Please Come Back, Mister: Episode 1 Recap

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[Please help me welcome my friend spicytuna, who has graciously jumped in to cover Please Come Back Mister. A self-professed lover of Rain, and also an admirer of Kim Soo Ro, spicytuna will give her commentary in the coming weeks on this hilarious and entertaining drama.] 

Let me start off by stating just how excited I am for this drama.

Seriously. Kim Soo Ro, who I fell for in A Gentleman’s Dignity (ugh such a doofy manly man), and Rain, the love of my life? The k-pop star I’ve literally been in love with since I was 12? The reason I paid my own money to see Ninja Assassin three times in the theater??

YUP.

And let’s not even get started on Honey Lee, casually one of the most beautiful women in the world and with the sexiest voice to boot.

Okay, let’s get started!

EPISODE ONE:

The scene opens with a soothing, vaguely autumnal landscape broken by the sound of snoring. Mmm, bird’s eye view of a rando ajusshi, my fave… Dude seems way too chill about having drunkenly lost his wallet and his phone, but maybe it’s not that big of a deal in Korea?

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How I dance at clubs ^

First impression: he is an anxious but optimistic man, stressed about work and his wife. He stands back to admire the big ass blossoming tree next to him until he notices a snuffling sound: there’s a man unconscious nearby. It’s Kim Soo Ro!! Aaaand the guy is now straddling him, trying to wake him up, leaning in for the kiss after legit three seconds of CPR (seriously you guys, this is not how CPR works) (yes yes I know it’s for comedic relief).

And then right at the last second, Kim Soo Ro wakes up and throws the guy into a chokehold. Gruff, rough, and very well-dressed.

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Heaven | Hell

Finally, another sign of life! A train stationmaster silently informs them that they’re in Purgatory. At the literal crossroads of heaven and hell. Meaning they’re dead. (We already knew this from the series synopsis). Flashback to how each man died, but first…

A man who communicates with walnuts. Angry chaebol grandfather furiously eats a bun while clicking his walnuts (lol) rapidly as his assistant (?) translates his displeasure about plans for a department store renovation to Kang Min Hyuk’s kind dad in Heirs! Wearing a horrendous patterned suit jacket! Doesn’t look like he’s gonna be that sweet in this drama though.

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We find ourselves in said shiny, expensive department store, where Oh Young Soo works as a section chief. But for all that, he puts up with a lot of crap, sucking up to rude entitled customers and cleaning up after sloppy employees. After failing to recognize his own wife and child for several seconds, he scurries over to hurry them indiscreetly out of the store. ‘You’re making it more obvious,’ his wife scolds, and it’s true.

Also, how on earth are we supposed to believe that someone like Lee Min Jung married a man like Young Soo sshi? Is that shallow? Sorry, but that age gap… Their daughter speaks for every disbelieving viewer when she sasses him: ‘Who’d believe a girl with that face would marry someone like you?’ They’re clearly not well-to-do, seeing in spite of his position, but he puts on a good face for his family.

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But wait, why did they come by? It hits him: it’s their wedding anniversary tonight, and he forgot! His cute junior manager recommends a ‘hot place’ run by Han Gi Tak. You know, the other dead guy. ‘Let’s live a law-abiding life,’ says a sign in the kitchen, where burly tattooed men chop, dice, and sauté. Looks like our two mains were destined to meet each other!

The couple’s classy anniversary dinner is quickly ruined by Young Soo’s intrusive and overbearing manager. Every time Da Hye gets anywhere near to eating a piece of steak, his phone rings and she puts her fork down in exasperation. For the love of food, woman, just eat the steak!!

As Da Hye watches Young Soo prostrate himself on the phone, Gi Tak gets a mysterious text from a woman asking him to please respond. Oooh, drama. Even more drama: Da Hye cuts their dinner short to help Young Soo assist his manager at a funeral, where they’re both treated disgracefully like servants.

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Gi Tak and his boys reiterate their bond to each other over a drink after closing, only to be interrupted by a disguised woman. It’s Song Yi Yeon, Gi Tak’s first love and a former star in the middle of a scandal with a hot young model (hi, Park Min Woo!!). Turns out her ex-husband, aka Heirs dad, cooked up the scandal to ruin her career, and she needs Gi Tak for help. It’s an implicit plea for violence, and Gi Tak is not happy about it.

Flashback: a young Gi Tak takes a beating as he shouts for Yi Yeon to escape. Bruised and bleeding, he’s arrested by the police days later as his mother wails on the ground. He, however, only has eyes for Yi Yeon, who drives past in a luxurious car and eventually avoids his gaze as he stares at her in shock.

‘Is that the only type of request you can make of me?’ he asks quietly, rejecting her… or so we think. He reflects on her final plea that she’ll lose custody of her beloved son as his righthand man Seung Jae earnestly swears that the family has his back.

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Ughhh Seung Jae you are so cute

We see some cute family bonding here, as Young Soo begs his daughter for advice on how to get back into his wife’s good graces. But trouble’s a-brewin’ at work as well, when a disgruntled employee blames him for her termination and a sleazy brand manager oozes his way into Young Soo’s section. Turns out his wife inadvertently accepted a bribe meant for the department head to let them set up shop inside the store. Stressed from pressure by his manager, who not only demands he accept the bribe but also orders him to entertain a potential client that night at the risk of his position, Young Soo cancels dinner with his wife again. But she’s fed up with his empty promises and flakiness, and they end up shouting their frustrations at each other.

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Aww heeeeell nah.

Omg Park Min Woo cameo. Except he’s tied up in the dark getting threatened by Gi Tak to tell the truth about his relationship with Yi Yeon. Meanwhile, Young Soo’s client dinner is a total disaster. He’s forced to make up for it by chasing after the shocked client and convincing him to give them another chance, before collapsing exhausted to the ground.

Gi Tak and Yi Yeon meet at a clandestine location (aka under a bridge by the river) to hand over the model’s confession and say their final goodbyes. But of course paparazzi capture their intimate, long-overdue embrace, and Gi Tak sets off on a frenzied car chase to destroy the evidence before they can damage her further.

Poor, sad Young Soo. After vomiting outside the department store, he doesn’t even have the energy to stand back up. Here’s where it gets ridiculous. As he gingerly stands back up, he notices a banner flying loose above the entrance and decides to climb up to the top of the building to fix it himself. How is that even an option? Is he suicidal? Delirious? Either way, like an idiot he ends up hanging by the tips of his fingers off the edge of a building (over a LOOSE BANNER, remember), but given his weakened state he quickly loses his grip and falls to his death.

At the same time, Gi Tak’s furious driving ends with him in a massive car collision, including (you guessed it) the bright headlights of an incoming truck to finish the job.

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Back to Purgatory. The men receive train tickets from sassy Miss Maya, but Young Soo is startled to find that he’s on the highway to hell because he committed suicide. No he was not! he tries to argue, but when the stationmaster lays it all out – poor diet, poor sleep, poor lifestyle habits – it sure sounds bad. He gratefully accepts the kindhearted stationmaster’s ticket swap, only to come to the horrifying realization that his family probably thinks that he did, indeed, intend to kill himself. Leaving them abandoned and alone.

The train to heaven passes through a gorgeous landscape, leaving behind winter snow for a lush expanse of spring greenery, but the two men are lost in memories of the people they’re leaving behind.

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As the train flies into the sky in a ridiculous swirl of CGI, Young Soo cries out, ‘STOP! STOP, STOP!’ and demands to be let off the train. A large, burly ticket collector stands imposingly over him, ignoring his bumbled excuses. In an effort to support his new friend, Gi Tak attempts to convince the collector the only way he knows how – violence – but it fails spectacularly. Time to make a run for it! But you can only go so far on a train, and with nowhere left to go, the men take a leap of faith and literally leap off the train. That is flying. In the sky.

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Fade to white.

An incredibly handsome, perfectly formed man answers a video call from Purgatory. It’s Rain! And he’s naked!! And has no idea who the heck he is. What’s going on??

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Aaaand end scene! A ton of character introductions and plot teasers to digest, but so far Please Come Back, Mister is shaping up to be a irreverent, playful comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Yes, the writers have already utilized a number of classic k-drama tropes, but they manage to shake it off with a knowing wink and by addressing it directly within the drama. Very meta. I’m looking forward to seeing how the actual mechanics of the body swapping works, as well as how each of the numerous little plot points start to intertwine. But mostly I’m excited for Rain.

Thanks for reading! See you soon for episode 2: RAINISM. Just kidding, it’s not called that.

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