The second episode of Mystic Pop-up Bar carries on with the same tone and pace as its pilot with another intriguing story line while some revelations about Weol-Ju come to light. With plenty of humour, suspense and touching moments, this drama has the right formula to become a strong contender for one of the better Korean dramas this year.
Episode 2 of Mystic Pop-Up Bar starts as Kang-Bae is about to kiss a girl. As we cut to the mystic pop-up bar, we see that he was actually dreaming. Weol-Ju and Guibanjang wake him up, revealing that she made up the dream for him. He then asks if he has been cured so Weol-Ju tells him she will grant his wish if he signs the contract and agrees to touch 9 people.
Kang-Bae reads in the contract that during the time period, his spiritual vision might be enhanced and potentially become permanent. Guibanjang explains that people might start telling him all his worries even if he just looks at them. Weol-Ju tries to tell him it won’t happen but Kang-Tae wants nothing of it and leaves.
After Kang leaves, Guibanjang asks Weol-Ju if there is a way to turn off Kang-Bae’s special vision. She tells him that she just has to take him in the dream world to do that but needs to think of a way to convince him to agree to the contract. She visits him at his work and puts him in the direction of women flocking towards a special offer. This causes a big commotion when they touch him and start talking about their worries. As he sees that Weol-Ju is behind it, Kang-Bae accepts to sign but suggests having a trial run first.
In the evening, the customers of the pop-up bar are Kang-Bae’s neighbour Ms Andong and her daughter Eun-Su, who is getting married soon. While they eat, we see that Ms Andong coughs up blood discretely in a tissue. Eun-Su leaves to have dinner with her fiance’s friends, which gives them the opportunity to get Kang-Bae to touch his neighbour.
As she starts telling her story, we learn that when she opened her grilled restaurant she employed a young woman called Sun-Hwa to help her. One day, Ms Andong fell for client Mr Ko, who kept coming to the restaurant. Unfortunately, she later found out that him and Sun-Hwa fell in love and were about to have a baby. After the baby was born, in an act of jealousy Ms Andong told Mr Ko that the baby might not be his which caused him to leave.
Devastated, Sun-Hwa ended up running after him and getting hit by a car in the process. After this, Ms Andong felt that she had no other choice but to look after the child even though she fell like dying. She then explains that her dying wish will be for Eun-Su to meet her father as she has lung cancer.
This story angers Weol-Ju so she orders her to go because she won’t serve murderers. She tells her she is a fraud and that since words can kill, she will eventually go to hell. This reminds her of what the villagers did in the past, spreading rumours and eventually causing the death of her own mother. After Andong leaves, Kang-Bae confronts Weol-Ju about throwing her out as he thought they were meant to help people.
The next evening, Kang-Bae decides to steal the magical drink to sort out the issue himself. After pouring the liquid in a plastic bottle, he returns home to find Ms Andong collapsed on the floor. In hospital, Kang-Bae receives a call from Weol-Ju and leaves Eun-Su alone with her mother. She finds the bottle and starts drinking from it. When Kang-Bae returns to the room, he sees that Eun-Su has drunk the bottle so he touches her and is transported into her dream world.
After falling down the stairs, Kang-Bae starts panicking as he is lost in a dark and unknown place. Thankfully, Weol-Ju arrives and turns on the light. She tells him never to go in the dream world before she had a chance to plan it all out as he could have become trapped in her subconscious forever. Weol-Ju conjures a movie theatre and we see Eun-Su’s life play on the screen, showing just how much Ms Andong has sacrificed for Eun-Su.
Back in reality, Ms Andong is taking a turn for the worse as the doctors rush in to try saving her. Kang-Bae runs after Weol-Ju and tells her that he will sign if she agrees to grant her wish. As death in the form of Yeom arrives to take Ms Andong, Weol-Ju asks him to let her keep Ms Andong’s spirit with her until the funeral.
Back in the bar, the trio try to find out more about Mr Ko as they speak to the ghost of Ms Andong. Kang-Bae is not able to see her but he thanks her for her kindness. After tracking him down, they learn that he has lost his memory. They then try jogging his memory with grilled mackerel then with Kang-Bae’s touch but to no avail. Suddenly, Kang-Bae remembers he still has some of the magical drink left which they decide to use on Ko.
In his dreamworld, they first see him trying to kill himself before heading into the deepest recesses of his subconscious which proves to be perilous as they slowly make their way down a spiraling stair case to a narrow path above a bottomless precipice . A locked door stands at the end of it. They try punching in a code on the lock but when they get it wrong, the floor start falling and it nearly sends them to their death. For their third and final attempt, Kang-Bae has the idea to try Eun-Su’s birthday which works. Weol-Ju then conjures up her magic and restores the memories of Sun-Hwa and his daughter.
In the reality, Mr Ko visits his daughter at the funeral and reveals the whole truth to her. After he leaves, Eun-Su speaks to her mother’s remains and tells her she now realizes how much she suffered and thanks her for raising her, telling her how happy she was to be her daughter. Ms Andong watches on which leads her to leave with no regrets. In the afterlife, she sees Sun-Hwa and collapses in her arms, apologizing. Sun-Hwa thanks her for having done such a great job with Eun-Su and tells her to rest in peace.
In the evening, Guibanjang joins Kang-Bae as he plays basketball by himself. He explains that the reason he was hesitant about the contract is because he has always failed. Guibanjang tells him that life is about living with others and it is time to have a real life.
In the pop-up bar, they finally sign the contract and celebrate with drinks. Kang-Bae asks Weol-Ju why it has to be 100.000. She replies that it is because that’s how many people she’s killed. In a flashback, we see a young Weol-Ju kneeling in front of the god of the underworld who tells her that because of her, the sacred tree that has been defending the country has suffered bad luck.
This caused an invasion and claimed the life of 100,000 people. The god then told her that her punishment is to go to the living realm and settle the grudges of 100,000 people. Weol-Ju tried protesting so the God revealed that she committed another crime as she showed her a parchment. After Weol-Ju read it, she tearfully told her that she accepts the punishment, as the episode closes.
What another great episode! As we are getting to know both our main characters, we see just how well they compliment each other. Kang-Bae has led quite the lonely life but has remained kind and selfless while Weol-Ju is unable to let go of her past and has little compassion left. These two make a good pair and I can imagine, they will help each other level out emotionally in the episodes to come.
This episode concentrated on another client of the bar and had a really touching development. This latest plot had a decent resolution too which lead to Kang-Bae finally agreeing to sign the contract. One mystery remains though; what was in that parchment which made Weol-Ju cry? We should hopefully find out but in the meantime, Mystic Pop-up Bar is a Korean drama that’s already made me look forward to next week’s episode!
Published: 22 May 2020 at 11:40pm on