Episode 1 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 12 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Based on the popular web-comic “Ssanggabpocha”, Mystic Pop-up Bar marks the first Wednesday/Thursday show aired by JTBC. With an original story and some great chemistry from its cast, this latest K-Drama hits all the right notes when it comes to humour, tension and world building. It tackles a lot of important themes around life and death too, along with the consequences of our actions, which gives a nice layer of depth to this series.
The story mainly revolves around Weol-Ju who runs the mystic Pop-up Bar at night. Due to her actions in the past, she has been sentenced to settle the grudge of 100,000 people or she will be sent to Hell. She is also helped by manager Guibanjang who always stays by her side.
With time running out, Weol-Ju becomes desperate and seeks the help of Han Kang-Bae who has the ability to make people spill their secrets just by touching them. The story follows the trio as they help each other reach their goal while some deep secrets and revelations are uncovered along the way.
With just 12 episodes, Mystic Pop-up bar does a great job with its narrative, keeping a consistent pace throughout and enough development for each of the characters. The main trio work really well together and without spoiling too much, there is a twist at the end which explains just why this is the case.
Weol-Ju and Kang-Bae in particular serve up a good contrast, as the former can be quite harsh and temperamental while the latter is sweet and patient. Their interactions develop beautifully during the season and with Guibanjang by their side, they all compliment each other well.
The premise surrounding the living world and afterlife in Mystic Pop-up Bar is really well presented. The drama excels with its world building, showing us how people are judged after they pass away and what happens afterwards. There is a strong sense of karma running throughout, with emphasis on how our past actions will reflect our next life or even our future.
This is one of the main themes of the show but each episode tackles other important themes too as the trio help a different person during each chapter.
As with many K-dramas, the cast here serve up some excellent performances and have great presence on-screen. Hwang Jung-Eum really stands out here and steals the scene on many occasions with her fun and quirky mannerisms. She has become one of my favourite characters across the many Korean dramas I’ve watched and I am looking forward to see more work from this actress.
Mystic Pop-up Bar has been a pleasant surprise and a really satisfying watch. It may have not been as popular as this year’s heavy hitter such as The King: Eternal Monarch or Itaewon Class but I believe it should definitely be up there with some of the best K-dramas on offer.
There’s the right blend of humour, fantasy, romance and tension to keep you hooked from the first episode and I was quite sad to see this entertaining story come to an end. For anyone looking for a new drama to sink their teeth in, I would highly recommend sharing a drink with Weol-Ju in her Mystic Pop-up Bar!
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Verdict - 8.5/10