Episode 1 Review: Mr. Back (2014)
Ya! Choi Go Bong! You are an old fart. Yes you are. A nasty one. You dislike everything, the people around you, the trees, the bees, the rivers, the seas, the whole universe, even your reflection in the mirror. Yet, there are two things you do like, yourself and money, lots of money; and yourself. You’ve worked hard for decades, you built a renowned colossal hotel whose value in money is more than money itself. You’re about to enter the seventh decade of your life and health is playing tricks on you. You were supposed to live a happy life with beloved people around you, but you’re the personification of misery and your brain has a ₩ shape. In the end, what did you achieve in this lonesome journey of yours? You have nightmares at night, don’t you? The afterlife police is after you! Yes, these people in white suits, they crave for your soul. You know your time feels near, what would you do if you could turn back time? These things don’t happen though and you know it. It’s too late to set a different course. Is it?
Mr. Back is the new Wednesday-Thursday MBC drama attempt as a successor to The Spring Day Of My Life. It’s based on the Old Man novel of Lee Jo Young. Having Shin Ha Kyun and Jang Na Ra in its ranks it was more than pretty much anticipated. Yet, who would expect it to take by force the drama sphere without firing a single bullet? Mr. Back needed only two episodes to set its own rules in 2014 drama ratings and it has a long road ahead. As for Shin Ha Kyun’s role, Choi Go Bong, i talked a bit in the beginning, it was inevitable. Eun Ha Soo, who is no other than Jang Na Ra, works hard, really hard. Part-time job seems to be her middle name and she longs for a stable work position. Choi Dae Han (Lee Joon) is Go Bong’s son, a rascal careless figure who lives an easy life due to his father’s wealth.
In the beginning, but also through the whole duration of the first episode, there’s a hell of a humorous intensity. Go Bong is almost a grandpa villain! Unpredictable as he is, nobody knows when he’s going to be his next target and what the consequences are going to be like. His first shock comes at the very beginning when he gets aware that his son not only did he spend all his money, but he also took a loan from a woman who claims that Dae Han impregnated her. The second shock arrives right after when Dae Han skydives and parachute jumps all the way downwards with one target, his family’s house. Aware of his father’s birthday he delivers a parachute message through a banner that was meant to mean “happy birthday father”, although the air has a different opinion and some parts of the characters fall off, changing the meaning to “father your birthday is dead!” A doctor is needed right away. And what a doctor he is! He’s got such a zen attitude! Some emergency pills are being delivered to Go Bong in case of a critical condition and the time feels right once again for Go Bong to assist his meetings and, of course, try to make his son’s scandal vanish from the surface of the earth.
“The old Alain Delon is beating me up!” shouts his secretary/chauffer, Sung Gyung Bae (Lee Moon Shik), as he receives Go Bong’s walking stick’s special treatment! A while after, Dae Han aware of his father’s presence tries to escape with a fail slide and then side-walking by the luggage. Go Bong’s employees don’t have the best opinion for him either and they imagine the old man living literally in a money world.
In the meantime Ha Soo’s participating in athletic games in order to get a job, but she loses willingly in order for a four-children father to get the position. Her next part-time job leads her to Go Bong who’s attending an event at her workplace. He’s getting involved in an accident with a motorbike and it’s starting to rain heavily, no matter how hard Ha Soo’s trying to help him he’s so stubborn he won’t cooperate. What a neurotic piece of an old fart! In the end and after having hurt Ha Soo lightly he cooperates unable to get out of there on his own, but the stubbornness goes and on with the hilarious kimchi scene and on and on and… until she gives him back his broken glasses and for some reason he seems overwhelmed. Who wouldn’t be with such an utterly beautiful and bright smile? After Hong Ji Yoon (Park Ye Jin) and Gyung Bae find him, he finally gets into the groove along with the other grandpas and grandmas!
The next day, Ha Soo and her friend, Son Woo Young (Lee Mi Do), finally get accepted at a regular work position! A volcano of happiness and cheerfulness explodes, the whole room scene is utterly funny!
She didn’t know one thing though, her workplace is Go Bong’s hotel! And at the very first day of her work she’s getting involved in an incident she’d never even want to be around. Go Bong’s roaming all over the place jamming and kicking all the room doors in his way to find Dae Han and force him to work. At the same time, Dae Han gets informed by Ji Yoon and tries to escape. He finds shelter at the room Ha Soo’s working and he takes her on the bed underneath the sheets to pretend being customers in love. Really funny moment! Although Dae Han won’t survive Go Bong’s menace and sadly, Ha Soo as she’s being misunderstood, she won’t either.
Do you know anything about me, sir?
Do you have any idea what kind of person I am and how I’ve lived my life?
On his birthday speech later on he’s so ecstatic!
In this business world that is like a quiet battleground there’s only been one sole reason why I’ve been able to survive this long.
Because I never trusted people.
By mistake, I trusted people at times.
So there were times I was almost betrayed.
But! I tried not to repeat the same mistake.
That is my way that I won’t regret for the past seventy years!
The girl who’s involved in Dae Han’s scandal appears once again, Yoo Nan Hee (Hwang Bo Ra). After she gets hit by mistake in an quarrel she had with Dae Han she meets a mysterious man who’s got pictures that could be used to blackmail Dae Han. I think he’s director Jung Yi Gun (Jung Suk Won) who’s dealing with Go Bong’s inheritance matters. In the meanwhile, Dae Han lost the gem he was wearing around his neck and calls Ha Soo forcing her to find it. In exchange he will help her to get her job back and clear the misunderstanding.
On a night filled with shooting stars which appears to be a big event for everyone… Ba dum tsss! The renowned supernatural scenes that take place in our beloved South Korean dramas appear! You have to love (or hate) these moments that mainly play their part in order to get two people closer. Ha Soo’s riding towards one direction, Go Bong’s car moves towards the opposite direction and the road starts cracking and a big hole opens! Both cars fall inside and Go Bong is at the verge of dying due to the accident and a heart attack, he tries to take one of the pills the zen doctor gave him for extreme situations, he gets a hold of the blue one (which seems to be wielding special powers and there’s an impression that relates it to Dae Han’s gem) among the green pills. The afterlife police arrives once again and this time it’s not a dream. At the same time, Ha Soo is wounded, she’s crawling on the floor in a plea for help and she holds the hand of Ha Soo; his soul returns back to his body. Ambulances arrive and gather both of them. After that Go Bong’s car explodes and burnt money fill the place!
Back home, Go Bong tries to relax taking a bath. He sinks in the bathtub of rebirth and i laughed like a demented hyena at the renewal and cleansing scene! The heroic music, the blue rays and light… rejuvenation!