K-Drama Mid-Series Check: “Mystic Pop-up Bar” Takes Viewers On Curious Trips Into The World Of Dreams
Mystic Pop-up Bar soothes troubled souls through fantastical journeys into people’s dreams!
The first half of JTBC’s drama Mystic Pop-up Bar provided audiences with a whirlwind of a watch so far! Combining fantasy with comedy, the show explores relatable problems many people face in their daily lives. Its leading trio with supernatural powers embarks on hilarious missions to help solve them.
- K-Drama Premiere: “Mystic Pop-up Bar” Gleefully Invites To A Healing Journey By Entering The Dream World
Quick Plot Round-Up
The drama focuses on its main trio, Wol Ju (Hwang Jung Eum), Han Kang Bae (Yook Sung Jae), and Cheif Gwi (Choi Won Young), who meet after strange circumstances.
The drama begins 500 years ago, following Wol Ju as a young girl. She has the special power to enter people’s dreams, finding the source of their emotional suffering. News of her power eventually reaches the royal palace. The palace summons her to help the Crown Prince because vengeful spirits haunt him.
She successfully enters his dreams and helps the Crown Prince end his torment. The Queen rewards her with gifts for her work. Gossip then spreads throughout Wol Ju’s hometown that lowly girl seduced the Prince. Wol Ju’s mother, who has powers similar to hers, has a premonition of danger coming her daughter’s way and urges her to leave the town.
During Wol Ju’s escape, she hears distressing cries that there is a fire and turns back. Her house is consumed by flames and her mother lies unconscious inside. Wol Ju feels devastated and angry. Convinced the gossiping townspeople killed her mom, she turns to the town’s Sacred Tree. She destroys all the offerings set before it, cursing the town, and hangs herself.
In the afterlife, she receives a 500-year sentence for her crimes. During the 500-year period, she must use her powers to help solve the problems of 100,000 people or else she will be sent to hell. She is only ten souls away from her goal but Mystic Pop-up Bar, the restaurant she uses to lure troubled people to her, is struggling.
She is helped by Chief Gwi who used to work in the Afterlife Criminal Department. Eventually, the two encounter Han Kang Bae, a customer service representative at a grocery store. He has the strange ability to make people confess their most troubling thoughts whenever he touches them. Wol Ju needs his power so that she may quickly discover people’s problems and enter their dreams to solve them.
She proposes a work contract in which Kang Bae will team up with her to help ten more people, and she will help rid him of his ability once completed. The show follows their journeys through people’s dreams and the problems they must help them overcome.
The Story So Far…
After Kang Bae accepts Wol Ju’s proposal, with Gwi’s guidance, the trio begins seeking out troubled people to help. Kang Bae uses his abilities in his customer service job at the grocery store. After finding struggling people, he invites them to visit Mystic Pop-up Bar.
Kang Bae eagerly helps Wol Ju, excited that she will help take his abilities away and he will be able to touch someone normally. During one of their missions, he meets Kang Yeo Rin (Jung Da Eun), who is shockingly not affected by his touch. Coincidentally, she begins working at his grocery store.
Meanwhile, Wol Ju excitedly grows closer to completing her goals. Her cold and blunt exterior begins warming -impacted by Kang Bae’s kind and generous spirit. Additionally, Gwi’s constant company and support brings her comfort.
Trouble begins brewing during the team’s missions. Wol Ju and Gwi get into trouble with the Department Head of the Afterlife, Yeom (Lee Joon Hyuk). During a mission, they stole a birth-conception dream from the fertility spirit to give to a woman struggling to conceive. Due to this theft, Mystic Pop-up Bar is suspended and the two are given community service work in the afterlife, stalling Wol Ju’s progress.
Moreover, the murderer who set Wol Ju’s house on fire 500 years ago returns. The drama reveals he was the Crown Prince’s best friend. He is stalking Wol Ju, sinisterly scheming. He appears upset with Wol Ju for helping the Prince.
The first half of the series has explored many problems people can encounter in life, but may not share with others. This includes difficulties such as suffering from sexual harassment, discrimination during job interviews, and infertility.
In this manner, the drama highlights the struggles that most people keep private, showing that they are more common than people may assume. Moreover, Mystic Pop-up Bar illustrates that people’s tendency to remain quiet and endure them alone results in further pain.
While not everyone can have a supernatural team to help resolve their problems in their dreams, the show subtly encourages its viewers to face their struggles. Whether seeking help from loved ones or resolving to find a solution individually, the drama shows that despite how undefeatable problems may seem, there is always a way to fix them.
Mystic Pop-up Bar‘s endearing trio grows closer as the series progresses. Though not all details have been revealed regarding Kang Bae’s absent family, it is clear he has been alone for quite some time. During his work with Gwi and Wol Ju, the two evolve into his friends, but more importantly, parental figures. They provide him with the care and companionship he lacked most of his life.
Additionally, though Wol Ju became distant and cold after her mother’s death, Kang Bae and Gwi have softened her. She becomes more empathetic towards the troubled people she encounters. Furthermore, she dotes on both of them like family – caring for their injuries, cooking their favorite foods, and worrying about them.
The show notably illustrates that a family is not always determined by blood relation, but can also be created.
Half-way through its run, Mystic Pop-up Bar shows signs of blooming romance amongst its characters. Though unaffected at the beginning, Gwi’s tender care chips away at Ju Wol’s icy exterior. As the series progresses, his devotion and true feelings towards her emerge more clearly.
Despite her prior love for the Crown Prince, Wol Ju’s increasing interest for Gwi shows promising signs of a possible relationship on the horizon. Viewers anticipate a rocky road for the couple, as she confronts her remaining feelings for the Crown Prince.
Kang Bae starts to experience his first moments of love with Yeo Rin, the only person who remains unaffected by his powers. She also has the same morals and kind heart that he possesses. As such, the two bond while working together, growing even closer after pairing up for a dance competition together.
At the halfway mark, Mystic Pop-up Bar surprisingly teased that Yeo Rin may have her own unique quirk. Every man who has touched her has recoiled in fear. Kang Bae mysteriously has not felt any fear while touching her.
It will be exciting to witness how the two clumsily handle their growing affection for one another.
Mystic Pop-up Bar Mid-Series Afterthoughts
Mystic Pop-up Bar is an entertaining watch so far! Blending genres of fantasy, drama, and comedy, there is something enjoyable for every viewer’s taste.
While the show confronts heavy topics and struggles people endure in life, it does so light-heartedly. The supernatural trio stumbles through their trips in people’s dreams, providing many laughs with their slapstick humor. The casts’ great chemistry makes their interactions even more pleasant to watch.
Additionally, the plot is unique and captivates its audience’s attention. The contrast between Wol Ju’s tragic history and the exciting missions with her colleagues offers a good balance. Viewers sympathize with her struggles and root for all of the characters to overcome their own problems while helping others.
The blooming romances in the show were an endearing touch! Admittedly, the show’s pace is moving quite fast. The characters’ relationships could have benefited with more time to make them more realistic.
Yet, with six episodes still remaining, viewers can expect much more romance and mystery in its remaining half!
Image Source: jTBC | Netflix
Video Source: The Swoon Official YouTube channel | jTBC Drama Official YouTube channel