The 100,000th Grudge
After 12 fun and original episodes, Mystic Pop-up Bar comes to an end with a great last chapter, full of twists, emotions and tension as expected. It concludes with a very happy ending which ties every storyline together with another important message about fate and the importance of our actions.
The season finale of Mystic Pop-Up Bar begins with Kang-Bae in an abandoned building, crying as he looks at a broken bottle of the magical drink on the floor. We then cut to Guibanjang finding out from Yeomradaewang that she hasn’t heard from Yeombujang in a while and that Won-Hyung’s spirit hasn’t been caught. This prompts him to rush over to the bar where Kang-Bae, now the sacred tree, is advancing towards Yeombujang (Won-Hyung).
As he reaches him, he uses his power to throw him out of his vessel. Guibanjang arrives and sees Kang-Bae glowing with the faint shadow of a tree in his eye. Just as Won-Hyung disappears, Kang-Bae collapses.
Weol-Ju takes Kang-Bae home and tends to him. Guibanjang arrives too and she finally reveals that they have a baby as she was pregnant when she died. She explains that the soul of the tree went into the baby which therefore means that the spirit is now in Kang-Bae.
She despairs as she feels she should have known considering the life he had so far and feels bad that she tried using him to his advantage. They then realize that to make him better, they need to settle the tree’s grudges.
The next day, Kang-Bae tells Weol-Ju he doesn’t remember what exactly happened. On his way out, he starts having flashbacks of the tree and Weol-Ju hanging herself. After a few encounters, Kang-Bae realizes that his spiritual vision is getting more predominant just like Guibanjang warned.
Meanwhile, Weol-Ju and Guibanjang desperately try finding someone who need their grudge settled. They come back to the bar empty-handed though and are surprised to find Kang-Bae with a crowd of people demanding his help. After Guibanjang manages to get rid of them, Kang-Bae explains that he now only has to look at people in the eyes for them to tell him their secret.
Weol-Ju and Guibanjang visit Yeombujang in hospital who apologize for giving them another burden. He then suggests solving both issues together by asking them to settle his grudge as their last customer. He explains that he has failed to be there for his son when growing up and he believes he’s neglecting his son, caused him to take revenge on him by hurting the prince and Weol-Ju. He asks them to bring Won-Hyung to him so that he can finally apologize.
At night, Kang-Bae has a dream where he is walking by the sacred tree and sees the binyeo on the floor. He is woken up by Weol-Ju and Guibanjang who arrive to bring food for a farewell dinner as it was their last day working at the pop-up bar. They tell him what their last task is which prompts Kang-Bae to offer his help. They reply that it’s too dangerous and they want him to stay out of it. Kang-Bae then turns around and tells Weol-Ju that he is sure that the person she is doing all this for will really appreciate what she has gone through. As he starts eating again, he tells them he is going to miss them terribly.
As he falls asleep, Kang-Bae dreams of a life with Weol-Ju and Guibanjang as his parents. We see them leading a happy life as Kang-Bae is a student preparing his college and his parents are the same fun and caring people in reality. When he wakes up in the morning, he finds many containers full of food left for him in his fridge by Weol-Ju.
Meanwhile, Won-Hyung has enlisted the help of Yeom’s assistant . The latter heads to the pop up bar to tell them where Won-Hyung is hiding which prompts Guibanjang to leave with him. Unfortunately, this looks to be a trap as Won-Hyung later arrives in the bar. Weol-Ju tells him that despite everything he has done, he is lucky that he has a parent willing to sacrifice himself. She reveals that his father wants to apologies to him as he blames himself. This shocks Won-Hyung so he tells Weol-Ju that he wants to make her suffer just like he did.
At the same time, Guibanjang arrives at his destination but the man’s eyes turn black and he starts laughing. Weol-Ju finds Kang-Bae and tells him that Guibanjang has been taken. She brings him to the place where he is trapped but unfortunately, we see that it was Won-Hyung pretending to be Weol-Ju.
Yeo-Rin arrives in the bar as she has been looking for Kang-Bae and finds Weol-Ju unconscious. Guibanjang comes in just as Weol-Ju wakes up. The two then rush over to the warehouse where they are stopped by an army of men possessed by evil spirits. Guibanjang reveals his scythe and starts taking them out. Yeo-Rin rushes over too and uses her strength against the men.
Weol-Ju and Guibanjang enter the warehouse and overhear Won-Hyung talking to Kang-Bae about who his friends really are. Kang-Bae replies that he already knows they are his parents from 500 years ago but that he is the one responsible for all the suffering and that they have been trying to save him all these years. Won-Hyung doesn’t care though and claims that he will ram him in the spiritual stairway. He takes the magical drink and pours it in his mouth.
Just as he is about to enter his dream, Guibanjang stops him with his scythe. The two confront each other and a fight ensues. Guibanjang manages to get the better of him but at the last minute, Won-Hyung uses his power to throw the scythe at Kang-Bae. Weol-Ju steps in front but it is Guibanjang who jumps in front of it and it lands in his chest. Weol-Ju takes him in her arms, begging him not to leave her again and tells him she loves him as he gives his last breath.
In the dreamworld, Won-Hyung gets ready to push Kang-Bae down the stairway. Wool-Ju arrives in time and freezes them. Won-Hyung calls her the sinner so she explains that she may have sinned but she has spent all her life trying to make up what she did but he has only be blinded by revenge so now she will send him to hell.Suddenly, he manages to unfreeze himself and grabs Weol-Ju as he falls in the hole. Kang-Bae grabs on to her though and as she barely hold on, she tells him to live his life like he always has and don’t let go of those he loves. She decides to let go of his hand so he doesn’t blame himself and tells him she enjoyed the time they spent together. Crying, he calls her mum as she falls in the abyss.
As we jump sometime in the future, we see that Kang-Bae has been having a recurring dream where he tries to catch Weol-Ju’s hand while Samsin meets with Yeombujang who will soon been reborn into a new family. They both haven’t heard anything about Weol-Ju since that day.
In the other realm, Weol-Ju arrives in Yeomradaewang’s office to tell her she failed her task. Yeomradaewang takes her parchment out and declares that she has settled the grudge of 100,000 which means that her son’s spirit is now relieved from repeating painful lives. She explains that the last one she helped was herself when she realizes her life long dream of saving her son’s spirit. Won-Hyung has also been found and sendtto hell. She tells her she can now be reborn and can chose where.
However, Weol-Ju doesn’t want to be reborn but live among humans as she is ready to listen to them whole-heartedly. Yeomradaewang agrees to it and reopen her mystic pop up bar. On top of that, she is giving her a trustworthy partner and this is, of course, Guibanjang. Both reunite and embrace happily.
In the living world Kang-Bae, whose spirit ability has now disappeared, walks down the street and is surprised when he sees the Mystic pop-up bar appear. He heads inside and has an emotional reunion with Weol-Ju and Guibanjang as the episode closes.
Mystic Pop-up Bar ends its 12 episode runtime with a fairytale happy ending for all our characters. I really didn’t expect Weol-Ju and Guibanjang to be allowed back as themselves in the living world and in charge of the pop-up bar again. This was a very satisfying conclusion for our trio and I must admit that I had tears in my eyes.
Weol-Ju has really become one of my favourite characters in K-Dramas with her fun and caring mannerisms. I love the little addition at the end as she offers one of her magical drinks to the audience, ready to help and listen to people. Mystic Pop-up Bar is definitely a drama worth watching. With just 12 episodes too, its story is original and full of important messages but also plenty of the usual emotional and fun moments. I will definitely add this series to my favourite K-Dramas for this year!