Mystic pop-up bar: Episode 10 – recap

If the last episode was just filler, this one has got to be their best so far. We don’t have a case of the week but we go leaps and bounds in terms of story and character development. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Will they or won’t they? Of course, they will

I’ll get the least interesting part of this episode out of the way first. If it wasn’t obvious from the past episodes, Yeo-rin is the Cinnabar. Seriousy, I want to smack Weol-ju for making a crappy deal with Samsin just to find out the Cinnabar’s identity when she could have figured it out herself. Alas, I sometimes forget that they’re not omniscient. Or maybe I’m just not really into this love story.

Anyway, Kang-bae decides that he’s not giving up on Yeo-rin yet after their reconciliation last episode. This is good news for Weol-ju, who needs them to fall in love. The only catch is that they have to get Yeo-rin on board. They make Kang-bae try a bunch of stuff that typically make a girl fall for a guy. This segment was not funny at all but was worth it for one thing and one thing alone:

THIS. SHOT. THIS. WAS. HOT. Okay, there was a part where he snatched the ticket from his lips but it doesn’t translate well to screen shots so someone else will need to GIF that for me.

Obviously, that was a bust and they reconvene in the bar for a new strategy. Gwi says that women dig funny men (true) but Weol-ju says that Kang-bae isn’t funny. And this brings us to my favorite moment of the night, no, the show, the only part where I was laughing straight the whole time: Gwi says he’ll be Kang-bae’s coach, and then they start playing the Sky Castle theme (“We all lie…”). And they proceed to reenact the scenes where Coach Kim pressures Mrs. Han about coaching Ye-seo, with Gwi even copying the hairstyle of Coach Kim.

I just loved this so much because of the Sky Castle reference and the fact that two of the cast members were on that show. And we had the theme song playing the whole time too.

The next day at work, this jerk that Yeo-rin went out with before shows up and starts humiliating her. Kang-bae rushes to her defense by taking her hand and pretending to be her boyfriend. When it’s over, Yeo-rin runs from Kang-bae. He wonders what he did wrong again, while she stares at her hand and wonders why she didn’t scare him off.

Kang-bae perseveres. He asks Yeo-rin out for lunch and they go to a cafe. Yeo-rin explains that they called her the “Date Bully” back then, because all the guys she liked would run away from her when she asked them out. It’s why she turned Kang-bae down, because she didn’t want the same thing to happen with him. Kang-bae shares his story as well, how even as a kid in the orphanage, he brought bad luck to people and that’s why he avoided getting close to them. But he wants to stop doing that now, and he wants to start with Yeo-rin. She recounts the time he told her he didn’t feel anything when he touched her and he corrects the misunderstanding: he’s glad nothing bad happened to her because he touched her but of course he feels something when he’s with her. This gives Yeo-rin the courage to admit her feelings as well: she likes him and… can she like him? Kang-bae giddily nods his head, and even Yeo-rin offers a small smile.

The past that continues to haunt them all

So who was that woman who recognized Gwi? It’s his mom, the Queen!

We get a flashback of the Queen threatening Weol-ju and the Crown Prince learning about his arranged marriage. The Crown Prince protests by saying that he loves someone else, but his mother is adamant: He must erase her from his heart, or else she will do it for him.

Now, we’re back in the present where Gwi stares as her in wonder, as they have a conversation in a cafe. She remembered her past life after an accident, she says, and she thought about how much she hurt her son. Was he living a good life or was he also cursed to remember his past, like her? To his surprise, she apologizes to him, for not realizing how much he loved Weol-ju. He apologizes too, for breaking his parents’ hearts (but what he did, we’ll find out later). She is curious though, why has he not been reborn? Gwi has the most touching answer.

Kang-bae, after being ditched by Gwi, returns to the bar. He tries to convince Weol-ju to stay but she reiterates that she no longer wants to continue living or to be reborn. If they settle the 100,000 grudges, the suffering of someone precious to her will end, and Kang-bae avoids her gaze as he knows exactly who she’s talking about. Weol-ju believes she deserves it though, since whatever she’s doing doesn’t erase the fact that her baby has been suffering all this time. They drop the topic, and Kang-bae looks down in defeat.

Gwi takes a stroll back to the bar, remembering how he was sentenced. As the Crown Prince, he beheaded Won-Hyun and then killed himself, which should have sent him straight to hell. However, had Won-Hyun lived, he would have killed more people and the Crown Prince gets a reduced sentence: he will serve in the Afterlife Police Agency and, if he does well, they’ll send him to Weol-ju’s side. Shaking off his thoughts, he arrives at the bar to catch Weol-ju and Kang-bae talking. Gwi drops a necklace with a jade ring and they tease him for it, saying it’s for the woman he met earlier. He pushes back, saying that Weol-ju doesn’t pay him enough for him to buy a nicer ring. Unbeknownst to them, his mom is eavesdropping on them and she is shocked to learn that Weol-ju is there. Ultimately, she is happy for them.

That’s sweet. See, she’s a lot more likeable now.

For some reason, though, she can’t stay away from them. She shows up unexpectedly one night, and Weol-ju freezes. Kang-bae recognizes her as Gwi’s friend and she pretends that she has no knowledge of their past lives. Weol-ju can’t help but be rude to her and she tells Kang-bae that she looks exactly like the Queen. Just as the Queen is about to say something, Gwi arrives with Yeom and a look of recognition flashes across the Queen’s face as she sees Yeom. Gwi hurriedly takes her away and the Queen is surprised that Weol-ju doesn’t know who he is. She wants to help bring them together but Gwi refuses. What Weol-ju needs is someone to help her fulfill her mission, not someone who loves her, and that’s who he decided to be.

The following night at the bar, Weol-ju is out and all the boys (Kang-bae, Gwi, and Yeom) are hanging out. When a customer arrives, Gwi prompts for Kang-bae to begin their modus operandi but Kang-bae doesn’t follow. Gwi asks him why after the bar has closed and a slip of the tongue has Kang-bae revealing to Gwi what the deal was between Weol-ju and Samsin. A shell-shocked Gwi storms out while Yeom looks on.

From a flashback, we learn what really happened at the warehouse between Yeom and Won-Hyun: When Won-Hyun took Yeom’s hand, he possessed his body, and so this evil Yeom we’ve been seeing since last episode is actually Won-Hyun. And with this newfound knowledge of Weol-ju’s fate, evil Yeom hatches up an evil plan. He visits the Queen and tells her about Weol-ju’s punishment, but conveniently changes the part wherein Weol-ju will go to hell once she’s done. Instead, what evil Yeom wants is for Weol-ju to learn who Gwi really is, to make their inevitable parting even more painful, especially for Gwi. The Queen plays into his plan, agreeing to be a catalyst by having Weol-ju enter the Queen’s dream and show her Gwi’s true identity.

Gwi finds Weol-ju and confronts her about the contract. Why should she keep doing the mission if she’s going to end up in hell anyway? He’ll find a way to nullify the contract but, until then, she should stop settling grudges. Weol-ju tries to lighten the mood but Gwi is having none of it.

Gwi’s next stop is Samsin’s, where he’s ransacking her place to find the contract, but it has already been approved by Yeomradaewang. She tries to put a stop to the madness but Gwi is in tears as he tells her that he can’t let Weol-ju go without her knowing the truth, and without doing anything for her again.

Back at the bar, the Queen gets Weol-ju to warm up to her by pretending that she’s gone through a similar experience as Weol-ju. Once the Queen is offered the drink and falls asleep. Weol-ju enters her dream world only to find herself back in the palace, watching the Crown Prince get ready for his wedding. She is angry at the realization that he lived happily without her and she takes a step forward to confront him but, just in time, Gwi arrives and pulls her back. His face panics as she says that she wants to ask the Crown Prince something but Gwi drags her by the arm and out of the dream.

Weol-ju wakes up the Queen with a splash of water to the face. Her emotions get the best of her as she grabs her by the collar of her coat and throttles her. The Queen acknowledges her fault in the past and is about to reveal the truth but Gwi pries them apart before she can say another word. Weol-ju insists on knowing and Gwi yells at the Queen to leave. He storms out soon after, leaving Weol-ju alone and in tears.

Gwi asks what she is doing and the Queen says that she’s just trying to help them both: if Weol-ju settles her grudge, she’ll be closer to meeting her goal. Gwi screams that Weol-ju will go to hell if she meets her goal. She needs to leave them alone and to stop meddling in their lives.

We then find out what happened to Gwi after his visit to Samsin. He goes to Yeomradaewang and tries to negotiate the contract. He knows that she cares about Weol-ju too; after all, that’s why she sent him to the bar so that Weol-ju can meet her goal. However, Yeomradaewang argues the rules are the rules and Weol-ju herself signed the contract. Gwi offers himself in Weol-ju’s place instead. Yeomradaewang is stunned, as he’s already paid for his sins in the Afterlife Police Agency. However, Gwi counters that he may have paid his dues for killing himself and his best friend, but not for making Weol-ju die alone.

The following day, Yeom tries to subtly ask about the Queen and Weol-ju tells him about what happened the night before. He seems to be expecting more but Gwi arrives in a great mood. Weol-ju’s contract is null now. Yeom is shocked while Weol-ju is in disbelief. Gwi makes up a story about blackmailing Yeomradaewang using info he gathered as a detective. Weol-ju is grateful and Yeom seethes internally as his plan is foiled. As the Queen is wondering why the stories of Gwi and Yeom don’t add up, Yeom shows up to her office and reveals himself as Won-Hyun. Now that it all makes sense, the Queen remarks that he hasn’t changed one bit, and Won-hyun finishes her off.

As Weol-ju goes grocery shopping, she overhears a conversation between Kang-bae and Yeo-rin, which sounds eerily familiar. It’s the same lines that the Crown Prince fed her in the past. When Yeo-rin leaves, she asks Kang-bae where he learned that and he tells her it’s from Gwi. Her mind flashes back to all the times they spent together, and how the hints were all there. She begins putting the pieces together and runs back to the bar. An unsuspecting Gwi is trying to reach the Queen when Weol-ju shows up and asks him the question that he can’t avoid anymore.

Final thoughts

I love love love this episode! Things have finally come to a head and our characters now have to deal with the past, the present, and the future. I don’t have any predictions on Weol-ju’s reaction to Gwi’s identity, as she’s too angry but also probably still in love with him. I’m willing to bet that Kang-bae is their son. Not sure how this series will end, if it’s going to be a happy ending or a tragic one, but definitely looking forward to the last week of this show.

See you next time!

Posted by

K-drama enthusiast, aspiring yogi, and loves angst

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