The Cinnabar’s grudge
The penultimate episode of Mystic Pop-up Bar brings another emotional chapter in the series as more revelations come to light and Weol-Ju grows closer to completing her punishment.
The show has done a great job building up tension and drama for the finale next which promises to bring some tears as we say goodbye to our characters.
Episode 11 of Mystic Pop-Up Bar begins with Weol-Ju asking Guibanjang who he is. Guibanjang is dumbfounded though, prompting Weol-Ju to change her mind and tell him to forget about it. Later on, Weol-Ju begins acting irritable while cooking.
After the customers leave, Kang-Bae tries to cheer her up and tells her she should be happy celebrating thanks to Guibanjang. She dismisses him though and berates him for not coming into contact with any customers as she only has 4 days left.
As both men walk out, Kang-Bae tells him she may not have liked the words he used on Yeo-Rin. Guibanjang then realizes that Weol-Ju would have recognized the words as the same ones he said to her in the past.
The next day, we see that Yeo-Rin and Kang-Bae are still happily dating. After having lunch, they head out for a walk. However when she tries holding his hand, she hears a voice telling her to stay away from him. She doesn’t tell him anything though and decides to cut their lunch short.
Back in the pop-up bar, Weol-Ju guesses that Guibanjang knows who he really is. She confronts him about being back in her life and tells him that she could accept that his family had arranged a wedding, but not that he broke so many promises.
He tries to defend himself by telling her that he wanted to save her now but Weol-Ju is not interested, telling him he hasn’t changed. After a hard slap, she tells him to leave her be.
Walking home from work, Yeo-Rin can’t stop thinking about the voices she heard during lunch. She comes across the pop up bar and is surprised to find Weol-Ju working there. As they both sit in front of a glass of soju, Yeo-Rin relays to her what happened during the day.
Weol-Ju leaves the bar for a minute to deal with a disturbance and returns to find Yeo-Rin turned into the Cinnabar after drinking the magical drink. The woman bitterly berates her for trying to set up Yeo-Rin and Kang-Bae. She tells her she has been repelling men but it wasn’t working on Kang-Bae.
She explains that in the past, she turned into a woman and fell in love with Won-Hyung. One day though, he became greedy and wanted to destroy the rock to gain power and lead an uprising against the king. She also mentions that she had previously seen him coming out of a shaman house with a sword. This made Weol-Ju realize that Won-Hyung may be responsible for her mother’s death.
Guibanjang decides to visit Ji-Hye but is met by the police. He quickly meets with Yeom to relay what happened and his worries about the spirit. Yeom reveals that the spirit is his son Won-Hyung but that he caught him yesterday as he felt he was his responsibility. As Yeom leaves, he smiles and laughs, asking himself who will be next.
The next day, Weol-Ju finds Guibanjang at the temple paying his respects to Ji-Hye. As they sit down, she asks him if Won-Hyung really did plan an uprising and kill her mother. He tells her it’s true but that he found out too late; the day Won-Hyung burned her house, was the day he was planning to propose to her.
We then see a flashback of the Prince confronting Won-Hyung in front of everyone during a ceremony and executing him for treason. This is when he promises to protect Weol-Ju in the next life and sacrifice his soul.
In the present, Weol-Ju asks him why he didn’t tell her sooner. Guibanjang replies that words wouldn’t have been enough so he wanted to show her with his actions and protect her. He then gives her the ring and apologizes that it is very late.
After finding out that Weol-Ju went into Yeo-Rin’s dreamworld, Yeombujang follows and, just as he is about to strike her, Guibanjang arrives and stops him. He tells him that after Yeo-Rin, they will only have one case left and to come with him.
Weol-Ju picks up Yeo-Rin and gives her a coffee laced with the magical drink. As she falls asleep, she turns into the Cinnabar again. Weol-Ju wants to repay her as she helped resolve a 500 year misunderstanding. She tells her that when a girl is upset because of a man, she needs to let it all out to her girlfriends so she has planned a day to get over her heartache.
Back in the bar, Weol-Ju and Guibanjang are happy to see the counter changing to 999,999, which they celebrate by having a nice meal in a restaurant. There, Weol-Ju asks Guibanjang if he thinks he would have been a good dad. He tells him that he definitely would but teases her that she would have nagged her child a lot.
In the evening, Kang-Bae arrives in the bar and notices something different between Weol-Ju and Guibanjang. They finally admit that they used to date in their past life which surprises Kang-Bae and makes him a little uncomfortable. Both men leave just as Yeom comes in. After talking about the revelation, Guibanjang is summoned by Yeomradaewang.
Weol-Ju speaks to Yeom about him catching Won-Hyung as she knows that he helped her because of what happened in the past. Yeom explains that a parent always feels responsible for their child’s wrong-doings. She understands as she is also doing this for her child as he has to suffer every time he is reincarnated because of her.
She asks him if he volunteered to work as Death to pay for his son’s sins but wonders if he is worth the sacrifice after what he has done as she blames him for everything. Angry by her claims, Yeom tells her it is her fault as she committed suicide on the sacred tree. She realises who he is just as he gets up and reveals himself.
As he starts strangling her, slowly sucking the life out of her, Kang-Bae arrives and tries to stop him but Yeom(Won-Hyung) knocks him down. Suddenly, a deep voice tells him to let Weol-Ju go. Kang-Bae is then standing with glowing light all around him.
In a flashback we see the sacred tree and Kang-Bae dressed in black standing under it, which is where the episode ends.
The final twist of the episode shows that Kang-Bae has a strong connection with the sacred tree. Does that mean he is the reincarnation of Weol-Ju’s son as well? I am sure we will find out in the next episode but for now, Weol-Ju is in trouble after Yeom almost killed her.
I hope both Weol-Ju and Guibanjang will get their happy ending after all their suffering but it will be sad when they have to say goodbye to Kang-Bae.
As expected, the penultimate grudge was someone we know. Yeo-Rin had quite the story to tell which helped Weol-Ju and Guibanjang sort out their issues after so many years. Mystic Pop-up Bar has been quite the original and fun K-drama so far, one that I definitely recommend checking out; let’s hope the finale ends things on a high!