Episode 11 Review: Mr. Back (2014)
The 11th episode can be divided in two parts of equally airing time with affiliating characteristics that naturally glue together. It’s all about love’s delicate playground that often turns into a star-crossed battlefield and how it affects the figures’ lives. The overall scenery floats around Go Bong and Ha Soo’s love boat and how their mutual feelings interact with each other but also with others’ feelings as well. The second most important aspect of the episode’s background derives from its main core. It’s about how malicious people take advantage of others’ lives and try to make the circumstances turn to their own benefit. Τhe wolves that are after Go Bong’s inheritance try to complex the overall star-crossed universe of unrequited and mutual lovers in order to pave their own path towards wealth and power. There was always a fragile emotional balance on thin ice and one crack could possibly turn things upside down. Go Bong’s health stands in the middle of everything going on, especially now that the days start passing by faster and we’ll get to know how he intends to keep going on and how he’s going to deal with people around him to another level.
The episode opens up with Go Bong and Ha Soo’s mutual thoughts for each other and their feelings echo all over the place. That’s how the eleventh episode relates itself to its predecessor and marches forward from the point Ha Soo and Go Bong left the beautifully decorated room in which they watched “Christine”. Gyung Bae prevents Ji Yoon from interrupting their beautiful moments and then comes her turn to prevent Dae Han who’s searching for Ha Soo from getting hurt by seeing Go Bong and Ha Soo together! Taking into consideration the background of the film and his seemingly limited remaining time on earth Go Bong wonders whether forever can really exist or not. Ha Soo’s more optimistic on the subject and portrays pretty well a blissful and ideal continuous flow of events by cherishing every single moment. Summing up the moments would count as forever. It’s in the way you define it, not its actual meaning.
In the meantime, Nan Hee is searching for Ki Chan to inform him about tomorrow morning’s intern meeting, yet by the moment she enters his room he’s changing his shirt. It’s one of these moments when Nan Hee drools all over the place since her lust sniper has locked in its sight Ki Chan’s taut muscles and a philosophical theory was born!
Ji Yoon and Dae Han are having a discussion. She’s pretty much aware of Ha Soo’s relationship with Go Bong and she doesn’t want Dae Han to get hurt. One-sided love can be troublesome for one’s feelings and she knows it in the first place. Dae Han is aware of what’s going, but Ji Yoon doesn’t intend to remain silent. She keeps on informing him on the one-sided love matters to the point the whole discussion turns into a grandiose misinterpretation of words and meanings that cause an emotional outburst of Ji Yoon when it comes to her feelings towards Dae Han and she reveals everything believing that he already knew about it, the thing is… he didn’t. An awkward moment was born and the scene ends just like it began, in reverse! Dae Han’s surprise is immense whereas at the same time Ji Yoon’s facial expressions were so representative of the overall awkwardness she gives you the impression she’d wish she could just disappear all of a sudden!
Go Bong and Ha Soo invest on each other’s company and they relax nearby the lantern pool. Ha Soo proposes a game. They must talk to each other with phrases that consist of five words. Time flows playfully for them and they reveal pieces of their hearts to each other. Shortly after Ha Soo intends to find out Go Bong’s lantern wish, although Go Bong will prevent the sweet intruder of his thoughts to achieve her goal! Their chemistry is omnipresent and whenever they share moments together the ambiance is always bright and warm, the ever-flowing tranquility their interaction evokes makes them gently transparent to the outside world. And the surrounding scenery caresses them once again and enriches the magic of the moment.
Go Bong’s overwhelmed by the time he treasures with Ha Soo, he’s almost at loss for words and the uncertainty in combination with the grandeur of emotion is painted on his face. The only thing he can utter are his sincere thoughts that the amount of his happiness reaches the point of fear, fear of the unknown, fear of the near future, that he might be cherishing his last days on earth. Gyung Bae’s always by his side trying to ease his darkness, even though he’s worrying almost as much as Go Bong. Later on that night Go Bong keeps recalling Ha Soo’s words while Ha Soo undresses her thoughts in her diary and keeps her receipt as a beautiful reminder.
During the next morning Dae Han’s working with Ji Yoon, he can’t help but stare at her in fear due to her thoughts the previous evening. Once she notices him the awkward moments keep up their pace and cheap excuses come to the surface, until they start talking about work. He’s got a plan when it comes to the hotel’s target group and he gathers all the interns to show them his master plan. A folk dance lesson is about to take place and Dae Han will be in charge with Ji Yoon as his partner in crime! He must have made her day, dancing with Dae Han whom she craves so deeply must have felt like a dream! Everyone’s following Dae Han’s lead and Go Bong notices what’s going on, he’s pleased to see his son taking charge of the situation, but he’s more than glad to see Ha Soo dancing! He’s dancing on his own like an ecstatic elf! After all, he’s the mastermind behind the Choi Go Bong dance! After the dancing lesson Go Bong makes Dae Han’s plan more specific and reveals his thoughts to Ji Yoon. Although switching to Meditel would require lots of money and they can’t afford it at the moment, yet, opening the hotel’s facilities to the public and make the elderly, who are the hotel’s target group, feel as if they were attending a cultural event they will earn their trust. Go Bong intends to let Dae Han take charge of the Meditel plan, Ji Yoon’s happiness is more than apparent.
Yi Gun and the wolves start worrying about the Seohae Hotel’s revival by Dae Han and Go Bong. They’re also aware that Dae Han would never be able to work on the revival on his own and they’re pretty sure that Go Bong’s behind the overall plan and they’re not wrong. They intend to use one of their strongest, if not the strongest, cards. Using Ha Soo to divide Dae Han and Go Bong in two camps won’t be difficult, all they have to do is throw a bit more oil in the fire and the process will come naturally. Mr. Back has never failed me when it comes to humorous scenes. The first strike came with Go Bong’s dance earlier on the episode. It’s the wolves’ turn with their hallucinating thoughts as they imagine Ha Soo as a fortune hunter who came to work at the company on purpose. Dae Han’s reactions are priceless as he’s being under Ha Soo’s spell since the harsher she becomes towards him the more charmed he feels! Needless to say that even the secondary figures on the scene did a really good work, especially Nan Hee with the water falling out of her mouth at Dae Han’s presence!
As they were leaving the Seohae Hotel Dae Han finally had a chance to find Ha Soo. Being sincere to her is the only thing he can do, he doesn’t only want to thank her, he also expresses his feelings to a wider extent, the fragile barrier of 1% has already been surpassed and he’s worried if his feelings reach 100% capacity one day. Ha Soo’s sincere towards her feelings as well and expresses her love for Shin Hyung, although she’s being quite harsh by referring to herself as a nobody, but she’s being way too harsh and selfish towards Dae Han by telling him to take into consideration the other person’s feelings. All she does is rejecting him, at least she could have been a bit kinder, especially when he stares at her with that bittersweet and full of affection smile embodied on the surface of his face. It’s the same facial expression that is painted all over his face when he talks about his mother, but he answered in the most representative way simply by using her own words. “When reality doesn’t go along with your feelings, you can make reality work for you,” and Dae Han’s utterly aware of the overall situation and all he can do is try to make it work for his feelings, leaving her speechless. As expected, the air floating all over the bus is awkward, Ha Soo is into an emotional shock, Dae Han is lost in his thoughts and Go Bong even though he tries his classic hungry trick he doesn’t get the chance to make the climate more blooming.
The next morning Go Bong receives his first assignment from Ha Soo and it’s about going fishing! In the meantime Dae Han tries to imagine how would it feel to live at the same house with Go Bong and Ha Soo after they’ve gotten married! The scene is utterly funny and hyper-expressive, for Go Bong and Ha Soo of course, the only thing Dae Han can do is get crazy and goggle his eyes at the sight of this hell on earth! Go Bong appears and Dae Han stops hallucinating, it’s about time for him to relax, but it’s not going to last for long since he witnesses that Go Bong carries his fishing equipment! Where is he going?!
Ha Soo and Go Bong are relaxing by the shore and they’re waiting for the fishing pole to to move. Ha Soo wanted to go fishing because it brings back memories of her father since they were going fishing together. Suddenly Dae Han starts wondering in Go Bong’s mind’s corridors. And not only. You shouldn’t have thought of him, Go Bong, if you wanted a perfect date! Dae Han appears and he offers wholeheartedly the “bitch please” smile! Once the fishing pole starts moving Go Bong and Dae Han rush in order not to lose the fish. Shortly after they catch it they start fighting about who really caught it and Ha Soo takes advantage of the situation and steals all the glory! It’s about time for food! They start eating and eating and eating until only two pieces are left, Go Bong stares at Dae Han, Dae Han stares back and a fish fight begins! Who would take advantage of the situation and eat both of the remaining pieces? Ha Soo!
The wolves start progressing their plans although Yi Gun doesn’t quite agree with them. Dae Han goes to his office to find out Go Bong has occupied his desk. Gyung Bae tries to calm down Dae Han, although it feels like the calm before the storm since the news are not by their side when it comes to Seohae Hotel. Dae Han rushes to Yi Gun’s office and the tension rises. Yi Gun reassures him that it wasn’t his fault and it’s Ji Yoon’s turn to calm him down. Go Bong’s blood pressure rises and he orders Gyung Bae to follow them, all of them!
Gyung Bae follows Go Bong’s order and follows In Ja and Mi Hye. After they leave from the fortune teller he goes there in search of answers. And what a figure he is! Dressed in green he looks like a neurotic Xmas pixie! Although the fortune teller doesn’t intend to give him any information when it comes to his customers. Gyung Bae tells him Go Bong’s name and his birth date, but the fortune teller gets enraged as he was given a dead man’s identity! He throws rice at Gyung Bae, but by the time he witnesses the rice shapes on the table he looks as if he got possessed by a spirit and starts delivering information that has to do with Go Bong’s condition! Go Bong must find a rock from the universe in order to become an old man again after the days pass and he’ll die naturally when his time comes. If he doesn’t do anything he will die in his current body when the countdown ends. Shortly after the fortune teller’s real self takes control of his body once again and he doesn’t recall what had just happened, all he cares about is throwing Gyung Bae out of his store! He tries to inform Go Bong about what the fortune teller told him, but he’s not interested, all he cares about is Dae Han taking charge of the situation in order to be independent and ready to fight on his own in the ruthless world of business. Go Bong’s realization in the end of the scene is breathtaking, no matter how simple it may seem as a thought.
In the meantime, Ji Yoon’s aware that things don’t go as planned and the situation only worsens. She pays a visit to Yi Gun’s office and asks him to help them. She even offers herself to do everything he wants to, that’s how unconditional her love towards Dae Han’s face is, she’d sacrifice everything so as not to see him ruined. Although this is the first time we witness Yi Gun’s clean stare, it has depth when he stares at Ji Yoon and he’s showing feelings of remorse deep inside towards his previous decisions. He can’t harm Ji Yoon and it’s written all over his face. Late at night Go Bong can’t remain calm, another message appears at his mobile phone and after he takes off the battery another one appears and terrifies him even more. Go Bong’s wondering the same thing as me and big part of the audience, who the hell is sending those messages?
Go Bong’s morning doesn’t seem that cheerful either. As soon as he receives a message from Ha Soo everything changes! It’s about time he gets out for his second assignment, all he has to do is follow her around her favorite restaurants! The spice rice cake is not just spicy, it’s a volcano! And Go Bong’s reactions are representative! Another customer starts running in fear as his mouth is burning! This restaurant has a special event going on, if you manage to eat your portion within three minutes you won’t have to pay! It’s not the first Ha Soo achieves this and this time she makes a new record! The owner takes a photo of them as a memento of Ha Soo’s grandiose victory and places it at the restaurant’s pantheon! It’s not over yet! They have to visit the cafe where her brother’s working! To stop burning from the volcano rice cakes they have to drink something sweet, everything’s flowing well until Ha Soo starts a chocolate war and the cafe turns into a playground while her brother, Myung Soo, can’t withstand all this sweetness floating in the air!
Tomorrow’s Dae Han’s birthday, something he had forgotten due to the immense stress of the previous days. His guardian angel, Ji Yoon, who’s always by his side reminds him and informs him that she had cancelled his schedule so as to cherish his birthday. He doesn’t wants presents, it’s beautiful enough that she always remembers his birthday; and how couldn’t she? The Xmas tree evokes memories of the deep past. In fact, there was once, just once, that he had decorated a tree with his father. The following years Go Bong never even bothered to check the Xmas tree Dae Han had decorated with his mother. Ji Yoon once again tries to ease the burden and lends some light of understanding upon Go Bong’s figure, he had to care both for his family and the people working for him, too many responsibilities for so many people on his shoulders.
Dae Han’s birthday arrives and seaweed soup awaits him! Go Bong is unaware of Dae Han’s birthday and it feels like just another ordinary day. Dae Han calls Ha Soo who’s at a beauty shop with Woo Young and invites her at the Gold House for his birthday, although she’s hesitant Dae Han manages to disarm her with his words, it wasn’t easy for him to call her! Ha Soo calls Go Bong to inform him, but he promises that he won’t have any problem is she comes, in the end he’ll get to see her and that’s more than enough for him!
Ha Soo arrives and the awkwardness floats all over the place. At least it seemed so, because if it was awkward up to that moment it turned into a disaster once Young Dal, Mi Hye and In Ja appeared. Everything was going according to their plan, all that was needed was for them to fuel the fire. Their words towards Ha Soo were harsh and full of social discrimination. Go Bong and Dae Han won’t tolerate this and Go Bong makes the first move, he intends to leave with Ha Soo, but Dae Han gets enraged. Ha Soo is his guest and it’s his birthday. The crack underneath their feet on the thin ice they were standing for so long starts to broaden. Dae Han leaves with Ha Soo and Go Bong unleashes his wrath towards the wolves. Dae Han apologizes on behalf of his family and she leaves.
Ha Soo’s losing herself in her thoughts and even though Woo Young stands by her side she doesn’t seem to understand the growth of the problem. Ha Soo can no longer stand between two brothers, especially now that they started getting along with each other. And it’s the first time she realizes that Dae Han had been sincere with her from the very beginning. He’s not the pervert she thought he was, even though his smile and some misunderstandings were pointing towards that direction!
Dae Han wasn’t really impressed by the seaweed soup and he gives some instructions to the Gold House personnel in order to make it better next time. It’s the moment they tell him that Go Bong made it early in the morning for him leaving him speechless. At the same time Go Bong and Ha Soo meet outside while Dae Han goes at Go Bong’s room and finds the dreams he was writing down so as to accomplish them. Soon enough he finds out wishes related to him with Go Bong referring to him as his son, the shock is shaking Dae Han’s logic’s foundations.
It’s not something that appeared all of a sudden due to Go Bong’s family’s words, it was something you could sense in the air from the moment they left the Seohae Hotel. The thoughts that were tormenting Ha Soo’s mind now come to the surface, she doesn’t want to stand between the two brothers, especially now that they got closer. It’s not an easy decision since we all know how she feels about Go Bong, but she can’t think otherwise at the moment but tell him to stop seeing each other. Being together is not an option. It wasn’t an easy decision for her and it’s not easy for Go Bong to comprehend it as well. Ha Soo starts leaving, Go Bong follows and back hugs her offering a heartfelt confession and intensifies the dramatic and devastating tone of the moment.
The eleventh episode left many of our main figures broken on barren soil, especially Dae Han after reading Go Bong’s thoughts. Dae Han received many birthday presents with each one of them feeling more bitter than the previous one. In addition, the scenario starts getting more complicated and the acting remains exceptional. I like the ternary balance of Mr. Back, it’s all about humor, intensity and emotion.