K-Drama Premiere: “Mystic Pop-up Bar” Gleefully Invites To A Healing Journey By Entering The Dream World
Welcome to the Mystic Pop-up Bar – the place where your problems can be fixed inside your dreams.
JTBC’s new drama Mystic Pop-up Bar broadcast its first two episodes on Wednesday and Thursday, May 20 and 21. The series is also available for streaming on Netflix the same day of its Korean broadcast at 10PM PHT.
PREMIERE WEEK RATING:
The first two episodes scored domestic nationwide ratings of 3.61% and 1.88% respectively. Albeit showing a drastic drop during the second day, we are confident to report its extraordinary appeal.
The owner of the mystic pop-up bar, Wol Ju is a spirit with a 500-year sentence. In order to escape going to hell, she has to help 100,000 people find peace. On top of this, she is suddenly told she has only one month left to achieve her goal.
Wol Ju is able to help people by entering their dreams and punishing the people responsible for their troubles there. When those in need of help wake up, they gain the courage to take a step to solve their problems.
PREMIERE WEEK RECAP
How it all started
The story begins 500 years ago with the young Wol Ju. She is a kind and gentle girl who has a special ability. She can enter people’s dreams and find the reason for their suffering.
Wol Ju is known throughout her hometown and is loved by the people because of the help she provides. One day, she is called at the palace in order to get inside the Crown Prince’s dreams.
The Prince has been haunted by vengeful spirits and it is up to Wol Ju to help him. She succeeds but unfortunately it does not go well for her after that.
Despite receiving gratitude for her help, the Prince becomes weird after he wakes up from his haunted dreams. Soon, vicious rumors begin to travel about Wol Ju bewitching the Prince.
Her mother, who also has special powers like her, is warned about an upcoming tragedy regarding her daughter. That is when she tells her to leave the town and giving her the binyeo (hairpin) she had been wearing. That hair accessory is said to bring to Wol Ju the person she desperately seeks.
Before she gets too far, a fire starts which makes Wol Ju run back into town to find her house burning. Her mother lays inside unconscious. The loss devastates Wol Ju, who eventually ends up walking to the town’s Sacred tree.
There, she destroys the offerings placed on a table and curses the whole town. After that she hangs herself on one of the branches. Her soul is later punished for desecration of the Sacred tree.
Wol Ju received a 500-year sentence for the crimes of her past life. She has to listen to people’s problems and comfort them. In odder to not be send to hell, she has to soothe the souls of 100,000 people.
She is down to her last 10 but she is having a hard time making people open up. Owning a night bar seems to not be that helpful either. In charge of watching her do her job is Chief Gwi who used to work in the Afterlife Criminal Department.
A “special case” walks in the bar
Department store part-timer Han Kang Bae has his own magical problems. Every time someone touches him, they have the unstoppable urge to pour their problems out to him.
One night, Kang Bae sees his coworker, Mi Ran, trying to step in front of a moving truck and end her life. He rushes in front of the vehicle which manages to stop at the very last moment. After that, to cheer her up, Kang Bae invites her to have dinner together at the first place he sees: the Mystic Pop-up Bar.
While eating, Mi Ran ends up touching Kang Bae’s hand and starts revealing her problems in front of him and the bar owner. Eventually, Wol Ju asks for her and the troubled customer to be left alone to talk.
She pours a mystical liquid into Mi Ran’s glass and asks her to drink it. The substance grants Wol Ju the ability to enter other people’s dreams and she ends up inside of her customer’s.
Meanwhile, Kang Bae returns to the Bar to find a passed out Mi Ran and when he tries to wake her up by touching her, he somehow ends up pulled into her dream too.
There, he meets with Wol Ju and Chief Gwi who briefly explain where he is and what they are doing. Gwi finds out that Kang Bae’s spiritual vision is unlocked, thus the reason why people want to share their problems with him.
After an eventful adventure in the Dream World, Kang Bae decides to ask Wol Ju to help him with his problem. Wol Ju herself has a favor to ask of him as well. She promises to grant his wish if he uses his powers to help her reach her quota.
Kang Bae is hesitant about the deal at first. If he can’t help her, she will be dragged into hell without giving him what he wants. Aside from that, he might end up with even worse side effects from walking into people’s dreams. Wol Ju tries hard to win him over as he is her last hope for her atonement.
PREMIERE WEEK AFTERTHOUGHTS
A well put cast
The cast have immersed into their characters quite well. Hwang Jung Eum brings out a pretty strong Wol Ju. The bar owner is quick to speak her mind and is not ashamed of her own principles and believes.
Yook Sung Jae as Han Kang Bae and Choi Won Young as Chief Gwi also contribute for their roles quite magnificently.
The three characters have already brought laughter while watching the premiere week of Mystic Pop-up Bar and I am looking forward to see more silly dialogues, eccentric behavior and funny situations.
Mystic with a touch of reality
The show touches on regular problems which a lot of people have or might encounter. It is quite easy to relate and feel sympathy for the characters, not only for the Mystic bar squad but also for their customers.
Despite the seriousness of what people have to face and endure everyday, the drama brings out an interesting comedic touch. The hilarious moments light up the heavy moods set by the rough stories presented in the series.
It looks like each episode will take on a different problem, while revealing a bit more about the main characters. It is going to be a fun ride to follow the story of Wol Ju, Kang Bae and Chief Gwi.
I am already feeling a bit disappointed at the fact the show will run for only 12 episodes. But that only brings up my expectations on how much more the story can show in this short time.
Image credit: jTBC