Episode 10 Review: Mr. Back (2014)
Flashbacks. It’s a technique used vaguely in the world of dramas. However, it’s not as easy as it seems and many times it fills in some time in order to reach about one hour of an episode. Seemingly enough, it may appear as a reminder of past events to the audience, but it’s much more than that if used wisely. Mr. Back’s usage of the flashback technique is everything one could ask for, especially since it’s being used quite often in every episode. Of course i’m not referring to memory flashbacks that make their appearance at a crucial scene to depict its background, such scenes are one of a kind. I’m referring to scenes we’ve seen in past episodes and make their appearance anew in future episodes. Some of them consist of continuous sparse moments to present a flow of events within a few seconds in a figure’s moment whose memories play an important part so as to find out how to proceed. Some others are full scenes, but by the moment the flashback takes place we realize that the scene is enriched, making much more sense at the present by revealing the truth behind one’s words and/or actions. Mr. Back uses the flashback technique wisely, by keeping a connection with the past it moves forward and when the past appears it emphasizes on present events by depicting the path that leads towards that direction. It’s reminding, insightful, enriching and emphasizing, some times escalating, some others intensifying, yet always spot on.
Four noble truths, eight sufferings, integral parts of one’s life according to the sayings of Buddha. That’s how the ninth episode closed its curtains and that’s how the tenth one opens them up to welcome the audience with the same amounts of pain and agony when it comes to Go Bong’s condition and the way it affects the ones that stand by his side, whether they know his real identity or not. Gyung Bae’s aware of Go Bong’s situation and he knows that he shouldn’t undergo surgery. He calls Ha Soo to rush at the hospital to be by Go Bong’s side and ease his burden. Once she arrives Gyung Bae tries to cancel the surgery and take Ha Soo near Go Bong, but Dae Han won’t let him proceed with his plan. Truth be told, any logical person would have done the same, especially since not everybody’s aware of Go Bong’s real identity and condition. Gyung Bae’s reactions are highly expressive, he struggles to stop the surgery in order to save his friend, he’s in an almost mourning condition crying his lungs out in distress.
The surgery is about to begin, thankfully, only in Go Bong’s condition, a cardiac arrest prevents the doctors from proceeding. Go Bong appears on the vast pathway towards afterlife, he’s probably cherishing his last moments on earth and he sees the most precious person in his life, Ha Soo. The final gleaming before the end. Shortly after, he finds himself all alone, it’s probably the arch stage of the transition when the spirit starts departing and realizes the lonely path out of the body. Hopefully enough, once he opens up his eyes he’s lying on a hospital bed, it could be the doctors that brought him back to life with the defibrillator, it could be Ha Soo’s presence with the pendant around her neck, it could be a successful combination of both, what really matters though, no matter how, is that Choi Go Bong is among the living once again and he doesn’t wish to see anyone for the time being. It was the most intense mind-awakening moment in his life so far and he has to put some serious thinking into what he should do from this point and on, especially if his time on earth is limited. Dae Han demands some answers from Gyung Bae when it comes to his previous behavior about the surgery and Ha Soo’s presence near Go Bong, but it’s one of these hard to explain situations. It’s not something one could easily explain so that someone else would comprehend and even if he did, Gyung Bae still has to keep Go Bong’s identity a secret. It’s a double edged knife.
Everyone leaves except for Gyung Bae. Ji Yoon’s in the circle of the forever alone people with her unconditional one-sided love and she’s bound to leave alone. Dae Han intends to take Ha Soo back home. They have a sincere discussion inside his car. She tries to explain Go Bong’s health issues and when it comes to his father Dae Han opens up his heart and talks about the resemblance between the late Choi Go Bong and Choi Shin Hyung. At the end of the previous episode we found Go Bong caring for Dae Han’s feelings when it comes to Ha Soo, this time it’s Dae Han’s turn to express his gratitude towards Ha Soo for caring so much about his brother. It’s a heartfelt discussion, especially when it comes to loved ones and how much one misses them once they’re gone. What hurts the most are the things you didn’t have the chance to tell them and this chance will never appear again. Nothing should be taken for granted, especially human lives, this moment you’re breathing, the next one it might not be possible for whatever reasons. Things you can say or do at the present you should always treasure them, instead, we always think that tomorrow will always come, but nothing lasts forever and for some people tomorrow might be too late. You never know when one’s clock will stop ticking. That’s the most common mistake people do and while they are at it, it doesn’t seem like a mistake. You only realize it when it’s too late and the cost is more than you can bear. By the time Dae Han returns back to the hospital Go Bong’s nowhere to be found.
The overall scenery reaches its most paranoid form when it comes to the wolves’ lair. Shin Hyung’s been missing and a parody of continuous thoughts keeps marching through their minds! Could Shin Hyung be terminally ill? Could he be Choi Go Bong?! Whoever he is, is he going to punish them severely?! No matter how you look at it the scene is hilarious! Especially Young Dal and In Ja’s reactions at times! These three villainous siblings play really well! The fact that i dislike their characters can be only good, simply because they live up to their roles’ expectations and they’re funny.
Dae Han’s still suspicious of Gyung Bae and questions him once again. Well, Gyung Bae’s answers are more or less cheap excuses and tries to get through this trial unharmed! Dae Han can’t stop thinking that Shin Hyung is Choi Go Bong, deep inside his heart it makes sense, but his mind won’t agree. Setting aside Go Bong’s circumstances that divide Dae Han’s internal world, emotions and logic never were a good company in the first place, they rarely pace together.
Go Bong’s wandering alone and along with him the past comes to visit him with sparse flashbacks that marked him positively or negatively, depending on the moment. They’re thoughts with a specific person, his son, Dae Han. Shortly after he’s dinning at a restaurant that holds memories, the past is all over the place with Go Bong being the only audience of his past life. The way he behaved towards his son, even when he was a small kid, is representative of his overall behavior towards Dae Han throughout the years. He never paid attention to his son’s words and desires, everything was going according to Go Bong’s plan. The more the scene processes the more he realizes how wrong he was all these years, eventually his internal world cracks into pieces and he bursts into tears. Dae Han’s childish eyes tear him apart, one piece at a time making the torment everlasting.
The incident at the hospital was shocking, he can’t change the past, but he can try at the present and become a decent and caring person for the people he loves. Later on that night, he recalls Ha Soo’s question about what are his dreams, it’s about time he starts dreaming while relating his dreams to his loved ones. He starts writing down all these simple but most important parts in one’s life he was missing for decades now, not for himself, he cared enough about himself, it’s about time he cares for other human beings in a humane way. It’s a rare moment of clarity in an attempt to make every single second count.
In the meantime, Ha Soo’s worrying about Go Bong and how couldn’t she? He’s been missing for some time now and there are no news. But she’s not the only one, the next day at work Dae Han and Ha Soo express their mutual worries about Go Bong’s disappearance and Dae Han in a way feels guilty because he made Go Bong aware of his feelings towards Ha Soo.
Director Yi Gun keeps Ji Yoon under siege. I still can’t figure out whether his feelings are true or he just wants to use her for his own ambitions. Dae Han and Go Bong’s plan on Seohae Hotel along with the help of Ji Yoon ruins his plans and he can’t comprehend how can she love Dae Han even if he doesn’t feel the same way for her. Ji Yoon’s pretty much aware of her feelings and she’s not flying in thin air, she knows that Dae Han doesn’t feel the same way, not at all. I feel for her, i still can’t get over her full of affection yet aching stare, it’s so expressive!
The following morning Go Bong goes hiking in an attempt to find some piece of mind. Although running away from your problems and desires won’t really help you. He reads Ha Soo’s messages while at the same time Ha Soo keeps worrying about him. Later on that night he decides his comeback and promises to himself while staring at the sky that he’s going to live a proper life from now on, for all the reasons in this world!
The first person to notice Go Bong’s comeback is Dae Han! Dae Han shows him how worried he was all this time and tells him to call Ha Soo because she’s worried as well. It’s remarkable the fact that he asks him not to hurt her since she’s fallen for him, he’s pretty much aware of each other’s feelings and he’s pushing back no matter how it may hurt. Shortly after Go Bong goes to his room. Dae Han visits and catches him checking Choi Go Bong’s phone. He becomes suspicious once again while at the same time Go Bong tries to clear the clouds of suspicion by telling him that the mobile phone reminds him of his father and he can’t give it to him! These excuses…
The Seohae Hotel plan must be successful, but Ji Yoon is quite thoughtful on Dae Han’s behalf and wonders whether it should be a good idea or not for Shin Hyung to be in charge of the overall operation. Shortly after and since she got the answer she wanted, that Dae Han feels Shin Hyung as his brother, she goes to meet Go Bong and asks for his help since she considers him a proper person when it comes to business who inherited his father’s skills! It’s about time for him to go meet Dae Han and tell him his views on the subject, although Dae Han doesn’t want to talk with him about Seohae Hotel. It’s the place where his mother died and it’s quite a personal matter. Although standing behind a desk doesn’t solve a problem and Go Bong’s voice becomes louder as times passes by making Dae Han call him father once again! It must be quite a traumatic experience for Dae Han every time Go Bong feels so… Go Bong!
Mi Hye and Yi Gun are meeting in secrecy once again, they try to find a way to counter Dae Han and Go Bong’s plan to revive the Seohae Hotel. Mi Hye’s got a plan and she intends to meet wealthy people from abroad in order to make deals with luxury brand names. She doesn’t want to go alone and she invites Yi Gun, although he refuses claiming that the company is in crisis and he can’t leave his position for the time being. Although Ji Yoon’s name comes into play, could he really like her?
Even though Go Bong has read her messages he still hasn’t replied back to Ha Soo and she’s still worrying. The employees are getting informed that positions have opened up when it comes to Seohae Hotel, will they follow? At the same time Ji Yoon tries to teach Dae Han the secrets of management! Nobody said it would be easy! In the end he falls asleep, but Ji Yoon seems to be highly enjoying the teaching process and spending some time with him, she’s always adorable!
Mi Hye doesn’t intend to leave Go Bong at ease since he offered her false papers. She threatens to send him back to jail, but Go Bong reveals her that he knows about her cooperation with Yi Gun giving emphasis on the fact that she didn’t learn anything from her past mistakes and that she intends to become once again a man’s victim. His words become harsher and harsher as time passes by and makes her withdraw in tears. He’s definitely harsh at her and even though she’s plotting behind everyone’s back to step on Go Bong’s inheritance one can notice his love for his sister. He tries to open up her eyes and make her see reality.
Ha Soo’s out there all alone in the snow, in front of the machine where the stuffed dog was. She starts recalling beautiful moments with Go Bong and finally, she receives a message from him! A correct message! She remains on the spot until Go Bong calls her name, she can’t believe her ears and she starts believing that she has started hearing voices! Once she notices his presence she rushes towards him and hugs him. It’s one of the most heartfelt moments of Mr. Back so far, you can sense her longing and the fact that she missed him is all over the place. She can’t let him go, not this time.
Which would be the most appropriate place for Go Bong to take his Milky Way Ha Soo on such a beautiful starry night? A rooftop with a telescope of course! They enjoy themselves by searching constellations up high and they bring up the tragic story of Orion from Greek mythology. I don’t think it was a coincidence the fact that Ha Soo’s zodiac sign is Sagittarius and Artemis, the goddess of hunting, is being mentioned through Orion’s story! I see what you did there, scriptwriter. Aware of his limited time here on earth, Go Bong darkens the discussion a bit, but still, he wants Ha Soo to write down the five things she wants the most to do with him! It’s a continuation of the dreams he was writing down in order to fulfill them. The more time they spend together, the closer they get and it’s beautiful how they treasure each other’s company!
Gyung Bae worries about his friend and boss, Choi Go Bong. What if his time is really limited? What if he reaches the day limit? He wants Go Bong to cherish everything he wants to, everything he was missing for the last decades. Although, when the discussion reaches Ha Soo, Gyung Bae becomes Go Bong’s scapegoat once again and he comes across one of Go Bong’s sudden punishments!
Ha Soo will apply for a position at the Seohae Hotel and she informs Go Bong about her intentions. She won’t stay still though, later on she tries to convince her colleagues to follow her and work all together on the revival of Seohae Hotel! It’s not that the salary will grow higher, they might work harder, but they’ll gain valuable experience by working there! In the meantime, Go Bong takes into serious consideration Gyung Bae’s previous thoughts and makes them his own.
The first Seohae Hotel day arrives! The whole team arrives there without Go Bong. Once they get out, Go Bong’s waiting for them! Dae Han gets frustrated, Seohae Hotel is the place where his mother passed away and apart from that, he wants Go Bong to mind his own business for once and stop interfering with his plans. Unacceptable! Ji Yoon takes responsibility for Go Bong’s presence! Shortly after Ha Soo and Woo Young enter their room and another girly moment takes place.
Ji Yoon is taking a walk with Dae Han in order to explain her reasons for inviting Go Bong to play his own part on the revival of Seohae Hotel. The discussion starts becoming meaningful, until… Dae Han witnesses Go Bong, Ha Soo and Woo Young playing around! He questions Go Bong’s humor whereas Woo Young and Ha Soo applaud Go Bong’s funny moments! Go Bong starts teasing Dae Han with the mop and what a surprise, another hilarious moment takes place! They start hitting each other playfully and running all over the place like little kids! Although, at the end of the scene Go Bong’s punishment towards Dae Han was dominant! Ji Yoon’s laugh in the end was like “take this, since you don’t love me!”
A discussion follows between Ha Soo and Go Bong, she’s becoming slightly suspicious due to his behavior about rushing to do for her everything she desires. He avoids answering directly and offers some diplomatic answers that are true as well! Dae Han is eavesdropping and his reaction bothered me. Could it be because he loves Ha Soo? Or due to Go Bong’s rush all of a sudden? The suspicion about Go Bong’s real identity still lingers.
The wolves don’t intend to give it a rest. Even now they’re still plotting and they want Seohae Hotel demolished so as to start something anew. Although that won’t be easy with Go Bong and Dae Han around. In Ja has a solution, apparently she’s talking from personal experience, poor Young Dal! It seems that she’s going to use Ha Soo in order to achieve her plans.
A special event is taking place at Seohae Hotel! Ki Chan introduces a game to everyone! They will write down their wishes on a paper and they will place it inside a lantern that will start its floating journey inside the hotel pool! Go Bong’s eager to find out Ha Soo’s wish, but he should give it a rest by now since Ha Soo doesn’t intend to let him know! After the wishful lanterns have been placed inside the pool Dae Han wholeheartedly thanks everyone for volunteering in the Seohae Hotel plan, especially Ha Soo, for everything.
Go Bong’s enjoying the view and the fresh air, although i deeply think that his thoughts are floating around on the air he breathes. Dae Han breaks his solitude and they have a small conversation. Go Bong almost places another crack on his not so perfect Shin Hyung mask, but he saves it the next second by referring to his father and that it’s his first time at Seohae Hotel. Shortly after he sneaks inside the pool room and like a little kid he finds out Ha Soo’s wish by checking her lantern, bad boy Go Bong! Another girly moment takes place between Ha Soo and Woo Young, until she receives a message from Go Bong. He’s using smileys now!
Go Bong has prepared something special for her, a beauteous meeting just for the two of them. The room has a warmth and bright vibe of its own, it’s classy and festive and the Xmas spirit is all over the place. A perfect place for a luxurious yet sincere date. Go Bong has given specific orders to Gyung Bae, his personal slave! Once he receives his signal a movie will start playing. Old fashioned Choi Go Bong… Seriously? “Christine” with Alain Delon and Romy Schneider…? But he’s old fashioned, so it’s just fine! And the movie serves its purpose well since Ha Soo’s father loved it and this is already a big plus! They’re having a beautiful time and both of them are being overwhelmed by the movie, once it reaches its end a surprise attack awaits Go Bong. Sudden kisses are always beautiful and depict deep longing and this specific scene was the perfect ending for such a wonderful episode. Ha Soo’s diving deeper in the lake of love and she’s not afraid to let her feelings lead her.
Balancing somewhere between humorous scenes, emotionally fortified moments, strengthening bonds and ongoing secrets/plots, Mr. Back remains strong in terms of both storyline and acting. Hopefully enough the reviews/recaps for the 11th and 12th episodes will start appearing!