Mystic Pop Up Bar · Recaps

Mystic Pop Up Bar Ep 12 Recap (and tears and smiles galore!)

This is it! The finale’s here at last! Is a happy ending in store for our favourite trio? Let’s find out!

We open to Kangbae in an abandoned warehouse. He appears to have been unconscious but not tied up because once he comes to himself, he finds Weolju’s ssangapju bottle smash to pieces in front of him. He sinks to his knees and starts to sob, clutching the broken pieces. (Now that’s an ominous way to start)

We flash back to Queen Yeomra summoning Manager Gui and telling him that Grim Reaper Yeom is nowhere to be found and hasn’t been responding to her messages. She yells in frustration at Wonhyung being a headache. Manager Gui says that Grim Reaper Yeom caught Wonhyung though. Queen Yeomra says of course he didn’t. Manager Gui panics, finally putting everything together, and races to the bar.

Meanwhile, Kangbae/Sacred Tree is at full power. Wonhyung asks if he’s the sacred tree. In saguek speak, he tells Wonhyung to come out of Grim Reaper Yeom’s body. He slowly advances to Wonhyung, who tries to stop him using his powers but Kangbae repels them easily with a flick of his hand. (It’s pretty cool actually, if only Yeorin was here to see it). Wonhyung gapes as Kangbae places a hand on Yeom’s body and shoves his spirit out. (Phew, okay so Grim Reaper Yeom’s alive). Weolju stares, realizing who this is and what this means for Kangbae.

Manager Gui arrives at the same instance Wonhyung leaves Yeom’s body. Just as he’s about to attach, Wonhyung vanishes, leaving Weolju, Manager Gui and Kangbae and the ties that connect them. Good thing Kangbae chooses that moment to faint as the Sacred Tree’s presence fades.

Weolju takes him home and cares for him, flashing back to her mother handing her the binyeo she said would bring the person she was searching for to her. She recalls how Kangbae ran to bring the binyeo back and sighs that Kangbae was whom she was looking for all along. Manager Gui returns to confirm that Grim Reaper Yeom’s hospitalized and doing okay. He asks what on earth’s going on. Weolju goes outside. It’s time for the final secret between them to be revealed.

She finally confesses that they had a child. Manager Gui’s shocked as Weolju reveals the reason she accepted her punishment, and finally puts two and two together that Kangbae’s their child. Weolju cries wondering why she didn’t realize it earlier. Kangbae came to her in pain, abandoned by other people, and seeking help and she tried to use him to her advantage. They agree to take responsibility for Kangbae. If his special case of spiritual power is rooted in the Sacred Tree then the Cinnabar won’t help. They have to resolve their last grudge for the Sacred Tree to release Kangbae.

Meanwhile, Wonhyung rests in the abandoned warehouse we saw Kangbae at the start of this episode, smirking to himself at the realization that Kangbae’s their child. Oh no. 

The next day, Weolju mothers Kangbae affectionately as he promises not to touch people at work.

 She warns him about Wonhyung still being at large and to be careful. Kangbae agrees and sweetly tells her to stick by Manager Gui, but as he leaves for work, visions of the Sacred Tree’s memories interrupt his consciousness. He goes to a pharmacy for aid but the pharmacist starts to spill his woes just by Kangbae looking at him. (Oh no! The worst has come to pass, poor Kangbae! That’s also so sad because it means Weolju didn’t have to sign that contract and Manager Gui didn’t have to assume it either!) The same thing occurs when Yeorin finally brings her friend over to meet him. Kangbae’s horrified.

Meanwhile, Manager Gui and Weolju are desperately on the hunt for someone’s grudge to cure. They run in hilarious situation after situation to but can’t seem to find anyone, despite literally chasing people around.

They meet back at the bar and agree to focus on customers. Only when they come in, Kangbae’s brought at least 30 people who’re all clamoring to be heard. Kangbae begs for help and Manager Gui goes into dad mode and slams down a crate of food telling them all to get lost so they can prepare for business. Awwwww.

Manager Gui and Weolju are upset to hear of Kangbae’s situation. He said he heard them all out but not one had a grudge. He starts to burn up from all the work he’s done. Weolju and Manager Gui quickly send him home, telling him not to worry, they’l take care of it.

They go visit an apologetic Grim Reaper Yeom. They can’t focus on finding a customers because Wonhyung could appear and attack them at any time. Yeom offers a way to solve the problem. He says he could be their final customer: if he asks them to settle his grudge as a father who wasn’t able to raise his son properly. He was too busy seeing to the prince’s needs to focus on those of his son. He only told Wonhyung how to serve the prince, without asking him of his own interests. He says Wonhyung’s wickedness is probably rooted in some way in his neglect. He asks Weolju and Manager Gui to bring Wonhyung to him to ask for forgiveness. Weolju sighs that it looks like they have their last customer.

Meanwhile, Kangbae dreams of going towards the Sacred Tree’s location. Underneath, he finds Weolju’s pin. Right then, he wakes up to the sound of knocking. Weolju and Manager Gui came by with a ton of food. Kangbae’s delighted and eats well to Weolju and Manager Gui’s joy. They assure him that they’ll be fine and that all they have to do is hunt down Wonhyun. Kangbae says he can help but they remind him that he almost collapsed last night. Kangbae realizes that Weolju and Manager Gui are leaving after solving this case. Weolju nods saying this is their farewell party. Manager Gui thanks Kangbae for helping them. They wouldn’t have come this far without him.

Weolju and Manager Gui tear up as he tells them, the person Weolju’s doing all this for will definitely feel it and appreciate it. The farewell party turns sadder than ever.

Kangbae wakes up the sight of a freshly ironed uniform. He’s in a different room, having fallen asleep on his study notes. (OMG is this a dream of what like would’ve been like if they were a family?) Manager Gui watches Knowing Bros on TV looking pretty unemployed, while Weolju cuts fruit for Kangbae. She yells at Manager Gui for watching tv so loudly and asks him to bring Kangbae the fruit without disturbing him. 

Cut to them playing FIFA together LOL.

Weolju’s not pleased when she walks in LOL.

She smiles pretty widely when Kangbae reveals his mock exam results and the grades are all stellar. She praises that he takes after her with brains, looks and skill. Manager Gui insists that he takes after him. 

They ask Kangbae whom he takes after most and Kangbae hurriedly excuses himself to eat. They both smile. In reality Kangbae sleeps on his mother’s lap. Weolju cries as Manager Gui watches sadly.

In the meantime, remember that Grim Reaper Wonhyung absorbed/killed? Wonhyung spits him out and to do his bidding and sends the Reaper to feed information about Wonhyung to Weolju and Manager Gui who don’t suspect a thing. He points to Wonhyung’s hideout and Manager Gui immediately heads there himself. Weolju tries to go as well but he says there’s no need to give Wonhyung what he wants. Manager Gui points out that they only have today left. He’ll take care of it and bring Wonhyung to her. She worries about his safety but he promises to return. Just in case, he hands a dagger and turns to leave but Weolju PULLS A WRISTGRAB.

Kangbae’s taken the day off work again because his eyes still hurt. He finds a sticky note from Weolju with all the food she’s stocked his fridge and freezer with. Sadness fills his eyes.

Meanwhile, Weolju turns around to literally find Wonhyung in front of her and almost starts out of her skin. He literally just walks up and tells her not to tense up. If he wanted her dead, he’d have done it. He laughs that she sure is lucky that so many people want to die for her. Even her mother. Weolju has to remind herself that she can’t kill Wonhyung. She calmly responds that parents do anything for their children, just like his father’s trying so hard to save a piece of trash like him. She says Yeom blames himself and seeks forgiveness. Wonhyung mutters that his father still doesn’t know him.

At the same time, Manager Gui finds the warehouse empty and realizes he’s been lead into a trap.

Wonhyung twists Yeom’s wish and yells that even the end his father sold him out to Weolju again. He laughs saying Weolju’ll finally know what it’s like to have everything taken from her. Weolju panics realizing what he means. Wonhyung knocks Weolju unconscious so she can do nothing about it and transforms into her.

He pretends that Manager Gui’s been hurt and leads a worried Kangbae to the warehouse, where he runs inside to help. (Awwww!) Yeorin gets worried that Kangbae isn’t answering her calls so she comes over to find him missing. She goes to Weolju and finds her unconsious just as Manager Gui races in in his police uniform. (And a very sexy uniform if I say so myself, why doesn’t Choi Wonyoung get these roles all the time. He’s sexy! Sometimes I really don’t get Korea’s standards, give me a rugged man any day.)

They run to save Kangbae only to be accosted by a gang of men possessed by spirits. Weolju pulls out the knife Manager Gui gave her but he pulls out that sexy gigantic sword.

Cue action music and damn, we got ourselves quite the fight scene. It’s pretty great, not going to lie. Only….they get cornered as more and more souls appear. That’s when Yeorin appears and sees Manager Gui and Weolju being ganged up on.

Her Cinnabar powers easily overpower the men. She tells them to go ahead, she’ll take care of this. Wow a badass, I love this. I love it. She even laughs at how easy they are.

At the warehouse, Kangbae tells Wonhyung Weolju and Manager Gui won’t let him get away with this. Wonhyung tells him they’re the reason he’s suffering. He’s about to spill the beans, but…

KANGBAE ALREADY KNOWS. He tells Wonhyung he can’t pit him against them. Wonhyung was the cause of everything, not them. They spent 500 years in pain trying to help him. Wonhyung laughs that if only they knew how he felt, it’ll hurt them so much more. He’s about to toss Kangbae down that spiral staircase of eternity. The one Weolju, Manager Gui and Kangbae saw when they were in that man’s subconscious years ago. He forces ssangapju down Kangbae’s throat. Kangbae passed out. Wonhyung’s about to enter Kangbae’s dream world when Manager Gui stops him.

The issue is that Manager Gui could kill him but can’t because they need him to resolve their final grudge. As they battle back and forth in a tug of war with the giant sword, Wonhyung leans it towards Kangbae’s neck to kill him. Manager Gui has no choice but to drop the sowrd to save Kangbae’s life and that starts had-to-hand combat. It’s pretty impressive, and Manager Gui has more than one weapon up his sleeve. He slams an iron bar through Wonhyung and pulls it out to further weaken him. He finally cuffs Wonhyung, but there’s more up the man’s sleeve. Wonhyung raises Manager Gui’s sword and sends it flying toward Weolju and Kangbae. Weolju places herself in front of Kangbae. Manager Gui vanishes in a flash and reappears. NOOOOOOOO!!!!

He gently touches Weolju’s shoulder a faint smile on his face, as if to reassure her, then collapses.

Weolju cries and begs him not to die. She just finally found him. She missed him so much. Wonhyung’s delighted at how this is ending.

He dies and fades to pieces. Weolju’s distraught.  I WANT A HAPPY ENDING, WHAT IS THIS???

Weolju tries to wake Kangbae up, but Kangbae’s stuck in a dream with Wonhyun who menacingly leads him down the stairs telling Kangbae that his useless life is finally ending. That’s when Weolju appears and takes control over the dream with a snap of her fingers. She freezes the dream such that Wonhyung can’t move. Wonhyung tries to move, but can’t. He tries to mock her, calling her a ‘b**** who killed herself and her own son”. She admits it and says she hated herself everyday but he didn’t repent at all. She wonders if pushing him down would alleviate some of her anger. In her 500 years, she learned that people’s actions, words and deeds always come back to haunt them. She won’t make the same mistake twice again. The heavens will punish him, not her. That’s the only way to protect the people she loves.

She leaves him for the grim reapers to find but Wonhyung fights back with the last of his power. He runs to Weolju and shoves her off the staircase. Kangbae grabs her but Weolju begs him to let go or he’ll fall Sas well. She tries to let go herself but Kangbae’s not having it.

She tells him to live as he always has, sweet and sincere, without letting go of those he loves. That’s all he needs to do to live his life to the fullest.

She says he tried to hold on, but she’s letting go and not to blame himself. He begs her not to go and calls her ‘Mom’. They both cry but Weolju knows what she has to do to save him. She lets go and falls. Kangbae screams.

Kangbae wakes up in the real world and sees the broken ssangapju bottle. He realizes it was all real and sobs, his heart breaking all over again. At Weolju’s death, the bar fades to nothingness. (Okay we’ve 15 minutes left in this episode, and I demand a happy ending)

Some days (months?) later, Kangbae’s alarm goes off. Since that day he’s been having the same dream of a hand that falls into darkness that he fails to grab in time. He wears sunglasses, still seeing spirits about him. Manager Ma and Jindong are pretty understanding.

Miles away, Grim Reaper Yeom treats Samshin to coffee. She’s heard he’s being reincarnated. He’s excited but the real reason he dropped by was to see if she’d heard anything about Weolju. Samshin says she hasn’t heard anything since the party they threw for the Cinnabar.  Yeom says Samshin must miss Weolju very much. Samshin sighs, remembering Weolju’s antics.

In one memory: She’s scamming a group of voice phishers who were scamming other people by telling them their loved ones had died/were in danger. Her hair’s straight and she looks amazing (idk why Hwang Jungeum seems to hate long hair lol). The scammers insist they just want to make money. Weolju says there are many better ways to save people than by scamming people.

That’s when Grim Reaper Yeom yells that if they’re back and the bar’s open, they should visit her surely. After all, when Weolju was wandering in the darkness, Samshin filed a petition everyday to search for her until they found her. (WHAT THEY’RE BACK??? THE BAR IS OPEN?)

Kangbae’s in for a time at the mart as he’s in the way of a 3-minute timed sale on toilet paper. His sunglasses fall off and he gets scared that people are going to chase hi so he runs away. He’s been explaining it away to Yeorin and his coworkers as a sty in his eye

We return to the moment Weolju was found, and brought to Queen Yeomra. Weolju looks devastated, Manager Gui’s death still fresh in her mind, and worn out. She wasn’t able to meet her 100,000 quota after all. Queen Yeomra says she’ll read out her evaluation of Weolju’s performance. And Queen Yeomra says that she’s met her quota?????

Weolju says she failed her final case though! Queen Yeomra says she saved Kangbae by sacrificing herself, thereby fulfilling her own grudge. 

Wonhyung was found too and sent to Hell. Thus, Weolju’s allowed to be reincarnated. She asks if Weolju wants to be born as a chaebol again. Weolju gently says that if possible, she’d like to go down to the Living Realm

Queen Yeomra smiles but asks if she’s certain. She could be the next Paris Hilton. Weolju says she’s sure and Queen Yeomra announces that ssangapocha is BACK IN BUSINESS.



(What about that kiss though? I love how Manager Gui looks like he can’t believe his good luck and Weolju’s just overjoyed).

Kangbae muses as he walks home from work that his special ability left after Weolju went missing. It’s made her harder to understand people but it’s also taught him to open up to people. He sighs that Weolju and Manager Gui would be proud if they saw him. He pauses, catching sight of someting. Unable to believe his eyes, he turns around and sees the BAR. He walks in and finds…Weolju and Manager Gui!

They’re bickering as usual but as cute as ever. [They were always a couple who did everything together so this isn’t a huge step in their relationship lol. Remember this ‘platonic’ bike ride from episode 3/4? Pretty sure Weolju liked and trusted Manager Gui from the start. 

I love it when a ship sails!]

But anyway back to the present and how HAPPY Kangbae is.

Weolju says that everyone’s fate is decided by the heaven but the heavens are more easily moved that you might think. Little things you say and do can change your fate. If changing your fate is a miracle, then miracles may be happening everyday. The miracle of being alive. The miracle of having the person you love by your side. And the miracle of being able to have a drink with that person.

The show breaks the fourth walls as the camera switches to us, the viewers, sitting down with Weolju who tells us it must’ve been a hard day, but we did well. She pours a measure of ssangapju and asks:


What an AMAZING ending. Just the right amount of angst, and the deaths actually having purpose. I hate it when characters die and are resurrected just because. Here we see that their every actions influenced what happened to them. From Weolju’s punishment to her reward: eternity with the man of her dreams and her son. How amazing is that!

I think there might be a slightly error in terms of continuity but we can safely assume that Grim Reaper Yeom’s conversation with Samshin took place after Weolju came back and not too long after either. Wish they’d put that in order!

There isn’t a single character I didn’t like in this show. I know I did grouse a bit on Yeorin needing to make up her mind but looking back and after hearing the Cinnabar’s story it does make a lot of sense so I take that back. I love love love Weolju and Manager Gui as a couple, and I demand that Choi Wonyoung get more romantic roles. He’s always been brilliant as the antagonist but damn he’s fine. And I think it’s just a matter of backing. Shin Hakyung gets lead roles all the time despite being an older male but our Manager Gui doesn’t which feels inherently unfairly because Choi Wonyoung’s fine af. MORE LEAD ROLES. MORE!

Hwang Jungeum nailed it at last after a string of really bad romcoms, I’m glad she’s found her footing again. She’s brilliant in a melo setting and I hope she can find dramas that combine comedy with melo elements again because that’s where she truly shines (see Kill Me Heal Me!) Once again, I really appreciate how this show centered Weolju’s experience.

A lot of shows with ‘strong female leads’ start out focusing on the girl and then it becomes all about the guy and the girl fades to the background. Here, it was always about Weolju. She got the hero’s arc. Manager Gui playing the female lead to her male lead so to speak and it was pretty nice to see just to liven things up. Also Manager Gui is extremely sexy. I’ve said it 100 times and I 100% mean it. I can’t stop replaying that hug scene!!!!

Yook Sungjae really brought such heart to this show. I’ve loved him since School 2015 (I’ll never understand the appeal of Nam Joohyuk’s wet tissue character) and I’m so glad he’s killing it left and right. I hope he continues to make smart project selections and will return from the army in great shape! Can’t wait to see where he’s going. I hope I’ll be fangirling about him 10 years from now!

But what are your thoughts? Let me know!

5 thoughts on “Mystic Pop Up Bar Ep 12 Recap (and tears and smiles galore!)

  1. This is one of the rare dramas where I wish we could have one or two more episodes because I think some of the last half feels rushed in some parts. I would have loved to see some of Manager Gui’s time in the Afterlife Police, for example. Also, scenes with Kang Bae as the Spiritual Tree like we got with Yeorin as the Cinnabar. But overall, I really enjoyed watching Mystic and I love their family so much! I’m sad to see them go 😦

    Also, I second more leads for Choi Won Young! 🙂

    1. Oh that’s a brilliant point, they were both sacred objects after all, it would’ve been lovely to see Kangbae and Yeorin both in Joseon garb!
      I’m so sad to see them go as well! I could watch them problem solve everyday! If only a second season was possible!

  2. Mystic Pop Up Bar has become my top favorite Kdrama of all time. I enjoyed every minute of the show. The cast and their characters, the wardrobe, the setting, the storyline and the music are all on point. Although the end could have been more fleshed out, I’m still 100% satisfied with everything.

    I would rate this show 2 thumbs up.

    And I agree, Choi Wonyoung should have more male lead characters soon. I’m also happy to see Hwang Jung Eum shine in this show.

    Lastly, Sungjae is such an adorable bun. Haha

  3. I’m still trying to figure out why Guibanjang didn’t have to go to hell since he transferred the sin for the cinnabar confidentiality to himself. I mean, I love that it was a happy ending but I was surprised! And also, since Guibanjang and Weol-ju came back to the living realm, does that mean they will age like humans now with Kangbae??

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