Episode 9 Review: Mr. Back (2014)
Episodes consist of various phases and episodes play their own part in the process of a story. As a drama goes on you reach a point of strategic importance for the continuation of the scenario. Mr. Back’s eighth episode was one of them. Through its whole duration the audience could receive signals that were pointing towards that direction. I mean Dae Han’s suspicions that Shin Hyung could actually be Choi Go Bong, even though it would never make sense no matter how you’d look at it, in logical terms of course. The end of the eighth episode was that crucial point in which Dae Han would express his thoughts openly in front of Go Bong and in combination with Go Bong’s facial expressions one could never know how the story would process. Would he reveal himself? Would he try to counter these suspicions? All scenarios were open and until the ninth episode’s appearance the audience’s suspense was reaching high levels. It’s very important for a drama, as it slowly reaches halfway through its duration, to keep the audience’s expectations and interest at high levels and what feeds these factors is the suspense of what will follow. If a drama is an open book you can always predict what’s going to happen next. Mr. Back though keeps hidden pages through its duration so far and reveals them whenever required, whereas at the same time it hides pages anew for the future.
The episode spreads its wings with a scene we already know. Go Bong’s at the living room and he’s singing a song that wakes up Dae Han who gets off his room following the tune’s source. Apparently it’s a song his father used to sing and for a while his eyes are playing tricks on him misinterpreting Shin Hyung for Go Bong. This time the scene is enriched and feels complete as Dae Han asks Go Bong who he really is and demands that he stops singing that specific song. His anger is immense and he’s on the verge of exploding. Instead of that, the real face of his anger is being depicted on a poor object that is being thrown on the floor. It’s a scene that connects us back at the present and the moment Dae Han, with enough thoughts as proof, yet without any concrete evidence, unveils in front of Shin Hyung that he’s Choi Go Bong, his father. Of course he can’t prove anything and Go Bong relies on logic as his ally to counter Dae Han’s assumptions. Ha Soo works as the missing link between father and son and leaves them on their own to make things right by forcing them to hold each other’s hand.
It wouldn’t be easy for those two, at least for the time being, to stay together and have a discussion. Go Bong leaves and spends some time with Gyung Bae at a local tented street tavern (pojangmacha). Since Dae Han almost figured out Go Bong’s real identity, Gyung Bae wonders why he doesn’t tell him the truth. Go Bong’s paranoid mind prevents him for doing so because he doesn’t want to become science’s modern experiment in search for rejuvenation and immortality’s hidden treasure! The scene is priceless with the overall clinical scenery and colors, it’s as cold as a surgery table upon which Go Bong finds himself right before the scientists will open him up to uncover the secrets of eternal life! He’s like an alien figure and the overall scene is priceless, even though Go Bong’s agony is all over the place. Back to reality, Gyung Bae still thinks that Go Bong should reveal his real identity at some point, in fact it will be inevitable from a moment and on, especially if his youth countdown reaches an end and he passes away. Go Bong’s words though speak the truth, his family has changed indeed, or in fact, the people around him finally have shown their real face. They’re not the people or the masks he used to know and his “death” had an impact on them, a different one for each member of his family. And even though he says that he’s dealing with the overall situation as Shin Hyung, his thoughts and actions prove the opposite, even though he tries to hide his real identity, when it comes to his internal world he’s always Go Bong towards them through the mask of Shin Hyung.
Ha Soo was leaving and Dae Han manages to catch up with her. His stomach is a factor he can’t set aside and they visit a pojangmacha as well. Dae Han doesn’t seem familiar with such places, although he tries to convince Ha Soo for the opposite. And what a coincidence! It’s the same pojangmacha Go Bong and Gyung Bae are! After Go Bong interprets the menu, in a passionate way dare i say, at Dae Han he finally sits on their table. A soju marathon begins and the overall scenery turns into a parallel alcohol universe! I thought i could relax a bit since the scientific experiment the highest order of doctors would do on Go Bong’s rejuvenated body, but i was wrong. I almost passed away from laughing. The camera focuses on Go Bong and Dae Han and the more the alcohol flows the more Shin Hyung looks like Go Bong to Dae Han’s drunken eyes! Gyung Bae’s around and he doesn’t know what to do whereas Ha Soo, if you pay close attention, is always on the background drinking and drinking and drinking. I had to re-watch the scene many times to pay close attention to Jang Na Ra’s background figure, she was so spot on on her role! I love her drunken moments and she’s doing an impressive work just like she did on Fated to Love You. The moment Dae Han hugs Go Bong and calls him father is hilarious! But what’s even more awesome is Ha Soo’s figure that comes to the foreground and presents the epitome of a person lost in alcohol and laughs at just whatever around her without really realizing what’s going on! Go Bong admits that he’s Dae Han’s father, but then Dae Han says that this isn’t possible and gives reasons due to some of Shin Hyung’s characteristics. Shortly after he calls him father again and passes out! What a scene! Lee Joon and Jang Na Ra definitely lived up to my expectations!
Later on that night Go Bong’s thoughts won’t let him rest so easily. He’s wondering how did Dae Han reach the conclusion that he’s his real father. But what’s more devastating is the fact that his days are numbered, each day that passes by is one day closer to the unknown. Will he pass away? Will he just become old again after the overall 48 days have passed?
The next morning Ha Soo wakes up and along with her the hangover! Hangover Ha Soo has a helpless cuteness of her own! Well, the pill for this awkward situation hasn’t been invented yet, but her brother, Myung Soo, has a powerful equivalent! He gives her the stuffed dog Go Bong had given him at the cafe. Suddenly her day feels brighter! In the meantime, Go Bong’s getting ready and he puts on too much toner, Dae Han’s nose notices it and the scene becomes really funny when he’s searching through Go Bong’s bathrobe! His stare is priceless!
Time for work and Ha Soo’s preparing herself! It’s an important day since the hotel’s personnel is revisiting their behavior instructions. It’s this specific week that the guests at the hotel will have the first word when it comes to the services they’ll receive. The personnel evaluation is about to take place and everyone must do their best to satisfy the visitors. Although, no matter how kind and/or hardworking you are, some customers are not easy to satisfy, it’s almost mission impossible!
Dae Han’s having a discussion with Ji Yoon about Shin Hyung’s identity, but it’s being interrupted at the right time due to Go Bong’s sudden appearance. Apart from the Cruise Hotel, there’s another hotel, Seohae Hotel. It’s not really profitable for the company, but it would be such a waste and quite a loss to be abandoned. Go Bong’s intentions to move on with a plan when it comes to Seohae Hotel don’t reach the surface because Dae Han didn’t really want to talk about it and he’s got his reasons. The discussion goes on with Ji Yoon and when he asks her about her feelings when it comes to Dae Han she starts realizing a few things as well that become more apparent when she asks the waitress to take away the peanut sauce because the late chairman didn’t like it. The arrows point towards one direction, Choi Go Bong. And even though it might not make any sense to her mind she finds herself in a like-minded situation to Dae Han’s thoughts since she starts believing that Shin Hyung is actually Go Bong.
It’s not only Go Bong who’s after Seohae Hotel, the wolves have their own plans as well and they’ll do everything it takes to march forward and make some profit out of it. Director Yi Gun couldn’t be missing from this gathering and he seems to like Young Dal and In Ja’s proposal! In Ja’s attempt to speak proper English is hilarious, her inferiority complex due to the fact that she comes from the countryside takes over once again! And that hat… She looks like a pheasant!
Back to our hardworking Ha Soo, she has the displeasure to meet one of these odd customers! She appears to be the architect that designed the hotel, but her name is nowhere to be found on the catalog, something that pisses her off. And who would be an easy victim to unleash her wrath? Ha Soo! She makes a scene, but Go Bong who happens to be passing by puts an end to this unjust parody. She recognizes him immediately, they’ve known each other for a long time in the past and he is just like in the good old days, how could she not recognize him?! The fact that she wanders barefoot around the hotel in combination with Ha Soo’s reaction when she noticed it made me burst into tears of laughter for some reason! Such sudden and odd additions are always welcome.
Seohae hotel wanders around Dae Han’s mind’s corridors and the recent incident with the woman is stressing Ha Soo’s efforts for the best in the ongoing evaluation. They share their concerns and they try to help each other in their own way. Idealist and realist are the characteristics they apply to each other respectively.
Gyung Bae and Go Bong are leaving the hotel. Apparently, Ji Yoon can’t forget the previous discussion she had with Go Bong. Go Bong’s aware of the situation, he’s pretty much aware that many people suspect him and they try to find out the real identity hiding behind the Shin Hyung moniker. Gyung Bae’s the closest person to Go Bong since his second coming and Go Bong knows that people will demand answers for his loyalty towards Shin Hyung. He’ll do everything it takes to protect Gyung Bae and he’s got a plan, one of the many. The zen doctor Kim is on his secret task trying to figure out how to help Go Bong with his rejuvenation situation and health issues. As for now, he has to visit another doctor to find out what’s going on with the cardiac arrest seeming crisis that trespasses the harmony of his body. That gallstone inside his artery is pretty big! Could it be the meteor part he ate mistaking it for a pill? And how could it be that big? Is it growing inside Go Bong’s artery like a parasite?!
Family gathering and humble preparation for dinner at Ha Soo’s warm and friendly house! But Ha Soo’s nervous and her mood isn’t quite helpful, the incident with the odd female customer had a big impact on her. Yet, when Go Bong sent her a message, even though it wasn’t quite correct, a different air seems to blow inside the room! They arrange something to do the following morning and she promises to teach him how to write mobile phone messages properly!
Go Bong is a master at making grandiose entrances/appearances and once again his sunglasses take control of the situation! Of course he’s got a pair of sunglasses for Ha Soo as well, he’s a gentleman! Although Ha Soo’s got a surprise for him! She’s got free coupons for a couple visit at a beauty salon! Well, it’s not quite the place a man like Go Bong would go, but what can he do? He’s got the sweet tormentor Eun Ha Soo with him and he has to obey her orders! His reactions are priceless through the whole duration of the beauty parlor scene!
Ha Soo and Go Bong’s continuation! It’s Go Bong’s turn to take Ha Soo somewhere and they visit a cafe he cherishes. Truth be told, when i saw her tea i was like “shut up and take my money, take my belongings and take me to Seoul, i want to drink this”, but then again, when he said that it has egg yolk inside, i mean i hate egg yolk, i was more humble “just take me to Seoul and i’ll drink something else, soju for example”. I’m glad for Ha Soo though, she managed to enjoy it, otherwise the date would have turned into a disaster! Although, the incident with the woman at the hotel still bothers her mind alongside the thought that she was definitely sure that Shin Hyung was Go Bong.
Back at the office, director Yi Gun is opposed to Dae Han’s plan to work on the Seohae Hotel. Of course Yi Gun has his own reasons, it’s not that he suddenly felt emotional towards the company. He already had a meeting with Young Dal and In Ja and he doesn’t seem to be quite positive to Dae Han’s attempt simply because it would ruin the wolves’ plan. Yi Joon, for one more time, stands by Dae Han’s side to encourage and support him, unconditionally.
A small break from the previous tension and Ha Soo tries to teach Go Bong how to write proper messages! His reactions are like a little kid rushing to know everything! And when he makes mistakes his childish ego won’t let him at ease! Ha Soo is pretty patient as a teacher and she manages to help him through all the inconveniences of learning how to write a message! In the end, success is written all over his face with golden letters and Ha Soo applauds the child within!
Lots of Go Bong and Ha Soo on this episode! It feels like time’s ever-blowing around them like a gentle wind! They meet once again the Alzheimer hotel guest lady and it feels as if there was something romantic going on between them in the past. It doesn’t look like a simple relation between a hotel owner and an architect who designed the hotel. As the scene flows it becomes more emotional for the lady and in the end she blesses Go Bong and Ha Soo by placing one’s hand on the other’s on the box Ha Soo intended to give her in the first place. She finally leaves with the box and Ha Soo and Go Bong are left there holding hands.
Christmas are nearby and Choi Go Bong and Eun Ha Soo join their jubilant forces to prepare the Xmas tree. The overall scenery is beautiful and celebratory and once they accomplish their mission a selfie is omnipresent on the horizon! The selfie stick will take control of the situation, one selfie, two selfies and… kiss! Even if it was a sweet mistake and it wasn’t intended it was a scene pretty much everyone was expecting. And here it is, a playful innocent kiss that brought together Ha Soo and Go Bong’s lips!
Go Bong’s enamored by Ha Soo and the unofficial kiss they shared and he returns back home full of happiness holding a pink gigantic bear! When he meets Dae Hana and gets questioned he feels like a small kid being interrogated by his father, such an amusing scene! Ha Soo sends him the kiss photo and he’s floating in oceans of happiness, when he enlarges the image through Ha Soo’s instructions he’s overwhelmed! Later on he takes care of himself by dressing up properly, yet Dae Han can’t let him go so easily, he keeps questioning him if he’s seeing Ha Soo and when he doesn’t accept the accusations Dae Han throws away one of his shirts!
At the same time at Ha Soo’s home, her room has turned into a girly playground with Woo Young asking questions about Ha Soo’s relationship with Go Bong!
During the next day at work Ji Yoon announces to Ha Soo that she has earned the best grades at the recent evaluation and that she can become a full time employee, she’s got a position in mind for Ha Soo. Ha Soo’s opinion seems to differ though, she wants a position through which she can make people happy through her work and she discusses it with Go Bong. The prize for the first position at the evaluation is two movie tickets and she’s teasing Go Bong not letting him know with whom she will go at the cinema! His childish jealousy comes once again at the surface and Ha Soo keeps teasing him until she finally lets him know that he’s the one that will accompany her!
Shortly after, this is the first time we witness Go Bong mopping full of happiness! He either makes Gyung Bae do the dirty job for him or he mops with his nervous system being at the verge of exploding! Something seems to be bothering him though and all this happiness doesn’t last long. It’s definitely not easy being Go Bong under the Shin Hyung mask!
Later on he wants to buy flowers for Ha Soo. It’s the first time he does something like that for a woman and he needs the employee’s precious help, to help him though he must describe the woman he intends to offer the flowers! He’s under a magic spell and every sentence he utters is full of love and affection! He’s more than representative of his feelings.
The time for Gyung Bae to give explanations about Shin Hyung arrives and Go Bong for one more time was ahead of the events. Ji Yoon and Yi Gun start questioning him, but he has a handwritten note with Choi Go Bong’s handwriting style that asks everyone to never question Shin Hyung’s origins and identity and Gyung Bae unfolds a small story to keep the questions away. Four noble truths have to do with the basic orientation of Buddhism, i’ll refer to that lightly later on because it’s not the only time we’ll come across the four noble truths and eight sufferings matter.
Ha Soo’s about to leave the hotel and get ready for the date with Go Bong, Dae Han though crosses her way and wants some time with her. He offers her the pendant keepsake to help her dreams come true, a beautiful move on Dae Han’s behalf. Go Bong happens to pass by and he witnesses Dae Han and Ha Soo’s discussion.
As the ninth episode reaches its end it keeps an emotionally fortified and intense flow of scenes beginning with a sincere discussion between father and son. Go Bong wants to know if Dae Han likes Ha Soo and he receives a positive answer. My assumptions, apart from being jealous, that Go Bong wasn’t sure whether Dae Han could love someone or not since he wasn’t loved much as a child were right. Dae Han’s words flow from the heart and acknowledges himself as someone that couldn’t possibly love someone else due to his loveless childhood, but something is changing deep inside, lately he’s been experiencing feelings he was unaware of. And that’s thanks to Ha Soo’s appearance in his life, for the first time he can trust and be sincere towards someone who is no other than Ha Soo. A cardiac arrest strikes Go Bong and he’s being transferred immediately at the hospital. A desolate scenery with Go Bong in pain and agony with the four truths and eight sufferings passing through his mind, Dae Han worrying for his brother, Gyung Bae being devastated and trying to reach Ha Soo to ease Go Bong’s pain and Ha Soo rushing to the hospital after she was informed that Go Bong’s health had worsened once again.
Go Bong’s background appears to be strictly traditional in terms of Buddhism. His reasoning for what’s going on in his life paces with the four noble truths and the eight sufferings in one human being’s life. His thoughts float all over the place and they get connected to specific persons, giving personal meaning behind every suffering as he feels the rope of time dancing around his neck.
The Four Noble Truths:
- The truth of suffering (Dukkha)
- The truth of the cause of suffering (Samudaya)
- The truth of the end of suffering (Nirhodha)
- The truth of the path that frees us from suffering (Magga)
The Eight Sufferings:
- Suffering of birth
- Suffering of old age
- Suffering of sickness
- Suffering of death
- Suffering of separating from loved ones
- Suffering of associating with those we dislike
- Suffering due to unfulfilled wishes and desires
- Suffering of the flourishing of the Five Skandhas/Aggrevates
The Five Skandhas:
- Form (Rupa)
- Sensation (Vedana)
- Perception (Samjna)
- Mental Formation (Samskara)
- Consciousness (Vijnana)
The aforementioned information has a slight informative role for anyone unaware of some basic facts when it comes to Buddhism. By any means, i don’t wish to act like a teacher or something, i’m just offering some slight hints, the rest is up to you if you’re willing to search deeper into the sayings of Buddha, i just wanted to enlighten a bit Go Bong’s thoughts with something slightly informative.
The ninth episode was surrounded by Go Bong and Ha Soo’s mutual feelings that start becoming more vivid and vibrant. They breathe the same air and it becomes more apparent as the episodes pass by. The episode was about feelings, concerns, thoughts, but also it was funny and insightful as it was progressing the story one step ahead. No matter how desolate Mr. Back may be at times, it never loses its amusing characteristics and always manages to deliver vast smiles upon the audience’s faces; and that should be considered a given by now.