A New Contract
Mystic Pop-up Bar delivers another thrilling and touching episode this week as we find out more details about Weol-Ju’s punishment and her true selfless side. The drama is building towards the finale quite nicely which promises to be very emotional for our trio.
Episode 9 of Mystic Pop-up Bar starts with Death confronting Won-Hyung about his actions and his plan to take revenge on Weol-Ju and the crown prince. Won-Hyung tells his father he wants the prince to suffer just like he did as he was the one who beheaded him and therefore made him suffer for 500 years in hell. He wants Weol-Ji to fail her task so she will go to hell, which in turn will make the prince suffer. Death is disappointed in his son and uses his power against him. However, Won-Hyung manages to get to his father by telling him that all he ever wanted was to be loved by him.
As we cut to Kang-Bae at work, his friends are surprised it didn’t work out with Yeo-Rin as she was very worried when she heard he was sick. He heads into the car park next where he sees a spirit. He tries his best to ignore it but becomes startled when Yeo-Rin suddenly appears. Things are still awkward between the two after what happened but when Yeo-Rin tells him not to read too much into the kiss as it was her first, Kang-Bae is happy as he realizes that they were each other’s first kiss.
In a restaurant, Weol-Ju and Guibanjang are surprised to see the same fake shaman they met in the Ice Witch’s apartment. Weol-Ju confronts him for scamming people then leaves. However, he follows her to the bar and begs her to help him regain the ability to see ghosts and settle his grudge. She agrees to do it and heads into the other realm to open his spiritual vision for him.
When both arrive, they see that the door to spiritual vision has been closed; they find out that the law has been changed after an incident sees it welded shut. The admin clerk explains that only an order from heaven and the force of nature can open it again.
Weol-Ju decides to seek the help of Samsin who tells her that Kang-Bae has a lot of Yin energy and that she needs to find someone who is surrounded by Yang energy or someone who is the reincarnation of the Cinnabar to help him shut his vision. In a flashback, we see Weol-Ju and her mum praying by the mystical rock called the Cinnabar. Her mother explains that using a talisman made from the Cinnabar is very efficient against spirits.
In the present, Samsin tells her that the Cinnabar was reincarnated into a woman who has suffered a lot and needs to find love. Weol-Ju tells her Kang Bae will be perfect but Samsin explains that they will need a true love’s kiss to bond the Yang and Yin together. Weol-Ju asks her to reveal who the woman is but Samsin refuses.
On his way to the bar, Kang-Bae meets a woman called Hyeon-Ok, who’s handing leaflets out surrounding her missing son, Jun-U. He has been missing for 15 years and should now be 22. He takes her in the bar where Weol-Ju cooks her some rolled omelette. She reveals that she lost her husband many years ago and was raising her son on her own. One day after work, she came home to find him missing. She suspected someone called Sang-Cheol who was desperate to go out with her but he has an alibi, meaning it can’t be him.
After taking Hyeon-Ok home, the trio decides to find Sang-Cheol to get some answers. Unfortunately, Death gets there before and makes sure he doesn’t speak to anyone. He sends him to hell before the trio arrives at his house. They find him on the brink of death so Weol-Ju decides to give him the magical drink. Guibanjang warns her against it as if he dies while they are in the dreamworld, they will be stuck there forever. Kang-Bae wants to come too but they tell him to stay behind and call if he looks like he is about to die.
In the dreamworld, they see Sang-Cheol finding Jun U in a playground where he accidentally hit his head against a slide. He then took him to an orphanage and abandoned him there, unconscious. Weol-Ju and Guibanjang have just got enough time to look at the name of the place before they have to rush back out as Sang-Cheol is dying.
The next day at work, Kang-Bae is unable to ignore a spirit. Death soon appears to get rid of it then speaks to him about his situation. Kang-Bae explains that since meeting Weol-Ju and Guibanjang, he has learned to look on the bright side of life and people. However, Death suggests that they could be using him. Kang-Bae dismisses this though as he knows he can trust them. Meanwhile, Weol-Ju finds out that Jun-U was in the States but finally returning to his mum.
In the evening, Kang-Bae arrives at the bar and overhears Weol-Ju and Guibanjang discussing the dilemma surrounding Kang-Bae’s case and how they won’t be able to close his spiritual vision. Kang-Bae then confronts them about it and tells them he feels used and betrayed. Before they can explain, he rushes out the bar.
The next day, Guibanjang finds Kang-Bae alone and finishing. The latter tells him perhaps this was his destiny as he has always been used and abandoned. We see that as a child, he always made people uncomfortable and they never wanted to be around him as they always spilled their secrets. He tells Guibanjang that with him and Weol-Ju, he felt like he had a family but now he doesn’t want to be hurt anymore. Guibanjang tries promising to fix him but Kang-Bae tells him to go away.
Meanwhile, Weol-Ju manages to convince Samsin to give her the name of the Cinnabar but on one condition. She later finds out that Jun-U is in hospital very sick so she takes Hyeon-Ok along to see him. After watching the emotional reunion between the two, Weol-Ju walks away, envying the woman who got to see her son and reveals that she was never able to see her own.
At the supermarket, Samsin visits Kang-Bae to reveal the story behind Weol-Ju’s sacrifice. When she hang herself on the tree, she didn’t know that she would kill the sacred tree and the unborn baby inside her. The tree’s sorrow then entered the soul of the fetus and because of that, the baby was destined to live thousands of miserable lives until the sacred tree’s grudge was settled.
In a flashback, we see Weol-Ju talking about her punishment with Yeomradeawang and accepting to settle the grudges of 100,000 people to save her baby’s soul. Samsin also shows him a contract she just signed, agreeing to give up her right to reincarnation and go to hell in exchange for the name of the Cinnabar. She was happy to do it to keep her promise to Kang-Bae. The latter can’t believe she did that and wants to stop her as he is fine to live like this.
Guibanjang meets with Yeombujang in a convenience store and asks him about the death of Sang as he believes an evil spirit is behind it. Death dismisses this though and tells him he will look into it himself. Before leaving, Guibanjang notices that he is not eating his usual noodles, which surprises him.
Kang-Bae rushes over to the bar in order to tell Weol-Ju he knows about the contract she signed. He insists that they should find another way as he wants her to be reincarnated or go to heaven. She tells him that she has been alive for 500 years and asks him to help her finish her task instead and not tell Guibanjang or Yeombujang about the contract. He later leaves with Guibanjang and they talk about Hyeon-Ok, who is going to get tested to see if she can donate one of her kidneys to her sick son. Kang-Bae mentions his mother and wonders if he will meet her one day. The episode ends with a woman appearing behind them and saying “I am happy to finally meet you, your royal Highness.”
As we witness Yeombujang sabotaging the trio, we can only guess that his son Won-Hyung may be possessing him. This is bound to create a lot more issues for our trio as he is determined to take his revenge.
We finally learn what was on the parchment Weol-Ju was given after her death too; she was pregnant when she killed herself and because of the sacred tree, she has had to work for 500 years in order to protect her baby’s soul. We see a different side to her too as she is willing to give up her reincarnation in exchange for helping Kang-Bae live a normal life. This was quite the revelation and I am looking forward to see what happens next with the last three episodes of this series, which has been so far been really original and fun to watch.