it every week. it's been a while since i've so genuinely enjoyed a show & waited anxiously for its return. a soft, feel good little friend. i'm very happy.

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I need a season 2 of this drama :(((

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Thanks for this recap! I still can't believe that this series ended!

I watched Choi Won-young first in "I Remember You" and hearing him being the "good guy" captured my interest more since he was the antagonist in the previously mentioned drama. I've also known Hwang Jung-eum for her intense acting. And of course, Yook Sung-jae from Goblin. The casting made piqued my interest on how they'll come together in the drama series (and they came out in a VERY satisfactory level!!).

This show now has a special place in my heart. This show tackled issues in today's society and gave me hope that justice will be served, whatever one's status in life may be. It also gives a powerful lesson with its simple story. Yes, it has a lot of twists and turns but what makes it more beautiful is us, the viewers, waiting for their reactions when they realize who each other really was (Chief Gwi being the prince, Kang-bae being their son and, Yeo-rin being The Cinnabar)

Overall, I'm gonna miss this little family. This show really deserver so much praise and love.

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**deserve

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